That old Tendon-ya place….

A couple of months ago, my family and I went to Citos.. Little Bug was promised a new (but small) Lego set and it was right around lunch time that we went there, so naturally we were hungry. Even though I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the food choices there, Little Bug wanted to eat “tendon” or tempura don, basically a rice bowl with tempura fried toppings of your choice. There was a new (maybe new for us only, since we rarely go to Citos anyways) small tendon resto there, I forgot the name… but being in Indonesia, we’ve learned not to have too much expectations of Japanese restos here, because usually the taste is “adjusted” to the Indonesian market.

Anyways, the menu looked “legit” and alhlamdulillah, so was the food!!! My bowl of tendon instantly transported me back to an old Tendon-ya place in Matsuyama….

tendon

The small, wooden-walled tendon-ya was located near Hubby’s campus. Besides tendon, they sold the yummiest oden that I ever tasted. I would sometimes meet up with si Hubs during his lunch break to eat there. Ahh… those bicycling days…

Their menu was simple and not too expensive. There were only 2 or 3 employees working there. We would always eat the tendon with tons of shichimi togarashi (red pepper flakes powder) plus some oden on the side, particularly on those cold winter days. There was one point where they had this huge shrimp tendon promo, and I think that was Little Bug’s first taste of tendon 🙂

After lunch, we would go our separate ways: him– back to the lab and me– back to our apartment or I would go run errands on that part of town and window shop/sight see on the way.

It’s too bad that when Hubby visited Matsuyama a couple of years ago, the tendon-ya place had closed down and changed into something else. Oh well… at least I can remember it everytime I eat at the tendon-ya place here 🙂

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A Cold Zaru-udon for a hot day: sanuki udon revisited

Ohisashiburiiii desu!

Long time no write.. although I’ve been cooking and cooking and cooking in the kitchen, it’s been a long while since I’ve written about it. Bukannya nggak mau, tapi nggak ada waktu *cieh* .. dengan 2 krucil di rumah + homeschooling, it took me some time to get “inspired” to try new recipes again. Baru-baru ini Si Hubs mengaktivasi langganan TV cable berbayar, jadi mulai nonton acara-acara masak/kuliner yg bikin ngiler.com hehehe…

And then as I managed to gather the will and squeeze in time to try new recipes, I started to realize that I missed writing about my quest in the kitchen and the stories that are behind them—because most of my inspirations come either from memories or from curiousity. Hopefully I can start to write again as often as I try new recipes in the kitchen. I won’t be putting up the recipe because I’m afraid someone will copy it and put in in an illegal book, but i’ll gladly e-mail them if anyone asks. Anyways, here’s the 1st entry after a few years…

A Cold Zaru-udon for a hot day: sanuki udon revisited

Lately, the weather here in Bogor has been so hot during the day. It sort of reminds me of the summers in Matsuyama: hot & humid. We didn’t really eat much—we just drank lots of fluids. But one of the cravings we’d get was for a cold udon (zaru udon). I tried looking for a new recipe for sanuki udon and tried one from a Japanese person who’s father made sanuki udon & soba. I’d made a version of sanuki udon a couple of years ago but this one was more simple & quicker to make.

 homemade sanuki udon - zaru udon

In Matsuyama, we’d go to Hanamaru/Manmaru udon in the evening by bike and order the cold bukake-tamago udon. The udon was rinsed with cold water, given an amount of cold soyu, and topped with a raw egg (Japanese eggs are considered safe to eat raw) and other toppings of your choice— I usually chose the fried chikuwa, shrimp tempura, or the veggies tempura. The coolness of the udon was really great after a hot day… dan sayangnya udon dingin ini hanya tersedia pas natsu (musim panas) aja. Begitu buat lagi tempo hari, the memories of summer came back with each bite. Scraggly cuts and homemade shoyu, but for a moment, it was just like we were eating in our usual udon shop, just without the egg. Gochisosamadeshita!

 

Es jeruk termahal di dunia

2 malam yg lalu, saya habis minum es jeruk termahal di dunia. Es jeruk termahal? Kenapa emangnya? Biasanya es jeruk kalau di tenda pecel lele dan rumah makan kecil harganya sekitar Rp6000. Tambah sedikit deh kalau kita makan di resto yang kelasnya lebih “atas” (atas tempatnya & harganya, maksudnya.. belum tentu rasa makanannya ya hehehe).  Yang ini.. hmm… harganya berapa ya?? Yg jelas, berkali2 lipat lebih mahal daripada yg biasa.

Lantas, kenapa jadi es jeruk termahal di dunia? Apa karena pakai jeruk yg khusus? Jeruk impor? Gula impor? Es batu langsung dari Pegunungan Alps? Air putih yg lebih wah dari sejenis E*ian? Sorry, but nope.

Jeruk lokal beli dari pasar, Rp15.000 untuk 2 kg. Gula lokal. Air biasa dari rumah. Tapi…. tempo hari beli ke pasar sama2 Hubby & Botchan. Trus pulang dari pasar, Hubby buatin deh es jeruknya, diperas sendiri, diracik sendiri. Botchan disuruh nonton Papanya sembari buat– dia duduk di atas counter dapur from his “look-out point” 😀

Dan hasilnya??? Yummm…just fresh! Dan es jeruk paling “mahal” buat aku.. just because hubby made it for me (well, for the whole family actually, for Botchan especially ;p ). Niat & usahanya itu yg membuat “mahal”. Hands down I prefer hubby’s cooking compared to any fancy resto’s. Jarang2 lho sekarang hubby masak karena di sini jarak rumah-kantor jauhhh (plus macet) dan wiken yang seringnya pergi2 memenuhi “kewajiban keluarga & sosial lainnya”. So with this post, I just wanna show hubby how much I appreciate what he does.. bahkan es jeruk pun sangat berarti. (i love you, i really do.).

*dan waktu berikutnya aku memeras jeruk, Botchan udah semangat 45 mau “bantuin” Mamanya– which, he understands already what to do, just doesn’t yet have the fine motor coordination skills to do it neatly 😀

I scream.. you scream…

I scream
You scream
We all scream
For Ice Cream!

An old kids poem… and I’ve finally screamed with joy after making an ice cream that I truly like, alhamdulillah. Yes, you can call me a perfectionist.. but it’s not everytime that I cook something that I’m crazy about, especially with ice cream. I once made a basic vanilla ice cream recipe and I didn’t like the over-powering egg yolk color and with a strong creamy flavor. (To think of it, I think it SHOULD look and taste like that, being home-made and all… so to ask, why is vanilla ice-cream that’s sold in stores white instead of a cream color??)

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely edible and it tasted good, but I wasn’t having thoughts on finishing the whole ice-cream maker container and making another one right afterwards.

And then I tried making es puter, with coconut milk and shaved coconut. It tasted like it should, but wasn’t as yummy as I expected, my guess because I used coconut milk that came in a sterilized UHT pack. We all know that fresh coconut milk tastes a whole lot better. But I was in Japan. So I had to be satisfied with what I had.

Now here, alhamdulillah I get the advanatge of having a fresh strawberries seller’s phone number, and he can deliver fresh and cheaper berries right to my doorstep. Like, wayyy cheaper and wayyy fresher. So I pureed the berries, bought some cream, and made yogurt ice cream. Hey, I’m trying a healthier version using yogurt :) The first time, I think I used the mixer incorrectly so I got a bit of a buttery taste & texture from the cream… so I could still taste that after the ice cream was done. But hubby, botchan, and mom loved it.. so hey, I thought I would give the cream another chance. (Boy do I miss Japanese cream!!!)
And I made it again yesterday afternoon, mixing carefully and not too long… and it turned out heavenly. I literally closed my eyes and said “mmmm” when I ate my first spoon. And it made me want to finish the container right away and make another batch in time for hubby to come home hahaha :D But I’m out of cream. Crap.
So I persevered and put the container back in the freezer for later.. yes, I love my hubby that much to save him the ice cream. I just have to make sure Botchan doesn’t eat the rest before Papa comes back from the office ;p

i’m back!

Setelah lama kena blogging blues.. dan kitchen blues…i’m back! It’s July and I’m back with full-energy 😉 Actually, I’ve been busy with my new business (insyaAllah) with Mba Lupi… “Kulu-kulu Sweets” that specializes in making halal & homemade sweets, at the moment with our main product: marshmallows!

Still a very baby-business, still perfecting our routine in the kitchen and having trial-errors and unexpected developments.. but insyaAllah semoga bisa menambah penghasilan dan menyediakan sweets yg not only delicious but halal to eat as well 🙂 I think i’ll be making a new blog for Kulu-kulu soon, tunggu tanggal mainnya yaa 🙂 Tapi kalau tertarik, bisa dipesan juga lhoo 🙂 Great for birthday party souvenirs, for party snacks, or just simply for the sweet-tooth in you!

Anyways, with my kitchen, alhamdulillah I’m back energized in the kitchen again setelah waktu mas diklat itu malas masak. Ya iyalahh, cuma makan berdua (yg satu si Botchan pula) mending beli atau masak yg simple2. So after my big bear came home again, I started with some new recipes, my most recent fave is home-made fresh tomato salsa.

Walaupun cilantro-nya agak mahal dan harus beli ke Jakarta (kapan ya di Bogor dijual…), tapi it was worth it! Healthy and refreshing without the guilt of snacking (except for the chips, but what the heck!). Oh ya, from now on I won’t post recipes on my blog, but I will gladly e-mail them by request. Lebih repot dan makan waktu kalau tiap kali harus nyalin resep hehehe… okey dokey, will continue the daily housework now… ganbarenakucha! またね!

My newest baby: Rosemary!

Kemarin siang, tanaman rosemary dan herbs yg aku pesan akhirnya datang 😀 Nah, Rosemary ini aku beli dalam bentuk tanaman jadi, ternyata dikirimnya tanpa pot— uh oh!!! Jadilah siang2 kemarin aku pinjam sekop ke tetangga depan rumah dan menggali tanah dari halaman depan. Should be pake tanah kompos biasa, but apa daya gak bisa ke tukang tanaman untuk beli karena hujan… tapi daripada ntar Rosemarynya kenapa2 mending pake tanah yg ada dulu trus disiram air bekas cucian beras yg kata temen nyokap mengandung vit.B. Kenapa harus pake vit B? Karena penjualnya bilang harus dikasih supaya gak stress tanamannya. Stres??? Klo baca di web sih katanya rosemary itu gak suka dipindah2, so maybe that’s the stress the seller was talking about. Yg ada aku jadi rada stres mikirin semoga tanamannya gak stres, hahaha…

Well, semoga rosemary-nya bisa tumbuh subur… can’t wait to use fresh rosemary (and herbs yg lain) in cooking!!

The price you have to pay for a peace of mind

Jaman sekarang, makanan macem2 (starting to sound like my Grandma, haha). Kalau pergi ke supermarket–apalagi ke yang berukuran besar, hypermarts some people say– you can be overwhelmed by the vast number of food products at the mercy of your wallet.  At least, that’s what happened to me waktu pertama kali ke supermarket di sini. Aku yg udah lupa dengan hikuk-pikuk supermarket besar sempet bener2 berdiri dan terdiam, gak tau harus ke mana dulu. Bahkan pada suatu kesempatan lainnya, aku sampai di-guide sama my best friends yg udah hafal betul letak barang2 ada di mana.

Me: kunyit bubuk di mana ya? BF: oh itu di aisle nomer xx. Me: klo cereal? BF: oh di aisle sebelah mie, this way please (sambil aku ngintil kya anak ilang)…

Maklum, di Matsuyama kan kota kecil, supermarketnya juga gak sebesar dan sepadat di sini hehehe…  yg jelas klo belanja pas rush hour atau pas wiken di sana, masih lebih nyaman daripada di sini pas weekend (blenger.com). Well, hal ini wajarlah, namanya juga hidup di kota besar. Tapi yg bikin lebih kaget itu adalah betapa banyaknya varian processed foods di sini. Kebiasaan membaca label ingredients suatu makanan masih kebawa sampai sekarang, walaupun hidup di negara yg mayoritas Muslim dan bermakanan halal. And what did I see? Lots of chemicals that I can’t pronounce, pengawet, dan aneka pewarna. Terutama in products that IMHO shouldn’t have it, seperti fruit juices (Botchan sampai batal aku kasih jus jambu karena mengandung pewarna merah nomer sekian sekian), sosis, dkk. I’m no saint, we can’t afford an organic lifestyle–yet— dan IMHO memang berbagai chemicals diperlukan untuk berbagai produk tertentu. Plus, we (except Botchan) still occasionally eat instant noodles, hah! (guilty pleasure banget, but I must admit that sometimes intant noodles are the best bet klo lagi kepepet dan– kepingin! ;p)  But… we do try to limit the consumption of products yg masih bisa di-substitute with fresh or home-made stuff.

But, the price to pay is not cheap. For starters, saya memang di rumah full-time, so I can make time to make stuff, walaupun biasanya saya buat2 macem2nya itu pas wiken anyways–and freeze for later use (this tip I got from the internet by busy working moms– jd sebenernya gak ada alasan juga hahaha). Tapi kalau punya asisten di rumah lebih enak lagi, ada yg bantu2 cuci piring dan prepping ingredients-nya hehehe 😉 Terus, harga fresh produce (daging, ayam, sayur, buah) itu lebih mahal daripada kalau beli produk setara yg sudah jadi, belum dihitung tenaga dan waktu untuk membuatnya. For example, 1kg apel seharga lets say Rp12.000 will get you only half of the juice you could get for the same price if you bought the pre-packaged ones. Belum ngomongin produk2 siap-masak seperti frozen nuggets, baso, dkk. So yes, there will be a price difference– a big one. I guess that’s the price you have to pay for freshness 🙂 Dan satu lagi yg cukup penting adalah untuk invest in good quality cooking appliances. Gak murah memang, tapi it can give lots of benefits, terutama bisa menghemat waktu & tenaga 😉

Ini di luar option untuk beli makanan jadi di resto, warteg, atau catering rumah. I’m not qualified to judge the price-to-cost-benefit ratio, but for our family, we do have our trusted places for this option. Dan terus terang, belum bisa juga buat makanan padang seenak yg dijual di resto Padang, hehehe ;p

What I’m going through is similar to what Pete Wells was going through in his article “The New Chicken Economy” . I quote Pete Wells saying, “We would spend over $100 on food that might not last more than three days. Sometimes we’d shop on Saturday morning and have nothing to make for dinner on Monday.” — I can really relate to that! Apalagi klo was wiken when hubby di rumah dan dia juga doyan masak…huhuhu, klo gak hati2 budget bisa bengkak!

But well, for every choice there’s a following consequence. For our family, Botchan has top priority. Kalau kata orang tua, biarin aja emak-bapaknya makan tahu tempe, anaknya makan daging dan ayam. The murah vs mahal principle. But it’s all about paradigm: bagi kita, tahu tempe is a food staple dan dianggap barang mewah (susah lho buat tempe, apalagi di Jepang yg harga 1 kotak tempe Rp30.000) & sehat (kedelai is rich in anti-oxidants dan zat gizi baik lainnya). Emak-bapaknya tetep makan daging & ayam sama2 dengan Botchan-lahhh, tapi kuantitasnya lebih sering/banyak Botchan yg makan hehehe. Olahannya beda sih, klo emak-bapaknya lebih sering dalam bentuk stir-fry atau campuran dgn sayur (hemat.com), Botchan untuk daging/ayam masih harus dlm bentuk produk giling (spt baso, nuggets) atau harus dipresto dulu biar gampang dikunyah. We all eat fish more than meat, walaupun klo dihitung2 harga ikan juga gak murah, padahal negara kepulauan ya?? :(. God bless the tukang ikan yg lewat hampir tiap hari depan rumah, so fresh (well.. as fresh as possible) fish is always an option. May God also bless tukang sayur yg tiap hari lewat depan rumah, walaupun lebih murah to buy in bulk sayur mayur di pasar, tapi buat yg ketinggalan2 atau yg harus fresh (spt daun2an, jamur, dkk), they’re a budget saver. No, we can’t afford (yet) to buy all-organic veggies. But at least I’m looking into container-growing some vegggies of my own.. doain berhasil yah! 😉

Klo telur, I use telur ayam negeri buat campuran kue dan masakan telur lainnya buat hubby & I. Botchan mainly gets telur ayam kampung, tapi kalau buat telur ceplok, emak bapaknya juga minta jatah telur ayam kampungnya Botchan 🙂 And just last weekend, I discovered the somewhat-horrific-yet-satisfying experience of buying ayam kampung di pasar. Horrific because it was a live, seemingly healthy chicken that I saw being butchered on the spot, de-feathered, sampai dipotong2 siap dibawa pulang. Satisfying because I know exactly where my chicken came from and it was way cheaper than what it would cost you to buy the same “fresh” ayam kampung product in the supermarket. We try to limit our chicken dishes to using ayam kampung (uhm, “organic chicken” ala Indonesia kali yee) or using the “premium” non-hormone/antibiotic raw chicken parts sold at the supermarket. Tapi sesekali masih ada very guilty pleasure of buying KFC’s original recipe chicken hahaha ;D Dan lagi2 untuk emak-bapaknya klo kepepet pingin makan ayam yah beli ayam negeri, though we try to limit this as well.

I’ve also been trying to make home-made baso & chicken nuggets, karena Botchan doyan banget tapi aku yg serem karena isinya macem2 dan sekali makan Botchan bisa habis banyak! Repot dan time-consuming, but I can make big batches and freeze them for later use.

Sehubungan dengan ini, to my delight I found out that di pasar bisa beli daging segar & digiling di tempat, jadi lebih jelas juga isi daging giling yg aku beli. Tapi dengan catatan kita harus teliti memilih daging yah 😉 InsyaAllah lagi nabung juga untuk beli meat grinder yg durable jadi hopefully in the future bisa giling sendiri daging & ayam di rumah 🙂

So, our food budget pretty much takes up most of Hubby’s government-employee salary. Konsekuensinya ya memang budget untuk yg lainnya harus pinter2 diatur, but I guess that’s the price we’ll pay for a peace of mind (and hopefully, long-term health, amin!).