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Posts posted by torakris

  1. If you cook it in a omelette, it loses that "stringiness" (is that a word? is it spelled right?).I aslo saw on tv, that if you mix it 100 (or was it 200?) times the strings disappear. I have never tried it, personally I love the strings, but my friend did and said that it actually worked.

    They also sell a special type of natto over here (Japan) that has no strings, this is usually used in the maki zushi (sushi rolls).

    If you are really bored one day and are looking for something to do, give a bowl of natto gohan (white rice topped with natto) to a 1 year old child to eat by themself. You can then spend hours afterwards washing and rewashing (atleast 5 times) the table, chairs, clothes, and walls (if they are a really messy eater). Don't worry about the hair, it will take at least a couple of days to get it completely out! :biggrin:

  2. A lot of the newer rice cookers have separate functions for brown rice. Mine cooks it with same amount of water as white rice but for a longer period of time. It turns out perfect. If your rice cooker doesn't have this function, then I would do it on the stove instead, experiment with the proportions to find out what works best for you. The rice to water ration can be different among different brands, and even among the same brand at different times of the year. For example, Japanese "new" rice or "new crop" should be made with slightly less water than the rice from the older crop.

    I love the nutty flavor of brown rice, but I rarely buy it here in Japan because it is hard to find and a 2 kg ( about 5 lbs) bag starts at $10. Since we can go through 20kg a month in our family, it rarely sees a place on our shelves.

  3. Bibimbap, now we are talking some really good food here. I have been making bibimbap a couple times a month for years now and I don't think I ever made exactly the same thing twice.

    If using meat I usually use either ground beef or thin strips of beef with a bulgogi marinade I have perfected over the years.

    I also love to use sashimi style fish, especially salmaon, tuna, squid and other white fishes.

    For the veggies close to anything goes,usually some type of greens, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, daikon, shiitake, zucchini, broccoli rabe, burdock root, lotus root, and one of my favorites, fiddle head fern.

    The veggies are always much better if they are seasoned first, most can just be blanched and then seasoned with sesame oil, salt and sesame seeds, others you can saute in sesame oils with soy sauce and sesame seeds, adding scallions and garlic if you like.

    Any of the kimchis make a great addition as well.

    I like it spicy so kochujang is an absolute must and I always top it with either a raw egg yolk or a fried egg with a very runny yolk.

    My most recent bibimbap was with sashimi style king salmon, arugula, and julienned carrots., It is just as versatile as pasta.

    I don't own the stone dishes for serving, so I serve it in just regular ceramic bowls, I use hot rice (either fresh or re heated) and let it sit for a couple minutes in the bowls to let it cool down a little.

  4. Jaymes--

    I have never tried it with canned tomatoes, and Bittman recommends only making it with really good fresh tomatoes or not to bother.

    I did find recipe by Marcella Hazan that is basically the same thing with canned tomatoes and includes a chopped up onion as well, she simmers it for 40 minutes, so it isn't as quick as the other one. Once tomato season is over I will give it a try.

    My favorite quick canned tomato sauce consists of EVOO, garlic, canned tomatoes, roseamary, S and P, and balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end. Very, very good. I also use this same sauce to make a sort of squid "stew", I just toss in some squid, cut into rings, until just cooked through add some crushed chillies for spice if you like and mop up with some crusty bread. :rolleyes:

  5. Any Asian grocery in the US should stock it. It normally has a pretty short shelf life (3 to 5 days after packaging) so it is usually sold in the US frozen.

    So check the freezer section for little styrofoam boxes about 3 x3 inches, they are often sold in packs of 2 or 3.


  6. boysenberry wine and elderberry wine are my favorites. My grandparents used to make these every year from the fruits from their bushes/trees at their house in Western Penn. Nothing better to drink with a boysenberry or elderberry pie! :biggrin:

  7. Growing up with an Italian mother, I have a lot of favorite pastas. Mostly slow simmered ragus for the winter months and summer dishes consisting of veggies picked just minutes before b lanching and sauteeing with EVOO, lots of salt and pepper and topped with romano cheese.

    My favorite pasta now, that I make a couple times a month is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I never would have made this if a good friend ahdn't told how incredible it was.

    Melt 4TB of butter over med. heat, when the foam subsides add 4 to 5 good sized tomatoes ,chopped. Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add some basil if you want. Stir into freshly cooked pasta adding another TB of butter, serve with lots of freshly grated parmesean, I prefer Romano though. Excellent! :biggrin:

  8. As a cheese lover I never thought of making a pesto without cheese, I will be interested in hearing how it turns out, does it have something different in it to make up for the lack of cheese? Iw as actually planning to make pesto tonite, i was going to try Jack Bishop's pesto my way from his Italian Vegetarian book, this recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of cheese compared to others that call for 1/2 cup to a whole cup for the same amount of basil.

    I think freshly made pesto can't even compare to that of store bought, but I actually prefer the jarred ones for my risotto with pest and walnuts (heavenly), it just adds a depth you can get from fresh. So for saucing pasta and vegetables I wouldn't use anything but homemade, but store bought has its uses especially if it is going to be cooked further.

  9. I really wish this topic could get up and going again, it seems to have died before I even got here. Having lived out of the country for 8 years, my only way of buying cookbooks is through the internet (Thank God for Amazon Japan!). But this means I don't get to spend time looking through them first and usually rely on reviews from the Amazon and other sites.

    I would really love to hear what cookbooks you couldn't do with out or the ones you recommend the most to people.

    My favorites:

    Hot Sour Salty Sweet focuses on Thailand, Vietnam and Laos excellent food from this book. I own all 3 of their books and this is by definitely my favorite.

    A spoonful of Ginger I have to admit I really don't care too much for Chinese food, but I think I have made only 1 recipe from this book that was just so-so and everything else has been way above average (atleast 20+ recipes)

    Mark Bittman's How to cook everything has been edging me away from The New Basics, but i probably still use them equally as my all purpose cookbooks.

    I am new to Jamie Oliver (no FoodTV here!) and have his 2 first books and should be getting his third sometime this week. I like his approach to food and he could be come a favorite soon.

  10. I have tried various versions of this dressing, most gotten off the internet and they aren't even close!! If someone out there has a good recipe I would love to try it. One interesting thing though is that while this is the most popular thing in Japanes restaurants in the US I have never seen anything close to it in Japan! Until just recently the only dressing you could get in restaurants was 1000 islands!! :wink:

  11. The fatback here in Japan is about 75% fat, usually about 1/2 inch of fat with a streak of meat and then another 1/2 inch of fat and another streak of meat. Sometimes the fat can be an inch thick! This is why I usually avoid it, I can't stand that greasiness in my mouth.

  12. Here in Japan I use a suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle), this is slightly different than the others in that it is grooved on the inside. I have been thinking recently that during my upcoming trip to the States, that I want to buy a mortar and pestle, any recommendations? volcanic vs granite vs marble vs ceramic, should I not bother and stick with my suribachi. It really works great, it is just when I am making certain pastes, it can be hard to clean. The worst think I ever made with my suribachi? I accidentaly bought coffee beans instead of the pre ground stuff (in my days before my coffee mill) and tried to "grind" them in my suribachi. Definitely not recommended! :raz:

  13. Wow something I can easily get in Japan that you guys can't get in the US. Now that I know its actual English name, fatback, I might search out uses for. I think it is probably the 2nd most popular cut of pork in this country, behind the tonkatsu cut.

    Here it usually braised with some type of soy, but the amount of fat has always turned me off.

    Once again egullet teaches me something I didn't know I didn't know. :biggrin:

  14. Since I haven't seen that particular show I can't be sure, but I think they are natto. These are fermented soybeans and they are very common in Japan and a similar version is also eaten in Korea. They actually smell about 100 times worse than they look, and are a very acquired taste. I have to admit even though I love them now it took years to get to this point. Theya re most commonly eaten as a breakfast food, mixed together with karashi (Japanese mustard) and soy sauce and eaten on a bowl of white rice. Other popular additions can include: scallions, katsuo boshi (bonito flakes), egg yolks and even mayo! I like to add some chopped up (raw) okra to mine.

    They are most popular in Tokyo and the Northerny parts of Japan, those in Osaka and the South usually turn up their noses at it.

    The smell can be pretty bad if you are not used to it, and they now have smell-less versions on the market.

    They are also a popular ingredient in maki zushi (rolled sushi) especially with the kids. And are also used as fillings in omelettes and gyoza (dumplings).

    What do they taste like? It is hard to describe, it is a very strong yet bland bean flavor, it really need the mustard and soy to give it some oomph.

    Hope this was what you were seeing on tv, if they were small brown beans held together by a stringy, gooey substance, then I can't imagine it being anyhting other than natto.

  15. I just made this last night! I had some gorgeous rainbow trout that I cleaned (leave the heads on) and then rubbed all over with EVOO, lemon juice, fresh rosemary and bread crumbs and of coure salt and pepper. Make sure to rub it all over the inside as well and set aside to marinate for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. This recipe was from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and I grilled it in my oven instead of a real grill. Absolutely delicious!!

    One of my favorite uses for wet newspaper on the grill is with sweet potatoes. Wet a newspaper then wrap a cleaned sweet potato inside and then wrap it in foil. Through it in with the coals and cook for 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size. You will never want to eat sweet potatoes in any other way again!

  16. I have found both the article and this thread following to be very interesting. I guess I just always assumed that when I was ordering a salad with a balsamic vinagrette for $6 it was NOT got going to be the real McCoy and was under the assumption that everyone else knew the same. Now if I was at a very nice restaurant and ordered a fish with a balsamic glaze for $75 I would expect it to be real. Maybe they should continue referring to the fake stuff as balsamic vinegar and call the "true" stuff balsamic tradizionale.

    As for the wasabi, living in Japan I eat this stuff all the time. Go into most restaurants or anybody's home and ask for wasabi and you will be handed a green tube. Ask for it in a supermarket and you will be led to the condiment aisle instead of produce. Everyone knows what the real stuff is and don't think anyone in this country feels mislead by the food industry labeling. Of course in the US where wasabi is not as familiar, it could be confusing.

    Someone mentioned finding key limes in an Asian store, where those the Japanese sudachi? I just used them 2 days ago and when i read that article I was wondering if these where true key limes or a very close relative. They are a little smaller than golf balls, have quite a few seeds and taste like limes but not quite as acidic. Their season is fall/winter over year aren't that expensive, I bought 3 for 128 yen, so a little more than $1.

  17. Hot peppers in the eye, I don't think I can even I can count on one hand anymore how many times I have done that. And wearing contacts makes it worse, beacause you need to get those out of your eye ASAP and your fingers are still "contaminated". My first food in the eye experience was back in high school, I was trying to open one of those mustard packets to smear on my hot dog and the struggle finally ended with a squirt straight to my eye. Pain, absolute pain!

    The second worst experience was probably in college. When thinking that my boyfriend was going to be out for the entire evening, I settled into the couch with a good movie and a large bowl of salsa and a bag of tortilla chips. My boyfriend thought it would be funny to jump out from behind the couch and surprise me, not realizing that the surprise would cause the bowl of salsa to become airborn and strike me in the upper arm on its way back down. The bruise lasted for weeks , but it took me months to get that salsa stain off the ceiling! :wacko:

  18. Ok, I am only 6 months late in responding to this post, please give me some slack since I have only been a member here for a week.

    I have eaten the beef nigiri here in Japan a couple of times. I think it is more of an izakaya creation than one of sushi bars. What I have eaten is basically gyu tataki (a seared block of beef thinly sliced and still very rare in the middle) on a ball of rice. I really like it but I agree with BON that it doesn't melt in your mouth the way tuna would. I would take a good piece of tor over it any day! Even one of my local sushi delivery shops had a version of it on their most popular platters. Since the mad cow scare here a year or so ago I have noticed it anymore.

    But speaking of raw beef, my absolute favorite dish in the world has got to be yuke. This is a Korean dish of thinly slivered raw beef mixed with a little sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic , mounded onto a plate and topped with an egg yolk, it is usually garnished with shiso and finely julienned cucumber and apple or nashi (asian pear). You then mix it all together and eat. I often order 2 servings just for myself, because one is not enough. :biggrin:

  19. That spicy bread and tomato sounds wonderful! I have got to try it out this week. I like my bread salads on the chewy side, no soaking for me. I make a simple dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar, throw in some sweet onions, kalamata olives, and loads of mint (or a mixture of mint and basil), delicious! :biggrin:

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  20. I don't know how much help I can be here, but I can help second some suggestions. I am new to the group (2 days old in fact) and have been living in Japan (Yokohama) for 8 years.

    First off, what Akiko was refering to, quite afew posts back, was monjayaki. It is similar to okonomiyaki but runnier, mentaiko and mochi being one of the most popular combinations. My personal favorite is the pork and kimchi mix. Definitely give one of these places a try you will not be disappointed.

    I also have to second the yakiniku suggestion, although adapted from the korean style, most places have now made it a uniquely Japanese dish. Of course you can save yourself a trip to Korea by popping into one of the little Korean towns and partaking of some of their wonderful dishes.

    Since I live here I rarely go out in search of true Japanese food, instead I tend to go for Mexican, Thai. or fusion. But since you will be here for only 4 days, I would focus on the Japanese food as you can get the others back in the US. It is sort of funny, but when my husaband and I can get away from the kids we head either to Tony Roma's or the Hard Rock Cafe depending on our mood.

    I would also recommend once to try the kaiten zushi, they are everywhere and decently priced and it is not always your typical sushi.

    As for hotels, I never stay in them, but my uncle who travels here frequently on business swears by the Washington Hotel chain. They are a no frills hotels and I think prices are in the 6,000 to 7,000 yen range (including breakfast). He usually uses one in the Shinjuku area.

    Hope you have a great trip! :smile:

  21. Uni, one of my favorite foods! I have to admit though the first couple of times I had it, I thought it was awful and could barely swallow it. I found it buttery (similar to what someone else posted), of course this was at Japanese restaurants in Ohio, not exactly a seafood capital!! Now that I live in Japan I get can good uni anytime. But there is bad uni here, just avoid the cheap stuff. Keep trying it, you probably haven't found a good one yet.

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