Okay, I admit that it's been a "somewhat" long time since I posted, but we've had guests over and things have been a little busy. And I got just a little bit lazy (there, I admitted it). But now I'm back, after taking a few photos here and there.
On another note, I've been reading up recently on running, and there was one thing that caught my attention the other day: "Most people think that because they run they do not need any other form of exercise". Oops. That...describes me.
So I've made a promise to myself to not only run, but also begin strength exercises to target the muscles of my legs and hopefully improve my running ability (and gain a better sense of muscle balance). I tried for the first time yesterday, and let's just say it was a pretty humbling experience. Once I head to school, I'll be able to make a better job of it at a real gym.
The other day, our family friends from San Diego drove up to spend a night with us. Mom got overexcited, like she usually does when guests come over, and began a major brainstorm of all the dishes she wanted to add to the dinner menu. It was kind of funny watching her do mental backflips organizing everything because it turns out that our friends (who had originally come to visit their children in Santa Cruz) didn't have time to eat more than one dinner with us. Well, they had breakfast, but we bought it at the local Asian market, so that didn't count.
Anyway, there was one dish that I particularly liked...it doesn't have any special ingredients, but it's definitely unique and kind of fun to make (it's almost like a Shanghai-form of dim sum). Mom found the recipe on the back of our hon-dashi packet. You have a combination of meat, mushrooms, and shepherd's purse vegetables shaped into long cigars and then stuffed into tofu skin. They're fried, then braised in a thickened soy sauce mixture.
Tofu Skin Rolls
-4 oz ground pork
-1 pack frozen Shepherd's Purse vegetables (or 1 bunch spinach, blanched and minced)
-1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated (save the liquid)
-1/2 cup bamboo strips, minced
-8 oz tofu skin, dried
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1-2 tsp cornstarch
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-Small amount of cornstarch
-Dashi powder to taste
-Sugar to taste
1. Mix the meat, veggies, mushrooms, bamboo, and 1 tsp soy sauce together. Add the 1 tbsp sesame oil.
2. Add the cornstarch and mix in 1 direction ONLY. I don't know why, but apparently this is the only way to make the mixture stick.
3. Lay out the tofu skins and trim them so that they are relatively square-like.
4. Brush the skin with a wet cloth until it becomes soft.
5. Place a few tablespoons of filling near the lower right (or left) corner of your sheet, then roll upward, tucking in the sides as you go (kind of like folding a burrito). Try not to have any loose sides, unless you want a disaster during the cooking process.
6. Repeat until the filling is gone.
7. Set a large, flat-bottom pan over medium high heat with a generous serving of oil.
8. Fry the rolls, turning occasionally until each side is golden and crispy.
9. Remove from heat, wipe down the pan, then return the pan to medium heat with 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp sesame oil.
10. Add in the rolls. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally (or longer/shorter, depending on how you want the texture of your rolls to be).
11. Add sugar and dashi powder to taste.
12. Remove from heat and enjoy!