Jason's Bistro

Recipe Book

My philosophy of cooking is terribly experimental, so many of these recipes haven't got much in the way of proportions. If that is the case, don't worry too much; just try it and make adjustments for yourself.

See also: Jason's cooking philosophy

Index: Breads, Soup Stocks


Corn Bread Muffins

Cuisine: US-American

Precision: Somewhat important; I'm not sure I've got the ideal proportions, however.

Servings: About 12 small muffins or six large ones; we managed to feed 8 people with chile, rice, and smoked tofu a la king on toast. Many of the eight didn't feel the need to eat more than one meal the next day and we still had some leftovers.

Comments: This was my first attempt at corn-bread muffins; I didn't exactly follow a recipe, so some of this could stand some improvement; the recipe is likely to change at some later date. (Posted 2 July 1995). This isn't exactly a low-fat, low-cholesterol experience.

Ingredients: (metric measurements will have to wait, sorry)

1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
about 3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 stick butter (225 G), softened or half-melted.
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 yellow-green Italian pepper (there's a better name for this, I just can't
remember what it is)
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn (optional)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp basil (1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp rosemary (fresh is best; in that case, 1 Tbsp)

Preheat the oven to 375F or 180C.  Put a muffin form into the oven.

Chop the garlic and the Italian pepper.  Put about 1 tbsp butter into a
small, warmed frying-pan and let it melt, but don't caramelize.  Toss in the
rosemary and let it roast for a minute or so.  If you have a mortar and
pestle and are using dried rosemary, remove the rosemary and crush it with a
mortar and pestle, then return it to the pan.  Throw in the chopped garlic,
the basil, and wait another minute or so, then sauté the Italian
pepper, just 45 seconds or so.

Put the rest of the butter, the sugar, the salt, the eggs, and the
buttermilk in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk (or a mixer).

Add the sautéed garlic, basil, rosemary, and Italian pepper to the bowl,
then the flours, baking powder, and optional corn.  Stir with a wooden spoon
until mixed.  You don't want a homogenous mixture; the muffins won't rise as

Remove the muffin pan from the oven and grease or Pam it.  If you're not
that brave, use muffin cups.  Fill each of the muffin cups about 2/3 of the
way full.  (at least more than half).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden
brown on the top.

Soup stocks

konbu to shiitake dashijiru (Japanese soup stock)

Precision: Not very precise at all.

Cuisine: Japanese

Servings: Enough for 4 servings of soup. 3 cups.

Culture: This is a wonderful base for misoshiru (miso soup), but works for just about any japanese dish calling for dashijiru, including vegetable nimono (Big pot of stuff), udon, etc. In the case of misoshiru, 4 servings means "enough for two people". That is to say, usually you serve one serving per person in a small soup bowl, but you are supposed to have enough that guests can take a second bowl.

As a warning for vegetarians eating with Japanese: This is an authentic japanese stock, but particularly in contemporary Japan it is by no means the most common. Typical japanese soup stock is made by boiling katsuo, "shaved bonito", or some other dried fish and then straining it.


1 quart (liter) of lukewarm water.
1 3" x 3" (8cm x 8 cm) piece of dried 
kombu, dried. (Kombu means "kelp" in Japanese; buy at an Asian grocery)
4-5 Shiitake mushrooms, dried.  You must use dried.

Put the kelp and the dried mushrooms in the water and let it soak.  Let it
soak for at least two hours, at most 12.  Then boil the water.  After the
water is at a full boil, take the vegetables out.  You can rinse them under
cool water and use them for something else, or for your soup.

Generally, you would add something salty (soy sauce, miso) to taste and often
something sweet (mirin, sweet rice wine) also to taste.  As a general
rule, use about half as much mirin or wine as soy sauce.  However, most
Japanese recipes do not assume you are starting with a salted stock, so do
whatever those recipes say and adjust to taste afterward.

Dinner tarts

Zucchini herb and cheese tart

Precision: could be helpful unless you use a different size pie pan than I did

Cuisine: French with an accent. Some people would call this quiche, but because my French acquaintance says a quiche is a tart with ham, I'll go her way and call it a tart.

Comments: I made a very subtle change in the recipe since the last time I made it and haven't tested it with the change. Otherwise, just a warning Don't even attempt this if you don't have fresh herbs: the whole point of the thing was the fresh herbs.

Americans: My mother makes a crust like this one with the shredded hash-browns you can usually get in the frozen food section. Same concept, really.

Ingredients: (sorry that the measurements are mixed, I'll fix it eventually)

140g crème fraiche (or sour cream), about 1 cup
2-3 Tbsp gorgonzola
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley
3-5 Eggs

1/4 lb. (100 g) Appenzeller, a Swiss cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
1 small zucchini
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh chives

3 medium-sized potatoes
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt

1) Make the crust first.  Preheat the oven to about 190c/400F.  Grate the
potatoes using a grater or mandolin. Blanch the grated potatoes in boiling 
briefly (about 15-25 seconds). Mix them with the softened
butter and the salt.  Spread out on a 9" pie pan, both on the bottom and on
the sides.  Bake until golden brown.
2) While you're waiting for the crust to bake, mix the crème fraiche,
gorgonzola, parsley and eggs in a blender.  If you don't have a blender,
chop the parsley, crumble the gorgonzola; then beat the crème fraiche and
the eggs with a mixer until smooth, add the gorgonzola and beat a little
longer; mix in the parsley.

3) Slice the zucchini.  Using a spoon, mix the sliced zucchini, appenzeller,
salt, pepper, and chives in with the rest of the filling.

4) Fill the crust and bake for about 45 minutes
at 180C/375F, until browned on top and a knife stuck in the middle comes out
clean.  Let sit for about 20 minutes before serving.
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© 2000 Jason Truesdell.
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