Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cowboy Cookies

The older I get, the more picky I seem to get about my cookies. Even as a kid, I hated the Chips Ahoy chewy chocolate chip cookies, and most commercial cookies. Too sweet, too bland, not enough bitter chocolate taste, and a mushy texture. My favorite chocolate chip cookies were, and continue to be, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They often have a saltiness that compliments the nutty oats and the bitter chocolate, and their texture is much improved with the grain added.

Of course, someone in ancient history had to make some sort of royal decree or conspiracy that all oatmeal cookies must have raisins instead of chocolate. I like raisins, but not in my oatmeal cookies. They make everything too sweet, and ruin the texture. Does anyone like oatmeal raisin cookies?

These cookies are sometimes made without coconut, and are very customizable. Feel free to experiment: white chocolate chips, toffee chunks, walnuts, macadamia nuts, or butterscotch chips (raisins only if you want to disappoint Miss Mochi and contribute to the conspiracy).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tamago-Toji Spam Donburi (卵とじ スパム丼)

Unlike katsudon, this donburi does not have a place in Japanese culinary history, it's an original Miss Mochi creation.

This recipe came about when I happened to score a giant pack of low-sodium Spam from Costco and we only had one frozen pre-made tonkatsu left. Since Mr. Mochi is much more fond of pork chops than I am, I made him a katsudon while I decided what sort of rice bowl I should make. I decided to try a Spam and egg donburi, and it turned out so tasty I decided to share it with you.

A donburi is simply a plain rice bowl with toppings, designed as a complete meal. Here in Southern California, Flame Broiler is probably the most popular chain, as well as of course Yoshinoya, which is an amazingly old fast food chain, founded in 1899. Apparently these quick and tasty meals have stood the test of time, because here in 2014 I am obsessed.

I've made a Spam donburi before, and in that post I rambled a bit about all the variations that could be made. You can make a donburi topping out of anything, and I believe the possibilities are endless. I could probably do a Spam donburi month, and still have plenty of ideas at the end of it.

Hey, that is a pretty good idea! Maybe for May?

Until then, here's the latest iteration of Spam donburi.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dogzilla

Another food truck that satisfies my love of hapa food: Dogzilla. I am always on a quest to try every crazy mash-up of Asian American cuisine Orange County has to offer. Kimchee quesadillas? Hell yes. Japanese hot dogs? I'm there! Red bean waffle sandwiches? You better believe I even dragged my friends there.

So when I first saw Dogzilla in a Best Buy parking lot, I knew I had to pounce on this one. Unlike a lot of the food trucks I'm in love with, Dogzilla is actually based in Irvine, rather than in L.A. county. And it offers up tasty treats to rival them too.

Dogzilla's tagline, "Not Your Typical Wieners" totally fits because you won't find any mustard or ketchup on their deluxe dogs. Instead, they rely on Japanese flavorings and Hawaiian stand-bys for their unique hot dogs. This isn't exclusive to Dogzilla, the hapa hot dog can be found at places like the Tokyo Doggie Style food truck in LA, Asia Dog in NYC, and Japadog in NYC and Vancouver. I even make a version at home (and why I haven't blogged about this? Fail!).

However trendy, I happen to really love the execution of Dogzilla's hot dogs. Rather than using a normal hot dog bun, they use King's Hawaiian hot dog buns. You can get a fried egg with a gloriously runny yolk on any dog. Their Garlic Fries feature freshly minced garlic rather than garlic powder, making my breath possibly radioactive but I could care less about that when they taste this good.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ramen Crispy Treats

I've already posted on how much I love ramen. Mr. Mochi gets downright spiritual after finishing a bowl at Shin-Sen-Gumi. It appeals to me on the most basic levels; ramen is soul food. I see ramen as a hangover cure, rainy-day friend; a pick-me-up piping hot broth with slurp-able noodles that never fails to make you feel better.

Plus ramen is so customizable. A poached egg, some green onions, toasted nori, just about everything is free game. You can even peruse the vast amount of ramen hacks, where the instant ramen is taken to new heights of crazy and creativeness. I love creating my own weird combinations with premade food, like my KFC kare donburi, so I think that's why I have a soft spot for ramen hacks.

I had to try this one when I heard about it. After all, ramen hacks are usually savory, so any ramen dessert had to be tried. Especially since I knew these would make great gifts for Valentine's Day. Without further ado, I introduce you to Ramen Crispy Treats. Just like rice crispy treats, but use dry ramen.

If you use 4 packs of noodles, it will be like the picture, but I found I liked it with more marshmallow to ramen and made it again with only 3 packs, but they definitely were messier to eat as they were on the gooey-er side. Feel free to use whatever mix-ins tickle your fancy: M&Ms, chocolate chips, pecans, etc, would all be amazing. These treats will be denser than rice crispy treats, and nuttier tasting, but I surprisingly really enjoyed them. For decorating for Valentine's Day, I think some Valentine's edition Reeses Pieces or M&Ms would be very cute, or even some heart-shaped sprinkles!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fruit Sando (フルーツサンド)

Today is the second anniversary of my very first blog post here at Miss Mochi's Adventures. I'm still wrapping my head around that fact. Do me a favor and don't look back too far, some of the pictures definitely need updating! I'm still not very confident in my photography skills, but anyone can see I've made a big improvement.

The very first recipe I posted for this blog was ichigo daifuku mochi, so in celebration I decided to post another recipe involving strawberries. This one garnered a lot of interest when I mentioned it in my katsu sando post, after all, who here in the states has heard of a fruit and cream-filled sandwich?

The Japanese definitely treat bread and sandwiches differently than we do. They don't balk at strange sweet sandwich fillings, because they don't have a long standing history of savory sandwiches like we do. Fruit and cream sandwiches as well as other sweet sandwiches like chestnut cream are on the convenience store shelf right along with ham and cheese. And if you think about it, we certainly have sweet sandwiches that are immensely popular: PB+J anyone? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are so ubiquitous that they have an acronym in popular use! No one would think twice if you made a peanut butter and banana sandwich, or a peanut butter sandwich with some strawberry slices thrown in.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Setsubun and Ehomaki Recipe!

Today is the day before spring begins according to the lunisolar calendar. On February 3rd, the Japanese celebrate Setsubun, celebrating the start of spring. Setsubun no Hi (節分の日), also known as the Bean-Throwing Festival, celebrates the start of a new year according to the lunar calendar. So several things are done to bring good luck to the coming year, as well as chase away the demons of the old year.

First, is the ritual of mamemaki (節分), which literally translates as bean-throwing, to drive away bad luck and demons (called oni). Usually someone in the family will dress up as a oni and people will stand at the doorway and throw soybeans at the door until the oni retreats. We had way too much fun throwing soybeans at Oni-Tiara, who in turn had way too much fun eating the soybeans.

So now that you've driven out the bad luck and oni (and in our case, attracted a begging pooch), you now eat some soybeans yourself to invite good luck in. Traditionally you eat as many soybeans as your age (Tiara should have stopped at seven beans) but I ended up snacking on them while I wrote this post, so I'm either extra lucky, or more probably, just fatter.

Another ritual is eating ehomaki, a makizuki sushi roll that is completely uncut, and contains 7 different ingredients for good luck. You're supposed to eat it in complete silence while facing a special auspicious direction that changes every year, for instance 2014 the lucky direction is east-northeast.

Now, even if you don't want to eat a whole sushi roll in complete silence, ehomaki are very tasty! They are actually just uncut futomaki, or fat sushi rolls, but it is kinda fun to eat them uncut like a giant sushi burrito. Maki-san at JustHungry has some great ideas for nontraditional ehomaki fillings on this page, as well as the most traditional fillings, but I always use whatever I have in my fridge.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dorilocos: Tostilocos with Doritos

This all started when my coworker shared with me her secret to a happy marriage: on Sundays, she would share a plate of Nacho Cheese Doritos with her husband while they watched television. They always have them served like papitas preparadas, sprinkled in hot sauce and lime juice but with Doritos instead of potato chips. She brought in this snack on a busy day at the office, and offered me a bite.

I was hooked, line and sinker. I have a huge affinity for antojitos, literally "little cravings" or Mexican street food. Except my cravings certainly aren't little by any stretch of the imagination. I've waxed poetic about downtown Los Angeles and the influence of Mexican street food with my L.A. Street Dog post. The same coworker that inspired this recipe was the catalyst for my chile mango candies when she brought in vero mango lollipops. I even used Mexican chocolate and dried chiles for my Christmas gift of caramels.

Now the Doritos are amazingly delicious served the way my coworker introduced me, with lime juice and Valentina hot sauce. But the idea that was planted in my head was something a little more epic: tostilocos with Doritos, or as I named them, Dorilocos.

Tostilocos are a newer antojitos to hit the street food scene. Tostilocos were spawned in border towns like Tijuana around the 1990s, a crazy mixture of salty, sweet, and sour. It's one of those dishes that on paper sound ridiculous, only making sense when you try it yourself. Cucumber, jicama, pickled pork skin (called cueritos), Japanese-style peanuts, hot sauce, chamoy sauce, and even tamarind chewy candies are poured on top of Tostitos chips for a dish that is aptly named loco or "crazy." Here in Orange County, you can find tostilocos at fruit juice shops, or even at swap meets.