Beef Donburi

Donburi meals are Japanese comfort food, served in fast food restaurants, available in ready to heat-and-serve packets, or cooked at home for family. Donburi (kanji: 丼; hiragana: どんぶり) are also the over-sized rice bowls themselves. Rice, usually white rice, is topped with meat, seafood, tofu, and/or vegetables. I wanted something a bit more hearty. I used a delicious nutty 6-Grain Rice mixture from Kagayaki.

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.

Go Nuts! Ginkgo Nuts

A ginkgo tree is lovely with its summer grey-green fan-shaped leaves fluttering in the slightest breeze. We are lucky to have a female gingko in our front yard. This is our first year in this house, and I’ve watched the tree, waiting for the edible “nuts” to fall. The fleshy seed coat may look like yellow cherries, but it smells something like very stinky cheese or even dog feces. This post describes how to prepare ginkgo nuts for a fun and tasty snack.

Sweet Potato Cakes

https://1tess.wordpress.comWhen the recipe says to broil on low (200°C) for only 15 minutes, believe it!
Also, set a timer so you know when the time is up…
Believe it or not, these were really truly very tasty once I cut the burnt tops off. They looked ok as well, once I turned them upside down. ≥^!^≤
The young woman at the little Korean grocery (Hyundai Asian Market) was arranging a display of pretty red sweet potatoes. They looked so fresh that two of them hopped into my basket before I knew it!

Oh sweet potato cakes!!

Purslane Salad
My vegetable garden got a late start with the cold wet spring. But suddenly it exploded into a weed bed. In mid-June, we did manage to put in a few tomato plants, some shiso, basil, and marigolds.

The plant that is surrounding the tomatoes and shiso is a “weed” called purslane. I’d not seen it in such profusion away from a sidewalk or parking lot before. It’s a pretty plant, and after a bit of research I decided to give it a culinary treatment. Nice! First was this salad.

Corn Cream with Crab

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.

Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”++++++++—Sophia Loren

Like Ms. Loren, I love spaghetti. And Japanese wafu (Western) spaghetti is too good to deprive my husband of the experience: Spaghetti Napolitan! During the U.S. occupation of Japan, this scrumptious dish became popular in restaurants all over the country. It is comfort food—a meal you’d eat because your mom made it for you. The predominate flavor comes from ketchup, a condiment with variations all over our earth: fruity, sweet, sour, and sometimes hot.
Yes, I do know that ketchup has been denigrated by many gourmands…

Chicken with Chestnuts

Sweet, salty, and smooth describe this seasonal dish from Japan. Sugar, sake, mirin, and soy sauce are the usual flavors of Japanese cuisine, but by some alchemy in this recipe they are transformed to a unique flavor. I was very generous to only watch as Mr. Tess finished the leftovers for lunch the next day!
Besides the recipe:
The moving story, illustrated: even with only some of my kitchen things moved to the new house, we seem to have a talent for making clutter. Of course, in making dinner, one can’t help but make a mess. I’d like to be one of those catalog people, you know, the ones whose kitchens are picture perfect at all times? And the dish towels are new and clean and have a perfect place to hang.

Shrimp Wafers: Ebi Senbei

Soup with crackers is a classic combination, so I thought the rice consommé would be well matched with ebi senbei. The shrimp wafers are made with just that: shrimp! The shrimp are cut, flattened, then rolled thin, and deep-fried. An uncomplicated recipe, but the result depends on the quality of the shrimp. My shrimp were frozen, perhaps a bit on the small side of medium, and as soon as I began to pound them (gently), they turned to mush. This explains why my crackers are dumplings.
Should you have access to good quality shrimp, you might find this recipe worth trying.

Scallop Dengaku

dengaku-meal2_7480Mr. Tess bought shrimp and scallops for a pasta dish, but he did not use the scallops. They were beautiful large specimens, smelling of the sea, though only four. They were perfect for a small side dish for my lamb chop and corn on the cob dinner.

Scallop dengaku is an example of modern Japanese cooking mixing traditions with principles and flavors of European cooking. In this case, a gratin technique: the scallops are baked and not grilled on skewers.

Nasu Dengaku: Eggplant Grilled with Miso

Nasu-Dengaku-skewersOn our trip to the Farmers’ Market last week, and we showed enough restraint not to buy more than we’d use in a week. I bought some lovely small Japanese eggplants. We grilled them on the hibachi, in the dark—it’s getting dark too much earlier again—and some of them were overcooked. Also, if you study the picture of the plated nasu dengaku, note that I applied quite a bit more sauce than needed on them; even so, this recipe is a very nice way to eat eggplants. Try the recipe but use a lighter hand.