Posts Tagged avocado

2013 Soba

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s already time to adieu 2013. Well, I prefer even numbers, so I’m ready to get this show on the road.

To usher out the year properly, and to wish for long (but not thick) life, we followed the Japanese tradition of eating soba on New Year’s Eve.

As usual, the soba was dressed with a nice variety of toppings: natto, mashed avocado, eggs with slightly runny yolks, raw green onions, nori seaweed cut into strips, and of course, wasabi and tsuyu (soba sauce).

Fantastic.

[UPDATE: just a note about the eggs: they’re hot springs egg style (i.e., soft yolks). The key to this is to bring water to a boil FIRST, then add the eggs and cook for seven minutes.

Also, this wine.

soba

New Year's Eve rosé

New Year’s Eve rosé

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Avocado/tomato/onion salad

avocado-tomato-onion salad

This was a lovely raw salad.

The first step was to soak sliced white onions in water to make them a bit less pungent. After a while, the onions were drained and mixed with chopped tomatoes and avocado.

The mixture was marinated in the following:

  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • rice vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

You could also put a bit of sugar or honey if desired, but Yusuke opted out.

Yusuke noted that (as he learned from my mom), soaking avocado in lemon juice and/or vinegar helps it keep its colour and last longer.

He let the flavours percolate for about 30 minutes, but it could’ve gone longer (we were hungry). Very tangy, great with a meal of soup and fried rice (coming soon).

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Wasa-cabba-cado

cabbage

That is, cabbage and avocado with wasabi. Ok, so the colour in the photo looks rather unfortunate. But this dish was FANTASTIC. Yusuke made it, of course, but I hope to replicate it sometime.

Yusuke began by sautéing garlic until the aroma was released.

He then added strips of cabbage and stir fried them with olive oil.

He then mixed in pieces of avocado (neatly scooped out with a spoon). While much of the pieces stayed in tact, the avocado added a lovely creaminess.

The main seasoning was わさびじょうゆ (wasabi-jouyu aka wasabi + soy sauce). He squeezed out about 3 cm of wasabi from the tube, mixed it with soy sauce, and poured it into the cabbage. He also sprinkled in a bit of sea salt.

One could also add lime or lemon juice if desired.

YUM.

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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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Magical soba

This dish was rather a nifty creation, in my opinion.

Yusuke’s first task was to boil fresh bean sprouts: just a few minutes to retain a crunchy texture.

Next, he halved cherry tomatoes, removed the seeds, and sautéed them in a dry frying pan (they had enough liquid alone).

He set the tomatoes aside and repeated the sautéing with asparagus spears, again in a dry pan.

After the veggies were done, he boiled soba in plain water for about 4 minutes. Longer leads to mushiness!

He arranged the drained noodles on a plate, topping the pile with neatly placed bean sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, and sliced avocado.

In the centre went glorious natto, sans the mustard sauce that comes in the package.

Last, we drizzled soba sauce over everything, sprinkled a bit of shichimi (spicy seasoning) and mixed it all up—after taking a picture, of course. The soba sauce had its usual components: water, dashi, mirin, sake, soy sauce, and a tiny bit of sugar.

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Kombu-steamed portobello mushrooms

I think this meal represents quite well the epitome of Japanese simplicity.

The first component was steamed portobello mushrooms. Yusuke lined a steamer basket with thick strips of kombu (seaweed), sprinkled a bit of dashi powder, and then steamed the chunks of mushroom. To eat, we sprinkled a tiny bit of crushed sea salt, which was marvelous for bringing out the mushrooms’ flavour.

Yusuke has been using sea salt quite often lately, but he wasn’t sure if he was just imagining the difference in taste. He did a taste test to compare sea salt and table salt, one after the other, and confirmed that the difference was real! There was a post recently on World’s Healthiest Foods about different types of salt for further reading.

I ate the kombu “wrappings,” too, half with the dinner, and half for my lunch the next day. Yusuke thinks my hair might turn black from all the seaweed that I eat…

We also had miso soup with bean sprouts and unusually sweet green onions.

The final component of the meal was sliced avocado with an improvised ponzu sauce. As I’ve mentioned before, ponzu is a citrus-based sauce—often made with yuzu, which isn’t obtainable chez nous. Instead, Yusuke uses a mixture of dashi, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, water, and soy sauce. We had never mixed ponzu and avocado, but it turned out to be quite yummy: very refreshing in contrast with the richness of the avocado.

Avocado courtesy of Flickr user Island Vittles. Photo license: Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

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Razbacado tilapia

The razbanero fun continues. This time, Yusuke selected tilapia as a vessel for the tasty sauce.

He started by smashing an avocado and mixing it with half a package of silken tofu. He seasoned it with a pinch each of salt and pepper and 1 or 2 tsp of lime juice. He spread the avocado mixture over the fish and added a few dollops of razbanero, which we mixed after the picture was taken. The result was creamy, sweet, spicy, and very much delicious.

With this meal, we also had a salad of alfalfa sprouts, halved cherry tomatoes, and raw white onions. We used the leftover avocado-tofu mixture as a dressing. Highly recommended.

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