Posts Tagged spinach

Eggplant salad with wasabi dressing


This is a super-simple salad with just mixed greens and steamed eggplant. But I wanted to blog about the dressing. I usually don’t really like salad dressing (why ruin the veggies’ own flavours?), but this one is quite tasty. It’s special, too; apparently only available for purchase from a town called Odawara, near where my grandmother-in-law lived. Yusuke’s mom gave us a couple of bottles during a recent trip.

It’s very slightly creamy, but much less so than a ranch dressing. Other items on the ingredient list include: vinegar, sugar, oil, egg yolk, soy, green and white onions, spices, garlic, salt. Most importantly, though, the wasabi kick is delightful with raw greens—only a few drops are needed.



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Harusame + squash


Another harusame creation!

Here are the component parts that Yusuke assembled:

  • Boiled harusame
  • Microwaved squash
  • Raw daikon (thinly sliced)
  • Raw baby spinach (well, I added that bit on my portion)

Chinese style dressing

  • Chicken broth
  • Nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Water

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Koyadoufu scramble


I wrote about koyadofu (or koyadoufu or こうやどうふ) a while back—it’s dried tofu that can be re-hydrated.

We recently found some koyadofu at an Asian market and snatched it up.

To use this miraculous food, first soak the blocks in water for about 10-20 seconds, then gently squeeze out the water.

Here, Yusuke again combined it, cubed, with eggs.

He also included a leafy Chinese green in the scramble. I’m not 100% sure of the species, but I believe it is tsoi (or choy) sim (or sum). We frequently see it in grocery markets here, and it’s often one of the cheapest greens. The taste is similar to boy choy, but a bit heartier, like spinach. [Ergo, I tagged this post with both, because either could be substituted.]

Yusuke cooked the greens, koyadofu, and eggs in a frying pan, and then added tsuyu (soba sauce). (You can make your own tsuyu with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi.)

Typical Japanese!

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Comfort food! Porridge/おかゆ (okayu).

The key to deliciousness with this dish is the stock. I wrote about another edition that used mushrooms as the base, while this one used seaweed.

So to make the おかゆ, Yusuke used the “porridge” setting on our rice cooker, with the appropriate amount of extra water. In addition, he added a big strip of kombu seaweed. This cooked along with the rice, giving it a rich, subtle flavour.

We ate the rice topped with chopped spinach that had been sauteed in sesame oil, along with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and a pinch of sea salt.

Perfect for uneasy stomachs!


Photo courtesy of Flickr user kattebelletje. License:Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Revamped okonomiyaki

This was an attempt at a new okonomiyaki recipe, and it was highly successful!

The basis was medium-firm tofu. Yusuke squeezed the tofu between paper towels to draw out excess water and then smashed it with a whisk until it made a smooth paste.

He then assembled the “dough” and filling:

  • the tofu paste
  • shredded cabbage
  • chopped spinach
  • a tiny bit of bonito flakes
  • dashi
  • sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of katakuriko powder (that is, potato starch, sort of)
  • 4 eggs

He mixed everything in a large bowl and then separated it into individual pancake portions, which were grilled in a frying pan with a bit of canola oil.

We dressed them as usual with okonomi sauce, bonito flakes, and for Yusuke: mayonnaise.

So what made this different? No flour! It worked out quite well, although they were rather more fragile than the typical specimen.

The original recipe called for tiny shrimp and green onions, but as these were lacking from our fridge, Yusuke subbed in spinach.

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New Year’s Soba

We had a nice, quiet family New Year’s Eve, made special by traditional New Year’s soba (thin buckwheat noodles).

Yusuke put together his usual soba sauce:

  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sake
  • sugar
  • dashi
  • water

The “toppings” were boiled daikon, spinach, and carrots, along with raw white mushrooms. We also had some leftover teriyaki chicken that my mom had prepared. Finally, we had fortuitously procured a nagaimo from a nifty Japanese grocery store in Denver.

“Nagaimo” is literally translated as “thin potato.” I watched a video once about how they are grown; their long shape and tendency to grow straight down makes them quite labour-intensive to harvest. It’s very rare to come across them in Montreal, and they’re usually from China. But we’ve found Japanese-grown specimens a few times in Colorado. Nagaimo is frequently eaten raw. When grated, it becomes incredibly sticky (ネバネバ !) and can be poured over or mixed with noodles or rice. In this state, it’s called tororo. It can also be eaten with things like tuna (check out a description mid-way down this page) or veggies.

The soba-eating procedure is to pour broth in a bowl, add noodles, pile in veggies, mix everything up, and slurp.

Apparently the long, thin shape of soba is lucky for long life, and of course, a happy new year.

Bonne Année, あけましておめでとうございます, Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit.

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Korean domburi

Yusuke made this dish for himself one night when I had to work. He calls it a Korean-ish domburi.

Each of the items was prepared separately and then arranged over a big bowl full of rice. The meat is chicken, stir fried with salt and pepper.

The bean sprouts are Korean-style: boiled and then dressed with sesame oil, garlic, salt, and dashi.

The baby spinach is simply boiled until wilted.

In lieu of kimchi, Yusuke stir fried napa (Chinese cabbage) with spicy tobanjan sauce.

The centerpiece is a hot spring egg.

Everything was arranged for the picture, then mixed up to eat.

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

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Portobello sandwich + veggie almond soup

This was another one of my cooking attempts that didn’t come out too badly. The soup came from a recipe for Soupe de Haricots Verts aux Amandes found on the lovely Chocolate and Zucchini blog.

I came across the recipe while searching for way to use my leftover powdered almonds that did not involve baking cookies. As I also happened to have carrots and green beans in the fridge, this was a propitious find.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
500 grams (a little over a pound) green beans
Fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 liter (4 cups) homemade vegetable stock or water
100 grams (1 cup) powdered almonds (see note)

You can read the full recipe from the original posting, but essentially you just sauté and then boil the vegetables, add the powdered almonds, and liquefy it all in a blender.

The soup was much sweeter than I had expected, so it went well with a salad and salty sandwiches. The texture was thick without being heavy, perfect for bread-dipping.

Above you see one of my “cooking” staples: portobello mushroom sandwiches. I marinate the mushrooms in soy sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper before grilling them on our George Foreman grill. This time we ate them on toasted rolls fresh from the neighbourhood Polish bakery. I like spinach on my sandwich, but Yusuke always goes for mayonnaise. Ugh. I hope he never discovers baconnaise.

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Tofu and tako

A pretty melange

A pretty melange

This is similar to another tofu stir fry that Yusuke often makes, but this time he used fresh(-ish) octopus instead of canned tuna.

First, he boiled the octopus until it was tender. Then sautéed the tofu in sesame oil and drained the pan. Finally, the tofu, octopus, fresh bean sprouts, and baby spinach were all stir fried, seasoned with salt and soy sauce.

The firm tofu makes this dish especially filling, and in combination with tako, the texture is very nice.

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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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