Archive for stew

Stone stew

stone-stew2

I finally remembered to snap a pic of our dinner.

This is sort of stone stew—that is, I dumped in everything that was left in our fridge because I didn’t have enough to make more than one dish that would go well with the others.

I began by cooking lentils and later added quinoa in a veggie stock broth. I also added some garlic for good measure.

After the grain alternatives began to soften, I added sliced white onions, green beans, and chopped potatoes.

I sprinkled in additional seasoning around this point as well: dried parsley, sea salt, and black pepper.

After everything was pretty well cooked, I added the final delicate ingredients: fresh tomatoes and avocados (both chopped into decent-sized chunks).

Yes, avocado is kind of a wacky addition, but it was getting really soft; I had to use it up! It actually was quite tasty in the stew and added nice texture. Plus it contributed some protein and good fat to our one-pot meal.

stone-stew1

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Tomato risotto

Drat, I seem to have lost my notes for this dish. It was a lovely Japanese-style risotto with tomatoes, leeks, and cabbage. Given the ingredients, I suspect that it was designed to target symptoms of a winter cold… It was most certainly delicious.

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Jerusalem artichoke stew

Yusuke said that this stew tasted was reminiscent of にくじゃが (nikujaga), which is a meat and potato stew. (Sometimes, shirataki “noodles” are also included.)

First, Yusuke sauteed chicken and white onions. Oil could be added, but he chose not to. Next, he added chopped (unpeeled) Jerusalem artichokes. He then added water to the pot, along with cut carrots and let everything cook until it was soft.

Finally, he added the foundational Japanese seasoning mix: dashi, sugar (a pinch), soy sauce, and mirin, all to taste.

These ingredients were added in order to highlight the vegetables’ own taste rather than cover it. In other words, it brought out the taste of the earth. This is why our summer and autumn food baskets were so great: REAL TASTE. Store-bought food, in contrast, is often tasteless. This particular dish was even tastier the next day, becoming sweeter when the flavours came together and really soaked in.

I would like to comment again that Jerusalem artichokes are awesome. The little knobby things look like ginger, and evidently the chemical compound that is released when you eat it works similarly to insulin. Yusuke was interested to find lots of recipes with them in Japanese (キクイモ – kikuimo). The texture is similar to potatoes, but more liquidy and sweeter.

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Ginger tofu stew and new rice

This is a rather unattractive image of an incredibly good stew. Yusuke made it weeks ago, though, so we don’t exactly remember what was in it. The key components were chunks of firm tofu, carrots, [pork], and gigantic green onions from a farmer’s market. There was also copious amounts of ginger, which made me warm and happy.

Beautiful rice

The aesthetic appeal of this post is saved by the above image of beautiful, beautiful rice. It was the last of our more recent batch sent from Japan as a gift from my sweet mother-in-law. There is a distinct sheen to the high-quality grains, and they are almost uniform in their roundness. Even though we buy relatively good rice here, it’s a bit of let down to go back after this most excellent grade. Sigh.

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Soy milk nabe

Warming fall food.

Ingredients for soup

  • 1.5 cups of unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • Chicken powdered bouillon
  • Salt (a pinch)

Bring all to a simmer (NOT boiling!).

Then add:

  • Chopped napa
  • Sliced leeks
  • Baby carrots
  • Cubes of firm tofu
  • Chunks of tilapia (defrosted, first, in our case)
  • Mushrooms would also be a possibility if you have some on hand

Serve piping hot with a sprinkling of shichimi or pepper for an added kick. Don’t forget the rice on the side!

If you have a nabe pot in which this can be made: I’m jealous!

Some notes about nabe from a previous post (and see also this one):

Nabe (short for nabemono) is central to Japanese culture and cuisine. It is essentially a hot pot dish, cooked on the dining table, in which all different types of meat, seafood, and veggies are boiled in a special broth. Everyone is served out of the communal pot on the table, so it brings a warmth and closeness when shared among family and friends. Chankonabe is special, extra-hearty nabe that is a staple in sumo wrestlers’ training diets…which is what we had in Ginza [two years ago]: a million different types of mushrooms (yay!), along with some kind of meat, napa, onions, eggs, tofu, noodles, and some other stuff that I can’t remember. At the lovely home of a friend, we had nabe chock full of succulent oysters (sooo fabulously juicy and briny), white fish, mushrooms, carrots, napa, and and other veggies. Click to see other people’s nabe pics on Google images and a nice one on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/upon/2314309029/

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Trouty white stew

Tasty stew

Tasty stew

Another modification of one of Yusuke’s stock recipes. To make this white stew, Yusuke mixes flour, milk (in this case, half whole milk (ha) and half soy milk), butter, white wine, and salt and pepper.

This time he added pieces of rainbow trout that he had baked beforehand along with napa, carrots, and white onions. With bread on the side, all food groups were covered (except fruit and chocolate, which is easily handled by dessert).

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Acorn squash with curry sauce

Squash and rice

Squash and rice

Yikes, sorry for the blurry pic.

Yusuke actually followed a recipe for this one (well, mostly):

First, he microwaved the acorn squash until it was tender. Then he sautéed the cubed squash, sliced white onions, and TONS of minced ginger in canola oil. When the onions were glassy, he added 300 mL of beef stock and a bit of curry powder and let everything simmer for a while.

Then he added:

  • 2 or 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • a splash of white wine
  • 3 tbsp of plain yogurt
  • a tiny bit of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves

After simmering for several more minutes, he mixed in spinach and let it cook until wilted.

Served with brown rice!

Yusuke thought that in the future, he would use less soy sauce and more yogurt. But I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Winter stews

The last vestiges of winter are slowly creeping away (at least they better be), so I thought I should write up these lovely stews while they still seem seasonally appropriate.

Our December trip to Japan gave us the opportunity to have several special dishes that are especially associated with wintertime.

Noodles: soba and udon

Noodles: soba and udon

In mountain town of Gora, we had a fabulous lunch in a noodle restaurant. I chose soba—thin buckwheat noodles—and Yusuke selected udon, which is thick, almost doughy noodles. Both dishes had a light broth, probably soy sauce-based. My soba featured delicious mountain vegetables, like mushrooms (yay!), bamboo shoots, fiddleheads, and onions.

Daikon soup

Daikon soup

My mother-in-law made this soup one evening during our visit. Root vegetables are especially popular during the winter, and so daikon is the main element, along with pork, shitake mushrooms, and mizuna, a flavourful leafy green. Daikon is a root veggie, but since it’s a radish, it’s not starchy like potato or squash. The texture is much smoother and juicer, especially when it’s nicely ripe. If it’s not good quality (like we sometimes get in Montreal), it’s rather stringy. In Japan, all of the daikon was huge, white, and smooth, and it melts in your mouth when cooked in a stew. In Montreal, in contrast, sometimes it’s small and skinny, greenish, and pock-marked. Boo. I miss daikon in Japan.

Oden

Oden

Oden is awesome. It’s a pot dish that typically has various soy-based and processed fish-based products that are completely foreign to Western cuisine. The wikipedia article has a more detailed explanation. My mother-in-law made quite the oden feast. One of my sisters-in-law and I monopolized the konnyaku, but I liked all of the new things I tried in this dish. Another of my favourites was the kombu, which is thick seaweed, neatly tied into bows here. There’s also hanpen (the white triangles of surimi aka fish purée), gobomaki (boiled greater burdock root wrapped in surimi), chikuwa (tubes of surimi), ganmodoki (fried balls of tofu mixed with grated vegetables), and atsuage (deep fried tofu).

Nabe

Nabe

 

Finally, we had nabe on two different occasions (at a friend’s house and at a fabulous restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district). Nabe (short for nabemono) is central to Japanese culture and cuisine. It is essentially a hot pot dish, cooked on the dining table, in which all different types of meat, seafood, and veggies are boiled in a special broth. Everyone is served out of the communal pot on the table, so it brings a warmth and closeness when shared among family and friends. Chankonabe is special, extra-hearty nabe that is a staple in sumo wrestlers’ training diets…which is what we had in Ginza: a million different types of mushrooms (yay!), along with some kind of meat, napa, onions, eggs, tofu, noodles, and some other stuff that I can’t remember. At the lovely home of a friend, we had nabe chock full of succulent oysters (sooo fabulously juicy and briny), white fish, mushrooms, carrots, napa, and and other veggies. We didn’t take any pictures of our nabe, so I borrowed the one above from “Tavallai” on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tavallai/2084203089/. And another nabe pic with oysters is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/upon/2314309029/

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White stew

White stew

White stew

La Chamiza

La Chamiza

This creamy white stew features carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and white onions. (And chicken, which, as usual, I didn’t eat…picky, picky.) The base of the stew is very simple: just flour, milk, butter, white wine, and salt and pepper. I was surprised when Yusuke said that’s all that was in it, since the flavour is very rich. It’s filling enough that we only had some toast on the side to complete the meal. In my mind, it’s sort of a quintessential Northern/Eastern European dish, but food like this is also very popular in Japan. In fact, you can buy pre-made sauce cubes that just dissolve in boiling water. So efficient.

In addition to the wine in the stew, we had a bit more on the side. We tried something new: an Argentinian chardonnay, La Chamiza, which proved to be extremely tasty. I’m not a wine connoisseur by any means; I just like to drink things that taste good. La Chamiza has been added to our new favourites list. And incidentally, the website’s description of the “mouth” sounds exactly like a self-description: “Young and fruity with fresh and persistent finish.”

Update: Argh, good thing this isn’t a photography blog. That picture is a bit icky when you enlarge it. But the stew looked fabulous. You just have to take my word for it…

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Curry rice

Curry rice

Curry rice

Cat bowl

Cat bowl

Curry rice is a fabulous nearly-instant meal—perfect for our French class/kendo practice nights. Even better, it makes tons of food, so we have lots left for lunch/dinner the next day. To make the dish, you just boil veggies in a big pot of water and then dissolve pre-made curry sauce cubes. Then the sauce and veggies are served steaming hot (as shown in the picture!) over rice. We usually use potatoes, carrots, and white onions. Yusuke also added bok choy this time. Our soup was miso with tofu, green onions, and seaweed.

Curry dishes are extremely popular in Japan: there’s even a wikipedia article on the subject, naturally. The cubes vary in spiciness, and I think we usually have a medium one. The curry is not hot at all in the way it would be in Indian cuisine, but there’s a sweetness mixed with the spice that I find lick-the-bowl addictive.

Also, please note the cute cat bowl. Yusuke bought these (one pink, one blue) at a Korean store near our apartment, since they match dishes that his sister has in Japan. (Aww, gee.)

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