Cucumber Cups

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The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving Elegant Garnishes for All Occasions by Hiroshi Nagashima

Mr. Tess brought me a book about Japanese vegetable carving from Tokyo Fish Market when he visited San Francisco last February; I’d not tried my knife skills on any vegetables.

These little cucumber cups, called King’s Crowns in the book, didn’t look too difficult for a first attempt at decorative vegetable carving.

Black Sesame Seared Tuna

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seared-tuna_8835My daughter is visiting again, and she loves tuna, so of course I had to make this unique seared tuna for her.
There are hundreds of recipes for seared tuna, ample evidence how popular Japanese food is in the U.S. But this recipe is special because it uses crushed black sesame seeds. The fish is marinated and coated with black sesame seeds, then flour, and finally quickly deep-fried.
The black and pink make a striking appearance, and the deep fried crisp coating makes a lovely contrast with the succulent tuna.

Sesame-Crusted Seared Tuna

Black-Sesame-Tuna_5827Recipes for seared tuna are very plentiful online: page after page, but this recipe is unique! The black sesame seeds for the coating are toasted and lightly crushed to release maximum flavor. They are added to the marinade to absorb even more flavor. The fish is coated with both the sesame seeds and a little flour, then deep-fried—a technique that ensures maximum crispness on the outside, and tender nearly uncooked tuna inside. Very luscious. You’ll note that my pictures to illustrate the recipe did not turn out well at all, and the good news is that I’ll have to make this dish again to show off how amazingly wonderful it is.

Tuna Hot-Pot two

Apple Brandy from NormandyThese past few weeks have been wonderful with having us all together: Mr. Tess suggested that this occasion was suitable to open the bottle of apple brandy we got in Normandy, in 1999.
In the autumn of 1998, we got a phone call from a man asking to speak to “Jack” (Mr. Tess’s father), who had died in 1972. The stranger was a paratrooper in Normandy on D-Day, as was “Jack.” The fellow had a picture from “Newsweek” magazine with a picture of “Jack” carrying an injured French boy—and he knew that boy, now grown up, who wanted to meet and thank “Jack.”

Neginma-nabe: Tuna and Leek Hot Pot

Negima Nabe Tuna and Leek Hot PotSouth East Michigan got 6″-7″ of snow the other day, and now the night-time temperatures are 0*F (or insignificantly better), with high winds. Miserable climate! One of my cats is desperate to go outside, moaning and clawing the carpet to get my attention. This weather is also making me claustrophobic. What better time, then, to have some nabemono? This Japanese hot pot meal is easy to make, delicious, and hearty.