Weekend Foodery

The Mister decided we needed to make bagels this weekend. We prepared the dough on Friday night, and Saturday morning, we boiled and baked them up. The recipe makes 10 bagels. This is how many were left by Sunday evening.

THEY WERE GOOD. Ugly, but good. The recipe we use is by Lauren Groveman. It’s included in the book Baking with Julia, but you can find it on Lauren’s website as well. Homemade bagels are fiddly, but totally worth the several steps and 2-3 hours it takes to make them. Highly recommended if you have the time and inclination.

Then Sunday night, I decided to try out a vegan recipe that I’ve had my eye on for some time now: potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I’ve said this before, but if you’re in the market for tasty, accessible, healthy vegan food, Isa Chandra Moskowitz is your woman.

This turned out to be another fiddly, multi-step recipe. First, I roasted some pasilla chiles in the oven.

These got blended with sauteed onions, canned tomatoes, and seasonings to create the enchilada sauce.

The filling was made from a combination of potatoes and kale. We used red kale, which worked like a charm. I love red kale. It makes excellent kale chips too.

The filling also included some seasonings, and one ingredient that I found somewhat surprising.

Toasted, chopped pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Interesting, no? They added a really unique flavor and texture to the dish.

Nice-looking ingredients, eh?

Once the sauce and filling were ready, the Mister and I formed an assembly line. He heated and sauced the tortillas, and I filled and rolled the enchiladas.

They were delicious, although I confess that I de-veganed mine by eating them with dairy sour cream. The Mister put vegan cheese on his. We’ll definitely be making them again.

To conclude: Here is a picture of the cat being shaped like a ball.

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Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Comments (7)  
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A Properly Topped Pie

Remember that sweet potato pie I made on Thanksgiving? The one with the topping that tasted delicious, but looked unnervingly like taco meat? Well, I made it again this weekend, this time using regular old brown sugar from the regular old grocery store, rather than organic brown sugar from Whole Foods. And surprise surprise, this time the butter and sugar actually did what they were supposed to do.

Which is to say, they melted together and became a delicious, caramelly goo that actually coated the pecans to form a sticky praline topping, rather than sitting next to the nuts in stubborn, grainy little lumps. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

As the youth of today would say, “OMNOMNOMNOMNOM.” Are the kids still saying that? At any rate, lesson learned. Do not use fancy-schmancy untested ingredients when trying out new recipes. The pie is absolutely delicious and fairly simple to make. The recipe is here, if you’re interested in trying this procedure at home.

Published in: on January 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm  Comments (6)  
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My Weekend Plans

1. Make it be warmer outside. True, it’s warming up a little bit, and true, it rarely gets what I’d call “cold” here. However, according to the cat, it is cold, especially in the evenings. So cold that it is apparently time once again for her to wheedle her little cat self onto or inside of my sleeping bag at every available opportunity.

I was sitting on the couch last night, knitting, as usual. I had the sleeping bag over my lap (I use it instead of a blanket sometimes because it has a temperature rating of 15 degrees F and is therefore super warm) with the closed-up bottom part on the floor. I felt some activity and heard some rustling down there …

so I got up and investigated.

OK, CAT. WE GET THE POINT. IT IS CHILLY. You’d think for a cat from Colorado she’d be a little hardier than this. But, having lived here for almost 7 years, she is apparently a thin-blooded Californian weenie now. (I kind of am too. And the Mister totally is–he bumbles around in shorts and a t-shirt and then has the nerve to complain that he’s cold–but he was born and raised here, so he has an excuse.)

2. Cook food. We’re having Thanksgiving dinner again. This will be our third Thanksgiving dinner in as many months. I can’t wait.

3. Lock myself in the bathroom and emerge several hours later with raw, bleedy, swollen eyelids.

My Urban Decay 24/7 set arrived in the mail today. I’m not ashamed to say that I opened it immediately, at work, and commenced drawing on myself. What? Casual Friday! Don’t judge me!

Anyway, having this in my possession makes me feel like

So I plan to spend a lot of time playing with it this weekend.

Yes, folks, those are my plans. That’s the kind of glamorous, sexy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants existence we live here at Principessa Headquarters. Oh! And don’t let me forget the grocery shopping that will also happen this weekend! Try to keep your jealousy down to a simmer.

Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm  Comments (7)  
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New Year, New Chopsticks

As required by law, the Mister and I had sushi (well, sashimi) for our New Year’s Day dinner.

We have sashimi pretty much every New Year’s Day, and it was extra fun this year because we got to try out a few sushi-related gifty items that we got for Christmas. Such as the pickle dishes and doggy chopstick rest from my sister.

How cute is that? I failed to take pictures of the pickle dishes before we slapped a bunch of pickles onto them. Believe me when I say that they are also very cute; one of them has bunnies, and the other one has a cat.

We also got to mix up our own wasabi from the Penzeys wasabi powder my mom got us. It was very, very good. I’ve been disappointed by powdered wasabi in the past, but this stuff is amazing. Hot, but not too hot, flavorful, and not gritty at all. Highly recommended. Oh, and it’s not dyed bright green like most wasabi is either.

And finally, we both got to bust out our fancy chopsticks. I opted for my Mr. Gently chopsticks, which were a gift from the Mister’s sister some years ago. They have the following information on them: “Mr. Gently. He is my best friend. He is gentle manner and heart.” Plus, they have a cat! Wearing a suit!

And, the piece de resistance:

Light saber chopsticks, Yoda flavored, from Think Geek, Christmas gift to the Mister from me. Light saber noises were made at dinner, and there was a reference to “the dark side.” I can see that these are going to have to be used sparingly.

I hope that you had a fantastic New Year’s too, and here’s to a happy, healthy 2011!

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Comments (12)  
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Miscellaneous Items!

ITEM THE FIRST! We are making that pork thing again tomorrow, but this time, we’re using a pork tenderloin and not doing the apple part. Also, this time I didn’t use a recipe, I just mashed the marinade together using ingredients that I believe are approximately the same as the ones we used last time. It’s in the fridge marinating as we speak. Fingers crossed; will report back.

ITEM THE SECOND! The Christmas knitting is done. Praise Jeebus! Expect pictures in late December. In the meantime, I plan to finish up the projects that were sidelined in favor of the Christmas knitting. Remember those guys? Yep, still working on them, except that the ruffle scarf and socks have been finished and there’s a new pair of socks in the works. I want to finish them STAT because I have already selected my next scarf project (it’s technically a shawl, but it’s pretty freaking small for a shawl if you ask me) and my next shawl project. And, predictably, I want to start them NOOOOOOWWWWW! I have no concept of patience. It’s a fact. I may have started a pair of legwarmers in the meantime.

ITEM THE THIRD! I am apparently going through some kind of phase that involves wearing a lot of black, gray, and purple.

I keep ordering things from eShakti. This purple skirt is my newest acquisition. I ordered this dress in black today, so be on the lookout for it in a future post. One note about eShakti: things appear on and disappear from their site like mad. If you see something you like, you should probably pounce on it, or be prepared for it to disappear and then reappear at an unspecified later date, or to disappear in the color you wanted.

  • Purple skirt from eShakti, size 16
  • Gray long-sleeved t-shirt from Old Navy, size M
  • Black cardigan from Old Navy, size L*
  • Black tights that apparently photograph gray from Target
  • The eternal Born Mary Janes

*I kind of hate this cardigan. It pilled immediately, it’s slightly too big but not enough to justify returning it, and it picks up lint to such a degree that it looks like I slept in it even when it’s freshly washed. It might become an “at-home-only” sweater.

ITEM THE FOURTH! It has been unusually chilly in Long Beach for this time of year. Furthermore, our floor heater doesn’t work (long story), and it turns out that the bathroom is the coldest room of our already-chilly apartment. So, I’ve been spending as little time in there as possible, which means I have not been spending any time playing with makeup. Additionally, my fingernails are a hideous, peeling, crackly, ridgy mess at the moment, so no nail polish either. Woe is me.

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm  Comments (8)  
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In Which We Dig On Swine

As promised … a recap of Thanksgiving dinner!

Ooooooh … steamy!

Mister Principessa is not overly fond of turkey, so only have it every second or third Thanksgiving. This year, we decided to do something meaty. After some research, we settled on Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Melted Apples from Simply Recipes (and apparently originally from the Wall St. Journal … who knew they even PUBLISHED recipes?). This recipe starts with a giant hunk of pig marinated in herbs and seasonings and wrapped in plastic wrap. Vegetarians, avert your eyes.

The meat needed to sit overnight at least, so we got it ready on Wednesday afternoon. The Mister rubbed the seasonings all over it, and then we wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge. I know from obsessively reading Cook’s Illustrated that this sitting-in-the-fridge period acts as a sort of brine; the salt initially pulls the juices out of the meat, but then the now-salty, flavored juices gradually settle back into the roast, pulling all the flavors of the herbs and garlic with them.

The other thing I did on Wednesday was bake a sweet potato pie. I’d never tried it before, so I figured, what the hell?

The cooking on Thursday got off to a fairly slow start. We knew that our roast would take several hours to cook, so we had a hearty lunch around noon.

This is Mister Principessa’s specialty, The Many-Meat Sandwich. This particular one has turkey, ham, roast beef, and capocollo, along with Havarti cheese, sauteed sweet onion, romaine lettuce, and an heirloom tomato, all on Italian bread from La Brea Bakery. The Mister makes a hell of a sandwich.

Thus fortified, I retrieved the roast from the fridge and prepared its accompaniments. The meat sits on a bed of sliced, seasoned apples and onions, which break down completely in the oven, forming a sort of gravy.

I covered it with foil, and into the oven it went.

While the meat was roasting, I decided to finish off the pie. The recipe included instructions for a topping that sounded really good–pecans coated in melted butter and brown sugar, sort of like pralines. I don’t know if I used the wrong kind of sugar or my heat level was off or what, but it did not work AT ALL. The sugar refused to melt with the butter, and I ended up with chunks of buttery brown sugar that tasted good but looked just like ground beef.

Appetizing, no? No matter–they tasted good and formed sort of a crumble topping. Dutch Sweet Potato Pie, that’s what it was.

About an hour before the roast was done, we got to work on our side dishes. We went with fairly traditional Thanksgiving sides–mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the ubiquitous brown ‘n’ serve rolls–plus wedge salads, which we are very into at the moment. They consist of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, homemade blue cheese dressing, and our super-secret special ingredient: shitloads of bacon.

Finally the roast was done. We pulled it out and let it rest while the stuffing cooked.

Check out the melty apple-y goodness. And kindly ignore the part of the roast that looks as though it’s been attacked by small rodents. WE HAD TO DO QUALITY CONTROL, OK?

The roast was incredibly good, and I highly recommend it to those of you who are into that kind of thing.

We ate while watching our favorite Thanksgiving show (nice creative photo courtesy of the Mister).

And this morning, we enjoyed a scrumptious post-Thanksgiving breakfast of pie and coffee.

Not too freakin’ shabby. I hope that those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a glorious one.

Published in: on November 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Comments (14)  
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Oooooh … Swishy!

Today, I thought we’d take a quick look at another one of my favorite Japanese meals: shabu shabu. Shabu shabu means “swish swish” in Japanese, and it refers to a method of cooking vegetables, tofu, meat, and noodles by swishing them around in a pot of boiling water.

Shabu shabu is very simple to make. First, get yourself some vegetables and cut them into bite-size pieces (or two-bite-size, in some cases). We usually use

  • napa cabbage leaves, sliced into two or three pieces;
  • carrots, cut into sticks (ew … the Mister likes them, but I am not a fan of carrots cooked in water, whether boiled or steamed. Raw? OK. Roasted? OK. Boiled? Elementary school cafeteria food. Not OK.);
  • shiitake mushrooms, cut into thick slices or quartered;
  • enoki/enokidake/enokitake mushrooms, trimmed and separated (the Mister does not care for these);
  • some kind of winter squash (usually kabocha or butternut), peeled and sliced; and
  • onions, cut widthwise–not pole to pole–into thick rings.

You can also use tofu, which I like but the Mister objects to (heat bricks again), and udon or rice noodles. Udon are delicious, but they are very starchy; if you use them, pre-cook and rinse them, and then just dunk them in the boiling water until they’re heated through.

In terms of meat, we pretty much always use beef and/or pork that’s been pre-sliced specifically for shabu shabu (in other words, very thinly). You can find this easily at Japanese markets. You can also use seafood or leave out the meat altogether, especially if you’re including tofu.

Now for the cooking and eating part! Shabu shabu is sort of a “made to order” meal; you cook just a few things at a time, just before you eat them, in a pot of simmering water. So, unless the idea of eating while standing over the stove appeals to you, you’re probably going to want a portable electric burner with a pot of water on top or an electric skillet of some kind. We’ve tried both of these options and found that the skillet works a LOT better. Your mileage may vary. We use an electric wok that looks like this. And yes, it did at one time have two handles.

You can heat your water in the skillet if you don’t mind waiting 100,000 years for it to come to a boil. If you DO mind–and I do–you might want to bring it to a boil first in a kettle and then pour it into your skillet. Once it’s in the skillet, bring it up to a high simmer/very low boil, and add some of the vegetables that will take longer to cook–squash, carrots, onions, that kind of thing. Then take a slice of meat and swish it around in the water until it’s cooked. This will take just a few seconds. You can also cook some of your quicker-cooking vegetables one at a time now too, such as the enoki mushrooms or the napa cabbage.

Now for the best part: the sauces!

Shabu shabu generally comes with two sauces: a sesame sauce (on the left) and ponzu (on the right). The sesame sauce is not unlike peanut sauce, but made with sesame seeds instead of nuts. Ponzu is basically soy sauce seasoned with citrus juice, typically yuzu. It is pretty much my favorite thing in the universe (salty + acidic = WIN!!!). Again, you should be able to find these sauces pretty easily at Japanese/Asian markets. Get out a couple of small bowls–we use large glass custard cups/ramekins–and add your sauce of choice.

When your meat is cooked, dip it in the sauce, or just dump it into the sauce bowl and let it sit there for a couple of minutes while you fish a mushroom or an onion or whatever else you want to eat out of the water. Dunk it all in the sauce and eat! With steamed rice on the side, of course.

If you’re feeling extra-super-fancy, you can add a few aromatics (such as garlic or scallions) to your water at the beginning of the meal. Then, when you’re done eating, you’ll have some nicely flavored water that you can use to make soup, right in the skillet. Skim off any foamy junk, add some udon soup base and precooked udon noodles, and voila! Two meals in one!

Here endeth Japanese Food Week. I hope you found it somewhat useful, or at least interesting. Have a great weekend!

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 8:12 am  Comments (6)  
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Oriental Prince In The Land Of Soup

Remember that thing about how I get songs in my head really easily? It happened again. Only this time, it’s not a song, per se … it’s a “crimp” from The Mighty Boosh.

If you’ve never seen The Mighty Boosh, get on it IMMEDIATELY. It is hilarious. And keep your filthy mitts off Vince Noir, played by Noel Fielding, because he is MY pretend boyfriend. I mean, hel-LOOOOO!

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about my undying love for a fictional character. We’re here to talk about miso soup and the making thereof. This recipe might seem a little daunting if you’ve never made it, but it’s really very simple. The hardest part is probably finding the ingredients, which are:

  • Kombu (or konbu) seaweed
  • Bonito flakes
  • Miso paste
  • Wakame seaweed (optional)
  • Tofu (optional)
  • Green onions (optional)

You should be able to find these things in any Asian or Japanese market. You can also find them at large, well-stocked grocery stores, and usually at your hoitier-toitier establishments such as Whole Foods as well.

The first step in making miso soup is making dashi. Dashi is fish stock, and, along with soy sauce, it’s one of the cornerstone flavors of Japanese cuisine. Dashi is a background flavor in a stunningly wide variety of soups and sauces; while you might not be able to tell it’s there, the flavor would be off if it weren’t there, and you’d know something was missing even if you couldn’t pinpoint exactly what.

The dashi I make includes both kombu (seaweed) and bonito flakes (which are basically like fish sawdust). Vegetarians or vegans can leave out the bonito, and I’ve seen vegan dashi recipes that include dried mushrooms, which add a meaty “umami” flavor. This recipe makes about four cups of dashi, enough for two pretty hearty servings of soup.

First off, measure your water (four cups) into a pot and add a piece of kombu. A lot of recipes will tell you to wipe the whitish powder off the outside of the seaweed first, but I usually don’t bother.

(Pardon the filthy yellow pot back there!) Turn the heat up to medium-high. Your goal here is to bring the water juuuuust to a boil in about 10 minutes; this usually requires about medium-high heat, but you’ll have to do some experimenting to figure out the right heat level for your particular stovetop.

Once the water is almost to a boil (again, it will take a little practice to figure out when it’s almost boiling but not quite), remove the seaweed and add your bonito flakes. Bonito flakes are, as I mentioned earlier, like fish sawdust; fish is dried and shaved, and the resulting flakes are used in a variety of recipes (you might have encountered them atop sushi). They come in a bag like this.

I use half a cup of flakes, tightly packed, for this amount of water. Allow the water and the bonito to boil for about ten seconds, then turn off the heat. Let it sit for about two minutes.

Then strain the dashi through a sieve into a bowl.

Press on the bonito flakes with a fork to extract all the fishy goodness.

Voila, dashi! This will form the base of your soup. Easy, eh? You can let it sit around for a little while at this point, while your rice is cooking or whatever. You can also refrigerate it for a couple of days.

Incidentally, this variety of dashi is called ichiban dashi, which means “first fish stock.” You can also make niban dashi, or “second fish stock,” by repeating this process with your used kombu and bonito flakes. Ichiban dashi is clearer than niban dashi and is considered to have a more refined flavor.

The other thing I do at this stage of the proceedings is soak my wakame seaweed. You can get wakame either dried or salted; I prefer the salted kind, which is harder to find, but, in my opinion, has a chewier, more toothsome texture than the dried. I cut it up into little bits with kitchen shears because it expands a LOT while soaking, and if you don’t cut it up ahead of time you’ll end up with massive seaweed noodles that can be chewed by neither man nor beast.

Put your cut-up wakame in a cup or bowl and add fresh water to cover.

Once it’s all expanded (this will take 15-30 minutes or so), drain and rinse it. Voila!

(This seems like as good a place as any to mention that one of the hazards of asking Mister Principessa to document any cooking process is that I end up with a lot of photos like this

on my camera. And he wonders why I ranked Perrier higher than him on my list of things.

Perrier never attempts to take pictures of my boobs while I’m doing dishes.)

When you’re ready to make your soup, add the dashi back to the pot and bring it just to a simmer over about medium heat.

Clean out your sieve, too, because you’re going to need it. And get out your miso.

Now, the miso situation could be its own separate entry. In fact, although I’m too lazy to do the research, I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that entire BOOKS have been written about it. There are several kinds, so you’re going to want to do some experimenting until you find one you like. I usually go with either a light (or “white”) shiro miso, or awase miso, which is still fairly light but has a deeper, richer, saltier flavor than shiro. Awase is my favorite, but if you like a lighter flavor, shiro is the way to go. Miso is usually found in plastic tubs or in bags like this.

All right! Now that your dashi has come up to a simmer, turn off the heat and wait for it to stop bubbling. Miso is a living food, not unlike yogurt, and it’s full of all kinds of little probiotic fellas who will react poorly to cooking, which is to say they will die, thus depriving you of all their lovely health-enhancing properties.

Once the dashi has calmed down, put your sieve over the pot so some of the dashi comes up through it. You’re going to use the sieve and hot dashi to “melt” the miso and strain it at the same time. The purpose of the sieve is to catch all the little chunks of grain (barley and/or rice) that are in the miso; you don’t HAVE to strain it, but I personally am not a big fan of finding a bunch of grainy sludge at the bottom of my bowl when I’m done with my soup.

Add enough miso to suit your taste. I use about two big tablespoons for this amount of dashi. You might want to use more or less, depending on how salty you like things and the kind of miso you’re using.

Mix the miso with the dashi in the strainer, and sort of mush it around until it’s melted into the stock.

Then stir in your wakame, cubed tofu (allow this to heat through before eating), and/or green onions, if using. I like all three, but this time we did a very simple soup with just wakame. (Plus, it’s hard to get the tofu past the Mister; he likes it, but it tends to retain heat and become, as he puts it, “heat bricks.”)

And there you have it! Soup! Soup! A tasty soup! Soup!

As usual, I failed to take a picture of this in bowls. So, since that last picture isn’t all that appetizing, I’ll leave you with this one of me in our tiny kitchen. Note Alice in Wonderland Christmas ornament to the left. Yeah, we classy.

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 8:35 am  Comments (18)  
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I’m Too Sexy For My Fillings

Went to the dentist today, for approximately the 14,863rd time in the last six months or so. I had two teeth filled, and one of those teeth is apparently in baaaad shape … possible-root-canal bad. This would worry me, but considering that I had two root canals over the summer, it’s sort of old hat at this point. I am a root canal PRO.

They shot me full of Novocaine, of course, and after my boyfriend and I got in the car, I puckered up and pretended to lean in to kiss him and we both cracked up laughing.

Hot.

So now I’m sitting here waiting for the Novocaine to wear off so we can have dinner. I think it’s starting to, because I’m feeling little twinges of pain in the bad tooth (as the dentist said cheerily, “The filling is sitting right on top of the nerve, so it might take a couple of days to calm down! And you’ll DEFINITELY have sensitivity to cold!” Greeeeaaaaat). As a consolation prize, I’m drinking one of these.

If you have access to Reed’s beverages (I can usually find them at Whole Foods), I HIGHLY recommend picking this up. Tastes like fall in a bottle!

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm  Comments (9)  
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A Few Of My Favorite (Japanese Food) Things

This post is long and picture heavy, so you might want to get yourself a little snack and a beverage and go to the bathroom and everything. It also has gratuitous photos of raw fish, so avert your eyes if you’re squeamish about that kind of thing.

As I mentioned before, Mister Principessa and I visited the Japanese market this weekend. There are a couple of major Japanese market chains here in southern California: Mitsuwa and Marukai. We’ve been to both several times, and we’re partial to Marukai, mostly because they take their grocery selection REALLY seriously. Mitsuwa has Japanese groceries too, but they dedicate a lot of space to other stuff–books, pop culture-y items, gifts. It’s almost like a Japanese mini-mall that just happens to sell groceries.

Marukai, on the other hand, is like a huge Japanese grocery store with other stuff (electronics, ceramics, kitchen gadgets) around the perimeter. We’re lucky to live within half an hour or so of what we call “The Big Marukai,” which is to say, the two-story one in Gardena. It’s really massive, and it has TONS of groceries–mostly Japanese, but some Hawaiian goods as well.

All that selection can be kind of intimidating, particularly if you’re a white girl who doesn’t speak or read Japanese and isn’t familiar with Japanese food beyond Pocky and Kasugai Gummy Candy. So I thought I’d do a post about my favorite Japanese foods. I hadn’t tried ANY of this stuff prior to hooking up with the Mister way back in 2004. But I’m pretty open-minded about food, so I tried anything he recommended, and now I love lots of different Japanese foods. (Not natto. Tried it, thought it tasted like soggy coffee beans injected with cigarette smoke, rabbit poo, and evil, and opted not to try it again.)

Pretty much my favorite Japanese meal in the universe is sashimi. And luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to put together. I’ve read that Japanese food is “the original slow food,” but not sashimi. Making sashimi goes like this:

Step one: Buy raw fish.
Step two: Slice.
Step three: Eat.

Sashimi’s one drawback is the price. You can’t eat just any old fish raw; you need sashimi-quality fish, and it ain’t cheap. The Mister is partial to salmon, which is usually pretty reasonably priced, as you can see by the “per pound” price here:

My favorite, on the other hand, is bluefin chutoro. Toro is the general term for the the fish’s fatty underbelly; otoro is the fattiest and most highly prized cut, and chutoro is the next grade down. Toro has an incredible, melt-in-your-mouth texture and, as you might have guessed, is priced accordingly:

In my defense, I would like to note that this amount of fish is plenty for two meals. So, the price here came out to be just about $10 a meal, which is totally reasonable, considering the price of bluefin toro in sushi restaurants.

Here’s how complicated it is to prepare sashimi:

Easy! Also: YUM.

One of our favorite sashimi accompaniments is tamago, a sweetened, rolled omelette that you may have had in sushi form–that is to say, with a hunk of rice attached to it. There are a lot of ins and outs and what-have-yous when it comes to sushi terminology, but it’s probably sufficient to know that nigiri sushi is the kind with rice on the bottom and sashimi is raw fish served by itself. We eat tamago sashimi-style, in slices. You can probably find tamago pre-made at your local Japanese market, but the Mister likes to do things the hard way–I mean, “the right way”–and make it by hand.

He also really likes it when I take pictures of him and threaten to post them on the Internet.

Charming.

So that pretty much covers our main course. We usually have a few little side dishes with sashimi too, such as kamaboko.

Kamaboko is a steamed or fried fish cake. If you’ve ever had Japanese soup and it had fishy stuff in it that came in half-moon-shaped slices that were white on the inside and pink on the outside and looked like this

that’s kamaboko.

I also really like seaweed salad.

The Mister and I used to go to a sushi bar that served us seaweed salad with ika sansai (seasoned squid) in it. So we started preparing it that way at home.

We like to fancy this up with La-Yu chili oil and regular old sesame oil, and sometimes rice vinegar.

It’s also nice to have a few kinds of pickles with sashimi. The Mister’s favorite kind is hari hari zuke, a bright yellow pickle that’s usually made with daikon radish but can also include other kinds of vegetables, such as lotus root.

I myself am partial to pirikara daikon, which is somewhat similar to the yellow pickles in flavor, but saltier and more gingery.

Speaking of which, can’t have sushi or sashimi without pickled ginger!

Beverage-wise, I like to pick up Japanese sodas and vitamin jellys at Marukai.

The Mister generally gets a beverage or two of his own.

That’s sake on the right. He insisted I include this picture so you know that he does, in fact, drink decent alcohol from time to time, not just Natural Light.

And then we eat!

With plenty of steamed white rice on the side, of course.

More Japanese food to come later this week, so stay tuned if you’re into that kinda thing.

Published in: on November 8, 2010 at 11:57 am  Comments (11)  
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