Archive for October, 2011

Shocking pink tonjiru

Tonjiru with beets #1

We’ve been blessed in our weekly csa basket with beets. It’s amazing how such rough little buggers become so magically sweet and tender. We’ve also frequently used the greens as a substitute for spinach. Very tasty.

Tonjiru is a popular type of miso soup characterized by pork and root vegetables, usually potatoes, carrots, daikon, etc. and onions. It’s definitely one of Yusuke’s favourites.

He decided to put our beet bounty to good use by making tonjiru with a twist. The iteration above includes daikon, carrots, white onions, and of course beets. The pink effect is somewhat startling, but it’s incredibly tasty. He also used chicken instead of pork.

The second batch included carrots and leeks in addition to chicken and beets.

He typically begins the soup by sauteing the onions, followed by the other veggies, before adding water, miso paste, and dashi.

Tonjiru with beets #2

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Leek donburi

Leek donburi

One of my favourite items in our csa basket over the past several weeks has been beautiful, beautiful leeks.

Above is pictured another cold-clearing dish. In Japan, as elsewhere, leeks are attributed with healing properties for colds. This page has a few other interesting home remedies. I have not yet experimented with a leek bandage…

To prepare the leeks, Yusuke began by cooking the green bits for a few seconds in boiling water. Then he shredded the green along with the raw white.

To prepare the tofu, he dumped silken tofu in a pan and boiled them over medium heat. Then he drained the water and continued to cook the tofu until the water was drawn out. He smashed it into fine crumbles during the cooking process. Once the tofu was dry, he reduced the pan to low heat and then added:

  • soy sauce
  • katsuoboshi (dried fish flakes)
  • a tiny bit of sesame oil
  • sake
  • sea salt

The tofu mixture was then piled on top of rice, followed by the purifying leeks. Served with a pinch of shichimi pepper sprinkled on top.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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Crimini mushrooms and green onions

A simple dish. Our csa basket included beautiful sweet green onions, which Yusuke paired with crimini mushrooms. He stir fried them in a bit of sesame oil to offer a lovely aroma and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

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Steamed eggplant

This eggplant was absolutely succulent, with a melting texture. Yusuke cut the raw eggplant (regular large size) into one inch slices. He cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some in place.

In a pan, he made a bed of kombu seaweed and then added sake, enough to cover the eggplant. He covered the pan and let it steam for 10-15 minutes, flipping the pieces once during the process. Option: use white wine instead of sake and add ponzu.

While the eggplant was steaming, Yusuke prepared a sauce:

  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • sake
  • dashi
  • mirin

When the eggplant was soft, he added enoki mushrooms (whee) to the pan with the sauce. He finished by reducing the heat and adding katakuriko mixed with a bit of water (Japanese potato starch) to thicken the sauce.

To serve, we sprinkled a bit of shichimi pepper on top.

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Edamame tofu

One of our recent csa food baskets came with a fantastic surprise: fresh edamame. We never see fresh soybeans in the grocery store here for some reason, so we were very pleased!

The first step was to boil the beans for about 5 minutes in water with about 4 tsp of sea salt. Next, they were shucked from the pods. This was my contribution to the meal (at least I’m good for something…).

In the meantime, Yusuke made a dashi stock with katsuoboshi (although kombu seaweed would also work). He combined 350 mL of water with dashi and 2 tsp agar powder, which he boiled until the powder dissolved. The agar is what creates the tofu texture.

Next, he poured the mixture into the blender with the beans and set it to purée. When finished, it was poured into custard cups and chilled in the fridge until firm.

Served with sea salt or soba sauce (めつゆ).

The difference in taste between fresh and frozen edamame is remarkable. This dish was very subtle, richer than standard tofu. In other words, fantastic.

N.B. It’s optional to use some kind of filter to strain the puréed beans, but in this case, it wasn’t needed.

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