Oh winter cold, winter dark, winter comforts so dearly embraced: it’s when friendly time beside the fire and good food is most satisfying.
A nabemono is a warm and convivial way of sharing meal. A pot of water or broth simmers in the center of the table, surrounded by plates of meat, fish, tofu, fruits, and vegetables. With chopsticks (or fondu forks) diners slide morsels of food into the simmering stock to cook, then lift them out to a plate.
This Christmas, my sister and my daughter surprised me with an induction cooktop and prepared a lovely Christmas Eve shabu shabu!
Again I’m repeating a favorite summer recipe from the past. This meal can be prepared ahead of time. Prepare it in the morning while it is cool, and cooking is not unpleasant; or cook the beef, cut the fruit and vegetables, then chill the sauce for a dinner to host without stress. The colors of the fruits and vegetables arranged on a serving platter are stunning.
I’m making an effort to cook for just myself, rather than noshing or skipping meals. Here is a simplified version the seseame sauce for noodles I’ve made in the past: I made a smaller recipe so I won’t be eating it for days and days, and I didn’t grind my own sesame seeds, added some spiciness because I was feeling hot (it was 85°F !!! —last week I had to scrape ice off the windsheild), and garnished the noodles with asparagus so this dish would be a complete meal and not a snack.
When the weather is so humid that you need gills to breathe, no one wants to cook. It’s a riddle. It’s hard to be cool as a cucumber when you’re one hot tomato, especially when you enter Hades’ kitchen intent on finding something to eat. Don’t be crabby; maintain your sangfroid! Throw some spaghetti on the wall, and “open sesame“—there’s your menu! And, “Nori a bad word said.”
This is a beautiful summer meal. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese dish in which very thin slices of meat are cooked in simmering water at the dinner table by the diners. In winter it’s comforting to sit near a pot of boiling water, warming the hand holding your chopsticks to swish and cook your food. Not so fun when it’s hot and humid. This recipe is served chilled with peppers, papaya, beef and sesame sauce.
This is another Japanese sesame sauce for noodles—spiced up with toban jiang and served on ramen noodles it’s perfect for a hot summer day. The toppings can include whatever vegetables that are in season: tomatoes, cucumbers, bean sprouts, summer squash, chard, and so on. You can use chicken, tofu, ham, meatballs, hard boiled eggs… The recipe here includes a nice way to poach chicken breasts that won’t overheat your kitchen, nor will it strain your powers of concentration.