Monday, December 31, 2018

new year's eve and nut loaf

I haven't converted to veganism, but a vegan friend recommended this outstanding nut loaf to me because I can eat everything in it and my tummy will still feel happy. And it was worth it! It's not a quick meal to make, though it was easy. It's from the BBC food archives here, and I pretty much just followed the recipe, unusually enough (my few slight changes are included here).

You'll need:
  • 300 mixed nuts (I used almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
  • the equivalent of one veggie stock cube (I used a little sachet)
  • olive oil (or grapeseed oil if you prefer)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped (the original recipe called for two, but they're expensive here in Japan and sold per stick)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 3 minced garlic cloves 
  • 4 tablespoons cashew butter (I had to make my own in my high-powered blender)
  • 180 g cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • 75 g dried cranberries (I just eyeballed it to taste)
  • fresh parsley, chopped (well, I ran out so I used dried)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
Do this:

In a frying pan with your oil, add the onions, celery, leek, and carrots and saute till tender, then add in the minced garlic for a minute.

I used an 8X8 glass baking pan, rubbing it with oil and then adding a piece of parchment paper cut to size in the bottom. 

Preheat your oven to 200 C. 

In a food processor, blitz the nuts with the veggie stock cube or sachet until finely chopped but not turned into nut butter! In a big mixing bowl, add the hot cooked veggies and stir them up with the cashew butter, then add everything else and stir well. Pour it into your prepared pan and pat down with a wooden spoon till flat on top. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 20 so that it gets nicely browned (they would say fox-colored in Japanese). 

Let it set out a few minutes before slicing and serving with vegan gravy (I use 2 cups water, 2 stock cubes, dried parsley, sage, a little salt and pepper, then bring to a boil and add a bit of soy milk and a splash of water mixed with cornstarch or potato starch for thickening). 

Enjoy for a festive holiday meal. And Happy 2019 to you all! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

savoury gluten- and dairy-free goat-cheese herb muffins (with a kick, if you like)

Lately some Japanese grocery stores have cottoned on to the fact that not everyone can eat everything. Enter Aeon's allergen-free series of mixes--this one is a baking mix for making savoury okonomiyaki (like meaty and cabbage-y pancakes) or for coating fried chicken. It contains rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, salt, and baking powder. Perfect pour moi! 

So I experimented, and here are some mighty delicious herby muffins with goat cheese (and red pepper flakes for those who so desire--I do desire, thanks).

You'll need:
  • 2 packs of Aeon's okonomiyaki gluten-free mix (300 g total weight), or GF baking mix of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (marjoram, basil, oregano, and thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • red pepper flakes (optional for topping)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup milk (I used organic soy)
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil 
  • goat cheese for topping
Do this: 

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, and in a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Then add the wet into the dry and stir 'em up. Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins, or use reusable silicone muffin cups like I do. Top with some crumbled goat cheese, more dried parsley, and red pepper flakes if you like (me likey). Bake at 350 F/170 C for about 12 minutes or so.

These are great with the salmon chowder I've been making a lot lately. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free muy delicioso salmon chowder: perfect for a rainy fall day

Canned salmon is something I keep on hand at all times for soup or salmon croquettes, and I found this recipe kind of recently that we all enjoy.

But I do it differently, partly because I don't use dairy milk and cheese, but also because it's hard to find dill here and I haven't tried to grow any. Here's what I do.

You'll need:

  • potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic--all chopped
  • a can of corn
  • another can of corn with the liquid--puree that with a hand blender to use as the "creamed corn" that the original recipe called for (premade creamed corn has wheat and sugar in the ingredients list)
  • 3 small cans salmon
  • several cups of water with a couple of veggie bouillon cubes or powder sticks
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  • whatever milk you use (soy for me)
Do this:

Saute the veggies in grapeseed oil in a big stock pot, then add in the water, bouillon, salt, pepper, and parsley. Boil till the veggies are soft, then add in the broken-up salmon, corn, pureed corn, and then a cup or two of milk. Serve with corn muffins if you have them, or herbed goat-cheese muffins (recipe to come). 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

sassy salad: endive, avocado, tomatoes, cukes

When I find endive on the sale table in the produce section of the grocery store, I make this salad. It's so more-ish with the sweet tomatoes, crunchy-fresh cucumbers, creamy avocado, and bitter endive.

You'll need:

  • cukes
  • tomatoes
  • endive
  • avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • dried mixed herbs, or fresh
  • minced clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
Do this:

Slice and dice, then mix with the dressing and serve at room temperature so you can taste all those great flavors and textures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

secret-ingredient flourless chocolate muffins

No, we don't live in Canada and the ingredient is not what you think. It's actually...wait for it...chickpeas!

It's from this website and is probably one of the easiest muffins recipes ever. You just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and spoon it into each cup. And so delicious! You can't taste the chickpeas--they just make the muffins really smooth. We all enjoy these.

You'll need:

  • 1 15-oz. (450 g) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • chocolate chips for the top
Do this:

Bung it all into your food processor and pulse till smooth. Pour it into muffin cups and bake at 350 F/170 C for about 12 minutes. 

Enjoy the chocolate hit with your cup of tea in the morning. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

kickin' wasabi coleslaw

So. It was me birfday this past week, and I was craving hamburgers and fries and coleslaw. And since I like my own cooking (OK, a lot), I made my own. Hamburgers in the frying pan, oven-roasted curly fries (Joel spiralized 'em for me) with olive oil and sea salt, and coleslaw. But not just any old slaw! No, ma'am. I wanted to kick it up, celebration style, and so I decided to add wasabi to the dressing. Oh, boy! Deliciousness.

(I based the dressing off this one, but since my middle name is Tweak, I did just that.)

You'll need:

  • cabbage
  • sweet orange pepper
  • nira (Japanese garlic chives)
  • celery
  • carrots
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1/3 C. mayo
  • 2 t. wasabi paste
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 C. grapeseed oil
Do this: 

Shred and chop the veggies. Mix the dressing. Stir it all together, chill if you must (I mustn't because I was in a hurry), and devour. Get ready for that wasabi kick in your nose.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

dairy-free caffeine-free chicory "coffee" for the whole fam (a rainy afternoon tale)

I have posted a recipe for chicory root "coffee" on Mamatouille before, but this is my 2.0 version. And it was much needed after one of our Beans burned his thumb with a hot glue gun in Sunday school this morning and consequently has not been a happy kid since. Now he's got his thumb wrapped in aloe and gauze, a Disney movie playing ("The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" from 1968), and his cup of chicory and plate of chocolate beside him. (Mama's portion is in the above photo.)

For four folks you'll need:
  • a mug's worth of dairy-free milk per person (I used organic soy)
  • 6 tablespoons chicory root powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • (next time, I'll also add a pinch of salt)
Do this: 

Add the milk to a pan and as it starts heating up, whisk in all the other ingredients till warmed through but before it boils. 

Enjoy with a book, a family movie, or an edgy documentary, as each family member desires. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

chicken soup for the sickie

When you're not feeling well and you're an adult, you make your own chicken soup.

Here's what I did:

I had two whole rotisserie chicken remains left so I boiled those with some bay leaves and then picked all the meaty bits off, like a treasure hunt.

I used the broth and added carrots, frozen peas, a whole head of garlic chopped up, a huge onion, a large knob of grated ginger plus the juice from it, some Japanese pumpkin, a sweet yellow pepper, lots of turmeric, salt, pepper, parsley, and chicken bouillon cubes. It simmered till everything was soft and then I added the meat back in. After a few minutes, I served it up in bowls with a scoop of cooked rice.

The saltiness feels so good to my sore throat.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

goat-cheese salad dressing

I've made this twice now and both times it's gone down a treat. My tummy is fine with goat cheese, thankfully, and so I buy it at Costco (it's from Wisconsin, of all places).

This is very easy to make and even easier to eat. I got it here, and I've changed the amounts slightly.

You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (I've been using dried because our container garden has not been replenished except for parsley so far)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • coarse black pepper
Do this:

Just mash the cheese and vinegar with a fork till smooth, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Drizzle over some salad and savor the tangy creaminess. The first salad we tried it on had some cubed sauteed pumpkin with the greens, and that was extra delicious. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

matthew goes to germany (in the kitchen, at least)

Matthew is fascinated with the German language and culture! So last week he and I took a little trip to the computer for some research and then a visit to the kitchen to try out some German cooking. Here he is making the Bavarian cream. That was quite a lot of steps (eleven, to be exact). It involves heavy cream, milk, separating some eggs, sugar, vanilla, some cooking, an ice bath, a double boiler, and some refrigeration. Here's the method we used, though we topped it with a mango fruit sauce and not what they recommended (berry sauce or lemon juice). Matthew loves anything mango!
The full meal: Rosti potato pancakes (we cheated by not grating the potatoes ourselves--we bought a packet of ready-to-cook Swiss Rosti from Costco!), currywurst (sausages roasted and sliced with a fantastic ketchup-curry sauce), and German peas with bacon, sugar, and vinegar. Everything was so delicious and Matthew did a superb job.
And don't forget the Bavarian cream...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

banana okara (soy pulp) muffins

Every Monday evening, our faithful tofu delivery lady, Horie San, drives by with her little truck and the not-so-little music that is piped through the neighborhood from the speaker on top of said truck. (She is one of the friendliest people on the planet.)

And if I spend 1,000 yen or more (or even if I get close to that), she gives me a 200-gram bag of soy pulp, called okara in Japanese.

Here's a recipe I found on Cookpad that helps me use up the okara, and we all love these moist muffins. I changed it a little, so here you go. This is doubled and has all my changes incorporated.

You'll need:
  • 120 g butter, melted (I want to try coconut oil next time)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200 g okara (soy pulp)
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • 175 g rice flour
  • 25 g kinako (roasted soy flour)
  • 4 small bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 100 ml soy milk (plus a little extra if too dry)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • raisins for the top
Do this:

Preheat your handy-dandy oven to 180 C. Whisk the butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla together, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Top with raisins and then bake about 20 minutes or so. 

I'm not a huge banana fan, but these were bananarrific and I'm going to make them again this week.

UPDATE: Even extra delicious with coconut oil instead of butter. Gives it a little island flair.

Monday, February 26, 2018

middle-eastern chicken burgers and chickpeas

This meal reminded me of some Lebanese food we had in London in 2016 at the drool-worthy Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington right near the Natural History Museum. I actually got this recipe from my friend Hiukei who got it from Smitten Kitchen (recipe here). 

The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for ground turkey and panko breadcrumbs for the meatballs, but I subbed ground chicken and a mixture of rice and almond flours, and because of the different consistency, fried them in the frying pan instead of rolling into balls and baking. But I did roast the turmeric chickpeas in the oven. 

To the lemony onion side dish that Smitten Kitchen talks about, I also added cucumbers, purple cabbage, some sweet red pepper, and a splash of olive oil. And I made some quinoa in the rice cooker, too, to sop everything up.

Warm quinoa, cumin-y tender chicken burgers, roasted chickpeas and onions, crunchy lemony raw veggies, and a lemon-yogurt sauce to top it all off (I did have to take an enzyme to help me handle the dairy, which helps, but not completely). I don't think I even need to say how ravenously delicious this was. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

cottage pie (version 18.0)

I don't know how many times I've made cottage pie, but however many times that is, that's how many versions I've developed. This time I made a mixture of kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and white potatoes for the topping.

You'll need:

  • about 5 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 Japanese kabocha, chopped and with skin left on
  • milk (I used soy)
  • butter (about 2 or 3 tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper 
  • nutmeg
  • ground beef and pork mixture (about 600 grams)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • parsley for sprinkling
Do this:

Boil the potatoes and kabocha together, then drain, mash, and add some milk, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

In a frying pan, cook the onion, carrot, garlic, and sweet pepper till soft, then add in the ground beef and pork, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook till the meat is cooked through.

In an oven-safe pan, put the meat mixture in the bottom, spread the mash on top and sprinkle with parsley. Dot with bits of butter and bake for 30 minutes at 180 C.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

joel's belizean meal

This week was Joel's turn to pick his favorite country from the boys' geography encyclopedia and cook a meal based on that cuisine. He chose Belize.

We researched and came up with this menu:
  • rice and kidney beans with pork, coconut milk, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper
  • shrimp ceviche: boiled chopped shrimp, salt, lime juice, onions, cilantro (coriander) leaves, and tomatoes
  • fudge with peanuts and coconut (sweetened condensed milk, white sugar, vanilla, butter, peanuts, and coconut)

Next up: Matthew goes to Germany!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free carrot-apple-raisin cake made with kinako and rice flour

My friend Sanae knows that I try to cook without wheat or dairy, and she sent me this lovely carrot-raisin cake recipe from Cookpad (which is in Japanese). It's made with rice flour and kinako, which is roasted soybean flour and has a lovely subtly-sweet nutty flavor.

I double it, and add a few of my own additions, like the apple and warm spices. I make the double version in an 8X8-inch glass cake pan, which I oil beforehand. Here's my Mamatouille version.

You'll need:
  • 120 g rice flour
  • 60 g kinako (roasted soybean flour)
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 2 carrots (about 200 g), very finely grated 
  • 40 g raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped tiny
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons oil (I use grapeseed because of its neutral flavor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger to taste
  • a little splash of soy milk if the mixture is too dry
Do this:

In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and in a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add in the liquid ingredients, including the carrots, apple, and raisins. Combine everything and mix well. I find the batter can be a bit dry, so I splash in a little bit of soy milk if needed. 

Bake at 180 C until done, about 30 minutes or so. It comes out moist and with just the right amount of sweetness--not too much to be overpowering, but just enough to make you feel like you've had a real dessert. And I won't deny that we've each had a slice for breakfast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

lentil-kabocha-coconut-milk curry

Do you have kabocha squash where you live? It's got a dark green skin and inside is bright orange. If you don't have access to it, any kind of pumpkin or squash will do for this recipe.

Another Mamatouille original, created in my Mamatouille Test Kitchen (aka our tiny Japanese daidokoro).

You'll need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 veggie (or meat) stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • many, many cloves of garlic, minced
  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • dash cardamom
  • dash hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 kabocha, chopped into bite-sized pieces (leave the skin on, Japanese style)
  • 1 can coconut milk (15 ounces or 425 grams)
  • cooked rice, for serving
  • for accompanying salad: cucumber, tomato, sweet yellow pepper, cilantro (coriander) leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, ground cumin and coriander
Do this:

In a large stock pot, cook 1 cup dried lentils with 2.5 cups water, 1 veggie stock cube, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 bay leaf. When they are soft, about 20 minutes later, turn off the heat. You will not need to drain any liquid because it should pretty much all be absorbed. (I got the method for cooking lentils from page 105 in my More with Less cookbook.)

In a skillet, saute the onion, ginger, and garlic in a little coconut oil. When it's softened and a little browned, add the pepper, cardamom, hot paprika, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and curry powder. If you need to, add a bit more coconut oil. Stir it around a few minutes till it's aromatic and making you really, really hungry.

Pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot of lentils, along with 1/2 cup water and the chopped kabocha. Simmer till the kabocha is soft, then add the can of coconut milk. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed. Serve over rice with cilantro/coriander leaves and the side salad. 

Put your ear plugs in because the family will be shouting their praises. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

snowy day

After clearing snow, it was a spicy-hot- chocolate- (with cinnamon, chicory, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom) and-popcorn afternoon, and it's a kabocha-and-sweet-potato-hash kind of night.