Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Haute Cuisine 1.08

After the last abysmal failure I decided to cook something normal-ish.  Not quite Haute cuisine, so I should probably make this a different category of just plain FOOD but I think I'll stick to it - it's all part of the process.  I went through a period of liking Japanese bento boxes, see below.  It was fun, creative, but the problem is it was very work intensive.  However, at the end of the phase, I had four bento boxes and various accessories.

I am now returning to bento-style meals.  I do not know if I will return to apple bunnies or chick eggs (they are adorable, aren't they?) but I am going to make two meals (one for each tray) and pack them in advance of the week.  They are small boxes so they stack easily, and fit in that awkward middle shelf of the refrigerator which is barely large enough to fit anything, and it cuts down on how much food storage I need to use up for the meals themselves.  The latest recipe was...

Fruit Salad (Crunchy, Low Carb) - 4 stars
- 2 orange bell peppers
- 1 small jicama
- 2 large grapefruits
- 1 cucumber (optional)
- Any other light, durable fruit that you can stomach the idea of eating (did I mention I am extremely picky?)
- Lemon or Lime juice (to help keep it fresh)
- Splenda (optional, adds a little sweetness, mostly for the jicama)
Instructions: Chop into nickel-sized pieces, mix together as evenly as possible, douse in some lime/lemon juice, and sprinkle some splenda on top (to taste, may not need it).

I also like to add some grated almond on top, it adds a nice soft flavor, almonds are good for you, and it looks neato.  Only changes I would add would maybe add more fruit, to add more variety.

Fried Brown Rice - 3.5 stars
- 3 eggs
- Garlic powder
- Ginger powder
- 2 cups petite peas (frozen bags, keeping it simple)
- 1 pound mushrooms, your choice
- 1.5 cups brown rice
- Salt or Soy sauce (optional)
Cook the 1.5 cups brown rice - water in a boiling pot, about 30-35 minutes, depending on your preference for 'done-ness'.  Chop the mushrooms however you want and saute them on the stove at medium-high heat.  Whisk the 3 eggs together and mix in with the mushrooms or cook separately, just know they're going to be scrambled no matter what you do.  Mix the mushrooms and eggs together in the pan, it's good to use a wok for this.  Then add the brown rice, mix it all together, season with soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger powder (to taste), then spread the mix out so it is an even thickness on the surface of the wok.  Mix it every couple minutes and re-spread the rice mix.  Steam the 2 cups of petite peas (microwave or on the stove, whatever works best) and then add those and stir everything together.  Keep mixing and cooking until you feel like it's cooked enough.  

Ta da - two healthy-ish meals for myself.  

I also made some chocolate mousse over the weekend - it is delish.

Chocolate Mousse - 5 stars
- 2 teaspoonfuls of white sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet, or whatever you want really)
Instructions: Separate the eggs - mix the sugar with the egg yolks until blended well.  Then whip the heavy whipping cream until you get a cool whip like consistency, or until it forms solid peaks.  Do the same with the egg whites, until they form stiff peaks.  It is best to use an electric egg beater for this or you'll be doing it for a while.  For the chocolate chips, you can try melting them the traditional style with the pan-on-water-filled-pan method, but I get the same results microwaving on high for 1 minute, mixing it with a spoon, then microwaving for another 30 seconds on high.  Once that comes out, stir - the residual heat will melt the remaining chips, and then wait until it is about lukewarm.  Add the egg yolk/sugar mix to the chocolate, and hand mix until it has a smooth consistency - probably glistening a bit.  Then add that to the whipped heavy whipping cream, until it has a smooth consistency.  Then add the egg whites and gently fold the egg whites into the mixture - you don't want to be too rough with the egg whites because that is the ingredient that is most important for producing that soft fluffy mousse consistency.  When that is evenly mixed, pour into small serving containers (e.g. custard bowls or margarita glasses) OR you can pour them into chocolate shells.  See the following images.


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