July 12, 2004

oven economy

Monday, July 12

He has been off the island and I am currently alone in the house with his dog and a stuffed animal rabbit. Weather's been decent, but I am stuck in the house to work. No going-outs.

I had one orange left in the fridge for quite some time and have meant to make something with it. The day has come - I decided to turn that orange into orange muffins or something. Incidentally, I also had some thyme in the fridge, too, and I somehow came up with an idea to pair those lonely leftovers in my fridge. Orange and thyme, like lemon and rosemary, that didn't sound so bad.

Originally I was to bake muffins, but let's face it; now there is only one person (me) to consume the final products (one batch of muffins) in this house (doggy and bunny don't count), and do I want to - or should I - eat that many muffins all by myself? Absolutely not - just because I could, that doesn't mean I should.

With such a mature and sound reasoning, I changed my plan and decided to make a small cake. Again, think about it - I always think it very inefficient to use the huge oven just to bake a very small amount of food, and I didn't want to bake big stuff just to achieve economies of scale.

My solution for this afternoon was the microwaved cake; I might already have mentioned it, but I found a recipe for chocolate cake using a microwave oven a few months ago, and the following week or so I kept trying out a variety of cakes using the recipe (in Japanese). It would usually make one 4" or 5" square cake, which is just right size for one or two.
Today I put grated and shredded zest of the orange along with some juice of it, and finely chopped leaves of thyme in the batter. The most complicated and time-consuming part of making this cake was, eh, grating the zest of orange and chopping the thyme. Preparation time (including the grating and chopping) was about 10 minutes, and before I even finished cleaning up the utensils (which were, basically, a zester, a whisk, a cutting board and a knife - not too many items, you know), the cake was cooked - cooking time was approximately two minutes.

The cake tasted decent - or pretty good, actually, given it was made by microwaving, although the chocolate version was better. Orange and thyme worked fairly good together, although, again, I liked rosemary better than thyme. Like I said, cakes like this would be just good when you just feel like a few bites of sweets quick, and that was exactly what I wanted today.

Note on yesterday's pics:
Tofu marinated in olive oil with rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper, topped with a dash of cayenne pepper.
Hershey's caramel filled kisses


Santos said...

have you tried lemon and thyme together? i once had a recipe for a cake involving lemon thyme, didn't have it so i tried lemon *and* thyme; completely different results, but it was an interesting combination.

still, i agree, rosemary's nicer.

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

Any chance of you posting the recipe in English? By the way, where are you located at?

chika said...

Hi there,

Santos - no, I have never used lemon thyme myself. Cake with lemon thyme? Sounds interesting... my next baking project involving thyme would probably be making herb chiffon cake.

Reid - I'll try to share my versions of the recipe hopefully tomorrow.
And I'm in Hilo, on the Big Island. Very old and sleepy town.

Reid said...


Lucky you! I love the strawberry mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen! Haven't had those in a while. Ken's House of Pancakes is good too, when there's nothing else open. I used to go to Hilo 4 or 5 times a year until the prices of the flights went up! Looking forward to reading more about the recipe for microwave cake. I'd like to experiment with some of the flavors. =)

chika said...

Hi Reid,
I have never heard of Two Ladies Kitchen... is it in the downtown? (I am kind of new to this place and have very little idea about wheres and whats.) Strawberry mochi... is it really strawberry-flavored mochi, or more like daifuku (a fresh strawberry covered with a layer of sweet bean paste and mochi)?
And interisland ticket prices! They have been up crazy over the past year or two, right? It really sucks, specially when I found a $250 round-trip ticket Honolulu-LA on the net and figured the interisland roundtrip would be almost as expensive... :-(

Oh sorry about the recipe. I made yet another one today and I sure will write about it... tomorrow.

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

Two Ladies Kitchen is in downtown Hilo on Kilauea Avenue. You can call them at 961-4766. It's daifuku. Huge fresh strawberry in the middle, covered with bean paste. It's simply delicious! They actually make many flavors of mochi, but that is their most popular. The strawberries are airflown from California and it's normally about $2.50 - $3.00 per mochi (depending on the cost of the strawberries). Try it out and let me know how you like it. =)

Yes, the interisland fares have definitely gone up over the last 2 years. In fact, there was a time when you could go one way for $ it can be as high as $149 or more. I'd rather spend a few more dollars and go to Las Vegas! =)

Santos said...

hi chika

hilo looks a lot like guam. in fact, there is one coastal stretch near downtown that is almost exactly the same as the coastal stretch here! hope you had fun.

did you try the daifuku?

chika said...


Reid - Thanks for the info! Ichigo-daifuku (strawberry daifukus) have become a staple of the spring-early summer time in Japan, and I would enjoy a few bites occasionally; a sad truth is, I hate sweet bean paste in general from my earliest days as far back as I can remember... but I will sure drop by the place and see what they've got, and might even try strawberry mochi! (They are better than most other daifukus in that the big fresh strawberry in the center cancels out the sweetness of the bean paste, in my opinion) :-P

Santos - I have never been to Guam yet but I would like to sometime ... have you ever been here?