We have been enjoying Izakaya food as appetizers but I have not posted them since I have not made anything new for a while. Although nothing shown here was new, this was the starting lineup one evening . From left to right are Spanish mackerel simmered in miso sauce 鯖の味噌煮, cold silken tofu cube 冷奴 and cold simmered Japanese eggplant and shishi tougrashi 茄子とシシトウの揚げ浸し. Since we harvested myouga 茗荷 from our backyard a few weeks ago and made sweet vinegar pickled myouga 茗荷の甘酢ずけ, I used it to garnish the tofu and eggplant dishes.
The fresh Spanish mackerel came from Whole Foods.
You can have so many garnish variations for cold tofu cubes. This time I used perilla leaves, pickled myouga and chives with wasabi. After the picture, we added soy sauce.
This eggplant dish is usually deep fried first and then simmered in broth. I sautéed the eggplant in light olive oil, instead. Since I had Japanese "shishito" green pepper, I also cooked it in the same manner. I garnished it with pickled myouga and threads of ginger root.
Here is another view with a better look at the eggplant. The skin is scored so it is easy to eat. Even the myouga has the back cut into strips for easy eating.
The 4th snack was my regular "teiban" 定番 pork belly simmered in soy sauce and sugar 豚の角煮. The pork belly also came from Whole Foods. This time, I bought almost 3 lbs. Although I did not change the way I cooked it, this batch came out extremely well. Even the red meat layers were extremely tender and not dry at all. Making a bit larger quantity is more efficient in terms of my effort and we can enjoy this dish longer.
This was served warm (microwaved) with green beans (previously blanched) and a dab of Japanese mustard.
I think we had our house sake Daiginjo sake "Mu" 大吟醸 ”無” with the first three dishes and then switched to Cabernet for the pork (I don't remember which red wine we had). This was a mighty good start of the evening.