Posts Tagged spinach

Spicy sesame sprouts

Spicy sesame sprouts

Spicy sesame sprouts

This dish features crispy, crunchy bean sprouts. Yusuke boiled the sprouts first and then sautéed them in salt, garlic, ginger, spicy tobanjan sauce, and sesame oil. He sprinkled sesame seeds on top to serve. Our accompanying miso soup was spinach and egg. Yummy. I should also note that Yusuke took the picture, too. Nearly worthy of a menu or food magazine, no?

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Mushroom pasta

Mushroom pasta

Mushroom pasta

According to Yusuke, the Japanese are often accused of imitating and stealing from other cultures. But on the contrary, he argues, they borrow, adapt, and create things that are new and uniquely Japanese. Enter Japanese-style pasta. There are various “traditional” ways of modifying Italianish dishes with Japanese ingredients, but Yusuke fashioned this particular offering from angel-hair pasta, oyster and button mushrooms, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, and the coup de grâce: soy sauce. The oyster mushrooms were exceptionally excellent. Sometimes its hard to find decent ones: our local grocery has been known to stock slimy mushrooms with a greenish tinge. But these were deliciously firm and smooth, and my hobbit-like fondness for mushrooms was satisfied. The soup was miso with spinach and tofu.

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Broccoli with tofu sauce

Broccoli with tofu sauce

Broccoli with tofu sauce

This was one of my culinary experiments. Which rarely turn out well. Sigh. This was actually supposed to be a quiche-like dish with tofu instead of eggs. I used a blender to mix silken tofu, soy milk, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. I poured the mixture over boiled broccoli, baby spinach, and green onions, and then I baked it in the oven for 45 minutes.

Alas, it never quite thickened properly, thus becoming tofu sauce rather than tofu pie. I think next time I’ll add cornstarch or something. The “sauce” though, turned out to be rather more tasty than I expected, similar to a cream sauce without being oily.

We had plain rice on the side, along with spicy tomato-peanut butter soup. Which, being very easy, I make from time to time. First, I sauté white onions in the soup pot with lots of minced ginger and some garlic. Then I add the rest of the ingredients: vegetable broth, 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 1 cup of peanut butter, salt, sugar, and most importantly, red pepper flakes and either tobanjan or Thai Sriracha sauce. I like to make it pretty spicy, because the final touch is to add raw bean sprouts when serving the soup. The cold, crunchy sprouts nicely balance the spiciness.

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Oyster rice

Oyster rice

Oyster rice

This was a more adventuresome dinner than anticipated. Yusuke saw a grocery store ad for oysters and had the idea to make mixed rice with oysters. So I bought some. However, when we took the oysters out of the fridge to start cooking, we realized that we didn’t know how to open them. The halves of the shells were solid with no discernible gaps. Hmm. After a few feeble attempts with butter knives, we did what any red-blooded librarian would do. We googled “how to open oysters,” in English and Japanese respectively. The internets offered a clear answer: use an oyster knife. Oh. But we were hungry and not particularly inclined to go on an oyster knife shopping trip.

So Yusuke tried something else. He smashed the end of the shell with a hammer to create an opening in which to put a knife to pry the shell open. While effective, this method resulted in a fair bit of shell shards and ocean grit on the sink, counter top, and floor. Anyway, when the dust cleared, we had a truly pathetic amount of oyster meat in the pan. In my naiveté, I had only bought ten oysters, when two dozen probably would’ve been more appropriate. But no matter. Yusuke made a yummy dinner anyway.

He boiled bamboo shoots and the oysters in a broth of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and salt, and then added it all to the rice cooker to cook the rice. The rice was fabulous, and the oysters were delicately oceany. We opted for simplicity with the soup: miso with spinach and eggs.

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Quiche

quiche

quiche

quiche and lentil soup

quiche and lentil soup

Quiche is one the staple “things-I-can-make-successfully” in my repertoire. This one came out a little odd, but still tastier than I expected. (The oddness was due to the fact that I under-filled the pie with the eggs and milk, rather than over-filling like I usually do.) The vegetables were baby spinach, mushrooms, and green onions. I used soy milk instead of regular milk, which gives the quiche a sweeter taste. I used mozzarella cheese, which again has a milder taste than Swiss (which I use sometimes). I seasoned the egg mixture with black pepper, salt, a tiny bit of mixed Italian herbs, and a pinch of nutmeg. All-in-all, it wasn’t bad, but not nearly as good as Mom’s quiche.

The lentil soup was also nearly instant, as I used a can of diced tomatoes. First, I cooked white onions in a bit of rice liquor, then I added the tomatoes, chopped carrots, lentils, a couple bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Before eating it, we added a splash of red wine vinegar to each bowl, per Jen’s suggestion.

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Miso stir fry

Stir-fried veggies with miso

Stir-fried veggies with miso

Our basic staple meal is a vegetable stir fry, rice, and miso soup. This particular stir fry has a miso-based sauce, topped with sesame seeds. The veggies are green bell pepper, white onions, carrots, and shitake mushrooms. Oh, and it had pork (or was it chicken?), too, which I picked out… The soup is one of Yusuke’s favourites: miso with eggs and baby spinach.

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Basil pasta and shrimp salad

basil pasta and shrimp salad

basil pasta and shrimp salad

This tasty spaghetti dish has basil, garlic, and olive oil. The cold salad was a perfect match: shrimp, tomatoes, white onions, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and baby spinach. The soup is seaweed and bean sprouts. When the seaweed boils, it adds a certain thickness to the soup, but the seaweed—or more precisely, wakame—itself keeps its firmness (not mushy). The bean sprouts also remain delightfully crunchy in soup. The garlic content of the salad and pasta was perfect, although after-dinner mints were most certainly required. Fortunately, we didn’t have any important networking to do after dinner…

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