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.

Korean Vegetable Pancake

hanuka-candles
It’s Hanuka and we have been eating pancakes. These were pancakes made by Mr. Tess some time ago, yet they deserve some space on my blog.
I bought a bag of Korean pancake mix, thinking it would have some special secret ingredient. I’d made them from scratch with vegetables and seafood but they were not quite the same as the pancakes served at our favorite Korean restaurant. But no, just ordinary flour, baking powder, spices… I hate wasting food, and the minor convenience of one measuring cup, one bowl, a knife, and a frying pan means we’ll eat them at least a couple of more times…

Korean Cold Noodle Soup with Radish Water Kimchi

eating Korean noodles with a fork
Eating cold noodles in winter, preferably in front of a great big fire, is a way of enjoying the best of two seasons.

We made a meal of this when Mr. Tess returned from Philly after working there for nearly two months. As a dyed-in-the-wool noodle-lover it was the best thing I could think of to welcome him home.

I don’t think he was disappointed in the menu; at any rate he was happier than the cats were.

Korean Radish Water Kimchi

water kimchi cut for dinner

Making kimchi seemed a wonderful idea. I spent a lot of deep-in-the-night sleepless hours roving the internet while Mr. Tess was working in Philadelphia. Radish water kimchi made me laugh, especially when I heard about a cold noodle soup made with this pickle. The weather was beginning to be chilly in October, and I wanted to hold on to summer if only in my dining room.
These pickles are absolutely delicious, especially the water which can only be called addictive: sour, salty, sweet, and popping good…

On Saving Gingko Nuts


Last year our gingko tree produced a massive crop of nuts leading to the question of how to preserve them. I carefully washed and dried the unshelled nuts and put them into sealed plastic containers. Some I stored in the pantry, some in the fridge, and some in the freezer.

The gingko nuts from the freezer were chewy, and while they retained a little gingko-ness, they were not the ephemeral seasonal gingkos. They are fine to add to a hot pot, or soup, or steamed with vegetables because they would add a nice texture, but they are only a sorry memory of a bountiful autumn.

Our beautiful tree won’t have many nuts this year…

Shiso Watch 2012

While I have been studying Japanese cooking, shiso has become a significant summer flavor. It’s easy to grow, and has a role in lots of recipes. I think it will be of interest to see how well they grow over this season and what use I can make of the leaves.
I’ll add to this post as the plants grow.
In the meantime, click the thumbnails for links to recipes.




















Corn & Cabbage Buttered Miso Soup


The Japanese love corn:
on pizza, pasta, at McDonald’s, in gyoza, in soup, …so why not add it to miso soup?
As for cabbage in Japan, it is used in one of their most famous dishes: okonomiyaki, the cabbage-stuffed “as you like it” pizza.

Cabbage is also popular in soups, pickles, and as a side dish for deep-fried foods.

So why not enjoy it in miso soup?

Add a pat of butter, and you’ll experience sweetness and richness if only in a meal.

Ginkgo Nut Bleu Cheese Bites

Yesterday, under a sunny sky with golden ginkgo leaves raining down on me, I gathered yet another bucket of ginkgo nuts. Yes, we have several hundred. It must be my squirrel genes! Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been thinking about appetizers to bring to holiday dinners. Hostess gifts! Crackers are good: they can be served immediately or saved to enjoy later. I thought of cheese crackers with ginkgo nuts and found a few recipes which inspired me to try a version of my own.