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2012年10月31日 (水)


Originally ‘chanko’ means diets for sumo wrestlers.  Chanko-nabe is a protein-rich dish eaten by them.  In a big pot, many kinds of vegetables, chicken and tofu are cooked in chicken broth.  It’s seasoned by soy sauce (with rice wine and sake), or miso (soy bean paste) or salt.  Any vegetables you like or you have in a frige is fine for vegetables, giving some examples, bean sprout, enoki mushrooms, cabbage, nira (Chinese chive), and green onions are popoular.  Besides tsukune (meatballs made mainly by minced chicken, green onion and ginger juice) , chicken wings and pork belly make the soup rich.

I was considering this dish for a lesson menu.  But it looked like stew to my British husband’s eyes, saying it’s not rich enough for stew, though it's really not.




2012年10月29日 (月)

Miso soup with pork and root vegetables (buta-jiru)/豚汁

Miso soup is a must on Japnaese table.  Vegetables, seaweed, tofu, and deep-fried tofu are common ingredietns for the soup, but miso soup can be made with fish, clam, or meat.  Then, the soup is called differently: ‘ushio-jiru’ (fish, clam), ‘buta-jiru (pork) and such.

Though buta-jiru is a kind of miso soup, the method is not the same.  You use root vegetables, stir-fry them first to remove excessive water in vegetables and coat them with oil, while you can use any kind of vegetables and pour them, without stri-frying, in boiling soup stock for miso soup.  Proper potion of fat in sliced pork belly adds the flavor to the soup.




2012年10月28日 (日)

Tunips, and a steamed tilefish coated with grated turnip in sauce (kabura-mushi)/蕪と蕪蒸し

At this time of year, turnips, which look similar to Japanese turnips (kabu), are at supermarkets here.  Compared to Japanese turnips, the skin is thicker and the flesh has less moisture. Kabura-mushi is a steamed dish that fish is coated with grated turnip and comes with thick sauce.  This is my favorite winter dish.

As turnips’ skin has lots of fibers just under the skin and it makes the texture worse, peel the skin thickly in preparing them.




2012年10月27日 (土)

Rice with pine mushrooms/松茸ごはん

Matsutake (pine mushrooms) is an autumn delicacy in Japan.  While Japanese people value its flavor, it seems people in western countries find it stinks.  I remember a TV program years ago that they interviewed Finnish in Finland about matsutake.  They’re puzzled and common comments were: Why Japanese thinks it’s flavory?  Why is this expensive?

My parents, who were visiting us last month, brought a lot of foods, and one of them was a rice mixture with matsutake.  I know I love it, but I wonder my British husband will think as Finnish did. Such worry was gone, when he said his ‘yummy scrummy’ and had a second help.

In choosing matutake, pick up the one whose cap is closed, whose stem is thick, and whose color is light.  In preparing it, don’t wash it with water but just wipe with damp cloth (this can be applied to most of mushrooms), and its flavor and ‘umami’ increases if pre-grilled.





2012年10月25日 (木)

Japanese vegetables overseas/海外の日本野菜

I wrote about Japanese sweet potatoes a little bit yesterday.  You can find vegetables with Japanese names overseas.  “Shiitake” has become a common mushroom as “shiitake mushrooms”, and you can get “shimeji” (known as “shimeji mushrooms”) and “enoki” (known as “enoki mushrooms”) too. 

Butter squash, not “pumpkin”, is common in the U.K.  It’s gourd-shaped and has more moisture, compared with Japanese pumpkin.  Pumkins are harvested in summer and the sweetness increases while in storage.  Now they’re coming to the market (partly due to Halloween), and Japanese pumkins are being sold as “kabocha pumkin” (“kabocha” is a pumking in Japanese).

昨日、日本の薩摩芋について少し触れました。海外でも日本名の野菜を見かけることがあります。椎茸(Shiitake mushroomsはもう珍しくなくなりましたが、しめじ(Shimeji mushrooms)、えのき(Enoki mushrooms)などもあります。

イギリスで南瓜は、butter squashが一般的で、瓢箪型をしています。日本の南瓜よりも水分が多いですが、煮物などほぼ同じように調理できます。そして、夏に収穫した南瓜が甘味を増し、マーケットに出てくる今、日本の南瓜、それもKabocha pumpkinも出てきました。



What I’ve found at a supermarket the other day is “mizuna leaf”.  Bags of single or multiple salad leaves are common here, and I usually buy rocket salad or spinach.  I said “Wow!” when I saw the Japanese leaf that originate in Kyoto.  I really want to see wonderful Japanese vegetables coming overseas.

そして、先日、買い物中に発見したのがこれ。イギリスでは1種類、或いは、複数のサラダ用の菜っ葉が袋に入って売られています。いつもなら、ルッコラやほうれん草を選ぶのですが、水菜入りのものがありました。その名も「Mizuna leaf」。日本特有の美味しい野菜たちに、どんどん海外進出してもらいたいです。


2012年10月24日 (水)

“Daigaku imo” (University potatoes)/大学いも

Luckily I’ve got Japanese sweet potatoes and made “daigaku imo”.  Sweet potatoes that one can find in western countries are not really sweet and they’re starchy, while Japanese sweet potatoes are sweet, hearty and fluffy. For this snack, you need Japanese sweet potatoes.

“Daigaku imo” literally means “university potato”.  Therere several stories for the origin of its funny name.  Some says it originates university students in the Tokyos Kanda district who are queuing for the stand serving them.  Some says its originates Tokyo University students who were selling them for pin money.  Mikawaya, a maker of daigaku-imo, says the steamed and caramelized potatoes they started to sell in front of Tokyo University in 1940 becomes popular among students.




2012年10月23日 (火)

Normandy & Brittany in France/ノルマンディーとブルターニュ地方(フランス)

My husband and I had a week-long holiday in Normandy and Brittany, France. I always research and list up local foods in advance, try what’re listed up and ask more information from the local during holiday, and buy a local recipe book by the time to go home. When I traveled Croatia last spring, it was rather a coverage tour (though nobody asked me) than a holiday. (For your reference: Starter, Soup, Pasta/rice/pizza, Meat dishes, Fish and seafood dishes, Desserts, Fast foods, Kid’s menu, Bits and pieces-something Croatian, Market, Concept and marketing, What’s more?) That’s what I always do.

I had been mentally and physically exhausted for a couple of weeks, which made it impossible to research. After coming back home, I found I didn’t take as many food photos as I usually do. All the recipe books that I found were in French. (My husband suggested me to get one on Amazon, but it’s not the point.)

France is a groumet country and French people are serious about foods. All we had during the trip was wonderful. For example … Every restaurant had a choice of fresh oysters for starter. There’s an oyster market, where people can buy and eat. And, as a result, a mountain of oyster shell.

As I love foods, people tend to think I often eat out, but it’s not always true. When I’m eating out, I expect two things: one is something I myself cannot make or something too much to prepare, and the other is to gain learning from the dishes that restaurant does as a professional. This is my personal view, but I think restaurant dishes and home cooking are so different in French cuisine (while it doesn’t look so with Italian, for example.) Eating at French restaurants in France was very satisfactory, and sauce was always interesting one.








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