You may have noticed the new button in my right sidebar? I’m taking up the challenge from Ella at From Scratch to not shop for groceries for a week, in an effort to save money. For me it’s also an effort to save time by not going to the store. Perhaps it’s my inner “gatherer” (vs. “hunter”) that no matter how short my list, I can easily spend an hour just looking at things and imagining the possibilities for them. And perhaps my “gatherer” becomes a “hoarder” when I find a good deal on something. My freezer is so full of bargains that when I open the door, stuff falls out.
Actually, I started the challenge yesterday by not popping out to a store to buy brown konnyaku instead of the white stuff that was already in my fridge. The brown color would have been more like raccoon meat but it tasted fine. Today, I checked for recipes in my book that I’ve not yet posted about here. It appeared that I had all the ingredients in my larder for this one—no trip to the grocery! So I cooked some rice this morning and chilled it in the fridge in order to have “leftover” rice (which I’d reheated yesterday to eat with the raccoon soup). And I started soaking the kikurage. I cut the garlic and green onions. Cut the kikurage as directed in the recipe. Then I remembered that I had to thaw the Chinese sausage that is in my freezer. I emptied the freezer, shelf by shelf: no chozume—perhaps a result of me “imagining the possibilities” at the store, but not actually buying? I was sure that there was 1/2 a package in there. No sight of it. So I used some seasoned ground pork, which I usually use for quick tomato pasta-sauce. I knew I had a half package of peas in there as well. Well, there were 3 partial packages of frozen peas…
[Translation: Japanese (automatically detected) » English]
The official name is Judas’s ear (ARAGEKIKURAGE). I’ve discovered along the promenade.
from this post on a blog with wonderful and beautiful pictures
Kikurage is an edible fungus that grows on dead trees such as mulberry, elm, willow, and pomegranate. It’s also called: wood ear, cloud ear, tree ear (the larger, thicker specimens), or silver ear (albinos). Because of its crunchy texture, kikurage reminds the Japanese of the popular edible jellyfish, and it’s called wood jellyfish.
|pictures from a previous post|
Kikkurage is sold dried and looks like wrinkled bark. Soaking it will make it swell up to eight times its original size. It has very little flavor or fragrance, so it can be added to many dishes without conflicting with other flavors. It’s crunchiness is a wonderfun addition to stir-fries, soups, and steamed or simmered dishes.
Stir-Fried Rice with Kikuage
serves two to three
- 1 large (2 inch) dried black kikurage
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 1/4 ounces chozume (Chinese sausage) or other firm sausage, cubed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 scallion (both green and white parts), cut into thin disks
- 2 1/2 cups day-old cooked rice, broken up by hand
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Soak the kikurage in lukewarm water until it is softened, drain, cut off tough stem, and cut the rest into thin strips.
In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the peas for 3 minutes if fresh, 1 minute if frozen. Drain and let them stand in lukewarm water until you need them.
Heat a wok over moderately high heat, and add 2 Tablespoons of the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Cook the eggs until they are 80% done, giving several large stirs during the cooking. Transfer the eggs to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil and the sesame oil to the wok. Add the sausage, and cook it, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Drain the peas and kikurage, and add them to the pan with the scallions. Stir over high heat for a minute. Add the rice, and cook it until it’s heated through, stirring thoroughly. Return the cooked egg to the wok, break it into small pieces with your spatula, and toss it thoroughly with the other ingredients. Season the mixture to taste with salt, tamari, and pepper. Serve.
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