Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shimeji mushrooms and komatsuna greens cooked in a konnyku-bonito dashibroth シメジと小松菜の出汁煮


This is a slight variation from a side dish that I previously made with greens as a side dish to go with salted and grilled hamachi (yellowtail). Stir fried washed and chopped komatsuna leaves and shimeji mushrooms briefly with canola oil, then added a bonito-and-kombu dashi flavored with a bit of soy soy sauce, sake, and sugar (the sake and sugar mix was a substitute for mirin, which I've run out of) and stewed for a few minutes. The intent for stir-frying was to enhance the flavors of the komatsuna and shimeji, which could be a bit bland if merely cooked in dashi.


The complete meal - the difference from the previously featured one being the miso soup, this time made with tofu and sliced scallions (instead of seaweed and onions).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stewed Hamburger (Sailsbury) Steak 煮込みハンバーグ


  • 皮を剥いたニンジンを大きめに切り、塩を振って電子レンジで火を通したものと、ブロッコリーを軽く茹でた、あるいは蒸したものを用意する
  • 鋳鉄のフライパン(オーブンに入れるためこれを使用)でベーコンを数切れ炒め、油が出て香ばしく焼けたら取り出し、刻んでおく
  • 余分な油をペーパータオルで拭ってからハンバーグを入れ、両面にいい焼き色が付くまで焼いてから(火を完全に通さなくても良い)一旦取り出す
  • ハンバーグの焼き汁が残ったフライパンに薄切りのタマネギとマッシュルームを入れ(油が足りず焦げてしまいそうならバターやサラダ油を補う)て炒め、キツネ色になったら小麦粉を少量加え、粉っぽさが無くなるまでさらに炒める
  • お湯で溶いたチキンコンソメ、赤ワイン、ケチャップ、ウスターソースを好みの配分で加え(写真のものは4:2:1:1ぐらいの比率、量はフライパンの大きさに合わせて)、良く混ぜ合わせて沸騰寸前まで加熱する
  • ハンバーグを再投入し、ニンジンを加え、325℉(162℃)に熱しておいたオーブンにフライパンごと入れて10分ほど煮込む
  • ブロッコリーとベーコンを乗せ、さらに5分ほどオーブンで熱して完成

Made this dish as a way of utilizing leftover (uncooked and frozen) hamburger patties. I've avoided stewed hamburgers (popular in Japan) thinking that stewing was a technique to avoid undercooking or overcooking thick hamburger patties, and therefore akin to cheating, but this turned out to be a pretty tasty dish in its own right. Never dismiss a dish without eating - or in this case, making it.
  • Prep the vegetables - peel and and cut carrots into fairly large pieces, then cook them in a microwave with a sprinkling of salt, and also lightly boil or steam some broccoli
  • Fry a few slices of bacon in a cast iron skillet until the fat is rendered, set aside the bacon and chop into small pieces
  • Wipe off excessive fat with a paper towel and cook the hamburgers until nicely browned on both sides - no need to cook through - then set aside
  • Add thinly sliced onions and mushrooms to the pan and sauté until slightly caramelized in the pan juices (add some butter/oil if necessary to avoid burning), add a small amount flour and stir well until the onion/mushroom mix is evenly coated
  • Add a mix of chicken bouillon (cubes dissolved in hot water is fine), red wine, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce to taste (I used a 4:2:1:1 ratio and adjusted the amount to have enough cooking sauce in the skillet), bring to a simmer
  • Add the hamburgers and the carrots into the skillet, place in an oven heated to 325F, and cook for 10 minutes or so
  • Add the broccoli and the chopped bacon, cook for another 5 minutes, then serve in the skillet
If one could make some demi glace this would become a pretty elaborate dish, but the above broth/red wine/ketchup/WS combination makes this into a rice-friendly, homestyle dish. Went well with a Cabernet, too.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Salad of Mixed Greens and Cara Cara Oranges with Basic Vinaigrette Dressing 季節の葉野菜とカラカラオレンジのサラダ、基本のヴィネグレット・ドレッシング





  • 非金属(お酢の酸対策)の容器に注いだ赤ワインヴィネガーに細かく刻んだ少量のニンニク(大きさにもよるけど1~2カケ)を漬け、30分ほど置く
  • ニンニクの風味がお酢に移ったかな、というところでオリーブ油を加える
  • ワインヴィネガーとオリーブ油の比率は1:4~1:5といったところ
  • お酢と油が分離しないよう、ほんの少量(入れすぎるとマスタード臭くなるので)のディジョンマスタードを加え、泡立て器などで良く撹拌する
  • 和える際には野菜の歯ごたえと形状に気をつけながら全ての材料がうっすらとコートされるように良く混ぜ合わせる
To be totally honest, I've learned to appreciate how good vegetables can taste fairly recently (the last 5~6 years, perhaps), but these days I find myself making regular trips to the local farmer's markets (in San Francisco) to seek tasty vegetables of the season. 

It may seem awfully simplistic to make salads out of such fine vegetables, but after learning some techniques on making good salad (such as how to use oil and salt, and how to prep the vegetables) from the recipes of a famous Napa restaurant, I find myself enjoying making and eating salads - what I previously ate out of a sense of obligation to have a "balanced" meal.

The pictured is one of such salads that I made. Washed a spring mix of leafy vegetables in ice water, then removed the excess water (critical step to have a crispy texture) with a salad spinner before gently tossing with a simple vinaigrette (see below) so that the vegetables are evenly and thinly coated - and only seasoning with salt and pepper immediately before serving (also critical: salt added too early will rob the vegetables of its crispiness). Finished with some Cara Cara oranges to add some sweetness.

How to make a simple vinaigrette:
  • Pour a bit of red wine vinegar into a non-metallic bowl, then add a small amount (1~2 cloves, perhaps) of finely chopped garlic, let stand for 30 minutes or so
  • When you feel that the vinegar is infused with garlic flavor, add olive oil
  • Ratio of vinegar to oil: 1:4 to 1:5 depending on your taste
  • Add a dash of Dijon mustard to emulsify the oil - unless you want a strong mustard flavor, keep the amount very small, mix well
  • When tossing the salad, toss well so all the vegetables are thinly coated, but be gentle so the vegetables maintain their original shape and texture

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ossobuco alla Milanese with Saffron Risotto ミラノ風オッソブッコとサフラン風味のリゾット


Made this Ossobuco when I found some bone-in veal shanks with bone marrow at the local Whole Foods Market. Browned the shanks an all sides, then stewed in a mixture of chopped and sautéd aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, and garlic), white wine, and tomatos. More time than skill required to make this - used the stewing time to make gremolata (mix of chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic) as a garnish and a saffron risotto milanese on the side. Enjoyed with a Barolo - very satisfying.