The cooking done during this post all occurred two weeks ago. To continue the Week that Ate Normality I made Maki's Miso-peanut Udon, and tried the sesame sauce again too. Oh, and Kale chips. I made Kale chips. The highlight has to be the miso container though. It's so chic! I was a little worried because it's Korean and not Japanese, and because it was right next to the red pepper paste and in the exact same packaging (only brown, not red). I will be saving this container and, even if I decide I hate miso, I will probably be going back to the store to buy more. And red pepper paste, I wanna a red lid too.
The dinner, as previously mentioned, was courtesy of Maki's first foray into publishing, while the Kale chips were inspired by Popartichoke (don't you just love that name? And her banner! . . . oh yeah, food).
The Miso-Peanut Sauce:
This was a lot of fun to make, especially since it required an extra outing to my local International grocery store. How lucky am I that there's one located not ten miles from my house? The exotic ingredients purchased were Dehydrated Dashi Stock, Mirin, and Miso. The recipe also called for sake, but I couldn't find that in the store and I'm not really comfortable going up to people and asking where they keep their liquor. But, since I love the idea of cooking with alcohol (It makes me think of Christmas . . . weird? Yup) I substituted it with some white wine my mom had on hand.
The preparation for this dish was pretty easy and straight forward. Even with my haphazard way of doing things (not measuring, kinda measuring, throwing in purple onions for green, etc.) things came together really well. The sauce is really strong though. Really. Reeeeeeeeaaaaaally. I was surprised by how spicy it was, not hot, but with a definite kick. The effect of the ginger, I guess, since the miso didn't taste spicy (are you allowed to eat miso raw? I couldn't help it. Strangely, it reminded me of cheese. Is it fair to call it bean cheese?). On top of the spicy notes there was the overwhelming taste of miso. Not overwhelming in a bad way, but as an objective measurement. The sauce, as suggested by its name, tasted like miso It was a little much for me, but I loaded the sauce on my udon too. Because the miso flavor completely masked the peanuts (unless you bit right into one) I'm assuming this sauce was another victim of my slap-dash cooking. Since the miso came in (the cutest ever) 15 oz. container I didn't bother measuring it out, but just scooped what I thought was enough into my mixing bowl. Culinary reminder: less can be added too, but more cannot be taken away.
The Sesame Sauce:
This time I actually measured, and things turned out a lot better. My dad seems to like this sauce (it was he who asked me to retry it) so this will probably come up in my kitchen again. As a side note, I served it with kale this time.
The Kale Chips
Yum. Baked leaves. I've actually seen this on a few sites, but when I saw it on Popartichoke I caved and put it on my mental list. I made two batches of this. This first highlighted why klutzes should not be in the kitchen. I drowned half the kale in olive oil and put so much salt on the leaves that they looked like a kid's crystal growing experiment after it was done baking. Because they were unevenly oiled they cooked at different rates, and of course the majority of them were to salty too eat. The surviving few, though, were intriguing enough to try again, only this time I grabbed a handful of that kale and rolled it in bacon drippings. Oh yum! Because these were oiled – er, greased – evenly they baked at the same rate, resulting in a light, crispy chip that disappeared in your mouth (my dad ate one and assumed it had been fried. I'm taking this as a complement). They tasted slightly of kale, but mostly of nothing, with the second batch having faint bacon overtones. My mom, and my aunt, voted them a success, but I don't think I'll be making them very often. I did let my chips sit in the hot oven longer than the recommended ten minutes, but then, I probably had more grease to cook off.