Archive for March, 2011

Stir fry, with no special description

Yusuke began this stir fry by dicing sweet potatoes and then microwaving them for 3 minutes. Next, he sautéed green beans in a tiny bit of canola oil in the frying pan. When tender, he added the sweet potatoes, cubed firm tofu, and crimini mushrooms, along with sea salt, black pepper, and 1 tsp of chicken seasoning powder (used for Chinese cuisine). He mixed everything together and added a bit of garlic for good measure.


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Eggplant, cabbage, and harusame layers

birthday dinner

This was my birthday dinner. (For those keeping track, yes, that was a fair few moons ago, but I’m not always prompt with updating.)

I didn’t have anything specific to request, but I asked for a light and simple meal…partially in the hope that Yusuke wouldn’t go to too much trouble. That failed, though: the meal was exquisite in its simplicity, but he took great care in preparing it. And naturally, many of my current favourite foods were included.

The bottom layer of the dish is boiled cabbage.

Next come delicately sautéed crimini mushrooms, whose health benefits evidently surpass those of other varieties.

The next component is my beloved eggplants, here fried in sesame oil to a delicate golden brown. Juicy.

And the pièce de résistance: boiled harusame noodles, which I wrote about in a previous post.

The neatly arranged layers were then drizzled with a sauce of:

  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • shichimi (spicy powder)

To complete the parade of my favourite tastes, we also had okra and egg miso soup.

Happy birthday to me!

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Harusame soup

This soup’s broth is very simple:

  • chicken bouillon/water
  • sea salt
  • sugar (tiny bit)
  • soy sauce (tiny bit)

The main contents are:

  • napa (chinese cabbage)
  • crimini mushrooms
  • harusame noodles

Very tasty.

So what are harusame noodles, one might ask?

The wikipedia article offers the translation “cellophane noodles,” which sounds pretty much unappetizing to me. But other descriptions are better: glass noodles, bean thread noodles, or vermicelli.

According to Wise Geek, they’re Japanese noodles made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, or mung bean starch.

The noodles are extremely thin and become translucent when cooked. Since they’re less dense or “doughy” than other types of noodles, they’re delightful in soup!

Harusame (春雨) means spring rain, and you can google for more pics.

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Birthday flowers

Spring bouquet

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Upcoming fundraisers for Japan in Montreal

[Note: I am pasting this from a message from the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal. The info doesn’t actually seem to be online anywhere, so I wanted to post it here for linking purposes. I am not involved with organizing the events.]

To support the people of Japan in their time of need, organizations, businesses, and individuals of the Montreal Japanese community are working together to raise funds for disaster relief. A series of fundraising events will be held, organized by various community organizations. Funds raised at each event will be collected, pooled together, and donated to the Canadian Red Cross who, in turn, will send the funds to the Japanese Red Cross.

Red Cross donation boxes will be available at each event as well as at various Japanese businesses who also wish to also collect funds. A tax receipt will be issued if you provide your contact information. Please make cheques payable to the Canadian Red Cross and indicate that the funds are destined for disaster relief in Japan.

Thank you, Donald Watanabe
President, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal and on behalf of all the organizations in the Montreal Japanese community involved in this joint fundraising effort.

Upcoming events:
Thursday, March 17.2011 at 6:30pm and 8:00pm
– INORI – Pray for Japan Together With Music
Benefit concert for victims of tsunami and earthquake in East Japan
Église Unie Saint-Jean
110, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal, H2X 1K7
Métro Saint-Laurent or/ou Berri-UQAM
Admission : 20$ (at the door)
Musicians : Kanae Nobori (piano), Mana Shiraishi (violin), and others.
Contact : Kanae Nobori. 514-815-7728

Saturday, March 19.2011, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Cookie Sale for Japanese Earthquake Relief
Culture and Language Connections
4260 avenue Girouard, #350
Montreal, H4A 3C9; Tel: 514-903-8897
Métro Villa-Maria

Sunday, March 20.2011, 2:00pm – 4:30pm
Japanese Craft Festival/Festival d’art japonais
Canada-Japan Society of Montreal
Exhibition and demonstration of ikebana, shodo, kimekome, furoshiki, and more.
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal
8155, rue Rousselot, Montréal, H2E 1Z7;
Métro Jarry et autobus 193E
Info: Midori Pinti, 514-313-9945

Wednesday, March 23.2011, 7:00pm-11:00pm
Japon 2011, je me souviens
Benefit concert featuring 12 artists and counting.
Club Soda
12245, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2X 2S6
Métro Saint-Laurent
Admission : 20$ (at the door)
Info : K.Joe Tamko; 514-317-0422

… and more to come!

Donation boxes:
Yuki Bakery: 5211 rue Sherbrooke Ouest. 514-482-2435. Métro Vendôme.
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal: 8155 rue Rousselot. 514-728-1996. Métro Jarry.

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Nasu udon

Preparations for this light and tasty meal began with the core component: baby eggplant.

Yusuke scored around the top of the eggplants and the baked them on foil on the oven rack until the skin was blackened. Alongside them went green onions, which become very sweet when roasted.

Meanwhile, he boiled udon noodles in plain water. When finished, they were drained.

Next, he prepared a broth of:

  • water
  • sea salt
  • sake (tiny bit)
  • soy sauce (tiny bit)
  • dashi powder

When the eggplants were done, he put them in cold water to remove the skin. The last step was to slice the flesh partially into quarters.

Finally, it was time to assemble everything. First into our awesome cat bowls went the noodles, then the broth, then the veggies neatly arranged on top, followed by a dollop of ginger paste.

The broth’s light saltiness really made the eggplant fantastic.

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Tangy asparagus

Appetizing as an appetizer, or delightful as a main dish (as we enjoyed it).

Yusuke heated olive oil in a frying pan and then added minced garlic, which was sautéed until aromatic.

Next, the asparagus spears were added to the pan, along with sea salt, 2 tbsp of white wine, 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, and 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar. Cook all. That’s it!

Ah, asparagus. You make me think of spring. March, please hurry up with the lion bit. This girl is ready for lamb weather.

NB: the mayonnaise was Japanese, which apparently is quite different from North American style. I’m rather anti-mayonnaise myself, so I don’t know the details, but I’m assured the difference is substantial. The main brand is kewpie. Visit the website for too much mayonnaise-related cuteness.

Kewpie mayonnaise by rachelkillsemo. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Black sesame bean sprouts

A quick bean sprout appetizer!

The dressing is a mix of:

  • crushed black sesame seeds
  • white sugar (a pinch or so)
  • mirin
  • dashi powder

The bean sprouts were boiled briefly, drained well, and rolled in the dressing until well coated.

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