Miso Grilling Sauce: Dengaku

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grilled eggplantThe Farmers’ Market had lovely eggplants to remind me of this tasty grilling sauce called dengaku, made with miso, saké, mmirin, and sugar, and in this recipe, thickened with eggs. It’s a traditional Japanese grilling sauce for tofu, but one can use this grilling sauce with other vegetables, seafood, and fish. This style of grilling is very popular with home cooks. It’s easy to make, and with soup, rice, and pickles makes a filling meal.
The various vegetables that are grilled with dengaku sauce include sliced eggplant, large mushrooms, green pepper strips, and sliced sweet potatoes. More modern variations include scallops or small fish such as sardines, smelt, ayu, or trout. Some recipes include deep-frying the food before grilling and caramelizing the sauce. Simpler recipes use charcoal broiling, oven broiling, or pan-frying.

Swizzle Grapes

frozen grapes swizzle stickA cold drink on a hot summer’s day is poetry on the tongue. Enjoyed solitary, or with a convivial group, a cup of icy minty tea, a tall glass of lemonade with lime, a mug of chilled Korean honeyed fruit tea, a tumbler of white grape juice, or a favorite cocktail is a small pleasure of summer.

ThanksGiving 2012

warm thanksgiving in michiganWhere did the time go? I’m writing this post in August 2013, on a cool summer afternoon not unlike the warm Thanksgiving day last November when Mr. Tess took a long sunny-morning bike ride, and Little Tess prepared a feast. It was a beautiful day, and memory makes it more perfect.

The philosopher Martin Heidegger observed that time “persists merely as a consequence of the events taking place in it.” Our brains understand the passage of time by the things we experience. A year has passed with little evidence that anything of note happened. At least not on this blog…

Looking through photo albums proves otherwise.

Barbarian Chicken: be prepared!

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japan-marinated-chix_2709Tori Namban-zuke is a versatile Japanese recipe that I love!I have prepared this Japanese marinated chicken at least once per year since 2008! This recipe is easy, but allow time for the chicken to marinate over-night. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make it ahead in preparation for a busy day at work, or even better, for a party. The recipe has evolved over the years. I’ve made it with chicken thighs and breasts. I’ve fried, baked, poached, or steamed the chicken. I’ve served it hot, and cold.

Lasagna Bolognese

Christmas guest from China
Lasagne is a collated noodle dish.

My perfect lasagne would be straightforward al denté noodles framed with luscious sauce, just as lightning, seen against extravagantly swirling deep blue and grey clouds, is both dramatic and simple.

This recipe is not that, but it is luscious, subtle, to remember, to repeat.

As Christmas 2012 dinner, it is especially memorable because we shared it with an unexpected and charming guest.

Korean Vegetable Pancake

hanuka-candles
It’s Hanuka and we have been eating pancakes. These were pancakes made by Mr. Tess some time ago, yet they deserve some space on my blog.
I bought a bag of Korean pancake mix, thinking it would have some special secret ingredient. I’d made them from scratch with vegetables and seafood but they were not quite the same as the pancakes served at our favorite Korean restaurant. But no, just ordinary flour, baking powder, spices… I hate wasting food, and the minor convenience of one measuring cup, one bowl, a knife, and a frying pan means we’ll eat them at least a couple of more times…

Chanukah Noodles

chanuka-noodles_0572

If I didn’t post, does it mean it didn’t happen?

Having my daughter back in Michigan has been fun. She found these unusual pasta shapes for Chanukah 2012 and we ate them as a variation of mac ‘n’ cheese with fried zucchini pancakes. I’m writing this now in September 2013 and I had forgotten about these interesting noodles.

Korean Cold Noodle Soup with Radish Water Kimchi

eating Korean noodles with a fork
Eating cold noodles in winter, preferably in front of a great big fire, is a way of enjoying the best of two seasons.

We made a meal of this when Mr. Tess returned from Philly after working there for nearly two months. As a dyed-in-the-wool noodle-lover it was the best thing I could think of to welcome him home.

I don’t think he was disappointed in the menu; at any rate he was happier than the cats were.

Korean Radish Water Kimchi

water kimchi cut for dinner

Making kimchi seemed a wonderful idea. I spent a lot of deep-in-the-night sleepless hours roving the internet while Mr. Tess was working in Philadelphia. Radish water kimchi made me laugh, especially when I heard about a cold noodle soup made with this pickle. The weather was beginning to be chilly in October, and I wanted to hold on to summer if only in my dining room.
These pickles are absolutely delicious, especially the water which can only be called addictive: sour, salty, sweet, and popping good…

Shiso: so she ended, the summer


Summer’s end.…from anticipation in May,
temptation in late June to early July,
satisfaction in August,
suspecting the transitory state of life in September,
realizing in October that it’s time to turn the heat on!
This post is only the (pictorial) progress of a couple of shiso plants in one summer.
WordPress.com has a new “gallery” format. See what you think of the “mosaic tiling.”

On Saving Gingko Nuts


Last year our gingko tree produced a massive crop of nuts leading to the question of how to preserve them. I carefully washed and dried the unshelled nuts and put them into sealed plastic containers. Some I stored in the pantry, some in the fridge, and some in the freezer.

The gingko nuts from the freezer were chewy, and while they retained a little gingko-ness, they were not the ephemeral seasonal gingkos. They are fine to add to a hot pot, or soup, or steamed with vegetables because they would add a nice texture, but they are only a sorry memory of a bountiful autumn.

Our beautiful tree won’t have many nuts this year…