Chawan Mushi with Ginkgo Nuts

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One of the first Japanese recipes I ever made is this savory custard. It’s more unexpected than exotic, soothing and almost familiar. Twenty years ago, I had no idea what dashi was but I must have found an instant dashi soup mix in a store specializing in foreign foods. Ginkgo nuts, lily root, and chestnuts were impossible to find; eggs, chicken breast, shrimp, and soy sauce were easy.

Eggplant with Japanese-style Scrambled Eggs

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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.

Not Okonomiyaki: buchujeon or pajeon

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Okonomiyaki, the Japanese pizza—a pancake served “as you like it” with your favorite toppings—is delicious; I’m inspired to try as many kinds as I can. Koreans enjoy a similar pancake dish called jeon; the most basic version is made with only scallions and is called pajeon, or p’ajon, pajon, pa jun, pageon, or (oddly) buchimgae or buchujeon. The last two may refer to pancakes which use garlic chives (or Chinese chives) rather than green onions; I don’t know. buchimgalu=packaged mix?

Youvarlakia Avgolemono: a Greek meatball soup

https://1tess.wordpress.comgreek-meatball-soup_8177When I was thinking about what to make for Rosh Hashanah, I looked back to what I did last year—traditions make the holidays. Hmm… does twice makes a tradition? This soup is so good, one should really make it more than once a year.
An irrelevant side-note: did you notice the word avgolemono ends in ‘mono‘ just as many of the Japanese cooking techniques I have on this blog (see my side-bar): agemono, yakimono, nabemono, mushimono, tsukemono, gohanmono! Synchronicity!

Tori Zosui: Rice Consommé with Chicken

Tori Zosui Japanese Rice SoupRice congee is rice porridge eaten in many Asian countries where rice is the major grain. It was a poor man’s dish meant to make a little rice go a long way by adding liquid and vegetables, though in many cultures it has become a comfort food. There are three variations in Japan: okayu (お粥), ojiya (おじや), and zosui (雑炊). For zosui the rice is washed to remove the surface starch before adding it to the broth, resulting in a clean and light texture. Zosui is traditionally bland, made with dashi, rice, some vegetables, and sometimes tofu, or a little chicken or seafood. In this recipe, black pepper, Layu, mitsuba, and chopped peanuts are condiments.

Chawan-mushi: Japanese Egg Custard

Chawan-MushiChawan-mushi is a savory custard—”food steamed in a cup.” Though the egg sets completely in steaming, the added ingredients make the dish a little soupy, and it’s often served in place of soup. It’s so popular in Japan that there are special cups with lids just for serving this dish. It’s also a dish eaten with both chopsticks and a spoon. You can add anything to the custard base which compliments its delicate flavor: chicken breast, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, ginkgo nuts, chestnuts, small strips of lemon rind, parboiled carrot slices, bamboo shoots, kamaboko, or even udon. I thought lobster might be nice!

Miso-Marinated Beef in an Egg-White Jacket

Miso Marinated Steak in Egg-White JacketsThis picture does not look elegant, but the meal was excellent! Mr. Tess came home later than usual and I was waiting to cook until he got home. I was beginning to worry, when he came in with an knee brace, saying the crutches were in the truck and no, he did not need them. He’d injured his knee! He got “comfortable” with his leg propped up. It was my turn to be the nurse (two years ago he took fabulous care of me when I broke my ankle)—but he kept getting up to put beer in the freezer, to get ice for his knee… Anyway, I brought him a glass of water, and pulled out a little table to put it on. He was trying not to limp as he left for work this morning…

Breaking the Fast

BlintzesI just posted about kreplach, a sort of dumpling—a filling wrapped with dough—and this post includes a recipe for another kind of wrapped food: blintzes! Like the dough for kreplach, the wrapper for blintzes is also made with flour and eggs, but it’s formed in a completely different way. The wrapper is a crepe, a sort of thin eggy pancake!