Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Seared Tuna with soy sauce and Balsamic vinegar レアマグロステーキのバルサミコ醤油ソース

This was an on-the-fly recipe I came up with one evening. We had our usual frozen yellow fin tuna block thawed. Although I have made quite a few dishes designed to make this low-quality tuna sashimi palatable, I was pressed with time and came up with this quick dish. 

This is "shimo-furi" 霜降りor very rare tuna steak with the surface seared in with a small amount of oil in a frying pan. I made a sauce which was mixture of aged balsamic vinegar and soy sauce in the same pan.

This was not bad and went well with the red wine (I am sure it was California cab) rather well.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Enoki and shiitake mushrooms in miso butter sauce えのきと椎茸の味噌バーター

This is a variation of what I posted some years ago. For some reason, our regular grocery store stopped carrying shiitake mushrooms.  So, when we were at Whole Foods, I got enoki and shiitake mushrooms. I made this small dish to go with wine.

Some sweetness from mirin and nutty miso mixed with butter is a good combination.

This dish goes well with wine or sake.

I made this in an aluminum foil pouch in our toaster oven. So, the clean up was easy.

1 package of enoki mushroom, root portion cut off and separated.
2-3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and caps cut into thin strips.
2 scallions, finely chopped.
1 tbs of mirin
1 tbs of miso
1 tsp of butter

In the center of a sheet of aluminum foil place the butter, scallion, mushrooms and fold to make a pouch. Before sealing, add the mirin and miso. Pinch the opening to close.
Place it in 350F toaster oven  for 30 minutes.
Open the pouch and mix the miso and liquid to make sauce and serve.

This is a quick comforting dish with nice texture and the flavors of enoki (with a texture almost like noodles) and shiitake (meaty and earthy) mixed with butter and miso tastes. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mackerel simmered in miso on new crane plate サバの味噌煮

The purpose of this post is to show our new acquisitions from Japan. These items are from Kyoto. I served mackerel simmered in miso.

This plate depicts a Tancho crane 丹頂鶴 famous in Hokkaido with red head and black wing tips. This one came from Kawazen touki 河善陶器 in Nishiki market 錦市場, Kyoto 京都.

We also got hashi-oki 箸置きor chop stick rests. These came from a small store called "Gallary Chihata" ギャラリーちはた in Arashiyama 嵐山, Kyoto, which is on the main street to the famous bridge called "Togetsu-kyo" 渡月橋 on Katsura river 桂川. We got four of these all depicting vegetables (Artist name was associated with these but we lost the information).

At the same store, we also bought two sake cups of "Kiyomizu-yaki" 清水焼 which is the kiln in Kyoto.

One appears to depict some flowering tree but we are not sure what it is.

The other one depicts iris.

It is always nice to have these new cups and plates from Japan. Even the same sake and food taste better.

Monday, November 13, 2017

steamed fig in sesame sauce 蒸しイチジクの胡麻酢あえ

This is the second attempt at figs in sesame sauce. This time, I removed the skin and steamed them instead of grilling them. This one came out very similar to what we had in Japan.

Steaming does not soften the figs but adds some texture and a subtle difference in taste.

The sauce was the same sauce I used for the grilled version.

Ingredients (2 small servings):
2 mission figs, stem removed and skin removed (see below)

For sesame dressing sauce.
2 tbs white sesame seeds
2 tbs white sesame paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sake
1/2 tsp soys sauce

1. Steam the skinned figs for 7 minutes (see below).

For the sauce:
1. In a small dry frying pan, add the sesame seeds and roast until slightly brown and fragrant.
2. Put the roasted sesame in a Japanese suribachi すり鉢 and grind them until oil comes out and they are evenly ground.
3. Add white sesame paste(nerigoma 練り胡麻), sugar, rice vinegar, sake, and soy sauce and mix well. Adjust the consistency and taste by adding more vinegar/sake or sauce. 

This is much better than the previous version (skin on and grilled). It has a nice gentle flavor and texture which goes well with the dressing. This dish goes best with sake.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Grilled fig in sesame dressing イチジクの胡麻酢和え 

We usually do not go to expensive restaurants when we visit Japan. We end up in Izakayas or similar establishments. Only a few exceptions occur when we dine with our Japanese friends. Most of our hosts would take us to more formal restaurants than an Izakaya. We really liked one appetizer dish we had in such a Japanese "ryoutei" 料亭 in Niigata 新潟. It was figs dressed in sesame, vinegar dressing. After coming back, I looked up recipes and tried to make a similar dish. This is the first try,

I used nice ripe mission fig.

This was good but not exactly the same as the dish we had in Japan. The one we had in Japan, appeared to have no skin.

Ingredients (for two small servings):
2 ripe mission figs
Sugar to coat the figs.

for sesame dressing:
2 tbs white sesame seeds
2 tbs white sesame paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sake
1/2 tsp soys sauce

For figs.
1. Cut the stem of the figs, cut into quarters. Roll the skin side in sugar to coat.
2. In toaster oven, toast the figs until sugar melts and starts bubbling (see below).
3. Take them out and let them cool down.

For sesame dressing:
1. In a small dry frying pan, add the sesame seeds and roast the sesame until slightly brown and fragrant.
2. Put the roasted sesame in a Japanese suribachi すり鉢 and grind them until oil comes out and they are evenly ground.
3. Add white sesame paste(nerigoma 練り胡麻), sugar, rice vinegar, sake, and soy sauce and mix well. Adjust the consistency and taste by adding more vinegar/sake or or sauce. 
4. Dress the figs and serve.

This is not bad but the skin on the figs did not particularly go well. It was a little tough and distracting from the over all texture of the dish. I will try a different version. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shiitake risotto with lamb chops 椎茸リソトとラムチョップ

My wife likes lamb. I got a rack of lamb from New Zealand. I asked how she would like it cooked. She suggested I separate the rack into individual lamb chops rather than cooking it as a rack. That way each chop would be individually cooked to the same doneness. For a side, since we had just gotten some shiitake mushrooms (which are getting increasingly difficult to find) we decided to make "shiitake risotto". So we just made "shiitake risotto" or what is actually a cross between shiitake "Okayu" おかゆ porridge and risotto.

I cleaned up some of the excess fat and separated the rack into lamb chops. I simply seasoned with salt and pepper.  We also served skinned Campari tomato (seasoned with Kosher salt and Spanish olive oil) and blanched green beans sautéed in butter.

The lamb chops were first seared in the frying pan and fished in a 350F oven for 3-4 minutes for medium. 

We came up with this risotto recipe on the fly.

1 cup of cooked rice (we used rice we cooked and then frozen in small portions. We thawed it by microwaving for about 30 seconds)(My mom introduced us to this method of left over rice control. It keeps well, cooked rice is always available and it comes out perfectly when lightly microwaved).
3-4 Fresh shiitake mushroom (caps sliced into strips, the stems with bottom removed, torn length-wise in thin strips and then cross cut into small pieces)
2-3 tbs sake
3 cup Japanese dashi (#2) (I made this using a dashi pack with bonito and kelp)
2 tbs butter (unsalted)
1 tsp light colored soy sauce
salt, additional pats of butter
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 

Sautee shiitake mushroom (Chopped up stem first and then caps) in melted butter (#1)
Meanwhile prepare the dashi and keep it warm (#2)
Add thawed rice and sautee (#3)
Add the sake and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add warm dashi in increments and stir until desired consistency is attained.
Season with light colored soy sauce and salt (#4)
Add a few pats of butter to finish (#5)
Meanwhile sear the both sides of the lamb chops (#6) and finish in a 350F oven for 3 minutes.
We decided to add grated Parmigiano cheese to the risotto.

The risotto was very good. Nice strong shiitake flavor was the major flavor with a background of Japanese dashi and soy sauce. The butter and cheese went amazingly well. The lamb chops were a bit gamy (lamb-ey) but my wife liked the flavor. (She claims that is what lamb is all about). It was done medium with some pink left. This was satisfying ending dish for the evening. 

For this, we opened really good Virginia red called RdV Rendezvous 2013 (by the best Virginia red wines we ever tasted). Rendezvous is sort of right bank equivalent and another red called "Lost mountain" is the left bank equivalent. These reds are in the same league as top Napa and Bordeaux red wines. We heard about this in Washington Post article. We visited the Vineyard and we are impressed. I think this requires a separate post.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Pumpkin Yogurt パンプキンヨーグルト

Since Halloween is approaching, it is "pumpkin" season and my wife is into pumpkin dishes. Digression alert: apparently pumpkin flavor has become extremely popular. It is appearing in everything from coffee to dog food (really?).  Not be left behind by any trend, my wife was inspired to make this dish. She prepared canned pumpkin puree with pumpkin spices and mixed into plain yogurt. She decided to add finely chopped Japanese apple pear.  Here the addition of Japanese apple pear really worked well. I should have done a better presentation for the picture but this is how we take yogurt to work every day for breakfast; in small plastic containers. From my perspective, while it is very unique, it was also very seasonal and surprisingly good .

One of the secrets my wife uses for her pumpkin recipes is to heat up the puree with the spices mixed in. This gets rid of the "canned" taste in the puree, evaporates some of the water content, concentrates the pumpkin flavor and blooms the spices.

One 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
Japanese pear finely diced
1 1/2, 32 oz. containers of plane yogurt (we use Dannon) (come to think of it we eat a lot of yogurt)

Put the puree and spices in a sauce pan. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the puree thickens, pulls away from the sides and the spices become nicely fragrant. Let cool. 
Add the yogurt and sugar. Mix well add the diced apple pear. 

This pumpkin yogurt gets better with time as all the flavors meld together. The asian pear exudes sweet juice that adds nicely to the pumpkin flavor.  It also adds a pleasant crunch. This is quite a unique yogurt and the addition of juicy crispy Japanese pear really worked.