Two new veggies at the farmer’s market

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My farmer’s market haul from Saturday.  It was my first trip since May since I was away all of June.  It feels better to be eating what’s in season here in Kanagawa instead of just what’s in the supermarket.  I found a completely round zucchini the other day and on Saturday I found two new vegetables.

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The first new veggie I found was foot-long beans/asparagus beans (十六ささげ). You can use them just like the shorter variety you often seen in stores.

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The second is called korinkii and I can’t find an English translation for it. It is similar to a kabocha squash except that you can eat it raw.  It has more of a summer squash texture when raw and tastes a little like a mild carrot. Common uses seem to be making tsukemono (pickling), adding it to salad and putting it in nimono (simmered dishes).

Salada Hiyashi Chuuka

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This last weekend my mother-in-law put green salad on top of cold udon noodles and called it salada udon. Today I did the same with hiyashi chuuka.

On top: lettuce cut into ribbons (for ease of eating), cherry tomato quarters, green pepper slivers, soy sauce flavored sesame seeds and ground flax seeds. The dressing was the sauce included with the noodles.

*I recommend cutting everything to a size that is easy to eat when clumped together with noodles. I.e. ribbons, slivers and match sticks.

Maitake and Chiken Gohan

Now that we have a tv (got it a couple of months ago) I am forced to watch – or at least listen to in the background – it almost the entire time my hubby is home.  The only benefit from it is that sometimes on those annoying shows where two celebrities, with nothing interesting to say, wander around a neighborhood and try restaurants and visit shops, uncover good recipe ideas.  A recent episode of one of those shows was actually filmed in my FIL’s hometown and featured some yummy looking rice.  At the restaurant the rice was cooked on the stove in individual sized traditional rice cookers.  It had chicken, maitake mushrooms and some sort of golden brown broth.  I tried to copy the process as best I could and was pleased at the results.  At first I couldn’t decide whether to use dashi (fish stock) or mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce/soup).  I decided to try it with mentsuyu.  I also made it in the rice cooker because I don’t have a traditional rice cooker.

Maitake and Chicken Gohan

2 cups uncooked rice (one cup of rice in Japan is 180mL)
1 package
maitake mushrooms, diced
50 grams of chicken (I used breast meat but thigh meat would probably have more flavor)
30mL
mentsuyu (it comes in concentrated form)
water

Put the rice in the rice cooker and wash the rice.  Add the mentsuyu and fill up with water to just below the two cup line and stir quickly.  Don’t go all the way up to the line as the mushrooms will sweat a bit during the cooking process.  Put the chicken and mushrooms on top and start the rice cooker. You can stir everything or let the meat and mushrooms sit on top.  Serve when ready.

Slow Cooker Miso Soup with Pork and Udon

It’s finally cooling off here in Japan and I am ecstatic.  Why?  I found a slow cooker at the local second hand shop for 1000yen during the peak of summer and have been dying to try it out.  I have only used it twice so far this year, and like any new toy, it is driving me crazy.  It needs to be used.

I love tonjiru that has been stewed for a long time.  Tonjiru is a pork-based miso soup with lots of root vegetables.  Naturally a tonjiru-like soup should taste great when cooked in the slow cooker.  I was right.

Note: always add the miso right before serving and don’t boil it.

Slow Cooker Miso Soup with Pork and Udon

100g pork cubes Slow cooker miso soup

1 potato

3/4 carrot

5-10cm burdock root

2-3 cabbage leaves (not a usual ingredient in tonjiru)

1 clove garlic

1 small piece ginger

1 tablespoon dashi granules (soup stock)

udon noodles for each person (I like the precooked ones you reheat in boiling water)

miso, to taste

Put all ingredients, except for noodles and miso, in the slow cooker and add enough water to cover the ingredients.  Turn on high and cook for 3-4 hours.  Turn down to low and keep warm until ready to serve.  Add miso to taste.

Cook udon noodles according to package.  Put one serving in each bowl and and spoon soup over until desired amount is reached.  Serve immediately.

Leftovers taste great without noodles as regular miso soup.  You could also thicken it and make miso stew.

Tajine Recipe: Pork and Vegetables with Onion Dipping Sauce

I finally had the chance to try out my tajine last night.  I also used this opportunity to try out a recipe for a dipping sauce that I had been wanting to try.  There seem to be two types of recipes that come with tajines in Japan: stew-like recipes that use the stove and quick recipes using the microwave.  Last night was of the second variety.

IMG_0298I decided to use the recipe that came included in the tajine box.  Well, I kind of used the recipe.  I made an onion dipping sauce I found in a cook book.  Not being a raw onion lover I wasn’t so fond of the sauce – but I could actually eat it which was surprising.  My husband, who is a big onion fan, loved it.  So I can recommend the sauce to raw onion eaters – the preparation technique renders the onion quite mild.

Microwave Tajine Vegetables and Meat

All amounts depend on the size of your tajine. I have the world’s smallest microwave so mine is a two person tajine.IMG_0303

100g meat of your choice – I used shaved pork

1 bunch base vegetable – usually a leafy green or something kind of nondescript- I used bean sprouts

3/4 carrot, cut into smallish sticks

contrast color vegetable – I used green beans

small piece of ginger

Layer in order: base vegetable, carrot, contrast vegetable and meat. Grate ginger or put it through a garlic press and sprinkle on top of the meat.  Microwave for 5 minutes in a 500W microwave.  Serve immediately.  Dip into sauce which, depending on your ingredients, could be salad dressing, bbq sauce or anything else you think would taste good.

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Onion Dipping Sauce

Found in Summer Recipes edition of Orange Page Magazine (Japanese cooking magazine)

IMG_02991/2 large onion, finely diced, grated or processed in food processor (I used food processor)

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cooking sake

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut/grate/process the onions and soak them in water for five minutes to remove the strong taste. While the onions are soaking, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Drain the onions and add to the rest of ingredients. Stir and place in dipping sauce bowls.  Can also be served over karage or used as a salad dressing.

Note: as I am not fluent in Japanese the instructions I post may be different from the original recipe in regard to preparation method.