Smoked Menominee

Whenever we visit “Up North” Mr. Tess and I like to stop at The Big Stone Bay Fishery to stock up on fresh Great Lakes whitefish, smoked menominee, and fish sausage. He went up by himself to help close the cottage for the season. It was an early warning of the leaf-color soon to come to us in Southern Michigan. He spent a long weekend up there and came home with lots of great fish.

Squid Dumplings

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My husband insisted that we go canoeing one afternoon last month. It was the rare summer day with sun shining beautifully warm with a gentle breeze, perfect to enjoy the world outdoors. When he turned 50, I bought him a canoe. We’ve used it over the years, but this year this was our only outing. The local river is slow, gentle, and surprisingly scenic despite its urban setting. People fish, kayak, canoe, and run or cycle along the shoreline trails.

At home, waiting, was a half package of thawing frozen small squid. No, I did not look forward to making this recipe: squid are rather frightening. I like to eat these dumplings/burgers, but get queasy working with the squid. I’ve never seen what they look like, alive.

Turns out they are beautiful, contrary creatures, swimming backward tail first as they do.

Nengmyeøn: Korean summer noodles

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It was one of those “busy-lazy” days when cooking was low on my list, but we were hungry. Mr. Tess had found edamame beans and some lovely cherry tomatoes at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, and we had a large piece of beautiful but left-over Atlantic salmon. I also had some still-usable green onions, a small cucumber, and a nice pear. And of course, noodles came to mind. Korean buckwheat noodles.
I viewed this as an opportunity to try the instant broth packets which were included in the bag with the noodles.
Turns out that the broth was about what one would expect: salty, bland, chemical…
But it was wet, kept the noodles from sticking together, and with condiments and my good toppings, the meal was fine.

Chirashi Zushi with special guests

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The guests: our daughter, her boyfriend, and of course Mikey came to the table for this meal. This was the first time I met “the boyfriend” and of course I was apprehensive about making a good impression. My friends laughed and advised that it is his business to do so. In fact I believe that such a relationship, should there be such, must be approached as equals. Nonetheless I did not want to seem incompetent or foolish.

Chiarshi sushi, scattered sushi, is a good meal for a nervous hostess especially if one serves the component foods arranged over the table so that each diner can choose what to eat, what they each like best.

Japanese Menu for Six

https://1tess.wordpress.comA few weeks ago, we hosted a dinner for Mr. Tess’s “new” brother, his wife, their neice, and her boyfriend. We don’t know these folks very well, and I get nervous whenever we have guests. I wanted to have most of the dinner ready when they arrived, just in case an unanticipated kitchen disaster meant I’d have to resort to pizza delivery… Yes, Mr. Tess always tells me that it’s the company and not the food that is important, but none the less, I wanted to make a nice evening where things went according to plan.
My solution was a menu which I could prepare the evening or morning before, with only a small bit of close attention in the kitchen just before serving.

Corn Cream with Crab

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Corn cream is comfort food in Japan, bringing memories of mom and happy meals at home. Mr. Tess was out of town when I made this soup last summer, so this was his first taste of the Japanese childhood treat. This version is a little bit grown-up because I used real crab rather than chicken or surimi. Something satisfying, sophisticated, and simple for lunch, dinner, or even guests.

Oden: Japanese Hot-Pot おでん

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Oden is a Japanese hot-pot dish in which an assortment of fish-cakes and dumplings are cooked in dashi, kombu stock, and/or chicken stock, with other ingredients including daikon, konyaku, hard-boiled eggs, and potatoes. The delicacies you might choose for your oden hot-pot include hanpen, atsuma-age, iwashi tsumire, chikua, shrimp balls, kagosei ika maki, sankaku ganmo ichimasa, tako bei, konnyaku, shirataki, kamaboko…
and many others

Nabe with Swordfish

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Mr. Tess made his famous Kajikimaguro no Yuan Yaki (Swordfish in Yuan style) accompanied with fried potatoes. The kitchen is still in the process of moving, so there was only one smallish frying pan to cook with. As a result, he fried a pan of potatoes: it was an opportunity to test the warming drawer on this stove. Then he fried only one of the two swordfish steaks. We have been cooking with gas for decades and it’s a learning curve to understand how to cook with electricity.
This nabe recipe is the natural consequence of the circumstances: fish, mushrooms, and leftover potatoes to make a delicious hot pot.

Noodles and Japanese Shells

Noodles—quick convenient comfort, ease and pleas-ing, satisfaction certain, and fine when cooking for me. While Mr. Tess was working in New York during the past two weeks, my meals centered on this flour and water paste: a blank canvas each time, with a palette of possibilities. Here is a selection of options to stimulate your imagination—the small pictures link to recipes which I’ve written about in the last year or so. And finally a tuna salad with echoes of Japanese flavors.