Eggplant with Japanese-style Scrambled Eggs

One of my favorite summer vegetable dishes in Hiroko Shimbo’s book, The Japanese Kitchen, features splendid fresh tomatoes and steamed eggplant. Steaming small Japanese eggplant transforms the flesh into a creamy sweet treat. I expected this vegetable dish to be as delicious, and perhaps it is. J enjoyed it. But the grey-tan mushy look of the dish put me off.
Suggestions: Add the soy sauce to the eggplant rather than to the eggs; they would look much better if they were yellow.
Also, find small eggplants with thin skins: a bit of darker color in the mix would make a more interesting dish.

Japanese Braised Pork Belly

Succulent buta no kaku-ni is a rich and warming cold weather Japanese dish requiring hours of steaming or simmering. Spring is now leafy and flowerful, but the temperatures vary from freezing one day, to 80° the next, so this was a dish of opportunity—because the day was chilly, and because the pork belly was in my freezer.
Many now popular Chinese and Western influenced recipes in Japan are part of a cuisine developed in Nagasaki between the 17th and 19th centuries when Japan’s only contact with the world was through that port city.
The foreign recipes were redeveloped by the Japanese to make them their own “Shippoku Ryouri.” The foods of such a meal are served Chinese-style, with serving dishes in the center of the table, rather than placing each of the components before each diner at the table—sort of ‘family-style,’ which is meant to encourage communal conviviality.

Steamed Pork with Ponzu Dressing
Again! I am trying to empty my freezer—to use the food I bought because it was such a great bargain. When I had a freezer full of bargains, it became impossible to find anything without getting hit on the head with a frozen chicken skin.
I have made some progress: I can see the light—why would anyone design a freezer with the light way in back?
Note to self: write the contents of the packages as well as the dates! Just because chicken breasts and pork loin slices look very different from each other as one puts them into the freezer, they look amazingly similar in their frozen state.
The pork loin was only about 12 ounces, but it was so good we could have eaten a lot more!
You’ll see.

Golden Kimizu Sauce

https://1tess.wordpress.comThis meal is very pretty with slices of the palest pink chicken breast, bright green asparagus, and golden sauce. The breast is steamed with lemon slices and sake so it’s luscious and juicy. The kimizu sauce is made with egg yolks, sugar, and vinegar so it is sweet and smooth. I discovered that sometimes Ms. Shimbo adds a little Japanese mustard, and the bit of heat wakes up the flavors. The other advantage of this meal is that it is equally satisfying hot, room temperature, or cold. J. took a container to eat on the road. And in the creative spirit of wafu pasta, I finished it for dinner on spaghetti.

Steamed Ginger-Flavored Snapper

steamed-snapper_6348There is a tale, or fable, that many know, about cutting a ham in half. One variation with a child asking her mom why she cuts the holiday ham in half before putting it into the oven. She asks mom, who says grandma did it that way, and grandma says her mother did it that way, and finally great-grandma who explains that when she was first married she didn’t have a pan large enough to fit a whole ham. And she’d always thought that it dried out the ham.

Cooking Technique: Steaming

Click on a thumbnail to open the recipe. Steaming: Mushimono Cooking in a contained, hot, wet atmosphere—steaming— is a method of cooking common throughout Asia. Steam cooks foods quickly and without loss of flavor, aroma, vitamins, and tenderness. Many vegetables are candidates for steaming, as are poultry and seafood. Sea bream, flounder, salmon, clams, and…

Duck Breast with Mustard-Miso Dressing

Duck with Miso-Mustard DressingThe duck breasts I bought for our toshikoshi soba came frozen solid in a large package, so there were plenty left to make another meal. This recipe came from Ms. Shimbo’s mother who prepared it for a special treat. When I made this recipe in 2007 it was summer-time, and my daughter was visiting then too. She’s living in Madrid and has mentioned that much of Spanish home-cooking involves a lot of greasy, oily foods, so I have modified the recipe to avoid excess fatiness. Ducks really do have fat skin! This method of steaming the duck in broth makes the meat tender and juicy.