Bear beer pancakes, with 3 Autumn fruits

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A breakfast that feels the season. Grapes, apples and kabosu lime. This citrus from Kyushu has the size of a ping-pong ball and a woody fragrance. It is often served with fish or to make a ponzu sauce (citrus and soy).
You can see many types of citrus, lemons, lime, oranges on this blog. Japan has a huge variety and they are all different in flavor. That’s really great.

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I was given beer. It’s alcohol free beer that the police gives away as part of a campaign against… drunk walking. I mean they give that to people passing on foot in the street. I’m not a fan of beer, but I can tell that this one is not really good, very bitter. But it’s OK to cook. It gives a nice barley flavor to pancakes and lightens them.

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The batter made in the blender : beer of course, flour and whole wheat flour (half/half), a little coconut cream. I was out of regular sugar, so after pouring the batter in the pan I’ve sprinkled a little :

DSC09173-001 zarame sugar.

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The skin of these grapes is said to be not very good for health. I’ve peeled them.

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Sliced the apple. Tossed in juice of kabosu and garnished with cut peel of the citrus. Unlike the grapes and apples, the kabosu is not sweet and brings a pleasant balance of sourness.

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Made the eyes and nose of the bears with coconut cream and kabosu peel.

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Carrot tofu pancakes and ‘caramel salé’ spread

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Soft red pancakes, with a very creamy spread of caramel salé, caramel flavored with salty butter.

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Tant pour tant, equal weight.
(1 : 1 : 1) sugar : cream : salted butter.
Melt the sugar into blond caramel, add in the warmed cream. Remove from stove, add butter.
See what you can do with it here, I mean besides eating it all with a spoon.
You can also continue :

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To the hot tant pour tant caramel, I have mixed in 2 additional volumes of cream. It became very liquid, it has a cream textured when cooled. I have then added a few bits of rock salt.
It can be used like a jam or a spread.

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The pancakes are also tant pour tant, 1:1:1. It’s flour (plus baking powder), tofu, carrot paste (grounds when I juiced kintoki carrots with mandarin oranges).

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Pratie oaten and quick beans


Pratie oaten are very simple Irish pancakes that have a nice flavor of potato. Add beans and you have a solid Winter breakfast. A brunch for me.

Taisho kintoki mame. OK, you need time to boil them. Let’s say, you make big batches in advance like me. So you have boiled beans. And let’s say you’ve put potatoes to boil the night before. Well, that was with the stove’s timer so you won’t find a burned kitchen but boiled potatoes when you wake up.

The patties are quickly made. Mash a boiled potato, mix in oatmeal, add in a little melted lard, season with salt and pepper. Of course, you can use butter or a plant-based fat instead.

Cook on the griddle (in a pan) with the same fat.

Quick too. Mix ingredients, reheat the time you make the pratie oaten. The miso has already a “longly simmered taste”.

Add in greens (negi leeks) and serve as a thick bean soup.

Brunch is ready !

Crêpes soufflées aux kumquats et à la noix de coco

Dessert crêpes soufflées with all the golds of my pantry…

The carrot crepes served as a base. I filled them with coconut and Grand Marnier appareil.

Baked.

Then decorated with kumquats, caramelised with sugar, coconut oil and more Grand-Marnier.

Rehearsal of a light réveillon

No Thanksgiving here, but from now, and for one month, every night is a party in Japan. Bonenkai : funerals of the old year. Then every night will be a party. Shinnenkai : birth party of the new year.
This is an advanced French Christmas dinner, quite light. Lots of seafood.

Blinis (like here), to go with smoked salmon.

Hors d’oeuvre and greens.

Choucroute au Champagne et fruits de mer.

Yes, you’ve already seen a fishy Sauerkraut on this blog (click here to get there) :

Lighter beurre blanc.

You’ll read about the cookies and the buche (log cake) in other posts.

Osmanthus pork

Muxurou, “osmanthus pork”, 木须肉 , is this month’s Daring Cook’s dish. It’s a Northern Chinese dish, and it seems a Northern American one too…

Served with hoisin sauce and hot chun bing crepes. And scallion brushes, so guests can take sauce with them.

The October Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.
To see the recipes of the challenge, it’s at the end of this post. To see the other Daring Cooks’ dishes, click here. (soon to be online)

That’s the season of osmanthus in Osaka…

The challenge is mostly about the popular US version. I have browsed the Chinese web a little to find that :

The Chinese version…from what I understood

Ingredients :
The black ear mushroom, the pork, the eggs are in every version. Seasoning is usually garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper.
That very often includes cucumbers, and a sort of dry flower (that I didn’t get in my local market, no relation with my decorative edible flowers). All type of other veggies, or no veggie also exist.

Pork :
The meat after cutting is mixed with salt, egg whites and flour/starch (common in Chinese recipe, the purpose is to make it softer). You can wet the flour before mixing in. Let a few minutes. Then 2 options :
Direct : fry the meat (and get rid of excess oil to continue stir-fry)
Double : poach it in water at 80 degree C, when it changes color, drain the water, later stir-fry it with the veggies.
I did the second.

The eggs :
Some say to add a tbs of water to the eggs while beating.

Cutting :
Everything seems to exist. Slices, threads…

Hoishin sauce :
I think most Chinese buy theirs (who makes mustard at home ?) and maybe some of the big restaurants make theirs in huge batches once a year. And it’s not harder to find a decent commercial than to find the ingredients.
It’s sweet potato sauce.
It contains (checked a dozen of brands) : sugar, miso (it’s soy miso, like haccho miso, another miso would do), salt, sweet potato, sesame paste (tahini, or sesame you paste in a mortar), garlic, red chili (raw or pickled in salt), sometimes coloring and nasty stuff that you can skip. You need to cook it. I simmered it 30 minutes.

So let’s make it…

Black ear wood mushrooms, re-hydrated.

Bamboo shoots and cucumber were my choice of veggies.

Double cooking of the meat :

Raw filet.

After boiling.
Another dish with the double cooking method :
“Sichuan huiguorou” styled chicken

The eggs

Ready to stir-fry :

The finished dish without the flowers.

Home-made hoisin sauce :

Cut the scallion stalks and fringe your fingers with a sharrrp knife. I use scissors or a gadget.
Either fringe the tip of the stalk, then cut that the good length. Refresh in cold water.

With left-over of hoisin sauce, you can make fried noodles :
Hoi hoi hoisin, “seafood” noodles

The Gourmande signature : the decorative flowers.

Recipes of the challenge

Source for pancakes and pork : The Chinese Kitchen. Deh-Ta Hsiung

Thin Pancakes:

Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes’ standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients
4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all purpose flour
About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting

Directions:
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.
Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.
Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Alternate method for preparing the pancakes:
Once the dough has rested and been kneaded again, divide it into an even number of small pieces, rolling each into a ball. Working with two balls of dough at a time, dip the bottom of one ball lightly into sesame oil and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then roll the doubled pancake layers into 6 to 8 inch circles. In a dry pan, cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking.

Alternately (I know, an alternate to the alternate…), if you would prefer not to dip the dough in the sesame oil, you can achieve a similar result with a slight modification. Again working two pieces at a time, roll each piece into a three inch pancake. Using a pastry brush, brush sesame oil onto the top of one of the pancakes, and top it with the other pancake. Further roll the doubled pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle and cook as the above alternate method. This method was actually our favorite of the three, and yielded the best results – very thin pancakes that held up a little better and had the most authentic texture. We had the best luck brushing a bit of sesame oil on both circles of dough, then sandwiching them together. Just be careful separating the pancakes after cooking them on both sides – heat (steam) does get caught between them, so don’t burn your fingers!

Notes:
Be sure to use very hot-to-boiling water, as it helps relax the gluten, which will aid in rolling the pancakes super thin.
Adjust the heat of your pan as needed to cook the pancakes without burning them. I had to keep my burner on medium (rather than low) heat in order for my pancakes to cook properly (low was drying them out too much without cooking them fully), so watch your pancakes carefully.
If the pancakes are not to be used as soon as they are cooked, they can be warmed up, either in a steamer for 5-6 minutes, or in a microwave oven for 20-30 seconds, depending on the power.

Moo Shu Pork:

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

Ingredients
2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus (‘wood ears’)
½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil
12 thin pancakes to serve

Directions:
Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.
Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.
Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.
To serve: place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot Moo Shu in the center of a warm pancake, rolling it into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers.

Hoisin Sauce: (American recipe)

(source: http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/13249/hoisin-sauce.html)

While most restaurants, or at least those at which I have ordered the dish, serve this with plum sauce, none of the cook books or online recipes that I have seen have referred to that as being traditional. Most that reference serving it with a sauce call for it to be served with hoisin sauce.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) black pepper

Directions:
Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.
At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.