New Year’s Eve Soba: an easy recipe

new year's soba noodlesThis year I missed the year crossing toshi koshi noodles and Mr. Tess greeted the new year with the company of his laptop. He did use a very nice chopstick rest! Yes?

This is an easy to make recipe for your lucky long-life new year’s crossing noodles.
Happy 2012!

Chicken Salad re-make // toilet paper rant

At work the other day we were looking at a “scrap-booking charm” someone had donated. My co-worker asked, “Is that a roll of toilet paper?” Yes: there in a miniature reproduction made of plastic, was a roll of toilet tissue mounted in a tiny faux ceramic holder! We wondered why anyone would want to put such a thing into an embellished to-be-remembered-forever scrap-book page. What sort of pictures would you want to commemorate with a roll of toilet paper?
Ah. but this is a food blog, so enough about TP…

Spicy Sesame Noodles

Snow is falling almost invisibly, like drizzle, yet suddenly I notice the snow is becoming thick on the grass. The mild spice in this Japanese noodle dish is like that: you aren’t conscious of its heat until you realize you are warm from the inside out. While this recipe is usually eaten in the summer because it is served cold or at room temperature, the pepper makes you forget about the chill.

Autumn Chicken and Chestnuts

Chicken and chestnuts simmered in a salty sweet satisfying sauce is a favorite meal at this time of year, enjoyable for dinner guests—even folks who are not familiar with Japanese food). While a French fricassée of chicken might include olive oil, butter, garlic, herbs, and chicken stock or even some white wine, this Japanese recipe is both familiar and exotic with the flavors of saké, sweet mirin and caramelized sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper.
It’s a savory party in your mouth!

Lemon Chicken with Golden Sauce

Lemon paired with chicken is popular around the world. This Japanese lemon chicken is sure to find a regular place on your menus because it is familiar but unique. Because it is steamed with lemon slices and vegetables, it is quick to prepare, and low-fat, and the simple (almost fool-proof, well see my notes) sauce is a beautiful garnish. This recipe is party-perfect with pink, green, and gold.

Comfort Food: Rice Porridge

Early dark evenings make me crave warm comfort food. In Japan, this meal conjures your mother’s consoling touch, a gentle dish to eat when you didn’t feel well, food to soothe an upset stomach, a cozy homey dinner to simply enjoy.
This is the first time I’ve made this recipe for Mr. Tess, and I know he likes brown rice. It takes a little longer to cook, but it has a nice nutty flavor and no doubt more vitamins than the traditional white.

Rosh Hashanah: Chicken Soup for 5772
For the first Rosh Hashanah in our new house I wanted to make a meal which would reflect the change from summer to autumn. This soup is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of summer in Korea, the theory being that it warms the body so much as to make the outside temperature feel cooler. Yet the dates, chestnuts, and ginseng, and even the rice are fruit of fall. In any season, it is traditionally believed that sam gae tang helps to rejuvenate the body by replenishing essential nutrients while sweating out the toxins, thus promoting a long and healthy life. As we look forward to a sweet new year this soup was a flavorful meal to begin.

Yaki-Tori Recipe Secret
We have over-indulged in the yakitori this summer!

We’d been traveling up north when the daughter’s boyfriend visited us (first time for me, meeting him!). And the daughter’s friend from Chicago happened to be passing through town so we invited him for dinner. On the premise that the more is the merrier, we also invited my sister.

Keep in mind the fridge was rather empty. But the patti-pan squash and corn from the Farmers’ Market suggested grilling. This is how I discovered that even a small amount of the developed and well used yakitori sauce makes an amazing difference to the basic (though tasty) original recipe.

Summer Chicken Japanese-Style
This is a delicious dish is cooked chicken marinated with a sweet chili-flavored, vinegar-based nambon zuke dressing.

You can cook once then serve in many different ways.

Slice it to serve as a salad topping, or use it on ramen noodles with hyashi chuka soba sauce, reheat it in a steamer or microwave to serve it with mashed sweet potatoes, or serve it with mixed grilled vegetables.

Variation of Chicken with Umeboshi
We enjoyed the sasami no ume-shiso so much that I wanted to make them again, but with a less fussy method. This time I began with skinless, boneless chicken breasts rather than the fillets. I had some discussion with one of my readers and thought about making the dish as chicken rolls which could be sliced after grilling them. Slicing the rolls reveals the pretty spiral design which looks like you spent all day in the kitchen. Give it a try: it’s a great way to share with a crowd.