Archive for December, 2009

Nabe with special dashi

dashi_package

Dashi package

Yusuke made this hot pot or nabe dish using some very special dashi that was given to us by a Japanese classmate in my French class. Dashi as a general category is a soup stock around which much of Japanese cuisine is based. This particular batch consists of dried shitake, katsuo (bonito in English, aka skipjack tuna, or so Wikipedia tells me), kombu (a type of seaweed), and tiny little fishies called niboshi (baby sardines: see below!). Dashi is generally made from boiling these items and draining off the resulting broth, but sometimes we eat it with whole pieces of the ingredients as well.

Niboshi

For this dish, Yusuke boiled fresh nappa, generous chunks of tilapia, bean sprouts, and big green onions in the dashi broth and added soy sauce, salt, and mirin to taste. I’m still not entirely clear on the distinguishing characteristics of nabe, but you can read more here.

nabe_bowl

I had my second portion of this lovely dish for lunch at work, and I added some of the fresh mochi that we had picked up from the Montreal mochitsuki (mochi-making festival). You can just lay the mochi on a plate, add a few drops of water, and microwave it for 30 seconds to make it good and sticky for adding to a soup. But I have to be careful about over-microwaving: it undergoes a similar expansion phenomenon to marshmallows. Very fun, but potentially very messy!

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Bûche de Noël

Buche de Noel

Our chocolate-chocolate Bûche de Noël from Première Moisson.

Description:

Biscuit au chocolat imbibé d’un sirop au chocolat, roulé avec de la crème au beurre au chocolat et recouvert d’une ganache au chocolat 70 % cacao.

(Il est important de consommer votre bûche à la température ambiante sans la boite afin qu’elle soit onctueuse en bouche et savoureuse au goût.)

Even the “ribbon” on the top and the end pieces that say “Joyeuses fêtes” were chocolate.

Oh là là. Une tranche

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Veggies with almond dressing

bento

bento

I made this simple veggie dish from a recipe in The Enlightened Kitchen, our shojin ryori cookbook. The book uses carrots and asparagus, but I used green beans instead of the latter. The vegetables are simply boiled and served with a dressing, made by blending together the following:

2 tbsp lime juice (the recipe calls for lemon)
Powdered almonds (the recipe uses walnuts: 60 g, crushed)
2 tsp white miso
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil (the recipe calls for 2)
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp rice vinegar

This was a perfect bento, pictured in the adorable box that my mother-in-law gave me.

There was a lot of leftover dressing, so Yusuke used it the next night as a sauce for this mélange of asparagus, carrots, beautiful enoki mushrooms, white onions, and a bit of canned tuna.

Enoki mushrooms make me very happy. We also had them in our miso soup, along with abura-age.

enoki soup

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Chickpea lentil salad + squash soup

chick_pea_salad

Here are some stuffs I made.

First was a lentil-chickpea salad.

Ingredients
1/2 c dry lentils
1 1/2 c water
1/2 can (15 oz) chickpeas
2 medium ripe tomatoes
4-6 green onion stalks
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 lime or 3-ish tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c chopped cilantro
Sprinkling of dried hot red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Directions
Boil the lentils in the water until tender (about 30 minutes)
Drain the lentils and mix in a large bowl with all other ingredients

N.B. I didn’t have the fresh hot chili peppers called for in the original recipe, so I used dried flakes instead

squash_soup

Looks lumpy, but not so bad

Next is a modification of a squash soup that I’ve made in the past.

Ingredients

8 ounces soft (silken) tofu
1/4 c dry lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 large butternut squash, cut in half
2 tsp curry powder
3 cups vegetable broth (from bouillon cubes, powder, or can)
1/8 tsp of minced garlic
splash of white wine
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Bake squash (face down) on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

In the meantime, sauté the onions in a frying pan with a bit of minced garlic and a splash of white wine.

At the same time, boil the lentils with 3/4 c water. Cook until mushy (about 40 minutes)

Scrap out the squash and combine in a blender or food processor with the lentils and tofu, one cup at time. Puree until creamy.

Put the purée in a large soup pot and add the broth and the cooked onions. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

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Shrimp-veggies stir fry-stew

shrimps_vegs

I don’t remember the details of this dish, but I do recall that it was very tasty, so I didn’t want the photo to go to waste. It’s a sorta stir-fry, sorta stew. The body has soy sauce, sake…and the other usual stuff. The veggies, as you can see, are asparagus, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms, along with shrimp.

random_soup

And this is really more of a nice idea than a good photo: miso soup with asparagus and abura-age. Lovely.

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Tilapia with ponzu sauce

I bought a fillet of tilapia at the grocery store, because it’s pretty much always the cheapest kind. Yusuke was skeptical that it would be too dry in comparison with our usual trout, salmon, or mackerel, but he gave it the old college try. This lovely dish resulted, and he liked it enough to buy tilapia again.

First he baked the fish in the oven, right on the rack (no oil added). He wanted to have ponzu sauce, which is a Japanese citrus-based dressing, but we didn’t have any. So he improvised with:

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
a bit of dashi powder

Halved cherry tomatoes and chopped green onions add colour and vitamins. We sprinkled shichimi seasoning over everything for extra spice.

Mmm, fish.

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