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eG Foodblog: smallworld - Spring in Tokyo

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#151 racheld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 09:46 AM

From the rosy blossoms to the artist's palette of shades-of-pink fish to the glowing strawberries to their kin on the cake---this is just a jewel-box scattered down the screen.

Though I cannot understand how on Earth you took his mere word for how good that chocolate mousse was :raz:
Fairy tea has its own magic, for it never does run out;
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
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#152 mizducky

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 12:32 PM

Btw, I used to think I loved California Strawberries, but Ontario strawberries rock!!  They're so juicy and sweet( but a bit small).  I made the most kick arse strawberry jam last year, I wish I could remember the recipe.    I'll take an Ontario strawberry over a US strawberry any day!!

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Oh god, don't get me going about American commercial strawberries. Surreally large lumps of vaguely berry-flavored cellulose. Even when I've bought them at a farmer's market or a U-pick farm, all I get is slighly fresher, slightly more flavorful lumps of cellulose. And the goofiest thing of all is that I keep buying 'em. :wacko:

#153 racheld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 12:59 PM

So do you not eat sushi?


Alas, no, though I long to do so. Too much childhood exposure to the grim ins and outs of the cleaning process, I think, though I did have a pang of regret for the older couple next door whose subsistence seemed predicated two or three days a week on his perpetual fishing forays.

But I can make a bowl of tuna salad and eat it all myself twixt two noons---its pink canned-ness puts it at a remove, somehow, from a creature of the deep.

I DO fear I would have one small problem with the days-of-the-week sorting of the garbage---I save every big plastic Folger's coffee container against the day of glass breakage---I've even been known to smash the pieces even smaller to make them fit safely into the container, so as not to have a nasty surprise poking through the bag.

Edited by racheld, 08 March 2008 - 01:00 PM.

Fairy tea has its own magic, for it never does run out;
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
Fairy Tea

My Blog--Thanksgiving and Goodwill

LAWN TEA

#154 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:03 PM

A minor earthquake woke me up at 6:15 this morning. Luckily it was small enough that it had stopped by the time I was fully awake, because I've become quite frightened of tremors and usually take a long time to calm down after one hits.

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Last night we skipped dinner and went straight to the snack fest. We started with the Sakura-shio (cherry blossom salt) flavoured potato chips, which are a kigen gentei (seasonal, limited time only) product. They tasted of salt with only a slight whiff of sakura fragrance-- not bad, but if we'd wanted plain chips we would have bought them. The Ume-katsuo flavoured chips (forgot to take a picture but I posted a photo of the package yesterday) were way better and had great ume (pickled plum) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes): smoky, salty and sour. We will try to grab these again before they disappear.

On the right is Fransu-pan Koubou (baguette workshop?), which is a chip-like snack made of very thinly sliced french bread baked until crispy. This one is caramel flavoured and was good with an excellent texture but just a bit blah-- not sweet enough to be a sweet, not salty enough to be a chip. I'd like to try the other flavours: sugar, butter, and garlic butter.

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These are deep-fried chili peppers with peanuts. Pretty damn hot, though my tolerance for spice has gone way down since coming to Japan. The name of the product is "Cho unma", which is supposedly what the Hangul characters mean, but this product is made in China and the name sounds suspiciously close to the Japanese expression for "crazy delicious". Do these actually exist in Korea or elsewhere? I don't really care, because they are indeed crazy delicious.

Beside it are peanut senbei. Senbei, or sembei, are often translated as "rice crackers" and indeed they are often just that, but can really be any kind of crisp Japanese style wafer/cracker/cookie type thing. These ones have cookkie-like ingredients and are light (as in lots of air bubbles) and very crisp, almot hard. There are many types of peanut senbei ranging from rock-hard to cookie-like but this brand is our favourite and we always have a package in the house.

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Now it's time to get to work on today's lunch. Two bento (lunch box) cookbooks, and a regular cookbook written by a student of mine (it's actually out to plan meals for next week, not today). I made bento for my husband's lunch for a brief period after we got married, but they generated so much interest among his coworkers that he eventually asked me to stop. They would all hover around him when he opened his lunch and inspect my handiwork, amazed that his new foreign bride could actually cook. My husband just couldn't take the scrutiny. Making his lunch had been a real money saver and was great for helping me learn Japanese cooking but I was relieved to quit doing it because it was a lot of work.

So it's been years and years since I regularly made bento and I am way out of practice.
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#155 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:20 PM

I am also intrigued about Nattou - I have never heard of it before (not surprised thou, since i live in chicago and have never been too far from the United States (I cannot wait when I have the means to travel - some day...)

Can you describe the taste a little but more?

And - what I really want to know - what makes Nattou so healthy? The fact that it is beans )fiber, protein, etc) or the fact that it is fermented? And, anyhow - what about fermentation makes it healthy????

Signed, Bewildered and perplexed in Chi-town (lol)

P.S. I too, am LOVING your blog....I may not 'chime in' or 'comment' often, but boy am I following along :)

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Nattou, or natto, tastes a taste that's hard to describe, but I think it's beany, nutty and cheesy. It also has a strong smell that is cheese-like in its stinkiness.

I'm a bit fuzzy on what exactly is healthy about it, but I think you're right that it's largely the fermentation, which apparently creates good-for-you enzymes and stuff. It's also because they are beans, especially soybeans, which are already healthy. And the slime is good too as sticky foods have something in them that's good for the blood. Sorry I can't be more specific, but I'll direct you to the natto thread for more info.

Okay, inquiring minds want to know: how does one get nattou into a deep-fryable form? Make little balls and coat them in panko, like a dumpling or croquette? (I understand that korokke are big in Japan ... )

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Good question! This was a long time ago, before I knew anything about Japanese food, but I think Hiroyuki is right in that it was tempura: dipped in batter and deep-fried. Still no idea how the little nattou bundles were kept together while dipping and frying. The bundles did have a band of nori seaweed around them which might have helped a bit, but still. Can't be an easy food to deep-fry!

I wonder if the yunomi (tea cup) on the right of the photo (the one with a female face) is one of meoto jawan (tea cups for a married couple).  I think I used to have the same one as you have.

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I didn't even know what a meoto jawan was until now! I bought this very early in my stay here, at the Tokyo station Daimaru. I remember going on a mad spree there, buying dishes and kitchen implements at random without really knowing what they were or that there were far cheaper place to buy them.

So this is a female? I usually give this to my husband to drink from, and apparently he doesn't know any better than I do! I think I'll keep my eyes open for a male partner so I can finally complete the set.
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#156 gfron1

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:34 PM

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Time for cake, which we eat cake every few months or so. Any more often and we'd get too used to it, and cake is not a habit we need. The cakes and pastries here are just so amazingly good compared to those in North America. I didn't even like cake before I came here. I'm still really picky but have, for good or bad, found plenty to like here.

Whoa boy! (Screech!) You have my attention now.

Nice looking pastries. So when did a country known for jelly rolls become so proficient and enamored by high end pastries? Do you know any of the history?

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#157 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:56 PM

Thanks for your description of that sushi restaurant.  I remember the thread on the restaurant that you started in the Japan Forum years ago.  I want to say something about hirame and other white fish and ama ebi.  No offense intended to the chef.  I think it's more appropriate to say that you can enjoy the chewy texture of white fish and ama ebi when they are fresh and then you can enjoy their taste the next day, when the protein is decomposed into amino acids.  And, I hear that Korean people prefer the chewy texture of hirame (correct me if I'm wrong).

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Oh yeah, I remember that thread. I was just so shocked to hear that sushi wasn't just about super-fresh raw fish slapped onto rice, and had trouble understanding the meaning of "Edomae zushi".

The chef didn't actually talk about hirame yesterday, that was just my own observation. I do know that when I've tried the very fresh, chewy type of hirame I've wished it was less chewy but liked it nonetheless. But trying hirame yesterday I thought that I never want to eat the fresh kind again.

Maybe it's better to think of them as separate foods and enjoy them in them both in different ways.

That sounds like a good solution. Another possibility (a pricier one, unfortunately), is a thick end-grain cutting board on rubber legs. Chinese round cutting boards (the ones that look like a thick slice from a tree) are another possibility, but may be prone to splitting.

Great job, and I look forward to your last day!

ETA: Um, that didn't come out right. I look forward to today, not to the ending of the blog. You know what I mean.

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That's a great idea and I'd love a proper end-grain cutting board (didn't know you could get rubber legs for them). The problem is that they are not easy to find here, too heavy to bring from home, and storage could be a problem. Or do people just leave them on the counter all the time? That's what my mother does, but I worry about keeping it clean that way.

What a weekend!

When you buy good ingredients and make something like shabu-shabu at home, exactly as you like it, do you think it makes you more reluctant to spend money on dining out?

I'm also surprised to find that somebody else thinks that otoro can be TOO fatty!

And your broad beans were a great find - certainly haven't seen any in the shops yet.

So how did you eat the fuki/ butterbur in the end? I agree with how much work they are - as much time to prepare the fuki as to prepare a whole separate meal, I'd guess :biggrin: .

I see you've got those "France-pan koubou" snacks (top left) in your photo. Did you like  them?

By the way, you can find "over-the-sink" chopping boards, but one that doesn't cover the entire sink is more useful - because you can sweep trimmings straight into one of those triangular waste-catchers.

About personal chopsticks - do you just toss the little bag in the laundry when you come home? I keep wondering if the INSIDE of my little chopstick bag is really clean!

As for the dilemma of the international couple...sigh.

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I really do think certain foods are way better at home. It doesn't exactly make me reluctant to eat out, but it does mean that I tend to choose things that I can't/don't make at home. And I do like to splurge more on good ingredients than expensive restaurant meals.

The fuki will show up later today and I did like the France-pan koubou. I'd never seen it before and thought it was brand-new. Has it already showed up in your house?

I had to laugh at this: "do you just toss the little bag in the laundry when you come home?". If I did that I wouldn't see the bag again for weeks! Not having kids, and with a husband who wears a suit most of the week, laundry is not a daily thing for me. I just let it pile enough until there's enough for each type of load, and towels/linens (the category that the chopstick wrap belongs to) is the most infrequently washed.

So I only wash my chopstick wrap about once a month, at which time the chopsticks get a proper washing as well. I should probably do it more often but I only actually use them about once a week and at that time I'll wash them with water and a napkin or with an oshibori. Maybe not the most thorough cleaning, but hey- they're my own germs anyway! So you use "my hashi" as well? Do you ever get strange looks or comments? I've had restaurant workers who just didn't get it, and one even brought out a fancier pair of disposable chopsticks for me, thinking I was snubbing the cheap kind that were at the table.

Btw, I used to think I loved California Strawberries, but Ontario strawberries rock!!  They're so juicy and sweet( but a bit small).  I made the most kick arse strawberry jam last year, I wish I could remember the recipe.    I'll take an Ontario strawberry over a US strawberry any day!!

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Oh god, don't get me going about American commercial strawberries. Surreally large lumps of vaguely berry-flavored cellulose. Even when I've bought them at a farmer's market or a U-pick farm, all I get is slighly fresher, slightly more flavorful lumps of cellulose. And the goofiest thing of all is that I keep buying 'em. :wacko:

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So even actual Americans think their strawberries suck? I had kind of assumed that the imports we get from you had simply lost something on the journey and that they'd be good when they were fresh. Or that the tasteless ones are for export and you keep the good ones for yourselves.

Are there no good, locally grown berries in America at all?

I DO fear I would have one small problem with the days-of-the-week sorting of the garbage---I save every big plastic Folger's coffee container against the day of glass breakage---I've even been known to smash the pieces even smaller to make them fit safely into the container, so as not to have a nasty surprise poking through the bag.

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Folgers comes in plastic??

Putting pieces of broken glass and ceramics into a sturdy container is actually what you're supposed to do here too. And then clearly mark the package with "kiken" (dangerous). As a world-class klutz, I'm kind of an expert in that department.
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
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#158 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:10 PM

Whoa boy! (Screech!) You have my attention now.

Nice looking pastries. So when did a country known for jelly rolls become so proficient and enamored by high end pastries?  Do you know any of the history?

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Jelly rolls? Ever since I've been here Japan has been enamored by high end pastries. I don't know how it compares to those of Europe but the stuff here is a million times better than back home in Canada. They look good, taste good, have a good (low) level of sweetness, and often reflect the seasons. The two we bought were actually among the plainest in the shop-- there were exotic flavours like yuzu and some very fanciful constructions. I don't know much about the history and am not hugely into cakes and desserts, but this thread in the Japan forum might be of interest to you.
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
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#159 torakris

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:14 PM

Another American here who can't stand the American mass produced supermarket strawberries, they taste like cotton! I am sure there are good ones in the US somewhere...

I rarely buy strawberries here, maybe once or twice a season. With 5 people going at them we end up with 3 possibly 4 a piece.

Every couple of years my in-laws take us for an ichigo-gari (strawberry picking/eat on the spot) outing. We just went a couple weeks ago and I posted about it in the winter foods thread:
http://forums.egulle...dpost&p=1527820

There is nothing like eating strawberries fresh from the greenhouse! I can't stand refrigerated strawberries they are best eaten slightly warm from the sun.

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#160 Hiroyuki

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:17 PM

I didn't even know what a meoto jawan was until now! I bought this very early in my stay here, at the Tokyo station Daimaru. I remember going on a mad spree there, buying dishes and kitchen implements at random without really knowing what they were or that there were far cheaper place to buy them.

So this is a female? I usually give this to my husband to drink from, and apparently he doesn't know any better than I do! I think I'll keep my eyes open for a male partner so I can finally complete the set.

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Okame (female) and hyottoko (male) :biggrin:

As for France Pan Kobo, I learned how it was developed from a TV show, "Gacchiri Monday" a few months ago. The manufacturer that makes Baby Star Ramen wanted to make another hit, and tried pressing just about everything that could be pressed, and they found that french bread was good when pressed. The manufacturer even constructed a factory for the sole purpose of making french bread.

#161 heidih

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:34 PM

So even actual Americans think their strawberries suck? I had kind of assumed that the imports we get from you had simply lost something on the journey and that they'd be good when they were fresh. Or that the tasteless ones are for export and you keep the good ones for yourselves.
Are there no good, locally grown berries in America at all?

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Just lost my post- hope this does not double post...

I live in Southern California which produces a huge chunk of the U.S. crop. The California Strawberry Commission latest daily report shows 221,484 flats picked this last Thursday March 6th. Unfortunately most are the "durable", "shippable" ones that sometimes have a strawberry scent but have a watery taste and an odd texture.

I am blessed with several local farmer's markets where I can, for a very short time, get some lesser cultivated varieties that do not ship well, but taste wonderful. I am talking about farmer's with red tinted fingers from picking the berries that same morning.

Also I recently tried a tip to store them in a glass jar. They were lovely for a week.

#162 dockhl

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:43 PM

Ditto~
the only place to get decent strawberries is from a farm stand/farmers market. NEVER the supermarket ! :angry:

#163 BarbaraY

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:51 PM

Yes. American grocery store strawberries are abominable, nasty, tasteless things.
But, in a month or so the small fields in the Central Valley that are usually run by Vietnamese families and have a stand by the road will be ready. These are the most delicious, fragrant, bright red berries anyone would want.
These berries, obviously aren't shippable because they keep for only a couple of days at most. I can gobble up a whole basket before I drive the 40 miles home.
Very seasonal since they last only a couple of months. Then we look forward to the next season.

#164 C. sapidus

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:38 PM

So even actual Americans think their strawberries suck? I had kind of assumed that the imports we get from you had simply lost something on the journey and that they'd be good when they were fresh. Or that the tasteless ones are for export and you keep the good ones for yourselves.

Are there no good, locally grown berries in America at all?

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Maryland farms have wonderful pick-your-own strawberries (click). Unfortunately, strawberries either taste good or ship well, but not both.

#165 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:42 PM

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I believe what the package says is Cho Un Mas. I have no idea what the heck that means and haven't seen that anywhere here in Korea.

BTW, great blog and such brilliantly colored pictures.
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#166 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:23 PM

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For breakfast, french toast, butter maple bananas, yogurt with strawberries.

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After breakfast my husband helped with the dishes and then took a turn in front of the stove. Both activities are fairly rare but he used to help out more when he worked at home. Here he is making amazake, a hot drink made of sake lees and flavoured with sugar and ginger. He wears a cap while cooking as a sort of hairnet and will probably kill me when he finds out I've uploaded this picture. Send help if you don't hear from me within three hours.

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While he made the amazake I gathered up the receipts for the week and updated my kakeibo (household budget book). This is the first year I'm doing this and I have no idea if I'm doing it right, as I can't really understand the instructions. So I'm just using it in a basic way to get a sense of how much we spend on stuff. Neither of us are very good with money and if you asked me how much, say, our monthly food bill or average electricity bill is I would have no idea. So hopefully this will help me understand our spending patterns and eventually point us to where we should start cutting back.
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#167 Jon Savage

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:33 PM

Just wanted to say thanks for the foodblog as a former expat I applaud you.

Jon

 

--formerly known as 6ppc--


#168 helenjp

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:34 PM

Now that is one breakfast that I couldn't say "snap" to! Looks great.

And a guy making amazake...there's something very cute about that.

I seem to remember that Hiroyuki posted about the same type of peanut senbei you showed - and they're a favorite of my husband's, too. They always seem to be on the fuddy-duddy shelf of the snack corner, yet those who try them always seem to come back for more!

I just found those france-pan snacks recently (kids were home early studying for exams...). Haven't tried the caramel one you had, but the butter one seemed better than the sugar flavor, for your future reference!

If your kakeibo has made it as far as March, you're already an expert. I don't know why they don't just sell a "January-only" edition for those who know themselves!

#169 Peter Green

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:42 PM

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I believe what the package says is Cho Un Mas. I have no idea what the heck that means and haven't seen that anywhere here in Korea.

BTW, great blog and such brilliantly colored pictures.

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Cho Eun Mat. It means Good Taste and Yoonhi says they're anju (drinking food) a mixture of red bean and rice crackers and nuts. The katakana is just a read of the Korean - jyo en mashi. I would've thought they'd have translated, but maybe it sounds more exotic?

#170 racheld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:44 PM

I DO fear I would have one small problem with the days-of-the-week sorting of the garbage---I save every big plastic Folger's coffee container against the day of glass breakage---I've even been known to smash the pieces even smaller to make them fit safely into the container, so as not to have a nasty surprise poking through the bag.

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Folgers comes in plastic??


Yes.

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And now that I've outed myself as such a plebeian coffee-drinker to these august pages, I'll just say that it's one of the few kinds which is pre-ground of a size NOT to fall through the holes in my percolator. And that buying any beans, no matter how elite and rare, grinding them results in SOME powder which a filter-system will take out, but not the perc.

And at some times of the year, and at this time of my life, I just get a craving for the old days, the old ways, and waking up at my age to the familiar, remembered scent of the same coffee as I had in my teens and young married life---well, Proust liked what HE remembered, and Tom Wolfe was only partly right.
Fairy tea has its own magic, for it never does run out;
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
Fairy Tea

My Blog--Thanksgiving and Goodwill

LAWN TEA

#171 heidih

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 09:30 PM

Yes.
My Webpage

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These containers have great ergonomics. I have a big fine motor control hand problem in my dominant hand, and regular watering cans cause me distress and grief. My trusty plastic Folgers can is my current watering can of choice. A different kind of recycling I guess.

#172 smallworld

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 10:02 PM

Cho Eun Mat.  It means Good Taste and Yoonhi says they're anju (drinking food) a mixture of red bean and rice crackers and nuts.  The katakana is just a read of the Korean - jyo en mashi.  I would've thought they'd have translated, but maybe it sounds more exotic?

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Thanks Peter Green and Domestic Goddess. The katakana actually says "cho unma" (the small "tsu" at the end is silent) and is very similar to the Japanese "chou umma" or "chou umai". On the back it does say that's the original pronunciation and meaning of the Korean but I was a bit suspicious because it's quite a coincidence. But the languages do have some similarities so I guess it shouldn't be such a surprise.

Since Domestic Goddess hasn't seen them is it correct to assume that "anju" are mostly consumed by men?
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#173 smallworld

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:25 AM

For lunch I made a hanami bento (flower viewing lunch box) to bring to the local park:

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Bottom left compartment: fuki (butterbur) simmered with carrots; cherry tomatoes; teriyaki scallops; takuan (daikon piclkles); buta no negimaki (long onion wrapped with pork); brocolli; soramame (fresh fava beans). The next compartment has some of the same things plus udo (leftover from two nights ago) and tsukune yaki (sauteed chicken patties wrapped in nori and shiso). Above that is dessert: strawberries, apples (including my first ever "usagi ringo", or apple slices cut to look like rabbits) and segments of dekopon, a tangerine-like citrus.

The bento boxes must be about a decade old and were free from Mr Donuts. I badly need cuter ones but I don't make bento often enough to justify the expense.

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These are onigiri (rice balls), one type made of rice mixed type with salmon flakes and the other with plain rice stuffed with mentaiko (spicy cod roe).

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We found a good spot near a small grove of ume (Japanese apricot) trees and this was our view. Hanami (flower viewing) is more strongly associted with sakura (cherry blossoms), and sakura are far more popular than ume. It's true ume don't look as impressive from a distance as sakura, but the individual flowers are just as pretty and also have a soft sweet fragrance, which sakura don't have. Sakura also bloom when the weather is a bit warmer which is more condusive to hanami picnics, but if the weather is nice enough there's no reason not to celebrate ume as well. Luckily today was a lovely warm, sunny day.

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To drink with our bento there was amazake in the thermos, sake in the bottle and water in the portable coffee mug (there must be a name for those that I'm forgetting).

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We took our time eating and drinking, taking breaks to people-watch or take pictures of the flowers. The park was crowded with families who were picnicking and enjoying one of the first really nice spring-like days of the year. Everybody came to see the ume trees and snapped pictures, held fat-cheeked babies up to see the blossoms, and let their dogs pee on the trunks (not so nice while we were eating).

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And although my husband didn't consent to having another picture taken, he did take one of me:

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Kampai!
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#174 Hiroyuki

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 04:08 AM

Thanks for the lovely photos! Very clever. I never expected that you'd show us ume blossoms instead of cherry blossoms.

I was amused to see the bamboo shamoji in the rice cooker. I use a plastic one that came with the rice cooker. I want to buy a non-stick one some day.

I wonder how the fuki was seasoned. No mayo for the broccoli?

Edited to add: It sure was a sunny day today, even in my snowy area. I took two walks today, skipping the weeky house-cleaning.

Correction: Shamoji not shomoji (blush)

Edited by Hiroyuki, 09 March 2008 - 03:04 PM.


#175 nakji

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 05:52 AM

Wow! What an incredible looking bento! As a Canadian, I still feel surprise when Spring starts in early March, and I always want to get out and enjoy the weather while I can - there's some part of me that feels that even if it's warm and sunny one day, it could still snow again the next. What better way to celebrate than to get out and have a picnic!

buta no negimaki (long onion wrapped with pork)


Can you describe how you make this? It sounds like something my husband would love.

I took two walks today, skipping the weekly house-cleaning.


Hiroyuki, you always make me smile.

#176 smallworld

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 06:56 AM

For our last foodblog dinner my husband cooked his specialty, okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake originating in Osaka, where he is from. Okonomiyaki has a Hiroshima version but of course my husband stays true to his roots and cooks it Osaka-style.

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Ingredients are flour, instant dashi powder and baking soda; chopped cabbage; benishouga (pickled ginger); tenkasu (fried tempura batter); eggs; Chinese noodles; and grated yama-imo (mountain yam). They are all mixed together to make the batter.

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In our house okonomiyaki at the table on our teppan (table-top grill), and we usually start with a bit of teppanyaki. Here we have oysters (sold shucked) and jagaimo mochi (potato mashed with starch to make a chewy patty). Condiments are chuuno sauce (similar to Worcestershire), soy sauce, aonori seaweed flakes, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and butter.

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The oysters are sauteed in butter and finished with soy sauce. Behind them is the jagaimo mochi.

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Regular okonomiyaki. This has slices of pork on the bottom, and is about to be drizzled with the chuunou sauce and sprinkled with the aonori and katsuobushi. The jagaimo mochi in front is nearly done: it should be golden brown and crisp on the outside, soft and chewy inside.

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Next up is modan-yaki, which is okonomiyaki with noodles that have been fried in the sauce with a little salt and pepper.

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The noodles are placed on top of the okonomiyaki, more okonomiyaki batter is poured over the noodles, then pork is placed on top.

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Then it is all flipped over so the other side can cook. He can flip this triple-decker without a single strand of noodle falling out of place, which is a pretty amazing skill in my opinion.

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When the pork is cooked it is all flipped again, and drizzled with the same sauce and toppings as before.

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The finished modan-yaki is cut into halves or quarters and served, and it's very hard to wait until it cools down before digging in-- I sometimes end up burning my tongue. It is totally worth it.

And now I'm off to bed. There are still some questions I haven't answered, and I need to give a proper thanks for all the wonderfull comments, but those pre-dawn earthquakes can really tire a girl out. I hope it's not cheating if I finish this up tomorrow morning-- it will still be Sunday for most of you anyway, right?

Good night!
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#177 OnigiriFB

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 08:38 AM

This has been a great blog. Thank you so much for doing it. Your regular blog is now part of my line up of must reads! Everything looked great and made me really hungry. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the things you made. I can totally relate to feeling like you just want to live and missing home. I felt that way after 5 years in Thailand and I had family there! I have a weird question: Do you and your husband speak Japanese to each other or English? My Dad used to speak English to me and I would reply in Thai to him when we lived in Bangkok. It was switched when we lived in the States. It's a great way to keep up your language. BTW tell you husband he is cute and shouldn't mind a picture being posted. Thanks again for all the hard work. :)

#178 racheld

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 08:55 AM

What a morning!!! I woke to the sound of birds, to sunshine through the curtains, to the scent of coffee perking in the kitchen---and after a cheery greeting from Chris------this MAGICAL slideshow of Spring and the most beautiful picnic I've ever seen.

I cannot tell you the effect of all the beauty from so far away---and the so-exquisitely-prepared and arranged picnic fare. I thought yesterday's viewing was a jewel-box, but today's went straight into the Emperor's treasure chest and spilled it out onto the grass.

The import given to the time of the blossoms, the honor given to the season, the savoring of the scent, the colors, the vistas---your sheer preparation time and effort and care are a marvel to see, displayed there on your picnic cloth. A stopping to be in the fleeting moment of first Spring is often passed by in a blur, but the way you captured the blossoms and the repast and the bright of the day---I'll carry that for a long, long time.

I cannot thank you enough for this glimpse of another place I'll never see save through pictures and through the eyes of friends. This is just the loveliest picnic I can imagine.

I often think of a line in Clavell's Shogun, "Will you come and enjoy my sunrise?" The two fierce men sat and just were in the beauty of the morning, as if it were the only one. You've given great honor and import to the blossoms and the season, and I thank you from my heart for taking me along.
Fairy tea has its own magic, for it never does run out;
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
Fairy Tea

My Blog--Thanksgiving and Goodwill

LAWN TEA

#179 Dasha

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:59 PM

That was fabulous, Amy! I'm a regular reader of your blog but it was great fun to see your food live on a daily basis.

I have to tell you that I returned from vacation on Friday, sort of bummed to be back in the cold, but I immediately squeed with happiness to see that you were the foodblogger of the week. I hope you do it again! :biggrin:

#180 Hiroyuki

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:10 PM

Wow, your husband is an okonomiyaki expert! Grated yamaimo! I think your husband can find a job in Canada, as an authentic okonomiyaki chef! :smile:





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