Tag Archives: Simple Recipes

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/57): Shake Maze Sushi Bento

Tuesday: Sushi Bento Day!
Did I say it was flaming hot outside?
I am certainly going to enjoy my day in my air-conditioned office!
“Shake or Sake/鮭”, although BG will come with another snide remark, means “Salmon”. Both words might turn a bit confusing for some when you write them! LOL

Salmon can easily be bought all year round at supermarkets as “Shiozake/Salted Salmon/塩鮭” and frozen when you have any left.
The Missus is always keen on using some, although I always ask her to discard the skin and fat after sauteing it.
She steamed some rice with a big piece of konbu/seaweed before seasoning it into sushi rice. She mixed it with sauteed salmon flakes, thinly cut pickled myoga ginger and cucumber and sesame seeds (these were not cut, BG!).

She lined the bento box with fresh lettuce before filling it with the sushi rice. She topped it plenty of thinly sliced fresh shiso/perilla leaves, home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper and a piece of lemon for extra seasoning.

The Missus came up with a Salvador Dali (or is it a Picasso?) like side dish!

She came up with the interesting idea of including a half avocado pear inside its skin as a kind of vessel with its filling, the whole to be eaten with a spoon (I’ve got one at the office!). The semi-hard egg had been boiled in onsen tamago style with its yolk still running. The egg had furthermore been marinated in soy sauce and amazu/sweet vinegar, thus providing the seasoning to the avocado (you “crush” the egg into the avocado with your spoon when eating it!). Some more lettuce for the fiber and Vitamin C, and walnut for dessert.

The salad part was completed with raw sweet pimento sticks and home-pickled cucumber. Cream cheese dressing was provided as a dip sauce for the pimentoes.

I should have called that bento, Mexican Bento!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/55): Indian Sushi Bento

Most Indian people have to devise their food according to a somewhat harsh climate (at times. Of course people living at the foot of the Himalayas would say otherwise!). The Missus is a great fan of Indian cuisine and anything called “curry”!
Today, sushi bento day, she came up with a simple twist to call her sushi Indian-style!

Having prepared the sushi rice, she added a good measure of curry furikake to it. Furikake means “seasoning to be sprinkled” in Japanese. There a good many of them including the curry variety she used today.
Simple, ain’t it?

She deep-fried large prawns in breadcrumbs and included them in rolls she made with a bamboo sushi roll and cellophane paper. She then took the rolls out of their cellophane paper and rolled them inside lettuce before wrapping them again into cellophane paper to facilitate the cutting.

plenty of home-made pickles to provide me with the salt I will lose during the sweating-hot day: cucumber, fresh geinger, carrot and sansho/Japanese pepper.

Loads of fruit for dessert for the vitamin C and fibers: red grapefruit, nectarines and blueberries. The latter are supposed to be good for the eyes. If true, they will help mine which tend to get tired at the end of the day with all my PC work!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/53): Maze Sushi Bento

There was no bento to write about yesterday as it was a National Holiday!
Instead we spent most of the day lazying about at home as it was simply too hot outside and visited a new (for the Missus!) sushi resstaurant in the evening!
The scales were ceratinly a pleasure to look at this morning!
Therefore back to healthy food and habits!

The Missus prepare “Maze Sushi/混ぜ鮨, or “mixed sushi” in English.
-“What did you put in it?” I asked most politely.
-“At least 10 ingredients! Why don’t you try and discover them?”
Alright, alright…
Avocado, ham, cheese, black olive, tomato, sansho/Japanese pepper (pickled), …. that does make 10! I’m in for a beating tonight.

The “salad” was certainly colouful once again (and tasty, an healthy!)!
Cut Renaissance tomatoes grown in Kakegawa City (I buy them regularly at Kakegawa Station on my way back from university), cornichons, lettuce, carrot tagliatelle saled with walnuts, and semi-boiled egg topped with black olive. East meets West!

Alright, I loved it!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/52): Te-mari Sushi Bento

Tuesday’s Bentoes have become a regular feature as Sushi Bento!
Today’s bento consists of Te-mari Sushi/手丸寿司 or Hand-shaped ball sushi (not easy to translate, so read the explanation!).

The Missus could not decide which picture to choose, so it is my pleasure to show another angle!
Te-mari sushi are naturallly made with sushi rice.
The process is quite simple:
1) Make small rice balls (they can be as small/big as you wish!) either between the palms of your hands or by wrapping some rice inside cellophane paper and twisting the cellophane paper tightly around the rice to form a ball. Unwrap the balls and put them aside.
2) For each te-mari choose the”neta/topping”.
Lay a large enough piece of cellophane paper in your palm. Place the topping upside down (important as all is inverted), place the rice ball on top, close the cellophane paper around the te-mari and twist it closed tightly enough for easy unwrapping and placing inside the bento box.

The Missus prepared three types of Te-mari:
1) Smoked salmon te-mari topped with lemon and capers.
2) Raw ham topped with cress.
3) Cucumber (she sliced it thinly and took the excess humidity first with kitchen paper) topped umenoshi/Japanese pickled plum flesh and black sesame seeds.
She added home-made pickled aubergines/egg-plants and edamame.

As for the salad-dessert “dish”, the Missus included three-coloured potato salad (yellow, pink and violet) topped with black olive, sliced tomato over a bed of cress, cherries and bluberries for dessert.

Certianly made for a big and tasty bento!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/50): Korean Sushi Roll Bento

In these days of incessant weather change, one has to make sure of his/her sustainance. In winter, when they are in need of calories, the Japanese often visit the innumerable Korean restaurants in their cities.
I believe that the Korean are tempted with lighter fare such as sushi in summer (I’m only assuming!)!

That is why the Missus came up the idea last night to create a Korean sushi bento of her own for today, Tuesday sushi bento day!

That orange colour is definitively that of kimchi!
After steaming the rice and arranged it as sushi rice, the Missus mixed it with “golden” roasted sesame seeds.
Before spreading the rice on the seaweed, she brushed the inside of the nori/dry seaweed with sesame oil.
She then lined the sushi rice with 3 types of pimentoes she had cut into thin strips before frying them in sesame oil/namuru style.
On top of the vegetables she spread thin slices of pork she had fried Korean-style with spicy sauce and black roasted sesame seeds.

For a closer view of the sushi roll cross section!

The Koreans eat a lot of vegetables with their meat, so the Missus did likewise with a salad duo of freshly cut large plum tomatoes and a combo of cucumber, myoga ginger, shiso/perilla leaves, konbu/seaweed, daikon and sesame seeds.

Cherries from Yamagata Prefecture for dessert!

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Vegan Sashimi at Yasaitei (2010/06/30)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Vegan and vegetarian Cuisine, Izakaya gastronomy, local products, oden.

The summer has come to Shizuoka with a vengeance after an unseasonably cool period. One has problems making and devising food and meals for such a period. It is when you have to think of a higher fluid/water and vitamin intake to complement your “usual” diet/eating prctices.

This is when fresh vegetables are vital!
Luckily enough, Shizuoka Prefecture is the most blessed region in Japan when it comes to varieties and quality.

Just go arond the innumerable small markets in town and suburbs and you will rediscover the riot of colours at Yasaitei, which almost exclusively serve local produce!

Do not forget that mushrooms can play a vital role in your diet!

One knows very quickly where all these beauties come from: Green asparaguses from Hokkaido!

I had a long day both indoors and outdoors yesterday, and I was literally dehydrated when I entered my favourite izakaya.
The fresh colours of yuba/tofu sheets served with grated Shizuoka wasabi and thinly shredded leek were a balm on my eyes and body.
With a glass of Doman rice shochu from Tenjigura-Hamamatsu Brewery, I could patiently wait for my vegetable sashimi order!

Just a little soy sauce with it, nothing else!

A side view of the picture at the top of this posting.

A slanted view to show the mizu nasu/water egg plant, a Japanese variety that is best eaten raw, cruchy celery, crunchy (and so juicy) daikon on shiso, perilla leaf atop chopped onions, crunchy and juicy (again) cucumber and small radish!
The dressing/dip consisted as usual of fine salt, miso paste and sesame oil!

I finish my quick snack/meal with a corn cream and fresh carrot combination. Does not qualify as vegan, but certainly does as vegetarian!

YASAITEI
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
Seating: 6 at counter + 20 at tables
Set Courses: 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 yen
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/48): Sushi Millefeuille Bento

I finally managed to have the Missus take all photos of her bentos according to my preferences and hope that BG will stop commenting on my general clumsiness and ignorance!LOL
It takes time even for dragons like me to tame btter-worse halves calling themselves rabbits (BG, spare me from the next question!)

As Tuesday is “Sushi bento day”, the Missus came up with the concept of sushi millefeuille, that is a multi-layer sushi.
She lined a terrine with cellophane paper before placing the ingredients in the following order (inverted!): sliced avocado dipped in lemon juice, sushi rice, cucumber strips, smoked salmon and rice again!

The same unwrapped.
Now, if you do not wish to press the sushi too hard like the Missus, keep it wrapped in the cellophane paper when you cut it to avoid unpleasant (crumbling away) surprises.

And you might have to wrap them again before cutting them a second time across!

Then she wrapped each sushi in lettuce for better handling and easier insertion into the bento box. That particular box is very practical for big bento rice balls or sushi!

For a closer cross section view of the sushi!

Mini tomatoes and the Missus’ mother’s home-made cucumber pickles for the finishing touch!

The Salad dish consisted of mixed boiled beans, hijiki/sweet seaweed, fresh celery, red trevise and lettuce.
No dessert? Oh well, the tomatoes are very sweet!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/46): Keep On Rollin’ Bento

Picture by the Missus!

When I took a sneaky peak in the kitchen this morning, I couldn’t help commenting to the Missus:
-Keep them rollin’!
-Do you mind?
-Sorry, sorry, Rabbit!
I made myself scarce and took my shower (the safest palce away from the real Dragon!).

My pic… Oh well… (ever heard of Fleetwood Mac?)…

She kept things very simple, healthy and light as you can see. Which suited me fine, as I ate a lot yesterday!

I’m trying hard not to make mistakes when describing the Missus’ bentoes as she will check later, and I can assure I’ll be in for some flak for the tiniest error! LOL
Anyway, she made two types of rolls.

One included home-pickled cuumber strips and surumi (the latter bought at the supermarket).

The other one contained processed cheese and o-kaka.
O-kaka is a mixture of dry bonito shavings, sugar, miso, soy sauce and ground sesame seeds you can easily buy.

The pickles included myoga ginger (home-made), Fresh ginger root (home-made) and yellow takuan/pickled daikon (bought).

As for the salad I was offered sweet tomato (“sweet enough for your dessert) and a soft-boiled egg on a bed of fresh coriander!

Very healthy again!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/44): Avocado Sushi Roll Bento

The weather is perfect for sushi!
It has been raining non-stop, at times at typhoon level, for the last 24 hours and more rain is on the cards for the next two weeks!

The Missus seems to have got the mesage as yesterday’s university train bento consisted of large sushi roll (report prohibited! LOL). On top of that, I was invited to a sushi restaurant last night (report coming soon). And to finish it, I had musubi/rice balls for breakfast and now avocado rolls!

The rolls were hastily inserted inside that old box of mine made of bamboo fibers lined with a large dry bamboo leaf.

The Missus steamed some fresh sushi rice this morning although instead of adding the usual rice vinegar to the rice, she seasoned it with with a little soy sauce before rolling it around avocado.

Home-made marinated salad for the fibers and some Chilean grapes for dessert.
Simple, tasty and satisfying!

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Seasonal Fishes 22: Kurosoi/Black Rock Fish

Kurosoi/クロソイ/Black Rock Fish-Schlegel’s Black Rockfish (Latin name: Sebastes schlegelii Hilgendorf,1880) is a rock fish/scorpion Fish variety even rarer than Ainame/アイナメ/Fat Greening for the simple reason that it is one of those fish great not only for its taste but for its angling challenge!

Also known as Kurosui and Kurokara (and many local names), it is caught south of the Hokkaido Island along rocky coasts as well as off the Korean Peninsula and China.
Great efforts are presently spent on the possibility of raising them either by semi-natural methods or completely raised from egg to adult state in human-controlled environment.
Its flesh can be appreciated in any form of gastronomy, raw or cooked.

Sashimi plate.

Rare as sushi! (two on the left!)

Slow-cooked as Japanese-style aquapazza!

Its head, tail, fins and bones can be turned into a succulent Japanese-style miso bouillabaisse with other seafood!

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Seasonal Fishes 21: Ainame/Fat Greening

Ainame/アイナメ/Hexagrammos otakii or Fat Greening is a truly Japanese seasonal fish, which has become a rarity as it lives only around the Japanese archipelago along rocky shores in water comparatively high in salt (some are also found around the Korean Peninsula).
Luckily enough it has been raised successfully in the Western part of Shizuoka Prefecture for the last few years.
Its rarity is caused by its popularity with anglers and its very fine taste.
A cousin of the rock fish, it is called many other names such as Aburako, Aburame and when young, Kujime.
The best season is in may and June. As it lay eggs in Winter, the taste loses its appeal.

It is a real morsel to be enjoyed in many ways:

As sashimi, evenits skin is edible!

It makes for superb sushi nigiri!

Like any great white-fleshed fish, you must sample it in karaage/deep-fried!

The same karaage can be then marinated!

Another great way to enjoy it is to cook it as Japanese nimono, either slowly simmered or steamed and served with a soy sauce, sake and mirin sauce!

Of course it makes for a supreme delicacy “poele” in French or Italian gastronomy!

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Seasonal Fishes 20: Torafugu/Tiger Puffer

Torafugu or Tiger Puffer is one of more than a 100 hundred varieties of edible Puffer Fish or Globe Fish, but Tiger Puffer is by a great distance the most popular variety in Japan!

It is also known in Japanese as Honfugu/本河豚 or Oofugu/大河豚.
The main season is Winter and a little later for other regions.
It is caught on both sides of Japan especially in Central and East Japan.
It is a specialty in Hamamatsu in our Shizuoka Prefecture.

11,000 tonnes are caught yearly around Japan.
It is bred in Japan to the tune of 4,700 tonnes.
13,000 tonnes are mainly imported from China and South Korea.

In Japan, although it can be bought already dressed, one needs a special license to cut it, serve it, or sell it as the innards contain a violently lethal poison, although cheap fugu (not torafugu) does not always contain such toxin!

Cheap fugu can be eaten raw as sashimi all over Japan.

But more expensive torafugu sashimi is served as a piece of art!

As sashimi, it is best avoured with leeks, lemon, momijioroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper and ponzu!

As sushi, it can be served fairly plain.

Or aburi/炙り, lightly seared on one side!

Or more artistically with sansho and herbs!

Or even with its skin as the latter is edible!

It can also be served as gunkan seasoned with its own liver: a true delicacy!

Shirako/白子 or male spem sacs are also a delicay!

Torafugu can anturally be cooked, especially the bony parts full of meat but difficult to cut. My favourite is karaage/唐揚, deep-fried!

It is also very popular in cold weather a nabe/鍋 in Japan,

and in South Korea!

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Seasonal Fish 17: Tara/Cod

Cod, or “Tara/鱈” in Japanese reads a the “Snow Fish”. Unlike in many countries in Europe and North America, the fish is eaten fresh, raw or cooked in Japan, but practically never salted.
Only the Norwegians can boast a difference as they eat the tongue of the fish as soon as they catch it!

As other fish in Japan, it is called different names: Ibodara, Maidara (Toyama Prefecture), Ara (Nagasaki Prefecture) as far as “Madar” or “True Cod” is concerned.
There are other varieties as is shown below in sushi pictures.

It is mainly caught in the Sea of Okhotsk in Winter.
The average total Cod catch is 437,000 tonnes, 55.000 of which is “True Cod”. Imports average annualy 152,000 tonnes mainly from the US and Russia.

Cod sashimi with its male sperm sacs/Shirako

It makes for great sashimi.

But it is also equally appreciated cooked, especially grilled or in “Nabe/Japanese-style pot au feu”.

Gintara/銀鱈 Cod variety as sushi nigiri.

Higetara/髭鱈 Cod variety as sushi nigiri.

Madara/真鱈 Cod as sushi nigiri.

As shown above, many varieties of tara are greatly appreciated as sushi, especially nigiri.

Shirako/白子, or the sperm sacs of the male fish, is an extremely popular delicay in Japan.
It is either served raw or lightly boiled as in above picture with ponzu, chopped leeks and momijioroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper.

Shirako is also very popular served as sushi in gunkan shape as above.

It becomes another delicacy when grilled.
French and Italian Restaurants in Japan also extensively use it sauteed or in gratin!

The roe sacs of the femal fish is also a very popular (and expensive) delicacy especially when preserved in chili pepper (as above) and sold as Mentaiko/明太子!

The same roe is also served as “Tarako/鱈子”, especially in the sushi gunkan form!

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Greedy Girl
Bouchon For 2
Sushi Nomads

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Sashimi Mini Plate at Tomii (’10/01/09)

This is the second part of my “Quick fix” last night at Tomii.
I posted this article separately as it will also go to my sushi blog page and Sushi Nomads Website.

All the fish served on this “min sashimi plate” are seasonal (as always at Tomii).

Left top: “Honmaguro Akami”, or lean part of bluefin tuna backed with various sprout vegetables.
Right top: “Hirame” or sole on a leaf of shiso/perilla.
Left bottom: “Tai”, or seabream. In thei case “Madai”, or true seabream.
Right bottom: “Aori Ika”, or bigfin reef squid.
The wasabi is naturally freshly grated wasabi from Shizuoka!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Wild River Review
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Tokyo Terrace
Maison de Christina
Chrys Niles
Comestilblog
Greedy Girl
Bouchon For 2
Sushi Nomads

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Vegan Sushi Recipe Suggestions 1: Myoga/Myoga Ginger

I already have introduced Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi, but following further requests and questions by my vegan (I’m not!) friends, I decided to contribute a small series of postings to give them more detailed suggestions and ideas!

Now, please check sushi rice recipe HERE to make things more practical!

The first vegetable amenable to sushi I would like to introduce is Myoga, or Myoga Ginger.

Please check Myoga HERE on Wikipedia!

Myoga is a very interesting vegetable as not only the shoots but also the flowers are edible!

The flower in its natural state!

As bought at the market.

Interestingly enough, as Japan makes an enormous consumption of them it has to import a lot from New Zealand and Australia. I’m sure you can buy it at local Asian markets. It could porve an interesting cultivation for some, too!

Myoga sushi roll.

Now there are two basic ways of presenting myoga as sushi.
First, as shown on above picture, as a roll.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just chop the myoga in strips and fill the roll with it accompanied by some wasabi.

Myoga Sushi nigiri.

The other basic way is present it as sushi nigiri on top of a small ball of sushi rice previously smeared with a little wasabi.

You can prepare the myoga in two basic ways,too:
The first one would would be just to wash it and use it raw.
The second would be to pickle it in rice vinegar and sugar for a while, press it and serve it in both sushi styles as explained above.

There are other interesting possibilities when you let your imagination go free as in above picture where the rice is replaced with a small cube of tofu and the topping is made with chopped myoga, tofu and wasabi all mixed together!

To further convince you, look at the picture above:
All vegan sushi:
from top down: Cucumber, egg plant/aubergine and myoga. The last are pickled daikon!

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