Saturday, July 26, 2014

Exclusively Sun-dried!

Exclusively Sun-dried Plum Tomatoes, Herbs and Blueberries

This time, it worked! I dried the tomatoes for about three days on a big rock on the beach under the summer sun. They turned out to be great semi-dried tomatoes! YAY!
Yes, these taste way better than the ones that went through three drying methods!

Don't they look lovely this way? ;) The sun-dried herbs also look nice in these packages.

Mini pizza for lunch today! :D

The mini pizza pieces were OK, but the strong taste of the cheese and the crunchiness of the crust (actually Chinese dumpling skins) sort of hid the rich flavor and the pleasant chewiness of the tomatoes. Next time I would definitely go for mozzarella or cream cheese.
Definitely. ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Aiko in Scones!

Dried Tomato, Herb and Cheese Scones

See what I made with the home-grown and home-dried plum tomatoes! :D

In addition to the dried tomatoes, I added dried herb (thyme and oregano) and grated cheese.
They look nice, don't they? As for the taste...  Well, this was definitely a healthy recipe. But I'm going to try a different scone recipe next time.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dehydrating Aiko!

A Variety of Plum Tomato Named "Aiko"

"Aiko" is a girl's name in Japan, but I'm not dehydrating a girl, of course, so don't worry. ;)
I'm just going to dry these cute, oval-shaped tomatoes! Oh, they would be great with pasta and pizza!!
Originally, my plan was sun-drying them. It sounded like the best method both taste-wise and nutrition-wise. HOWEVER, when I tried it about a week ago, I had to learn in a hard way that:
a) it takes more than one day to dry these juicy tomatoes, and
b) the half-dried tomato halves rot VERY easily  :(

So this time, first I sun-dried them on the beach, then...

... tried to finish them up in the oven @ 130 degrees C for about an hour.

When came out of the oven, still they were not quite dry yet, but I didn't continue the attempt any longer, being worried about the power bill. I decided to sun-dry them again the next day, but I was again worried about what would happen to them during the hot and humid night.  So I stored them in the fridge overnight, which was ... probably one of the major mistakes I make often ...??? They looked terribly soggy in the bag this morning! :O

Would these ever dry up ???

So finally... I asked a friend of mine to let me use this modern convenience.
Now, four hours later...

Tada ~ !!

Now I have these fragrant dried tomatoes on hand. It would have cost a lot if I had bought them at the store! Some of them turned out quite dry and others a bit moister, and I cannot decide whether to store them simply in an empty air-tight jar or in olive oil... or maybe I should freeze them?

Anyway, I can't wait to use them. :) Stay tuned for my posts about pizza and pasta with home-grown herbs AND these dried tomatoes which went through all three drying methods: sun-, oven- and food-dryer drying!! YAY! :D

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kolokithokeftedes - Zucchini Meatballs


Kolokithokeftedes? I don't have a slightest idea of how to pronounce it. LOL
As far as I know, it's a Greek dish and the name means "zucchini meatballs." Right?

Ever since I gave it a try for the first time in June, 2009, this is "the must" dish for me when I have some home-grown zucchini on hand. It is because I was so fascinated by the meat-like taste of the deep-fried zucchini patties.

Now, I didn't have a success with my zucchini this year.  A few weeks ago, I complained on my FB page that my zucchini fruits grew to thumb size and rot.Then I realized that only two zucchini plants were not enough to have male and female flowers bloom at the same time, and I needed to give them hand pollination to have a decent harvest.

So I gave it a try, and had this result...

... and today I made Kolokithokeftedes after four years break since the first attempt!

If you're interested in the recipe, it's here.  But to tell you the truth, I never follow this recipe as is. (Of course. We can't find Feta cheese around here in the first place.)
Today, I skipped the parsley, potato and carrot, and used only these.

Yeah, the patties were a little too runny.

I have no idea what gives this meat-like flavor... Zucchini? Cheese? Both? It's amazing!
Today, the result was satisfactory, though probably I should have browned them more.

BTW, I think I like making Kolokithokeftedes without adding grated potato... It may make them more like potato pancakes if you added too much.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

First Watermelon from Our Garden This Year!

Watermelon - Oval Variety named "Madder Ball"

Those who have been in Japan for a while must know why I mentioned "oval variety" in the caption above. Traditionally, watermelons are round in Japan. But this oval variety is becoming more and more popular, at least here in my hometown. :)

Among the plateaus here in Muroto, Nishiyama Plateau is known for tasty fruits and vegetables grown there, thanks to the abundant sunlight and good drainage. We all loved watermelons from there. But now the farmers there are old, so they changed from the traditional kind to this oval, smaller, lighter but much sweeter variety. That was definitely a right choice, I would say. Now this small rugby-ball shaped watermelon from that particular location is branded as "Kira-Bou." It is such a prestigious local specialty, sold at limited locations (and online) only. (In Japanese)

Now, of course, there are people who want to grow such popular watermelon in their own gardens. Dad is one of them, and that's why this expensive watermelon is in our kitchen now -- for free --, though from a garden with less hours of sunlight and poor drainage.

The taste?
Mmmmmm.... it's OK, as long as we don't compare it with the real Kira-Bou.

BTW, the name of this oval variety is "madder ball," and I wonder if the name was given in Japan, not abroad... I googled with "madder ball" and "watermelon" but the hits I got seem to be Japanese pages only. Actually I'm confused about this, because some says it should be spelled, "madder bowl," which makes less sense to me. They say "madder" means crimson, but I can't help thinking about its different meaning. 
How about you?   LOL


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