Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
About ninety minutes into our hike, near the end of the trail we were on, we happened upon a patch of three wild plants that we were pretty sure could be taken home and prepared for safe consumption.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'm working on a number of different writing projects all at once, but until any of them are finished and ready to share, this will have to suffice.
Here's another simple Japanese dish that uses udon (Japanese wheat flour noodles). While many non-Japanese people are familiar with udon, they've usually only encountered it as a noodle soup with tempura-fried shrimp or vegetable fritters. But udon is also excellent when made into a stir fry. There are many variations of yakiudon, and in Japan one happily finds that, like many Japanese dishes, this can differ greatly by region.
For a little Korean flair we added kim chee to the recipe, which I find contributes quite a bit of flavor, though its pungency, perhaps through cooking, is almost negligible. We usually eat this for lunch, though on this occasion we had it for dinner. Also, if you're going to use udon, you may want to consider freezing it first. Surprisingly, frozen udon gives you more suppleness than udon that has been kept for a while on a store shelf or hidden away in a cabinet.
This recipe, by the way, serves two people.
2 100 g (3.5 oz) packages of udon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 lb pork loin (sukiyaki pork works best), sliced thin
1 bunch chives
3 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup kim chee
1 teaspoon dashi
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 package bonito flakes
1. Boil water.
2. Add udon (one 100 g of udon is enough for one person) and boil according to directions on package. Boiling times differ according to the udon brand. Ours suggested 10 minutes.
3. While draining noodles, rinse with cold water. When finished, your noodles should be semitransparent and slightly firmer than spaghetti is after boiling.
4. Heat vegetable oil in wok or large pan.
5. Add pork loin and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add chives, mushrooms, and any other vegetable you have available, such as bean sprouts, cabbage, chopped carrots, green peppers, etc. You can even thrown in a handful of medium-sized shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add kim chee and cook for 3 minutes.
8. Stir in dashi (we use the dry, pellet form), soy sauce, and mirin. Cook until liquid mostly evaporates.
9. Serve in bowls. Top with half a package of bonito flakes and, if you have it, some Japanese pickled ginger (gari – the pink kind you eat with sushi).
P.S. I just received an order of Euell Gibbons books about foraging for and preparing wild foods. If I'm lucky, I'll do a little write-up of those at some point, too -- hopefully after exploring some of the wild foods available to me in Hawaii. If anyone has this sort of experience, in Hawaii or elsewhere, I'd love to hear about it.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Sometimes, when we're too busy or tired to go all-out on a meal, we like to head to a Japanese grocery in Honolulu called Marukai and buy sashimi. Once we return home it's easy to whip up a pot of miso soup, some boiled spinach, and of course rice. Easy, quick, and healthy. But today, once we found ourselves at Marukai, we decided we wanted a lot of vegetables. Japanese vegetables. And we wanted them so that we could make agebitashi, which we haven't had in a long time.
4. Whenever a batch is done, drain on newspaper or paper towels.
5. After draining, add veggies to the container holding your broth.
Agebitashi is best served with rice. Regular steamed rice goes nicely, but if you want to add some nutrition to your normal rice, try making it into takikomi gohan (one version of Japanese "mixed rice") like this:
Before cooking it, the takikomi gohan should look something like this:
And when cooked, you can expect this:
When all of this was done we included miso soup and simmered Japanese pumpkin (kabocha no nimono).