Sunday, July 21, 2013

Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches

A few weeks ago, I started a post reviewing Trader Joe's products that we had recently tried. The only problem was that it was so long that we kept trying even more things, which I then added to the post and I never finished it. So I guess I'll just go back to what I was doing originally with the Inner Peas, and just post about each one individually (or in smaller related groupings).

This review is for the Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches ($2.29), found in the frozen section at Trader Joe's. Ever since we got them at the store, I've been affectionately referring to them as "samosa hot pockets."

They look kind of like Hot Pockets and you heat them in the microwave in a crisping sleeve, so it's quite similar. We made both pouches (the box comes with 2) at once, so about 3:30 in the microwave according to the box.

The pouches were fairly crispy. They stuck to the sleeve a little bit, and the middle section was a little less crisp, but overall, the sleeves worked well. I wonder if they would have been crispier if we only made one at a time.

Inside the pouch were potatoes, chickpeas, chaat masala and tamarind chutney (according to the box). It was basically like eating a samosa in hot pocket form. Soft spicy potatoes in a crispy shell (although not as crispy as a deep fried samosa). We really loved all the spices they used and it gave the pouch so much flavor. We ate these for dinner with a salad, and they were the perfect size. And they taste so much better than regular Hot Pockets.

Buy Again? Yes! These were delicious and really inexpensive.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Foiled Miso Salmon

We're slowly working our way through the massive amount of food in our freezer, and one of the items we're tackling is our supply of frozen salmon. To help with that, I decided to try out a salmon recipe from Keiko O. Aoki's cookbook, Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen. I haven't done much Japanese cooking (if any) before, but I would really like to incorporate more healthy Japanese recipes into our repertoire.

Ingredients (modified for 2 people):

The ingredients for this dish were fairly simple, with most of the ingredients used for the salmon marinade.

- 2 salmon filets *
- 2 sprigs of green onions **
- 8 shiitake mushrooms
(for the marinade:)
- 1.5 tbsp miso
- 1 tbsp mirin ***
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1.25 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar

* I have no idea how much these cost so I am going to skip the estimated cost of this recipe.  They were actually best by 2009 (oops) so this fish is definitely not as fresh as we would have preferred.
** Recipe called for 2 sprigs. We have been growing some scallions in a jar in our window so I used whatever green parts had grown there (photo below). I am kicking myself for throwing out all those white parts over the years when I could have been growing scallions.
*** I bought aji-mirin instead of regular mirin (rookie mistake) which I understand to be more like sweetened cooking wine, so I just decreased the amount of sugar in the marinade, and it seemed to work out fine that way.


Step 1:  Rehydrate shiitake mushrooms.  This was not in the recipe, but it was my first step. These shiitake mushrooms are even older than the frozen salmon.

Step 2:  Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Step 3:  Cut salmon into bite size pieces, place into shallow pan and add marinade. Marinate for (at least) 10 minutes.

Of all things, how did I forget to take a photo of the marinating the salmon step?

Step 4:  Thinly slice green onions at an angle (this takes me so much longer than regular chopping for whatever reason). Remove stems from shiitake mushrooms and cut the tops. Recipe said cut in half - I cut each top into 3 or 4 pieces, but I think I would do them smaller next time.

The green onions we "grew" in our jar

Rehydrated shiitake mushrooms

Main ingredients ready to go

Step 5:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Use enough foil to make a pouch.

Step 6:  Layer the ingredients with the scallions on the bottom, the salmon in the middle and the shiitake mushrooms on top.

Step 7:  Fold in the sides and ends of the foil to make a pouch. Seal tightly. Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Step 8:  Sprinkle with togarashi.



We really liked this recipe. The entire dinner - the foiled miso salmon plus some leftover bok choy and some simply sauteed maitake mushrooms - was very tasty but also pretty filling.

The salmon marinade had a great flavor. Sadly because the fish was (a little) on the old side, it was more fishy than fresher salmon would be. The marinade mostly covered it up but there was still a little hint of the fishiness. Not the fault of the recipe though. The recipe itself, in addition to being tasty, was really quick and easy, which I appreciate. I think we'll make this again. After all, we still have plenty of salmon and shiitake mushrooms to get through!

Monday, July 1, 2013

July Custard Calendar

The new custard calendar is up for July! We haven't been posting as much about custard lately, partially because we have tried a lot of them before, and partially because we've been doing more healthy eating at home. But we're excited that there are some good ones this month!

This month's calendar is (average from previous reviews in parentheses):

     Monday: blackberry buttermilk (6.5/10)
     Tuesday: s'mores (8.75/10)
     Wednesday: strawberry blonde (new)
     Thursday: chocolate chip cookie (7.5/10)
     Friday: caramelized peach (6.25/10)
     Saturday: marshmallow peanut butter swirl (new)
     Sunday: blueberry coffee cake (9/10)

Shake Shack has had strawberry blonde before, but I'm not sure if we haven't tried it or just never reviewed it. We're definitely intrigued by it. They've also had marshmallow peanut butter swirl before. We haven't had it but it sounds like it could taste similar to fluffernutter.

S'mores and blueberry coffee cake are two of our favorite custards, so we're pretty excited that they're back. And now that Foursquare's Game of Cones is over, maybe we'll head in for more custard in place of ice cream. After all, we do have free burger coupons to redeem this month!