Umeboshi Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Vacation: Fourth of July!! Grilling, and pool, and family party time! mmmmm…: chicken breast rolls filled with umeboshi and shiso. Sounds very exotic, but everyone loves this recipe.

Many thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for inviting us to their beautiful home in Missouri. They had to put in a few appearances at work, we prepared food for dinner. My brother has a “secret” grilling technique for indirect heat on a Weber kettle grill: perfect for this recipe. He covers the charcoal with a cheap pizza pan punched with holes so the heat of the grill is tempered.

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.

Squid Dumplings
My husband insisted that we go canoeing one afternoon last month. It was the rare summer day with sun shining beautifully warm with a gentle breeze, perfect to enjoy the world outdoors. When he turned 50, I bought him a canoe. We’ve used it over the years, but this year this was our only outing. The local river is slow, gentle, and surprisingly scenic despite its urban setting. People fish, kayak, canoe, and run or cycle along the shoreline trails.

At home, waiting, was a half package of thawing frozen small squid. No, I did not look forward to making this recipe: squid are rather frightening. I like to eat these dumplings/burgers, but get queasy working with the squid. I’ve never seen what they look like, alive.

Turns out they are beautiful, contrary creatures, swimming backward tail first as they do.

New Year’s Soba with Duck
We shared our lucky-long New Year’s soba and duck with my sister and brother and his wife. The dish is a tradition at our house for the holiday, and this year we ate at her house.
I cooked the food in my own kitchen and brought it over. With a little planning, the meal made the trip without a problem. I made some carrot tsukemono, bought some pickled onions, and matcha ice cream. My sister-in-law provided some very nice champange.
After a hard day of New Year’s Eve shopping at Ikea, I was too tired to stay for toasting with more champange at midnight—
I was lucky and long asleep when the old year ended…

Braised Lamb Shanks
Happy New 2011 Year to all!

My husband and his step-father took their traditional New Year’s Day walk, and J. invited him for dinner. This post is about how I served leftovers to guests. Twice! and about how I now have two legs of lamb…
—we’ve come to a point in this moving house business where some things are here, some there…
I had to go out to buy a can opener, the coffee grinder is at the wrong house, the blankets are lost, what happened to our towels?
These braised lamb shanks played their role exceeding well (a nice Christmas Eve dinner), becoming stew (for my brother and his wife), then soup (for my father-in-law), making some unexpected guests warm and happy!

Stuffed Lotus Root
What might be more natural to stuff than a lotus root?
It’s a mostly hollow rhizome (actually a stolon or stem) of the lotus flower that grows in muddy ponds throughout Asia. The air passages that run through the bulb form a lacy pattern that is revealed when the rhizome is peeled and sliced crosswise.
It would be more natural to stuff a fowl.
A turkey, for a tradition holiday meal! In clearing the fridge to make room for the big bird, I came across a lotus root which I’d planned to make karashi renkon—lotus root stuffed with ground shrimp or fish flavored with miso, ginger, and Japanese mustard. That recipe is included in this post, but I used ingredients on hand to make my own interesting version. If you are more adventurous, try my much revised recipe!

Dip from Japan to Greece

The innovative combination of pureed edamame beans, feta, yogurt, and olive oil make a deliciously distinctive dip, a wasabi-pea-green and salty-not-quite-sour dunking medium for rice crackers or vegetables. So while I submit this relatively healthy snack I’ve brought over to sustain us at the work-new-house, you can enjoy it as an accompaniment to beer, sake, or as an appetizer.
This is a recipe I posted about a couple of years ago, and I posted an article with information about green soybeans in the garden.

Nagasaki-Style Braised Pork: Buta Kaku-ni

Braised pork belly, buta kaku-ni, is a special occasion dish—so very rich and succulent that one wouldn’t eat it everyday. Today is this blog’s third birthday so celebrate with me! It’s Thanksgiving Day, and while it’s too late for you to make this recipe for the holiday, it would be perfect to serve as an appetizer for your other holiday parties.

mentaiko spaghetti

Fish eggs on spaghetti! As a kid, I would have laughed at the idea. It was not in my mother’s repertoire.
When my brothers went fishing, it was up to them to clean and cook their catch; I always wished they fished more often.
Hard roe, soft roe, shad roe, coral—I didn’t know; caviar in the movies, yes but not in my mouth! 

Ikura, Sujiko, Masago, Tobiko! Kazunoko, Karasumi, Uni! Tarako + Mentaiko!

Sometimes You Just Want a Hambagu!

If you shop when you’re hungry, then you’ll come home with a surprise. My plan was to cook a new dish from Hiroko Shimbo’s book (The Japanese Kitchen): pork belly braised with daikon, then simmered in a flavorful sauce involving hours and hours of cooking time. As I looked at the displays of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats many quick and simple possibilities lured me toward one of the fastest meals I could cook. Japanese-style hamburgers are delicious!