A Shiso Watch—telling time in the garden


A garden, if only a few pots of plants, follows its own pace. In spite of the very hot dry weather during this past week, my herbs have produced a growth spurt. It was time to pinch the top growth of leaf pairs to encourage the plants to become bushy, and to stop early flowering. I look on this event as the first small harvest. And at least a simple lunch…

Wafu Spaghetti:
Shiso, Miso,
Tomato Pasto
with Cheese

Spaghetti with Shiso and Umeboshi

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spaghetti with shiso, umeboshi, and tomatoes
This summer I haven’t used the shiso from my garden nearly enough. What was I saving it for?
Remember the scene in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome when Zeena had gone away overnight leaving Ethan and Mattie alone in the house with her cat. Mattie put a red ribbon in her hair, and carefully set the supper table for Ethan with festive treats and colorful serving dishes.

Natto Spaghetti

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Natto spaghetti is a very Japanese version of a non-traditional food.
Spaghetti Napolitan is an example of the Japanese imitating Western spaghetti. It was invented after World War II in Yokohama at the Hotel New Grand where GHQ (including General MacArthur) were staying. A chef was attempting to serve some Western-like foods when he came up with the idea of making spaghetti with ketchup. Wafuu pasuta or wafuu supagetti is popular in homes and kissaten (small cafés) all over Japan.

The concept of wafu spaghetti expanded in the 70’s when foods that are usually eaten with white rice were mixed into or put on top of spaghetti.

Spaghetti with Walnut Miso Sauce

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We saw a butterfly! Poor creature born before his time: snow and no nectar, not even a crocus.
I almost made pink soba for dinner. There is a recipe online for walnut miso sauce on soba, but didn’t bookmark it. Then I remembered a recipe from Ms. Shimbo’s book, The Japanese Kitchen, for a walnut miso dressing for vegetables. I recall that it was quite thick, and rather sweet so I have altered the original recipe a bit, adding a little rice vinegar and more dashi. The pink soba will be more appropriate when spring really has begun.

Serendipitous Okra Spaghetti with Mussels

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This is a story of how through serendipity and an open mind I came to love okra.
I’d eaten it only once, one bite, 30 years ago: it was a very slimy vegetable, suited to aliens and not for human consumption.
Husband woke me up to tell me about a radio story about how strong mussel beards are. Strong and Stretchy.
Later when I was at the store, a package of okra looked so lovely that it jumped into my cart. I thought, okay, taro is slimy and hairy and that turned out to be good.
So here we have recipes for steaming mussels, cooking okra, and making a fantastic Japanese style spaghetti!

The Japanese are not the only ones eating ketchup on spaghetti!

https://1tess.wordpress.comYes. I’m still on about spaghetti with ketchup—I really did want to like spaghetti Napolitan. I have fond memories of the summer and fall of 1974, when I shared a house with three other girls, poor students all. Almost the only times we spent together were unpredictable weekday lunches when we’d find ourselves gathered in the kitchen. We’d cook up a nice pot of macaroni stirred with butter, tomato juice, and ketchup, then sit in front of the television to watch Days of Our Lives—those were noteworthy meals. Ah. Student days…

Spaghetti Napolitan

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My husband doesn’t like ketchup very much. So, with J out of town, it’s my chance to make spaghetti Napolitan: spaghetti with ketchup sauce—hardly a typical Italian pasta dish. The recipe comes not from Naples but from Yokohama, Japan. Recipes include mushrooms, peppers, onions, hot dogs, tonkatsu sauce, and ketchup. Sometimes other kinds of sausages, slices of ham, or bacon are used instead of the hot dogs. Sometimes the sauce includes other vegetables such as Eggplant, D, Carrots, Broccoli, And so on.
[no dill, dates, daikon, dandelion, durian, nor dioscorea (yam)]