Sunday, December 04, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup for a Below-Freeeezing Day

It was a blustery day in this thin-aired part of Colorado...a dusting of snow turned into a few inches, and we kept ourselves bundled up at home, enjoying the fireplace, some wassail, a couple of board games, and this wonderful soup. 

1 hen
1 32oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 10oz can enchilada sauce (green)
1 onion, chopped
1 4oz can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 c chicken broth
1 14.5oz can chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 10oz pkg frozen corn
1 T chopped cilantro
Corn tortillas
Veg. oil

Place hen, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles and garlic into a slow cooker.  Pour in chicken broth, and season w/cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.  Stir in corn and cilantro.  Cover, cook on Low for 12hours.  At this point, I usually let the entire slow cooker pot cool, then I place the removable pot into the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning I take out the hen and shred the chicken.  I pour the entire contents into a regular pot for the stovetop, along with the shredded chicken, and I reheat on the stove.  The extra day makes the soup flavors blend even more, and allows the hen to cool down enough to handle.

For tortillas:  Preheat oven to 400F, lightly brush both sides of tortillas w/oil.  Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.  Bake in oven until crisp, about 10-15min.

(*Note - original recipe found on

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Omuraisu for Breakfast? Hai!!

Omu Rice - my son's favorite thing to eat for breakfast.  It's just a fried egg over fried rice.  What you don't see pictured here is the ketchup he smears over the top of the egg before digging in.  (Wasn't sure I could capture that attractively.) 

Mind you, the fried rice I use for omu rice is not the same that I make for a normal dish.  A lot less complicated, and because the omelette-style egg is placed on top, I don't add egg into the fried rice itself.  First, I fry up a few slices of bacon, let the slices cool and then I crumble them, and place to the side.  Depending on the amount of cold rice I take out of the fridge (placed in there from dinner the night before), I cook 1/4 c to 1/2 c of chopped onion in a different pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over med-high heat.  Today I added some chopped up carrots for a little more flavor.  Next, the cold rice goes in and is stir fried until it looks about right.  I add the crumbled bacon and some flavoring - soy sauce of course, salt & pepper.  After it looks and tastes perfect, it goes on a plate.  In the same pan, I add the beaten egg (or eggs if you like the omelette to be thicker), and fry it up nice and golden, and FLAT.  It goes on top of the egg, and as earlier mentioned, top with ketchup!  Note: if I don't have bacon, I sometimes stir fry chicken in lieu.  Or, I'll just add some bacon grease to the onion while stir frying (making sure to lessen the amount of veg oil).  Oishii desu ne!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And to begin again...a little bit of nostalgia

Thanksgiving a week ago...another holiday memory to add to my family's repertoire of giving thanks together.  Tried and true dishes on the table, the humorous misadventures of new things we thought we'd try, torn magazine recipes strewn across the counter.  A day marking the end of fall with kids running around the house like crazy, to later join us with clasped hands to express funny and serious thankful sentiments.  Food, family be  Great time, as usual.

I went home nostalgic, loving that feeling, and hoping that our children carry on the same traditions when they grow up.  And then I started thinking about their buffet tables...what foods will they have?  Of course, the traditional fare, but it was my generation - my sisters and brother - who grew up on Okinawa, who recognize the textures, the tastes, the flavour of our childhood foods.  Thanksgiving on Okinawa meant that we roasted a couple of turkeys for our aunts and uncles to take home after they came to dinner.  And on that table was more than buttery mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, and pie.  There was konbu, sashimi, rice, okazu, Okinawa donuts (sato andagi), and all kinds of other side dishes.  I remember our first Thanksgiving together when the older of us left home and moved to the States - I was at college and three of us congregated in my little apartment.  Our meal included sushi, teriyaki chicken, and yakisoba, at the very least.  Over the years, those home influences have slowly dissipated. 

So I begin this blog again with renewed vigor to focus on some Okinawan and Japanese dishes and their stories.  The remind my children of their heritage, to give them a taste of who they are and where they come from. 

And the first entry:  sekihan.

Sekihan is a mixture of sweet rice and regular rice, steamed with azuki beans.  Here's the recipe, so simple:

Equal amount of sweet (mochi or sushi) rice and regular short-grain rice.
The correct amount of water you'd usually add for the amount above.
Drain a can of red kidney beans, or azuki beans.
Mix the beans in with the uncooked rice, in a rice cooker.
Steam according to regular rice cooking setting.
Let sit 20min.  Mix.  Serve.

(finished product pictured in photo below and yes, it was a success (defined as eaten with no complaint) )