KFC dinner – Guilt free!

This was the dinner we had tonight. Miso soup, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. Japanese style guilt-free KFC meal?

DSCF2768 Guiltless KFC Meal B

This was my first try at coleslaw. Coleslaw hasn’t really been my favourite, perhaps when I frequented KFC I was still far from becoming a vegetarian. Or perhaps somehow I found that the coleslaw reeked of some smell, perhaps from mayonnaise? So in fact, I don’t really know how coleslaw should be like, because I think the KFC coleslaw was probably the only one that I’d eaten before! But I gotta widen my repertoire, and as a vegetarian now (or perhaps as the cook of the household?) practically any new salad recipe excites me.

As I was at it, I thought, oh, too much lemon, this is going to be a failure, LY’s going to complain that it’s too sour again!! He doesn’t seem to be able to take anything sour, just a slight taste of vinegar or lemon in the salad sometimes would earn me a demerit point. (You’d think that such a sensitive tongue for something sour might make him a champion in sniffing out anything that has turned bad, but err, I got to keep a watch out for this big boy of mine so that he doesn’t finish up something that’s expired…)

The fun thing about working in the kitchen is tasting, putting a dash of all the condiments and sauces you can find in your kitchen, then re-tasting again and again till the dish turns from a flop to a success!

I got the basic recipe from RAWvolution: Gourmet Living Cuisine and from Paul Yeoh’s blog, as well as from my dear sister Ling. So here’s what I threw in:

Cabbage (about 1/2, chopped finely) 包菜(约半个,切细)
Carrot (about 2 to 3 medium ones, shredded) 红萝卜(约2、3根,切丝)
Raisins (about 1 tbs) 葡萄干(约1汤匙)
Date (1, chopped finely, medjool should be good, but I used the Chinese mi4 zao3, which I think is processed and I don’t think I’ll be getting it again) 蜜枣(1粒,切细;关于蜜枣,我还在调查当中,我用的是干粮店卖的中国人吃的蜜枣,但是我怀疑这是不是加工食品,和所谓的medjool dates似乎是两码事?)
Coconut Oil 椰油
Olive Oil 橄榄油
Himalayan Rock Salt 岩盐
Organic Soy Sauce 有机酱油(酱青)
Lemon Juice 柠檬汁
Agave Nectar 龙舌兰甜浆
Maple Syrup 枫糖浆
Organic Cane Sugar 有机蔗糖
Tumeric Powder 黄姜粉

As you can see, I can’t tell how much I’ve put of each of the seasoning, because I tried and tasted every step of the way, till I got the taste that I liked. Just mix everything together. For the sweet taste, I added cane sugar because I thought I had too much liquid; but I needed to cover up the sour taste from the lemon. And I used maple syrup in addition to agave nectar, because I was trying so hard to get rid of the lemon taste! So the lesson I musn’t forget is, go easy on anything sour… In fact I added more carrot along the way, as I thought that was one good way to get myself out of the lemon nightmare.

I didn’t use vinegar because Ling said she used lemon instead of vinegar as she doesn’t like vinegar. I thought LY might prefer lemon to vinegar too. As for the oil, Ling gave me the idea too, to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. But in the middle of it all I thought the coconut was too strong, so I switched to olive, LOL. Oh, the tumeric gave the whole thing a wonderful fragrance, I got this idea from one of the web pages I found as I searched for coleslaw recipes.

One thing good about coleslaw, I’ve realized, is that it seems to taste better when let stand in the fridge for the dressing to set in. This easily qualifies it as a take away salad. If I’d learnt this recipe earlier, then I’d have something else to take to my principal before I quit my job. She probably thought it really boring that the salad she was served every week hardly changed…

If you’re a newbie in the kitchen like me, do go easy on the seasonings, not too much of anything at one go, everything might be spoilt beyond salvage.

DSCF2773 Mashed Potato B

Now for the mashed potatoes, sigh…

It was a heartache.

Don’t be mistaken, I think it tasted superb. I loved every mouthful of it, and I think I managed to present it quite fine, I liked the look of it even!

But as the cook of the household who cooks to please the diner(s), it’s not much of a success if the diner ate it like he was forced at gunpoint.

The shock of it all is, LY’s supposed to be a big potato fan, like me!

When I was a child, I used to cry at every meal when no potato showed up. That’s how much I love potatoes. I must have it at every meal. Steamed, stewed, baked, fried, deep fried, anything, as long as it’s potatoes, it’d make me happy. The staple one that I looked for was called ‘black potatoes’ though, coz it was stewed potatoes that had turned dark in colour with all the soy sauce and spices.

When I first started cooking after getting married, I tried making potatoes with tomatoes and chickpeas, it turned out very well, LY loved it, I loved it, ocassional guests we had loved it too. But I stopped making it after a while, because I realized that first, that’s too much starch, our staple is rice as it is. Second, the combination itself didn’t seem quite right. Potatoes (starch) plus chickpeas (protein) plus tomatoes (fruit!) is a very bad combi, according to what I’ve read from Dr Jiang’s books. So for quite some time, no potato was served in our humble abode.

And after some time, LY asked about the missing potato.

So now I’m trying to help our favourite Mr Potato stage a comeback, by asking our staple Ms
Nasi Lemak to take a back seat, once in a while.

This is the 2nd time I’m making mashed potatoes. In fact, if I include the raw version that I made from cauliflower, it would be the 3rd time. But everytime, it didn’t please the lord of the house…

I did the 1st one with pumpkin. Boiled them, mashed them and prepared mushroom gravy. I myself wasn’t quite satisfied with the result. The potatoes had too much water content, perhaps I’d overdone the boiling, or perhaps during the mashing process I should have let more water evaporize?? I don’t know, in any case, I thought perhaps boiling wasn’t the best way, so today I tried steaming. Also, my mushroom gravy was too watery, so all in all, it didn’t turn out to be very presentable mashed potatoes. But at least LY didn’t complain when he ate it, in fact he seemed to have eaten quite a lot, except that after that he complaint of being too full. I thought the filling part was the gravy, it was more like soup. I’d made too much of it, and we finished it all in a meal.

The 2nd one wasn’t a success either. I don’t seem to have much luck with RAWvolution recipes. I might post on this again. I liked it, it wasn’t firm like how mashed potatoes should be, but the taste was great. However, LY made a face and I finished his portion for him.

Now, today. Well well, thinking back, I wonder if I should say this was one of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had! Although admittedly I’m not a gourmet and have not much experience in food tasting… Or perhaps, mashed potatoes I’d eaten had never been home made, that’s why…?

If there was anything that could have been improved on in order to please him, should I say perhaps it could have a little more water content? I think it was a little on the dry side, would it have been better if I’d boiled it instead? Oh oh oh… to boil or to steam?

He didn’t say it was anything to do with dryness though. But it was apparent that he wasn’t enjoying it. He scooped a little piece at a time, about the size of a teaspoon, like it was something so precious he didn’t want to finish it too soon. But the problem is, that’s not what my husband is like!! He eats twice if not three or even four times faster than me, if it’s something he loves, all the more he’d devour it in a minute.

When I asked, he said he felt full. But he wasn’t even halfway done. He said if he ate potatoes or pumpkins, he’d feel full easily. But if it was as a side dish with rice, he wouldn’t feel so. Perhaps potatoes do make you feel full more easily, it would be interesting to find out more on this. But the thing is, aren’t potatoes his favourite? And no rice was served today, to make way for potatoes. He admitted to having had a full lunch though, and when I asked a few times before dinner if he was hungry, he said no.

Well well, enough of it all. I thought it was good, and here’s my recipe:

Organic Potatoes 有机马铃薯
Coconut oil 椰油
Himalayan Rock Salt 岩盐
Organic Soy Sauce 有机酱油(酱青)
Ground Oregano
Dried Basil
Ground Black Pepper
Finely chopped coriander

1) Cut potatoes into small pieces and steam. (I leave the skin on as I use organic potatoes, in fact I love the taste of the skin, and I like the look of it.) This took me about half an hour. (Boiling took me about 10 mins the first time. But on another note, I used another kind of potatoes the 1st time.)

2) Remove potatoes from steamer, mash them up with a fork. Transfer to another pot. On very low heat, continue mashing and adding in the oil and condiments (except black pepper and coriander, which I sprinkled on top before serving). Take care not to burn the potatoes. Add water whenever required. Vegetable stock would be better!

As with the case of coleslaw, I tasted the potatoes as I was mashing them till I got the right taste. On hind sight I think I could have added a little more water. Well, I had too much water the 1st
time, so I guess I’d gone to the other extreme this time.

Should I make another attempt for Mr Potato to have a place on our dining table? How should I dress him up? It was really disappointing coz I felt I could give it 90 marks, this was one of the few dishes that I felt I could be proud of, yet it fared so badly with LY that I had to finish it up for him, how dampening. But I definitely can’t use it as a side dish, rice plus another starch side dish?

What I’d summed up is this though: he’s not the self processed potato lover, nowhere comparable to me. I’d been duped to believe that we were buddies in this… After dinner I asked if he’d want to leave the green bean soup dessert for tomorrow, since he was so full. He chose to have it today. So, being full or not is relative, yeah? Just like how I always have stomach for chocolate…

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