Stir-fried Liver and Garlic Chives

This Japanese Chinese-style recipe features Chinese chives and lovely tender calf’s liver which melts in your mouth with a salty-sweet gingery sauce.

The pretty green chives are sometimes called nira grass or garlic chives, and its Latin name, Allium tuberosum, means it is part of the onion family. It is a perennial plant which grows into clumps of flat straight leaves. Clusters of tiny white flowers appear at the end of summer on round stalks which rise above the clump. The flowers last well into autumn, providing a bright display in garden when many flowers are well past their prime.

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Rice Consommé with Umeboshi

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japanese rice porridge
Rice consommé is a fair title for this recipe, but it is better described as rice porridge. Porridge connotes comfort and warm pleasure. Picture Goldilocks enjoying the little bowl of porridge—it was “just right!” Porridge is poor man’s food, extending a little grain or legumes with liquid and vegetables. It can be so magical as to offer freedom from poverty and hunger.

From fairy tales to Shakespeare with humor

Minty Carrot Tsukemono

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There many kinds of Japanese pickles (漬物). Pickles add a diversity of color, shape, and texture to a meal, even to the most basic Japanese meal of rice, miso soup, and pickles. 

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While some pickles are made especially to preserve food, others celebrate the time of year by transforming the best seasonal vegetables into annual traditions to look forward to.

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Japanese pickles play a role similar to Korean banchan, making a dinner more than the sum of its parts. They are like little salads—almost as if one picked out the best most flavorful items without having to chew through the acres of greens, drenched in oil based dressings.

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Hot Somen with Chicken and Eggplant

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Spring dances toward Michigan with a leap forward, two steps back, and turn about. Yesterday was 70° (21°C) and bees were sluggishly sucking nectar from crocuses. Though crocuses wilt quickly when temperatures rise, today they are stiffly closed against a chilly 44° (6°C). There are rumors (otherwise known as weather forecasts) that it will snow tonight. This Japanese-style chicken noodle soup is comfort on a cold day. The pretty green peas and okra chips remind us that spring is coming.

Steamed Pork with Ponzu Dressing

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Again! I am trying to empty my freezer—to use the food I bought because it was such a great bargain. When I had a freezer full of bargains, it became impossible to find anything without getting hit on the head with a frozen chicken skin.
I have made some progress: I can see the light—why would anyone design a freezer with the light way in back?
Note to self: write the contents of the packages as well as the dates! Just because chicken breasts and pork loin slices look very different from each other as one puts them into the freezer, they look amazingly similar in their frozen state.
The pork loin was only about 12 ounces, but it was so good we could have eaten a lot more!
You’ll see.

Five-Color Sushi

This is a type of scattered sushi, please click here to read about this recipe! Scattered sushi and scattered life was the sort of evening we had. Mr. Tess was packing—involved some laundry (of course), searching for keys (oc in [my version of] textspeak), fixing the sink spray-hose thing-y which I don’t use (it has…

Senba-jiru: Fishermen’s Soup

Senba Jiru Japanese Fishermen's SoupThe name of this soup literally means “onboard boat,” indicating that it was made on fishing boats. Today, however, fish is caught on large factory-size boats that spend weeks out on the open seas. The fish are caught, cleaned, and frozen right on board, making it possible to haul in big volumes at relatively low costs. This soup can be made with fish scraps (from other meals), or with cheaper fish—Ms. Shimbo specifies mackerel, but suggests salmon can be used for a less “fishy” taste.

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.