Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

A cooking interlude: Low-carb ketchup and Soy-sauce-pickled egg yolks

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And a family pack of chicken thighs are in the oven, sprinkled well with Penzey’s Bicentennial Rub.

I made this ketchup recipe. I like the looks of it because not only no high-fructose corn syrup but also no sugar. I skipped the bay leaf because I can never taste the difference a bay leaf makes. And of course I used 3 garlic cloves rather than 1.  It did turn out to require 40 minutes of simmering, not 20, before the consistency looked right. The instruction to use a non-stick skillet is nuts: this doesn’t stick. I used my 2-qt stainless steel sauté pan, but I think next time I’ll use the 1.5-qt stainless saucepan, which has a smaller diameter and will enable the immersion blender to work more easily, though I may have to extend the simmering time to an hour since there is less surface area from which the water can evaporate.

I wanted to make the ketchup now because I bought some oysters and wanted to eat them with cocktail sauce: (good) ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. A dash of hot sauce is optional and since the ketchup recipe I used includes cayenne, the hot sauce will probably be redundant.

And I made this recipe for soy-sauce-pickled eggs. I use Eden Organics Mirin, which seems pretty good. It does not have sugar added, a dead giveaway of low-quality mirin and low-quality rice vinegar. Seeing “sugar” or “high-fructose corn syrup” in the list of ingredients for mirin or rice vinegar is like seeing “food coloring” in the list of ingredients in a red wine. Both rice vinegar and mirin are sweet, but the proper ingredients list is rice, koji, and water. The action of koji is what produces the sweetness. The six egg whites I scrambled with a spring shallot for lunch.

UPDATE: More on mirin and rice vinegar. I use Eden Foods mirin and brown-rice vinegar (and shoyu sauce and tamari). Here’s their description of their brown-rice vinegar:

Patiently made using a 1,000 year old method. Organic brown rice, koji, and spring water are blended and fermented outdoors in clay crocks and aged eight months. . . Eden Organic Brown Rice Vinegar is made from organically grown, cooked brown rice Oryza sative, koji Aspergillus oryzae, a small amount of seed vinegar from a previous batch and pure water. These ingredients are blended and placed in earthenware crocks that are partially buried outside in the earth, covered and fermented for about eight months. The enzymes in the koji break down the complex starches in the rice converting them to simple sugars, then alcohol, and finally acetic acid or vinegar. We bottle it in amber glass to protect nutrients, flavor and bouquet. 4.5 percent acidity.

A vinegar that is labeled ‘rice vinegar’ does not assure its quality. Many commercial vinegars are synthetic products made from glacial acetic acid, a petroleum product. Others are made from alcohol produced for industrial use. Please avoid any vinegar labeled ‘distilled,’ as it is a most highly refined chemical, not food.

Their comment on mirin:

‘Ajino-haha’ Mirin is traditionally made in Japan of U.S.A. Lundberg™ organic short grain brown rice, brewed in cedar kegs. . .

Eden Mirin is made by first washing and steaming California grown Lundberg Family Farm organic brown rice for several hours. After cooling it is mixed with a bit of rice koji (Aspergillus oryzae) called seed koji. The rice mixture is placed in a temperature and moisture controlled koji room for three days where it is stirred daily to ensure proper growth of the koji enzymes. The rice koji is then placed in cedar kegs and mixed with more steamed rice and water. This rice mixture is called ‘moromi,’ or rice wine mash, that is allowed to ferment for two months. At this time sea salt is added, as well as more steamed rice, koji and water. It is allowed to ferment for another three months. After fermentation is complete, the mixture is pressed through cotton sacks and filtered to remove rice residue. It is heated to 85°C. for 3 to 4 seconds. Mirin’s alcohol content, about ten percent, quickly evaporates when cooked with food or may be removed by heating it to the boiling point, and allowed to cool before adding to uncooked foods.

Mirin originated in Japan during the 15th century and was initially made by simply mixing cooked sweet rice together with sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine. In the 16th century mirin brewers began distilling this sweet wine in an effort to prolong its shelf life. This distilled wine called ‘shochu’, or ‘fire spirits,’ had a very high alcohol content. Over the next several centuries brewers further experimented with shochu by adding cooked sweet rice and rice koji enzymes and eventually sea salt to further reduce the alcohol content. Originally mirin was very expensive and not affordable to the general public. Eventually its virtue as a seasoning was discovered and mirin began to be used in Japan’s highest, most elegant form of cooking, ‘Kaiseki,’ or tea ceremony cooking. Over the years mirin’s popularity as a seasoning increased among the general public as it became more affordable, but the quality of most mirin sharply declined.

Today most commercial mirin is made from molasses, glucose, artificially produced koji enzymes (many of which are genetically engineered), cornstarch, ethyl alcohol, preservatives and other additives that are simply mixed with water and fermented very quickly. Chemical denaturing additives are used instead of sea salt to reduce the alcohol content. The results are less healthful and inferior in quality and flavor. Eden Mirin is of superior quality containing no artificial ingredients.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 July 2017 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Daily life

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