Archive for May, 2010

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May 28, 2010: Temaki Zushi

May 28, 2010

Today’s sushi dish from Okonomy is Temaki Zushi. Temaki means “hand rolled.” This is a leaf of nori wrapping a gourmet sushi rice and strips of tuna, cucumber, crab stick, and a pea pod.

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May 28, 2010: A Salad for a Summer Day

May 28, 2010

Getting together with Yoshio for more photography, he treated me to Summer Salad for our break. Summer Salad is a traditional seasonal cold dish, perfect for a hot day. Yoshio made this one vegetarian for me, but says that usually this salad has roast pork or chicken in it as well. He mixed cold wheat noodles (soba  noodles are OK as well) with egg (cooked with mirin and little soy sauce) with edamame, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, strips of fried tofu, cherry tomatoes, pickled ginger, and a simple but delicious sauce of mirin, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. He topped it with strips of nori and crushed ice to keep it cold. Yoshio says this dish should be served right away as everything in the salad will start to wilt very quickly. It is good with beer  or cold mugicha (roasted barley tea). Light, healthy and delicious. A perfect summer treat!

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May 19, 2010: Unagi Sushi

May 19, 2010

Today’s sushi dish from Okonomy is Unagi. This is broiled eel on a bed of gourmet sushi rice. It is topped with roasted sesame seeds.

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May 19, 2010: East vs West Crossing Guards

May 19, 2010

Visiting Yoshio yesterday, I was stuck at a light where construction was going on. There was a crossing guard there and I kept waiting for him to signal me across…and waiting…and waiting!  I started thinking of my crossing guard from grade school days. I suspect good ‘ole Mr. Duda would be pretty upset what a shabby job this guy was doing. I was late meeting Yoshio, so having no help from the guy, I kept pressing the “walk” button, but that didn’t seem to work, either. I decided I could risk a jaywalking ticket or get very, very old waiting for this guy to do his job, so I scooted across at the best possible time. When Yoshio and I came out of the cafe…same thing…absolutely no help from this guy whatsoever. Yoshio said that it is very different in Japan. Crossing guards there take their job pretty seriously. Here’s a video of one of them. If taxpayers are going to pay these people $40-60+ an hour to do their job, have them take a page from this Japanese crossing guard’s book.

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May 15, 2010: Maki Zushi

May 15, 2010

Today’s sushi dish from Okonomy is Maki Zushi. This one is nori (a sea vegetable) surrounded by a gourmet rice and edged with salmon roe.

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May 15, 2010: Cooking with Okara

May 15, 2010

Okara patties, sliced mango, and spinach/broccoli pasta

Being a vegetarian for a number of years, I thought I had tried just about every soy product around. Not so. Two weeks ago, Yoshio presented me with a about a half pound of Okara. Yoshio explained that Okara is a by-product of making soy milk. Essentially, it is the soy curd left over from the process. It is considered waste material despite Okara having a good deal of soy protein and plenty of fiber. Yoshio say that he can usually get it free from the people who make soy milk. It has the look and texture of ricotta cheese. Like most soy products it has no distinct flavor of its own but, with a good chef, can be made into something tasty. Yoshio suggested I try my hand at making a Okara “burger” and gave me a basic recipe:

1/2 lb. Okara; 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. corn starch or potato starch, a little flour

He said to use my imagination when it came to flavor and texture. Being a fan of veggie burgers I added: finely chopped carrots (about 2-3), little bit of chopped kale, roasted sesame seeds, chopped toasted almonds, soy sauce, chopped parsley, finely chopped elephant garlic. This Okara recipe made about 20 1″ thick, 2″ circumference patties. I pan-fried them in olive oil. I noticed two things: the patties soaked up a lot of the oil and they tasted very good but the cracked and split while cooking. I brought a few over so that Yoshio could tell me what was wrong. The oil was not much of a problem. Just add a normal amount and they will cook fine. Yoshio cooked these patties in a little bit of butter. The cracking he said was because I was cooking them too fast. I was trying to sear them like I do a soy burger. He explained that the starch that binds the Okara needs time to warm up slowly so that the slow heat will allow it to do its job. The patties pictured above were the ones he made. He also deep-fried one and that also came out well, but Yoshio said the shape was wrong for deep-frying. He suggested that I make a ball of the Okara for deep-frying. He also thought a cheese sauce would go well with these. As it was, the patties went very well with a touch of lemon and a tiny bit of Tonkatsu sauce.

Yoshio thought my additions to be very good. He liked the crunchy-ness of the vegetables I added and especially the toasted almonds. Having a knowledgable master chef critiquing your first try at a recipe certainly shortens the road!

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May 12, 2010: Gunkan “Battleship” Sushi

May 12, 2010

L to R: nato (fermented soybean); salmon roe; sea urchin Gunkan Sushi

Today’s sushi dish from Okonomy is Gunkan or “Battleship” sushi. This is nori (a sea vegtable) around  a gourmet rice and topped with a variety of toppings.

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