Gingered Pork

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ginger pork w wine_6319
This recipe is similar to one I’ve enjoyed often, but the method of preparing the thin slices of pork is ingenious. We’ve all heard about partially freezing meat to make it easier to slice thinly. In this recipe Ms. Shimbo has the cook use a mallet to pound pork cutlets thin. Pounding the meat means no need for knife skills!

I’ve made variations of this recipe, served with different vegetables, as donburi, as sandwiches, and they are all delicious! I even carried a bento with ginger pork on a plane to Florida—much tastier the the tiny packet of dry pretzels, though perhaps I’d advise leaving out the garlic…

Hot Broth for Japanese Noodles

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Japanese noodles in hot broth
This is a master recipe from Hiroko Shimbo’s book Hiroko’s American Kitchen to allow a cook to be creative with how to make Japanese noodles at home. You can use udon, soba, or somen noodles. The flavor is authentically Japanese, and the recipe provides a “master sauce” so you can make a lovely dinner in a quick hurry once you’ve stocked the “super sauce” in your freezer. If you love Japanese home-cooking, and Japanese noodles, then you need to learn this technique to get a delicious dinner on the table in minutes!

Super Sauce—for a Japanese pantry

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Japanese pantry recipe
Hiroko Shimbo’s book, Hiroko’s American Kitchen, is about how to enjoy Japanese home-cooked flavors in the U.S.

Many ingredients available in Japan are not readily found in this country she has now adopted as her home. She has found many delicious different ingredients here, and has adapted them in very Japanese ways by cleverly presenting a half dozen Japaneses “pantry staple sauces” as the basis of more than 100 recipes. Each has traditional Japanese flavors, and will bring us to the childhood-memory flavors of her home.

Honey and Pepper Sesame Chicken

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honey pepper sesame chicken ingredients
This marinade for chicken, made with a traditional Japanese combination of sesame and soy sauce, is accented with the sparkling sweetness of honey and spiced with black pepper and garlic. You can slice the chicken into thin cutlets to fry; you can bake boneless thighs or breasts with the marinade then slice them. You can serve the chicken hot or cold, over rice or noodles or even on a green salad.

Rosh Hashanah 2013 / 5774

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rosh-hashan-chicken_3569L’Shanah Tova!
A Good and Sweet Year!

My kitchen was redolent with the sweet spice fragrances of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom combined with the scent of caramelizing honey as the honey cakes baked while I prepared a Jewish New Year’s meal with a Japanese accent.

Rosh Hashanah is early this year, and because the weather is so summer warm and sunny, with only a hint of low slanting autumn light, I decided to make a chicken salad with a sumiso dressing.

Miso Grilling Sauce: Dengaku

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grilled eggplantThe Farmers’ Market had lovely eggplants to remind me of this tasty grilling sauce called dengaku, made with miso, saké, mmirin, and sugar, and in this recipe, thickened with eggs. It’s a traditional Japanese grilling sauce for tofu, but one can use this grilling sauce with other vegetables, seafood, and fish. This style of grilling is very popular with home cooks. It’s easy to make, and with soup, rice, and pickles makes a filling meal.
The various vegetables that are grilled with dengaku sauce include sliced eggplant, large mushrooms, green pepper strips, and sliced sweet potatoes. More modern variations include scallops or small fish such as sardines, smelt, ayu, or trout. Some recipes include deep-frying the food before grilling and caramelizing the sauce. Simpler recipes use charcoal broiling, oven broiling, or pan-frying.

Summer Shabu Shabu

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tomato-bounty_3479This summer has been cool. Our garden tomatoes ripen so slowly, so late; but there are lots of tiny green fruits. We’ve had to be content with a few small bowls of these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes. But the bounty is beginning…
Mr. Tess and Little Tess came home from the Farmers’ Market with a bunch of yellow beans with purple stripes. They were long and the beans in their pods looked large, perhaps more mature than I would have chosen, but none the less intriguing.

The Best Yakitori Sauce

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yakitori-chicken_3097This is a basic sauce (tare) can be used all summer for grilling chicken. Yakitori is usually chicken on skewers: yaki=grilling and tori=chicken.

This basic sauce can be used for more than yakitori. Use portions of the sauce to grill: chicken, pork, fish, or just about anything you can cook over charcoal, food you cook on skewers, or not!

Add some orange juice, honey, fruit preserves, spices, and voila: teriyaki sauce.

Shabu Shabu Gift

aroma-induction-cktp_0747Oh winter cold, winter dark, winter comforts so dearly embraced: it’s when friendly time beside the fire and good food is most satisfying.

A nabemono is a warm and convivial way of sharing meal. A pot of water or broth simmers in the center of the table, surrounded by plates of meat, fish, tofu, fruits, and vegetables. With chopsticks (or fondu forks) diners slide morsels of food into the simmering stock to cook, then lift them out to a plate.

This Christmas, my sister and my daughter surprised me with an induction cooktop and prepared a lovely Christmas Eve shabu shabu!

Kimchi, Soba, and Pesto


My recent casual but frequent abuse use of umeboshi, the sour salty pickled plums loved in Japan, set in motion a series of meals involving kimchi and fresh Korean soba noodles. Little Tess went to the Galleria to pick up some more umeboshi for me and saw that they were selling the same brand of fresh soba she loved in California. Like any good shopper who doesn’t stick to her list she fell for a container of kimchi which she’d been craving.