Japanese people generally don’t like vinegar. Actually, if you go around the local supermarket, you’ll see sushi vinegar (which is quite sweet); normal vinegar; and imported balsamic, rice wine, et cetera kinds of vinegar. However, the normal vinegar available at least in my area, has about, I guess, 25% the sourness and acidity of vinegars we have in my country. So when I cooked it for myself, I ended up using a lot of it to achieve the sourness I craved for. ^_~ However, this recipe is the one I cooked for my husband to taste so I used less vinegar.
He said it was fine, but I say it's perfection!
Tips and tricks
Freeze-thawing the tofu will render it quite tough resulting in a somewhat meaty texture. I do this especially when I’m attacked by my THS (Tofu Hoarding Syndrome) and buy too much tofu that we cannot consume until they expire. One day before the tofu expires, I remove it from the package, throw away the excess water, put it in a clean food container or plastic then squeeze it into the freezer and it will be okay until the following week. ^_~ I then transfer it to the fridge the night before I use it—the following morning, it becomes completely thawed and ready for cooking.
I usually make a lot of tofu sisig on weekends then pack them in food bags and freeze them. From my experience, they were perfectly okay after two weeks. I guess it can last longer than that but my self-restriction can last only up to that. ^_^; However, I'd suggest packing them in small parts so that you won't have to thaw and contaminate the whole thing when you want to eat just a few spoonfuls.
Pestoey. I guess even without explanation to this word I dug from my own introverted vocabulary, anybody will understand what it probably means. But just in case I'm wrong, I called it pestoey veggy spaghetti because it can be the usual garden fresh spaghetti but instead of tomato sauce, I drowned the stir-fried vegetables in my usual pesto sauce.
I learned this from my mother-in-law when I went home to their place one time. I just saw her stir-frying shimeji mushrooms then tossing in the left-over salad (consisting of lettuce, broccoli, red and orange paprika). I went to the toilet for a while and when I went out, lunch was ready and it was a grassy green spaghetti-- not the tomatoey sauce I was expecting!
So I just sat there, said "itadakimasu!" and swirled my fork for my first bite. It was my and my husband's first time to eat this kind of spaghetti sauce, and we were both captivated! It was so delicious I just wanted more.
Ever since then (about 2 months ago), my husband has been requesting this sauce at least once a week.
4. After 2 minutes, toss in the paprika and stir-fry for not more than one minute.
5. Add lettuce and mix well. Turn off heat after 15 seconds.
6. Pour in the pesto sauce to the stir-fried vegetables, doing your best to scrape them off the blender. Then, add water to the blender, shake it then pour it over the vegetables. Mix well.
7. Either top it over your pasta or mix the pasta with the vegetables in the pan before serving! Add Parmesan cheese if you're a hardcore fan. ^_^
Tips and tricks
Grow your own basil plants! Basil here is very expensive. But a month and a half after we planted 8 basil seeds, we've been harvesting more than enough every week. I've been eating my favorite basil pesto spaghetti, pesToasts, pesTomato spaghetti and Christmas pasta quite well. Just FYI, basil is good for migraine too!
Above is my veranda garden where I have 8 basil plants, asparagus, chili pepper, trying-to-grow snack-pine (a kind of pineapple), rosemary, 8 kinds of cacti and a silver-leaf plant.
Just a good, colorful bento guest that, though I have never tasted, is enjoyed very well by my husband!
Tips and tricks
I've done this many times without mirin and I think it was fine. I have no idea between the difference in taste, anyway. ^_^;
Another version of tamagoyaki that earned a voluntary "the egg today was delicious" comment from my husband was when I used small bits of eggplant (instead of carrot and bell pepper), a bit of milk (instead of mirin) and cheese slice (instead of nori).
I've had better days with tamagoyaki rolling but I didn't have a chance to do a pictorial aside from when they were already in my husband's bento box:
When I first cooked this recipe for my husband exactly a year ago, he asked me to cook it for dinner and his bento again. And then again. We ate this 5 times during that week.
Then a few weeks later, I found out from his mother that since he was a child, he has never liked curry. I was so surprised! Turns out, my husband doesn't like Japanese curry-- in which they put a bit of ketchup, Worcester sauce and apple to flavor it. (I've tasted it from a vegetarian restaurant in Nara City called "Kinatei" and for me, it is to-die-for! I couldn't get enough of it. But well, if I'm cooking for just 2 people, I'd prefer to cook this coco curry so that my husband will also eat. :P But I'll be posting a standardized version of vegan Japanese curry next time. ^_~)
Anyway, let's just go straight to the recipe. :)
My husband loves my cheesecake. And my cheesecake is my favorite. Probably because I can make it a bit more lemony than the ones available here. Honestly, I'm not yet fully satisfied with the texture of my cheesecake (because I want it a little more fluffy) but my husband finds it perfect so I guess you'll also be fine with this recipe, especially if you are more into the texture of unbaked, moist cheesecake. :)
You'll also notice in this recipe that I used margarine instead of butter. I would have preferred to use normal cooking oil (like I did when I was once just craving for my lemony cheesecake and it went out fine). But since I cooked this to give as a present, although I know it's not really healthy, I used margarine because butter is also... well, financially unhealthy. :P
Ever since my first cheesecake passed my husband's standard, it has become our habit to give it to his co-workers whenever we're invited to their homes. However, I never had the motivation to standardize it or even just write a recipe because for me, baking, especially cheesecake, is like a calming ritual. I just feel the ingredients and play with it, usually while on an Indian sit or something, on our freshly-vacuumed floor.
Then last week, we decided to make mothers' day and fathers' day cakes to bring to his hometown. And my husband said sweetly, "Won't you make a recipe of your cheesecake so that I can also make it when I want to?" So came the birth of this recipe. :)
As for the preferred cookie base, in this recipe, I used 150 g fruit granola and a pack of 100 g cigarette cookie. I've also used cornflakes + cigarette cookie as base and the traditional 100% crushed graham crackers before. Even ground muesli + instant oats + sugar and Oreo cookies for the chocolate cheesecake I made once. I hope to make vegan cheesecake (tofu-cake doesn't sound so enticing) and use ground cashew and some other things for the base and cashew again and tofu for the cheesecake part. But that will have to wait, especially now that my kitchen adventures will be decreased since I just got a job again!
I'd love to try using yogurt instead of cream but I usually don't have yogurt in stock because it expires much faster compared to cream... But I'll surely try that next time. ;)
Don't dare over-mixing the cheesecake mixture once the eggs are incorporated or else your cheesecake will crack when baked.
If you want to make chocolate cheesecake, be careful with the lemon! I'd suggest putting a few more drops of vanilla oil instead, and just half to a tablespoon of lemon or else you'll have no choice but to smile at a sour chocolate cheesecake... mmm...
A vegetarian for 12 years and a kitchen warrior since I moved in to Japan, my favorite battle has been winning over my husband's interestingly complicated taste buds.