Mr. Tess has been working away from home, in Florida and Virginia over most of the the winter—and he finally got home last night. I planned a wonderful welcome-home dinner with miso marinated lamb chops.
You may have noticed the new button in my right sidebar? I’m taking up the challenge from Ella at From Scratch to not shop for groceries for a week, in an effort to save money. For me it’s also an effort to save time by not going to the store. Perhaps it’s my inner “gatherer” (vs. “hunter”) that no matter how short my list, I can easily spend an hour just looking at things and imagining the possibilities for them. And perhaps my “gatherer” becomes a “hoarder” when I find a good deal on something. My freezer is so full of bargains that when I open the door, stuff falls out.
A quick search in the freezer reminded me that I still have some home-made ramen stock. What would be better than a nice hot bowl of noodles and vegetables? The cook can use seasonal varieties of her choice, being aware of how the colors and textures will mix. I’ve noted the vegetables that were seasonal in my refrigerator. As a guide, you want 9 kinds of vegetables, about 1/2 cup each.
Notice that the title of this recipe starts with the chives, rather than the liver? I imagine this will not become my most popular post. Many people do not care for organ meat. But have some amenability, and this recipe will be a revelation! The liver was luscious, tender and deeply flavorful. The ginger added just the right amount of heat, the sesame oil hummed a slightly exotic but comforting note, the chives were in key with a subtle garlic tone, and the sauce carried all the flavors in perfect harmony.
When I told Mr. Tess that we’d be eating “chikin raisu” he was skeptical. This Japanese dish is made with leftover rice, chicken, and ketchup. Chikin raisu was introduced to Japan at the turn of the 20th century, and though it is a meal without a long tradition, it is “comfort food” which appeals to children of all ages. And you know what? It was really nice, and tasty, and comforting.
This Japanese recipe can be quickly prepared with pantry-stable items and a few vegetables. Kikurage are dried black mushrooms, sometimes called “cloud ears.” Koya-dofu is freeze dried tofu which looks like a fine textured ivory sponge. These ingredients are often added to soups because they absorb the flavors of broth. This recipe features the interesting textures which these unusual ingredients add to a stir-fry. Serve it with plain rice and a simple miso soup for a nice dinner at home.
Like ginger? Like garlic? Like sesame? Like, where’s the beef?
Here is the beef; this is the Japanese recipe for you!
You’ll like how easy this dinner is to cook.
You’ll like how satisfied your tummy is when you finish eating.
And your family or guests will like you.
Your children and their childrens’ children (your grand-children, too)
will want to be a great cook,
just like you.
The traditional version of this Japanese recipe is made with eggplant and small Japanese green peppers. But the sweetened miso sauce can be used with a variety of vegetables: asparagus, cabbage, kale, mushrooms, mustard greens, radicchio, tomatoes, zucchini—use your imagination to create a colorful meal.