Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Grilled Yellowtail, Komatsua Leaves Stewed with Fried Tofu, Miso Soup, and Rice Mixed with Grains ハマチの塩焼き、小松菜と油揚げの煮物、味噌汁と雑穀入りご飯

  • 塩をしたハマチの切り身をグリルパンで焼き目をつけて焼いたもの
  • 小松菜と油揚げを出汁、醤油、みりん、砂糖で煮たもの
  • ワカメとネギの味噌汁、カツオと昆布の出汁
  • 土鍋で炊いた雑穀入りご飯
Made this combo of typical Japanese homestyle food last September after a trip to a local Japanese supermarket. An hommage to mom-and-pop eateries in Japan.
  • A piece of yellowtail, salted and grilled on a grill pan to get the appetizing grill marks
  • Komatsuna leaves stewed with aburaage (fried tofu) in a sauce made with dashi broth, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar
  • Miso soup made with dashiwakame seaweed and green onions
  • White rice mixed with whole grains cooked in an earthenware pot (considered the best vessel to cook rice with)
Note: The dashi used was made by simmering dried kombu kelp and a mix of katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito flakes) and sababushi (dried smoked mackerel flakes) in boiling water.

Patty Melt パティメルト


Made this patty melt last spring. Placed a slice of cheese between two pan-fried hamburger patties, sandwiched them between two slices of toast cooked in butter spread with mustard, and cooked the whole thing on a skillet until the cheese melted.

"Cobb Salad" コブサラダ(風)


A pseudo-Cobb salad with crispy bacon, tomatoes, avocado, romaine, and hardboiled eggs, with a dressing made with bacon fat, wine vinegar, garlic and brown mustard. Made this last fall.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Crabs, Crabs, Crabs, and Salmon 蟹、蟹、蟹、そしてサーモン


Got together with the usual fishing and cooking group to eat Dungeness crab cooked in a variety of ways to kick off 2013 in style. Purchased the crabs, together with half a salmon and scallops (both freshly caught) at our usual fishmonger in Half Moon Bay (we could've bought the crabs from the fishing boats at the harbor, but it was a bit too late in the day to do so). For starts, we boiled a couple of crabs in salted water infused with herbs (thyme and bay leaves) as in the photo above.

The second crab dish was a "crab toast", inspired by a dish we had at a restaurant in New York (not quite a replication but made along the same principles). Mixed the meat from freshly boiled crab with Greek yogurt, thyme, and parsley and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of truffle oil, and served the mixture on toasted baguette with Dijon mustard, finished with with bread crumbs toasted with olive oil sprinkled on top.


The third crab dish was a Vietnamese (or Southeast Asian) style stir-fried spicy crab, similar to this roasted crab dish that I preciously blogged. Used a lot of chopped garlic, ginger, black pepper, and green chiles - making it almost excessively spicy - but so that the flesh inside the shells take on a nice flavor.

The fourth crab dish was Linguine with a tomato-cream crab sauce. Chopped up a couple of crabs in their shells into bite-sized pieces and cooked them in a tomato sauce made with minced onions, garlic, whole tomatoes and white wine (which results in a tasty sauce full of crab flavor), tossed with Linguine cooked al dente and garnished with chopped parsley.

After feasting on crab, we also had this salmon roasted on a ceder plank (see this post) with dill and lemon. We also made other dishes such as grilled scallops wrapped in nori seaweed, smoked and oven fried fingerling potatoes, porcini rubbed steak, and the other guests brought items like inari sushi, salad, and dessert, all very tasty, but I neglected to take photos of them... my sincere thanks and apologies.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Spicy Sausage and Kale with Orecchiette オレッキエッテパスタ、スパイシーソーセージとケール

Spicy sausage and kale with orecchiette pasta by naotakem

A few days into the new year, we got tired of Japanese food so made a simple pasta dish. Sauteėd finely chopped garlic and shallots in olive oil, then added crumbled spicy italian sausage (casing removed), cooked until brown, added some red wine, a bit of tomato paste, and chopped kale. Cooked until kale is wilted, then added Orecciette pasta cooked to al dente and a ladleful of pasta cooking water,  tossed well, then served on a warm plate with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Paired with a dry red Sicilian wine made with Nero d'Avola.

Porcini-Rosemary Crusted Roast Pork Shoulder 豚肩ロースのポルチーニとローズマリー風味


A variation of the porcini-rosemary crusted rib roast previously posted - this time, a roast of pork shoulder. Prepped the shoulder by cutting small slits into the meat and stuffing them with slivers of garlic, then sprinkled generously with kosher salt and let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Next day, rubbed in dried porcini mushrooms, rosemary, and black peppercorns ground to a powder mixed with paprika and onion powder (being pork, I figured that some extra spices would enhance the flavor), browned the exterior, and roasted in an 325F oven until the temperature inside reached 160F. Best to let the juices settle by wrapping the meat in foil and resting for 15 minutes or so.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Zōni, a Traditional Japanese Soup with Mochi Rice Cakes and Duck Breast 鴨肉入り雑煮




Happy New Year - 2013, the year of the snake - may we stay connected during the new year as the previous one (not my best translation of the stock phrase for Japanese New Year's greetings "Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu, kotoshimo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu", but hope you get the gist).

I don't have the skill or the time to make Osechi, the traditional Japanese New Year's assortment of dishes (osechi, please see Wikipedia for a detailed deescription), but I do make my own variation of the traditional soup, Zōni (or "Ozoni", the more polite form). I make a traditional (not entirely traditional, but still within the boundaries of traditional Zōni broth) Japanese broth based on a stock made with dried bonito flakes (katsuo dashi) seasoned with soy sauce, sake rice wine, and a pinch of salt, then add some sliced duck breasts with the skin on and kamaboko fish cakes (colored red and white for celebratory purposes) to enhance the flavor. The broth is then poured over roasted mochi rice cakes and garnished with chopped mitsuba parsley and thinly sliced yuzu citrus fruit for aroma.

There are many variations of zoni made in Japan, differing not only by region but also by individual households, but I believe my recipe (a variation of what my mother made) can be classified as a Kantō region (area around Tokyo, eastern Japan) style.