I'm not going to talk about my busy schedule but instead about the nice weather this past weekend. It reached 88 F! It wouldn't be exciting if it wasn't for the fact that Seattle rarely has nice weather. Everyone was out and about
and we appreciated the sunshine more. (okay, this part sounds depressing). Outdoor activities are huge in the Pacific Northwest. No matter what season it is we are able to find stuff to do outside. Although we have a short summer, the activities are packed in. Keith just bought a jet ski so we took it out but it died on us twice! Yeah, I was on the marine patrol boat twice and people looked at us like we were arrested on some sort of drug crime. hush.
It's that time of month again with the 5 star makeover with Natasha @5 Star Foodie and a co-host Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks. This month theme is farmers' market. When they announced the theme, everyone got so excited except me. Why? That's a good question...First, I didn't know what I wanted to make. It didn't ring a bell. Second, what was I going to do with peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and summer vegetables. I mostly eat them fresh and I couldn't make up my mind to pick those as a main ingredient. I admit shamelessly I was a little stressed. You know, It's like when you were in school and you didn't quite know what to do with a school project while your friends were enthusiastic and moved by the project.
"Crap" I thought to myself. C'mon, you just have to go find inspiration at any market or maybe go dine at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that's the kind of thing to motivate yourself. So, I went to my favorite market and saw tons of nectarines and peaches so I bought some. The other time I went again I got black plums. I still didn't know what to with those yet. So, I started eating nectarines fresh and cut them into a container for snacking. After upon thinking for some time, plum sauce that is served with a fresh roll came to mind. I can do something with those plums!
|Black plums and cherry tomatoes|
I don't know how you create your concoctions but for me here's how it works:
- Pick a main ingredient
- Pick a cuisine style. This will help you narrow down other ingredients and seasonings to go with.
- Pick a side dish and look for what you have on-hand.
So, I chose black plums and wanted to keep my style for Asian--Japanese/Chinese. Other ingredients started lining up like picking candidates for a job interview. This one looks good, keep it; that looks bad, pass.
That's how I got cinnamon stick, star anise, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, mirin and such in the sauce.
|Peeled, diced plums|
Here comes the side dish. I was lucky to find this whole wheat couscous at Trader Joe's a few days earlier. Man, I don't go to Trader Joe's that often due to location and accessibility. They have good stuff with good deals. If they happen to read this, please open more locations specifically in Renton, WA!
Since I also have nectarines, it wouldn't hurt to put some in the couscous. Oh yeah, I have homegrown mint in my backyard that needs to be used. So, I added mint. I've realized that when you get your act together (from not knowing what to do with those plums), everything flows out from your brain. You just need to get started. That's why they say the beginning is the hardest, huh?
This plum sauce works well with all kinds of meat. I tested with chicken, beef, and pork. They were scrumptious!
Black Plum Sauce, Nectarines Whole Wheat Couscous, and Oven Roasted Chicken
Ingredients for Plum Sauce:
4 black plums, peeled, diced
1 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbs black soy sauce
3 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
Directions for Plum sauce:
- Heat up small sauce pan over high heat. Add everything in a sauce pan. Bring it to boil, then lower heat to simmer for 20-30 mins until the sauce is reduced by half and thicker. Use wooden spoon to mash plum if needed.
- Remove cinnamon stick and star anise.
- This will make about 2 cups. It was enough for my chicken, beef, and pork. The sauce can be kept in a refrigerator for a week.
1 cup chopped nectarine
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup chiffoned mint
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup whole wheat couscous
2 Tbs butter
1 cup chicken stock
Directions for Nectarine whole wheat couscous:
- Cook couscous by package instruction. For this recipe, I brought stock and butter to boil. Turn off the heat and removed pot from the heat. Poured couscous. Mixed well. Covered for 5 mins.
- Use fork to fluff the couscous. Mix in red onion, mints, tomatoes, and nectarine.
4 quarters skin-on, bone-in chicken
Salt, pepper, and five spice powder
Directions for Chicken:
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, and five spice powder. Go easy with salt. Don't sprinkle too much as the sauce will add more flavor to it later.
- Drizzle olive oil over. Bake skin side-up for 40 mins.
- Brush chicken with the plum sauce half way through and when the chicken is done.
- When the chicken is done, turn off the oven and brush with plum sauce. Put it back in the oven and close. Leave it there for another 5-10 mins.
- Spoon couscous on the side of the dish. Place chicken on another side and drizzle the sauce over or serve on the side.
|Nectarine couscous was served with plum sauce glazed boneless kalbi|
|pork belly that I cooked by following instruction from Lazaro --230 F for 2.5 hrs|
|Oh boy, those pork were scrumptious and melted in your mouth!|