Again I’m repeating a favorite summer recipe from the past. This meal can be prepared ahead of time. Prepare it in the morning while it is cool, and cooking is not unpleasant; or cook the beef, cut the fruit and vegetables, then chill the sauce for a dinner to host without stress. The colors of the fruits and vegetables arranged on a serving platter are stunning.
I am reminding you, my reader, of recipes I’ve already posted for several reasons. First this is a meal that is easy to like a lot, easy to prepare, and you may have missed it first time around.
A second reason is that I started this project to cook through an entire cookbook in order to learn about Japanese home cooking and for the most part the recipes I’ve not yet tried are difficult for me. They involve sashimi quality fish that is difficult (expensive) to find in the Great Lakes state. Deep-frying still scares me and it’s too hot to fire up a big pot of oil right now.
Oh, and the main problem for me, because of a drug I’m taking, is that food tastes and smells bad to me, or like nothing. This is not a consistent problem but try eating a juicy peach which smells and tastes like nothing: the experience is only that it is too drippy and messy to bother with! So preparing a meal has often been more than I can do. We’ve been eating out, or carry-out, or my husband cooks, and if I do cook sometimes I don’t eat so there are plenty of leftovers. This is odd because I like to eat!
These repeat recipes are guaranteed to be good: I’ve made them several times and practice makes perfect!
Cold Beef Shabu-Shabu with Creamy Sesame Dressing
serves 2 to 3
Creamy Sesame Dressing:
- 4 Tablespoons sesame paste
- 6 1/2 Tablespoons dashi
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons mirin
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons shoyu (taste, and adjust if necessary)
Put the sesame paste into a suribachi. Little by little, grind or stir in the dashi. This step is fun to watch as the sesame paste turns paler and thinner as soon as the liquid hits it. Add the mirin, then the soy sauce. Taste, and if you like, add more soy sauce—it was fine for me without additional.
- 1 red bell pepper or 2 small sweet Italian peppers
this time I used a small Italian sweet red pepper and a jalapeno pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 naganegi (Japanese green onion), a young leek, or a small bunch of scallions
- 12 thin asparagus spears
this time I used green beans, which are now in season
- 1 papaya
..•• Peel the peppers. My new method is one I learned on the CooksTalk forum: wash, remove stems, cut into quarters, remove seeds, then place them skin-side up on a foil-lined cookie sheet. I used my little toaster oven, set on toast to roast the peppers—through several “toast” cycles. Or you can put them into an oven broiler for a few minutes. The skin blisters and blackens in places. Let them cool, then pull off the skins. Cut the peppers into strips.
•• Cut the negi or leek into strips about 3 inches long. If you are using green onions, cut the white and pale green parts into 2 to 3 inch lengths, then slice them into “brushes” by cutting lengthwise, but leave the strips uncut on one end. Soak in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes to make them curly like flowers.
•• Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Cool in ice water. Dry. Cut crosswise into 3 inch lengths.
•• Pit, peel, and cut the papaya into 3 inch sticks.
- 1 pound well marbled thin-sliced beef sirloin
I bought this frozen at the Korean grocery to save myself time cutting it thin. It’s not particularly well marbled, but was okay.
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Have ready, a bowl of ice-water and a colander lined with a cotton cloth. Use chopsticks or tongs to pick up one slice of beef. Plunge it into the boiling water and swish it for about 10 seconds: it turns pinkish white. Pull it out and drop it into ice water to stop the cooking—do not overcook or it will be tough! Transfer to the colander. Cook another piece. and so on…
It’s almost like eating a bouquet of flowers!