Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ume (Japanese Plum) Jam

Plums from the Sunday Market

This is a small jar of jam I made from Japanese plum (Ume) for the first time. I'm not sure if I can call it a success, though.

These are not sweet plums. (Sorry, I didn't make it clear in the first place.) Ume plums are sour even after they turn orange and look ripe, and we don't eat them raw. We make umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums) or fruit wine out of them, and for that purpose they don't have to be ripe -- we use them when they are green and immature. It is said that immature Japanese plums contain poisonous substance a little, but being pickled for a long time or being in alcohol for a long time, I guess they become detoxified.

Ume Jam and my Hand-Made Label

Anyway, when I googled for a Japanese recipe of Ume jam, I found, on almost every site, comments like: "Ume jam is sooooo good! Its refreshing smell and the combination of sweet and sour taste is wonderful! " "Even anyone who doesn't like any kind of fruit jam will love this" etc. etc. Most of recipes said you have to soak immature ume plums in salt water overnight (apx 3 hours for ripe, orange-colored ume), and repeat boil-drain procedure a few times, carefully removing the foam-like dirt that comes out from ume plums while boiling. I thought those were the necessary procedures for removing the strong harshness.

Ume Jam on Yogurt

Now I'm not quite sure if I did that part of the preparation thoroughly. Because the ume plums I bought this time looked ripe, I soaked them in water for 3 hours and I boiled them once, drained, and boiled again and drained again. When the plums softened, I removed all the seeds. The rest was a straightforward jam-making procedure... boil them in water with sugar (50 to 90% of the weight of the seedless plums, they said).

The jam didn't turn out so wonderfully as said in many websites... it was OK, but with a little harshness remaining. Maybe I should have soaked them in water longer and repeated the boil-drain procedure a few more times... Or maybe, instead of boiling it down until thicken by itself, I should have added more water for that amount of plums and use pectin to make the runny jam gel.

I guess this time I did a better job making the label than making the jam itself ;P I cropped and resized the photo on top of this entry, gave it some retouch, added the text on it and printed it out. I had fun indeed.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Dolce! - Tiramisu -

Tiramisu -- this was a killer

I did it. I made tiramisu for the first time in my life.

From what I have read in keiko’s post in March, I assumed that tiramisu is relatively easy to make. So even when I couldn’t find lady fingers anywhere around and baking genoise myself seemed inevitable, I didn’t chicken out.

After googling with the keywords “tiramisu,” “marsala” and “genoise,” and finding
this recipe on top of the list, I just went for it with no second thought.

Yes, nothing was terribly difficult about making tiramisu. It was fun baking the genoise, making the coffee syrup, making layers of genoise and mascarpone cheese cream and sifting cocoa on top to garnish. (I skipped the whipped cream and the chocolate gratings.) When I tasted it, however, I found so many points that I need to improve or do differently next time. It was just TOO SWEET!!

No, it’s not necessarily the recipe’s fault or the cultural difference in the preference of sweetness. It’s the sugar I used, I suppose. I used the cheapest brand of granulated sugar, and even for the part that recipe said “superfine,” I used the same cheap thing and did not bother to mill it in blender. (Or I might have made a mistake in conversion.) Also, the marsala I used was “dolce” so that probably contributed a lot to the extra sweetness.

What was more, I made 2 layers of genoise in this small ramekin, which made the taste of coffee syrup in genoise dominant instead of the taste of mascarpone cream. A big mistake, especially when I used the cheap mascarpone that didn’t have as much cheese flavor as imported ones.

I managed to eat this much, and thought that was all I could eat at one time.

The rest is for tomorrow.

So, next time I will: 1) use less amount of better sugar, 2) make sure to first add less amount of sugar than what the recipe calls for and gradually add more, tasting frequently, to reach the sweetness I want, 3) make sure to put more mascarpone cream than genoise when making layers, 4) make weaker coffee for the syrup (It was almost giving me mild caffeine-overdose symptoms…I mean, I should have known better even though the recipe said “the strongest you can make.”) , and 5) use a glass container so that the layers will show.

Well, better luck next time! ;)

Oh, BTW, this has nothing to do with the tiramisu, but I found a helpful info. on the net about whipping cream. Some of you readers might remember that I once complained about my whipped cream always turning out rather runny no matter how long I whip. The reason was that some whipping cream do not contain as much fat as others, and I always used the one with a low fat content. In a Japanese cooking forum site, someone commented that adding a little pectin powder (or a little jam that contains pectin) helps whipping cream thicken and improves whippability and stiffness. A great tip for getting rid of my "I-can't-whip-cream-like-everybody-else inferiority" ;)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

After One Terrible Night -- Tomato-flavored Rice Porridge --

Tomato-flavored Rice Porridge?

I didn’t feel like cooking after my work at the Izakaya last night. We didn’t have too many customers, but maybe just waiting in the kitchen, being bored, made me more tired than a busy night. I dropped by a supermarket on my way back and bought my late-night supper. was a big mistake that I picked a pack of ready-made "deep-fried mackerel fillets with sweet & sour sauce." I was 100% sure that the mackerel wasn’t really good, because that’s how they sell very unfresh leftover mackerel fillets. I don’t know why…maybe the magic of the word “discount” written on the label… but I bought one pack.

It tasted OK and I concluded that it was a good buy after all. NO WAY. After 2:00 am, I started feeling a pain in my stomach. Until about 4:30 am, I had a real hard time. I don’t want to go into too much details here, but anyway, I was so worn out when I got out of bed this morning.

Unfortunately, today was the day that people at my daytime work had a little luncheon meeting over some expensive bento delivered to the office. I didn’t have to attend the meeting, but my boss and colleagues kindly ordered one bento for me. I didn’t want to say “No” to their kindness, and more than anything, I didn’t want to miss the chance to eat such an expensive bento, I just said “thank you” to them with a big smile on my face and ate up the bento to the last grain of rice in it.

Thank goodness, my stomach was OK all afternoon. But when I came home after the daytime work (no work at the Izakaya tonight), I didn’t feel like eating anything for supper but something kind to my stomach…such as nice, warm porridge.

So this was my supper tonight. What should I call it? Maybe, tomato-flavored rice porridge? And this lazy obachan used instant tomato-soup mix for making the soup for the porridge ;P (I mean, how much can you be adventurous after your stomach was upset almost all night?)

Instant tomato soup and diced eggplant/potato

All I did was dicing an eggplant and a small potato, sautéing them, making instant tomato soup and cooking the sautéed vegetable and leftover white rice in the tomato soup. The soup was already flavored with mozzarella-cheese but I felt like more cheese, so I sprinkled some grated cheese on top before eating.

This was not a bad idea at all. I liked the taste of the porridge and my stomach is feeling much better now.
I guess me and my stomach are going to have a good rest tonight.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Chocolate-Tofu Pudding

Well, I guess it’s about time she went back to the U.S. and had some spare time to spend in front of her computer, so now I’m posting this entry.
This is a post dedicated to a very good friend of mine, Robin. Yes, you, Robin. You thought I forgot about the promise? No, no. I was waiting ‘til the right time.

Chocolate-tofu Pudding with a Strawberry (sliced in half) and a Sprig of Mint

There are 2 foods that always remind me of my friend, Robin every time I see them or eat them. One is Imo-ten (batter-fried sweet potatoes) sold at the Sunday Market here in Kochi. The other is this: Chocolate-tofu pudding.

We had a dinner together once at her apartment in Kochi city in July last year, just before she left Japan for home. I brought, IIRC, some soft tortillas and filling (incl. guacamole) to make chicken burritos, some chicken gumbo in a plastic tupperware, and peanut butter & jelly square I made from the recipe that chika had sent me. Robin bought beer for both of us, and she also made the chocolate-tofu pudding for dessert.

It was my very first time trying chocolate-tofu pudding, or tofu-chocolate pudding (I don’t remember which she called it), but anyway, it didn’t scare me ;) I had tried chocolate-rice pudding before in the U.S. and liked it, so I thought the combination of chocolate and tofu could be good, too.

Her pudding was not bad at all. Well, actually, just a bit too much aftertaste of tofu, but it gave me an impression of a very healthy dessert.

Another Look at the Chocolate-Tofu Pudding

Robin and I met for the first time at a bake sale by a musical group in Kochi. After that, we met at some parties and gatherings/events at our locally famous Hirome-ichiba. We even experienced a very “extraordinary” fundraising bake sale together for the same musical group (didn’t we, Robin?) At that time she was teaching at the school for the blind, which was not too far from my apartment, and she spoke pretty good Japanese. Actually, she was good at mimicking our local dialect, too. When she talked to me, she would often mix English, Japanese and Tosa-ben (our dialect) even within one sentence! I believe that contributed to my English grammar getting messed up more and more. ;) 
Anyway, she is such a fun-loving, outgoing woman. I guess what makes me feel very comfortable being with her is that we share the same kind of sense of (sometimes pretty cynical or black) humor and the same kind of ideas about what’s good and important in people and what sucks in life. And we both value our civilized way of teasing each other in order to enhance intimacy. (Right, Robin?) Well, I don’t know what she feels about me... but that’s the way I feel about her.

She left Japan last year but came back to visit us this year in April and traveled in Japan for several weeks, I suppose. I was so happy to see her again, but it was worse when I had to say good-bye to her again. Yeah, the 2nd time hurt more.

When I promised her to post about her in my blog, I decided to make the chocolate-tofu pudding myself in order to re-visit the memory of our dinner last year. To make this pudding, I googled and picked this recipe.
Sure, it’s a healthy dessert indeed. The recipe is on a vegetarian cooking page and the main ingredients are tofu, cocoa and maple syrup! It’s a real guilt-free stuff!

The Ingredients I used: Silken Tofu, Van Houten Cocoa and Maple Syrup

Though I put good amount of maple syrup and vanilla extract, my pudding had some distinctive aftertaste of tofu, too. I might experiment a bit more to reduce the tofu flavor to the point that I taste just a hint of it. What do you think I should do for that? Add lemon juice?

Photo of the Pudding with "Radial Blur" Effect

So, Robin, you keep coming back to my blog, OK? I’ll post about our food and life in Kochi more and more to make you homesick (or Japan-sick or Kochi-sick) so that you’ll come back to see us again -- “us” means me and all your friends still in Kochi. Be ready! ;)

You seem to be less confident about this from time to time, so I assure you in upper case:

Monday, May 23, 2005



Ekiben means packed meals you can buy at train stations or on the train, often with local specialties of the area that you're traveling in.

This is the bento I bought at the station and ate on the train on my way back from Okayama on Sunday, 22nd. The rain on that day really messed up my plan in Okayama and I was very disappointed on my way back. That triggered me to buy a rather expensive bento to make up for the fun that I missed.

Everything tasted very good, which eased my disappointment a little.

BTW, to take this photo, I waited for the guy sitting next to me on the train to go to sleep. I can take food photos in public when I’m with another food blogger, like fish fish, but when I’m alone, I’m still shy…. ;P

Dinner with fish fish and Patrick

On Sat. 21st, I visited Kansai and met fish fish and another blogger, Patrick at the Hub in Kyoto. She already posted about our dinner with better food pics than mine. Thanks fish fish!!

It was my first time meeting Patrick. (Fish fish and I met last January and went to cake buffet together.) He is such a nice guy and a great photographer who loves traveling so much.

Thanks to fish fish's student ID, we had a good discount for this amount of food and drink. Gakuwari! What a sweet word! And this kind person didn’t mind standing in line to order food for us so that the rest of us can stay at the table and enjoy chatting. How nice of you, fish fish! I appreciated it so much.

This is the drink fish fish had first. The succor-ball shaped container was cute. She let me taste it and it was pretty sweet. I didn’t feel the combination was strange, but did think it had too much ice in it.

Patrick’s China Blue. I always love the cool blue color of this drink.

My Ditta Grapefruit. It tasted OK. I didn’t know it had lychee flavor, though.

I didn't take pics of our second drinks. BTW, I thought they increased the amount of non-alcoholic ingredients for the happy hour drinks, especially for the bigger-size (x1.5) ones. Well, maybe, this is a middle-aged woman being picky about this kind of thing ;P But looks like the drinks were strong enough for fish fish to feel the influence of alcohol. She was so cute with her cheeks turning a little red. She said she didn’t drink alcohol for quite a while.

The food there was good, as fish fish had told me beforehand.

Spicy Potato Fries

I liked the bucket-like container and the newspaper-like lining paper (it wasn't a real newspaper).

Prawn Fried Rice

Salmon & Potato Pizza

Yes, I love salmon. But I really wanted to try the mentaiko pizza that fish fish said they used to have and was very good.


This is the one I LOVED the most. With the sauce and mayonnaise, I thought it would be too heavy for me, but oh, no! The taste was just right!

Gorgonzola Gnocchi (sorry, blurred pic.)

To me the gnocchi was surprisingly light. I was expecting very chewy, heavy kind of gnocchi from my experience before, but its texture was fluffier than I thought. The cheese sauce was really salty, so as it cooled I tried to have less and less sauce on each gnocchi when I eat.

Well, fish fish and Patrick, thank you so much for the lovely time. I enjoyed your company very much.
Next time, maybe in Shikoku?? :)


Yakiniku !!!!!

Last Thursday, I visited my friend in a small village in Kochi. There, my friend and her colleagues treated me at a nice Yakiniku restaurant!! Look! This kind of meat is so expensive. I can never afford to buy meat like this for my own meals. NEVER!

This was of course not all the meat we had. I just forgot taking pics once we started putting meat and vegetables on the grill and giving each other “henpai.” 
(If you want to know what henpai is, click here.)

IIRC, we grilled vegetables like cabbage, sliced pumpkins and green peppers, and also grilled prawns from the Shimanto River. Yum!! We even tried some adventurous ones like hachinosu (cow’s stomach wall from the 2nd stmach), harami (cow’s diaphragm) and nankotsu (chicken cartilage). They may sound awful if you just heard/read about them, but when they are properly prepared/grilled and dipped in a good, garlicky sauce, you’d be surprised how good they can be. I used to hate the mere idea of eating such things, but I've grown to enjoy their chewy texture and taste recently.

Anyway, this night, I ate more meat than I had eaten in one entire year last year, honestly.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Leftovers, Leftovers, Leftovers...

It is something inevitable as far as I’m living all by myself…LEFTOVERS. I still had the edamame (green soybeans), daikon, mentaiko, kinome-miso and Japanese yam left from the virtual kaiseki weekend.

Mentaiko & Cheese Toast

This was something I’ve heard of/read about but never actually tried out until today. I lightly toasted a slice of bread, spread butter & mentaiko-mayonnaise mixture all over and topped it with sliced cheese, and toasted it again until the cheese melt. Mmmm… a bit saltiy, but not too much, and not too fishy, either. I liked it :) Would have been tastier if used a sliced French bread.

I made these bite-size appetizers again (this time I used kinome-miso, too).

With shredded Japanese yam sprinkled with aonori (green laver flakes) and boiled edamame, I had one can of happoshu (low-malt beer).

Other Leftovers ... (except beer)

This was just a warm-up, folks. I'm ready for a big drinking weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Best Thing I've Ever Made! - Konatsu Marmalade -

My Home-mde Konatsu Marmalade

Although I had made up my mind so easily to make marmalade out of the konatsu oranges from my dad’s orchard, I was very ambivalent before starting it. First of all, I liked marmalade alright, but never really loved it. If I saw several kinds of jellies including marmalade at a breakfast buffet, marmalade wouldn’t be my first choice. Second, I knew how bitter konatsu rind is. Of course there’s a way to remove bitterness from orange rinds, but I wasn’t sure if it can work perfectly for konatsu. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try, mainly from a curiosity. If you want to know what konatsu marmalade would taste like, there’s only one way to find out, right? Good thing that my dad uses absolutely no post-harvest agrichemicals… it’s nice not having to worry about that when using orange peels for cooking.

When I made konatsu awayuki-kan for my virtual quasi-kaiseki, I had plenty of konatsu peels left. Then I googled for konatsu marmalade recipe, not regular marmalade, because I thought that a special preparation might be necessary for the konatsu rind with extra bitterness. I found a recipe on a local farmars network's website. OK, they must know the best about the konatsu produced in this prefecture… I downsized the recipe to suit the amount of peels I had, and started the experiment (?)

I sliced konatsu peels thinly as mentioned in the recipe. The trick was rubbing the sliced konatsu peels with some salt until the white pulp turned transparent, then rinsing them 4 to 5 times. After that, the konatsu peels had to be placed in water for 3 hours to remove the bitterness.

The rest of the procedure was pretty straightforward. The sliced konatsu peels were cooked with konatsu juice, water and sugar for about an hour, then pectin and lemon juice were added. Meanwhile, in another big pot, I was boiling water to scald some empty jars and lids. Yes, I was ready to try my first canning, too.

The marmalade was too sweet when I first tasted it, so I added some more konatsu juice and lemon juice. When I finally thought it was done, believe it or not, I LOVED it, not just liked, but LOVED! The konatsu peels in the marmalade kept their refreshing flavor so well and even a little crispiness, too, but without annoying bitterness --- there was only a subtle hint of bitterness, which was just perfect to me! :D For the first time, I really enjoyed chewing on the orange peels in marmalade.

Some more googling was necessary before I decided how to do the canning. There were several different methods introduced on the net and I was so scared that the jars might explode and marmalade be scattered all over my kitchen if I did it wrong. Too much information just confused me. Should I close the lids really tight or should I make it loose? Should I keep the marmalade-filled jars completely under the surface of the boiling water or should the water be only up to the neck of the jars??? How long should I boil? Five? Ten? Or thirty-minutes? Should I set the jars upright or upside down to cool after processing?

Finally I made up my mind: I screwed the lids on very tight once and then loosened it just a little bit. My pot wasn’t deep enough to have the jars be completely covered by the water so this was the only way I could do. I heard the air coming out from the jars while processing. After 20 minutes, I took out the jars from the boiling water and placed them upside down to cool. When cooled, I saw the lids curved downward, so I knew I didn’t make a terrible mistake. (I should have removed all those bubbles, though …)

This morning I made some biscuits (thanks to santos for the quick and easy recipe ;)) using the heavy cream that I had left from making the panna cotta yesterday, and ate the biscuits with the konatsu marmalade. It was wonderful!
I also tried some marmalade with yogurt, and absolutely LOVED it, too.

Just once in a while (though not very often), I experience a great success like this. That's why I love cooking/baking ;) Oh, I’m so happy!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Panna Cotta with Cherry Sauce

Panna Cotta with Cherry Sauce

After (almost overwhelmingly) enjoying Japanese food over the weekend, it’s time for something Italian ;)

This was my very first time making panna cotta, and it was surprisingly easy to make!

I added a little Marsala wine when making the cherry sauce, but when I tasted the sauce with the panna cotta, I couldn’t taste the Marsala almost at all. So, I poured a teaspoonful of Marsala wine directly over the panna cotta like this.

See the amber color from the wine?

It was goooooooooooooooooooood.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Obachan's Quasi-Kaiseki

OK, it’s time to show the world the result of my ill-thought project that took me all-afternoon Friday and all day Saturday this weekend. Wondering what this is? This is “quasi-Kaiseki” by a middle-aged woman in Kochi who had nothing better to do this weekend.

( ** I guess I should add this here to be honest and fair to the readers...
Note: I didn't make and eat all of these dishes at one time. I made some on Friday and took photos and ate them then. The rest was prepared/ate on Saturday, some in the morning and some in the afternoon. I made all photos into one kaiseki entry on Sunday ... that's why it's called "quasy-kaiseki." ;P )

The kaiseki course I had with my mom last weekend actually triggered my tempura craving, so my original plan was making tempura and some kind of konatsu dessert this weekend. On Tuesday I made some kinome-miso and had some of it left, so I needed to use it up somehow. Then a crazy idea just popped up in my mind…as usual. What about making some other dishes and making my own virtual kaiseki course on my blog?

Of course I can’t make real, formal kaiseki. That requires professional skills you can acquire only after years of training, and there seem to be numerous traditional rules regarding what kind of dish or bowl should be used for what kind of food in which season, etc. I don’t mean to insult our wonderful tradition by giving it a try without the skill and knowledge…I just wanted to be more familiar with our tradition.

Kaiseki is said to have originated from Zen practice, as explained in this site. As the site says, it is still served at tea ceremony. On the other hand, according to some Japanese websites, “kaiseki” also developed as formal party food as rich samurais or merchants got together for haiku (Japanese poem ) meetings at high-class traditional restaurants in Edo period. Sometimes different Chinese characters are used in writing to distinguish these 2 kinds of kaiseki, but not very strictly.

It seems that the rules for kaiseki at restaurants are more flexible than at tea ceremony. I adopted a very basic (simplified than tea-ceremony kaiseki) course of kaiseki and terminology, but omitted steamed dish.


Obachan's Quasi-Kaiseki
お品書き Menu

前菜/先付けZensai/Sakizuke (Appetizers)
- きゅうりモロミ味噌付け Cucumber with Moromi-miso
- 大根の明太子マヨネーズはさみ Mayonnaise-seasoned mentaiko between Daikon radish slices
- 焼き厚揚げ田楽 -- ゆず味噌・明太マヨネーズ・木の芽味噌 Broiled Atsuage (deep-fried tofu) with yuzu-miso, Mayonnaise-seasoned mentaiko and Kinome-miso

椀/吸い物 Wan/Suimono (Soup Dish)

- えびと枝豆のしんじょ Shrimp dumpling with green soybeans
- 羅臼昆布 Kelp

刺身 Sashimi (Sliced Raw Fish)

- 帆立の刺身Raw Scallop

焼物 Yakimono (Broiled Fish)
- 鮭の木の芽味噌焼き Grilled salmon with kinome-miso

揚物 Agemono (Deep-fried Dish)
- 天麩羅 きす・さつまいも・サヤマメ・うどの芽 Deep-fried sand borer. sweet potatoes, snow peas and udo shoots.

煮物 Nimono (Simmered Dish)
- 筍の土佐煮 Bamboo shoots simmered with dried bonito flakes
- しいたけ Shiitake mushroom
- そらまめ Fava beans

酢の物 Sunomono (Vinegared Dish)

- うどとワカメの酢の物 Udo and Seaweed with vinegar dressing

止め椀 Tome-Wan (Rice, miso soup and pickles)
- 十穀米ごはん Rice with 10 kinds of grains
- みそ汁と香の物 Miso Soup and pickles

水菓子 Mizugashi (Dessert)
- 小夏の淡雪かん Gelatin dessert made from Konatsu oranges


So, everyone, this is the result of my crazy attempt.
I mean, everything didn’t turn out really GREAT, but most things tasted OK, and it just made me feel good to find that I was able to make something that “look like” traditional Japanese dishes. More than anything, it was a fun learning experience. I had fun thinking about which dish/bowl to use for which food and what I can use for garnishing…(I picked some weeds and flowers on the roadside.) Maybe what I did was quite off the wall from a “formal” point of view, but oh well, maybe at least I gave some experts of Japanese cuisine something to laugh about and brightened up their day ;)

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

BTW, I'm eating out tonight... I need a break from cooking :O

Mizugashi (Dessert)

水菓子Mizugashi (Dessert)

- 小夏の淡雪かん Gelatin dessert made from Konatsu oranges
Mizugashi literally meant “fruits” in ancient time when sugar was a luxuary thing and most of the “sweets” people had were fruits.
Now, I don’t really know how I should translate Awayuki-kan into English. When I googled, I got some hits with “Awayuki-kan (Nieve ligera),” so there seems to be something similar in other countries.

To make this, I whipped egg whites with sugar, mixed in dissolved gelatin and sweetened konatsu juice (set a little amount of konatsu-juice mixed gelatin aside), whipped some more and poured into a square container. When the meringue part got firm enough, I poured the remaining gelatin all over the make tne 2nd layer on top. After being cooled in the fridge, it came out like this.

I guess I can call this a success. It was so amazingly light, fluffy and refreshing! It just melted in my mouth.

Tome-Wan (Rice, Miso Soup and Pickles)

止め椀 Tome-Wan (Rice, miso soup and pickles)

"Tome" means "to stop," so when the rice and miso soup are served, it means that's the end of the kaiseki main course and only dessert is left to come.

- 十穀米ごはん Rice with 10 kinds of grains
No, I didn’t buy 10 different kinds of grains just for this…I happened to have some packages of “10-grain mix” that you just need to throw in when cooking white rice with an electric rice cooker. Instant stuff again ;P

- みそ汁と香の物 Miso Soup and pickles
If you take a close look at the miso soup photo, you can tell where the ingredients came from…

Sunomono (Vinegared Dish)

酢の物Sunomono (Vinegared Dish)

- ウドとワカメの酢の物 Udo and Seaweed with vinegar dressing
Shredded udo needs to be placed in water for a while to remove the bitter taste. I used a little bit of yomogi leaf and konatsu rind to garnish. This tiny bowl caught my eyes at the 100-yen shop the other day and I couldn’t resist the temptation. Cute, isn’t it?

Sunomono dish is served before rice in order to refresh your tounge and make you ready for rice and miso soup.

Nimono (Simmered Dish)

煮物Nimono (Simmered Dish)

- 筍の土佐煮 Bamboo shoots simmered with dried bonito flakes
- しいたけ Shiitake mushroom
- そらまめ Fava beans
Bamboo shoots were simmered with and topped with dried bonito flakes. Since Kochi prefecture, called "Tosa" in ancient time, is famous for producing dried bonito, this simmered dish is called “Tosa-ni.” I simmered shiitake and beans in another pot because I didn’t want to have bonito flakes all over them.

Agemono (Deep-fried Dish)

揚物Agemono (Deep-fried Dish)

- 天麩羅 きす・さつまいも・サヤマメ・ウドの芽 Deep-fried sand borer, sweet potatoes, snap beans and udo shoots
The picture looks a bit dull because I didn’t use colorful ingredients for tempura this time, but I was so satisfied with the taste.

Udo grows wild in northan part of Japan (I think?). Its shoots and young stems are edible, with fragrance and slight bitterness. I LOVE the crunchy udo tempura more than anything…it’s a real delicacy of spring in Japan. Kisu (sand borer) is small, light-tasting fish, said to be especially tasty in early summer before its egg-laying season.

Yakimono (Broiled Dish)

焼物Yakimono (Broiled Fish)

- 鮭の木の芽味噌焼き Broiled salmon with kinome-miso
I seasoned salmon fillets with sake and a little salt, broiled them, and coated the top with some kinome-miso and broiled some more. The color combination of pink and green is lovely, isn’t it?

Sashimi (Sliced Raw Fish)

刺身Sashimi (Sliced Raw Fish)

- 帆立の刺身Raw Scallop
As I posted before, I don’t like eating sashimi without rice, especially when it's fatty fish. This was what I could handle without rice.

BTW, it doesn’t show well, but behind the shiso leaf, there’s a heap of shredded daikon and cucumber.

For that, first you need to make real thin, paper-like strips of daikon (called katsura-muki). I know my katsura-muki is so laughable, especially using this kind of knife is stupid...;P