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  • baked flounder with red sushi rice

    my baked flounder seasoned with soy, mirin, saki, and gochujang; served with kombu dashi braised bamboo shoots, leaks, enoki mushroom; red sushi rice with pickled kombu; and cucumber, green apple, pickle burdock root slaw (seasoned with ponzu and sea salt)... red rice... "Whole grain red rice only has its husk removed and still has its bran and all other layers intact. The red color comes from the pigment anthocyanin. There are so many different varieties of red rice. It is highly nutritious and a good source of fiber. Its reddish color from anthocyanin and its antioxidant properties is another reason why you want to include red rice on a regular basis. Red rice has a pleasant nutty aroma that I really like. The texture of cooked red rice is slightly firm and chewy on the outside because of the bran, but soft on the inside when it’s perfectly cooked." -- What to Cook Today flounder... Flounders are a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish, found at the bottom of oceans around the world; some species will also enter estuaries. Flounder has a very delicate texture and a mild, slightly sweet flounder flavor. Because of its delicate texture, flounder fillets are a little more challenging to cook for a beginner. -- Wikipedia behind the scene... "Gobo or burdock root is an edible root vegetable that is very popular in Japan. It has known to be a powerhouse of antioxidants and for its many health-promoting properties. The stalk is long, roughly 20-28 inches (50-70 cm) and weighs about 5 oz (150 gram) and sometimes more." -- Just One Cookbook "To make sushi you need sushi rice, which is short-grained rice seasoned with vinegar and sugar. Any sushi lover knows that rice is one of the critical ingredients of this traditional Japanese dish. Traditionally, there is a particular type of rice that Japanese chefs use for sushi, and it’s called sushi rice. This type of rice is actually made from short-grain Japanese rice. However, if you can’t find it, you can use other types of rice to make sushi, like Calrose rice and brown rice." -- Home Kitchen Talk

  • provençal-roasted leg of lamb

    my lamb seasoned with herbs de Provence, garlic, onion, French mustard, etc.; slow roasted; served with demi-glace, roasted root veg, and mango, snap peas salad... provencal cuisine... "Provençal cuisine is obsessed with different types of native herbs, olive oil and garlic. Their brightness elevates the vegetables, meat and seafood freshly harvested from their habitat. Such combinations result in satisfyingly rich and colourful delicacies imbued with rustic characters." -- Michilan Guide Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of southeastern France. Formerly simply a descriptive term, commercial blends started to be sold under this name in the 1970s. These blends often contain savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. -- Wikipedia Demi-glace is a rich brown sauce in French cuisine used by itself or as a base for other sauces. The term comes from the French word glace, which, when used in reference to a sauce, means "icing" or "glaze." It is traditionally made by combining one part Espagnole sauce and one part brown stock. Due to the considerable effort involved in making the traditional demi-glace, chefs commonly substitute a simple jus lié of veal stock or to create a simulated version, which the American cookbook author Julia Child referred to as a "semi-demi-glace"(i.e. sans espagnole sauce). -- Wikipedia brining the lamb... "A wet brine is exactly what it sounds like: a solution of salt, sugar, spices and other flavorings. It's the brine most people use for turkey. Wet brining can be used for any meat or fish with a few adjustments to the salt concentration and the time the protein is in the brine. Brining your leg of lamb in salt water can help to ensure tenderness and that melt in your mouth texture. Brining can be effective when done for as little as one hour but can even be done for days before cooking." -- Food Network

  • kaiseki (懐石): my journey through rural japan

    In this kaiseki meal, I showcased my homemade katsuobushi dashi in every single savory dish. Kaiseki is so much more than a meal to me -- its a practice and culture of beauty, patience, dedication, restrain, and humility... After so many years and many miles of travel, this week (1st week of December, 2021), I wanted to honor my profound journey and express my gratitude to Ito San and the universe by making and sharing this Kaiseki meal with friends and family. In this kaiseki meal, I showcased my homemade katsuobushi dashi in every single savory dish. My seven course meal included: Silken tofu in katsuobushi dashi broth Chawanmushi made with homegrown pea sprouts and fish cake Dashi braised carrots, golden beets, and torched daikon served over matcha beurre blanc Smoked salmon, cucumber, micro green salad with ginger dressing; finished with a dashi braised lotus root chip Dashi infused squid ink pasta finished with tobiko (flying fish roe); served with toragashi prawn Grilled chickpea miso cod (infused with dashi) served with Ma Yu black garlic oil, bok choy, and torched pearl onions Yuzu infused poached pears served with hibiscus yuzu marmalade reduction, apple chips, nuts, and green tea ice cream In an article about Japan, Anthony Bourdain called Kaiseki -The World's Finest Meal. He wrote: "To the outsider, kaiseki appears to simply be a multi-course Japanese dinner made up of beautifully plated dishes. But there's so much more to this meticulously prepared, exquisitely served and, usually, very expensive meal. Originally presented to the royal noble classes, a kaiseki meal today could easily hit the triple dollar digits. To practitioners of this haute cuisine, kaiseki is the embodiment of "omotenashi," which means wholehearted hospitality." My learning of Kaiseki comes from taking multiple rural journeys through Japan with my late friend and mentor Ito San. Kaiseki is so much more than a meal to me -- its a practice and culture of beauty, patience, dedication, restraint, and humility. It is about elevating simple ingredients and resources for lasting experiences; it is about honoring nature and relationships; and finally it is about balance and complex details. In December 2006, Ito San took me to rural Japan for the first time. Our journey began in Yokohama and a little detour at the footsteps of the Japan Alps. In between Mt. Yarigatalke, Mt. Hotaka, and Mt. Kasagatake, there is an old Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) called Yarimi-kan in the Shin Hotaka hot spa (Onsen) area in Gifu prefecture. Our journey began with an overnight trip to Yarimi-kan. The next morning at 4am, I got up to bathe in the Onsen that flows into a roaring river snaking through the Japan Alps. The sound of the bubbling river was not more than 20 meters away. The view of the sparkling clear water was breathtaking. And it was that time of the day when all the promises of the day are upon you in the faint radiant glow of dawn. The beauty and grace of a place like this can never be truly described in words. It is here where I experienced my first true Kaiseki meal -- the way it is meant to be. The origins of Kaiseki ryori (会席料理) are found many centuries ago in the simple meals served at the tea ceremony, but later it evolved into an elaborate dining style popular among aristocratic circles. Today, kaiseki is served in specialized restaurants or can be enjoyed by staying at a ryokan (Japanese style inn). Kaiseki meals have a prescribed order to their dishes, most of which are prepared by using one of the common techniques of Japanese cooking. However, kaiseki chefs have considerable freedom to add, omit or substitute courses in order to highlight regional and seasonal delicacies and personal style." -- Japan Guide behind the scene All abut the Dashi... "Look up umami in the dictionary and dashi is what you'll find. It tastes as rich and complex as a broth or stock that's been simmering for hours, but it takes less than 15 minutes to make and, in many cases, is built on just one or two ingredients. How is this possible?!?! Dashi actually refers to a group of broths that can be made from steeping various ingredients in either cold or warm water. The simplest dashi is vegan, made from cold-brewing kombu (more on that below), while stronger versions are created by squeezing the flavor out of bonito flakes (katsuobushi), dried sardines, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, dried scallops, adzuki beans, and/or toasted soybeans." -- bonappetit Elevating everyday vegetable... Marinating cod overnight with chickpea miso before grilling... Chickpea miso is made from brown rice and chickpeas and is typically aged for 1 to 3 months. Its flavor is stronger than that of white miso but not quite as rich as red miso. Making Ma-Yu from Black Garlic for chickpea miso cod... Ma-Yu is a Japanese condiment that is made by scorching garlic in oil. Typically found in ramen shops next to its more commonly known cousin ra-yu (chili oil), it adds another layer of flavor. "Black garlic is a type of aged garlic that is colored deep brown. The production process is defined as fermentation, during which some key intermediate compounds of Maillard reaction are produced. It was first used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine." - Wikipedia Making Chawanmushi (with pea sprouts from my own garden)... Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) is a Japanese steamed egg custard that consists of ginkgo nuts, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), and an egg mixture flavored with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. The egg custard is often served as a cold or hot appetizer. Chawan(tea cup) mushi(steam) literally means teacup steamed egg custard. -- Just One Cook Book Getting desert ready... "Yuzu (Japanese 柚子 or ユズ) is a citrus fruit and plant in the family Rutaceae of East Asian origin. Yuzu has been cultivated mainly in East Asia, though recently also in Australia, Spain, Italy and France. This fruit looks somewhat like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. Yuzu fruits, which are very aromatic, typically range between 5.5 cm (2.2 in) and 7.5 cm (3.0 in) in diameter, but can be as large as a regular grapefruit (up to 10 cm (3.9 in) or larger)." - Wikipedia Making squid ink pasta sauce... "If you weren’t born in Japan or in the Mediterranean, you know for sure that only dark chocolate, coffee and tea can be black. Even though these foods are actually not black but rather dark brown, everyone’s fine with “black.” We all know it since childhood. So, what does it taste and smell like? Gourmets will say that squid ink tastes and smells with the sea. To be more precise, the flavor of squid ink is close to the flavor of fresh sea fish with some umami hints. To remember umami flavor, think of soy sauce or blue cheese. - Markys Making prawns... "The names "shrimp" and "prawn" are often used interchangeably, and understandably so. Shrimp and prawns have a lot in common: They both are decapod crustaceans (meaning they have 10 legs and exoskeletons), they both live near the floor of whatever body of water they inhabit, and their outer appearance—as well as when they're cooked—is very similar. However, it may surprise you to learn that shrimp and prawns are not even the same animals. Shrimp are part of the sub-order Pleocyemata, while prawns belong to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. Shrimp and prawns can be found in both salt and fresh water; however, most varieties of shrimp are found in saltwater while most prawns live in freshwater—particularly the varieties we purchase to cook. But it is not just where they inhabit that distinguishes one from the other." -- Molly Watson

  • poulet rôti (french roast chicken)

    my version -- cornish hen stuffed with blood orange, garlic, celery, herbs, seasoned with tarragon, sage butter -- served with black rice cooked with green apple; roasted vegetable; and mixed berry balsamic gastrique... "Poulet rôti, or French roast chicken, is a classic of the Franco culinary empire. And it's so simple: just season a chicken with herbs, place it on top of root vegetables, and baste it with plenty of butter." -- MON PETIT FOUR "Gastrique is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar or other sour liquids, used as a sweet and sour flavoring for sauces. The gastrique is generally added to a fond, reduced stock or brown sauce. It is also used to flavor sauces such as tomato sauce, savory fruit sauces and others, such as the orange sauce for duck à l'orange. The term is often broadened to mean any sweet and sour sauce, e.g. citrus gastrique or mango gastrique. An agrodolce is a similar sauce found in Italian cuisine." -- Wikipedia "Black rice, also known as purple rice, is a range of rice types of the species Oryza sativa, some of which are glutinous rice. There are several varieties of black rice available today." -- Wikipedia another day... this version -- stuffed with chickpeas, seasoned with tarragon and butter under the skin -- served with roasted vegetable over arugula and balsamic glaze... "Place the tarragon and butter under the skin, this keeps the breast moist as it cooks. The flavors of the stuffing gets absorbed into the chicken meat as the juices circulate evenly during cooking." -- Hell's Kitchen Recipes "Preparing the Stuffing: Place the chickpeas into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and add the chilies, lemon zest, thyme leaves and a dash of olive oil. Good mix. Spoon the chickpea mixture inside the chicken cavity and place the whole lemon at the entrance. Put the garlic heads, cut side down, in a roasting tin. Place the chicken on top and drizzle with olive oil. salt, pepper the outside of the chicken and roast for 10-15 minutes, until turning golden and beginning to crisp up. Reduce the heat to 375°F and continue roasting for 1¼-1½ hours, until cooked through and golden all over. Take lemon from the inside cavity of the bird and spoon the stuffing into a large bowl. Place the chicken on a warm platter, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes."

  • rice bowl

    my red and black rice served with beef rangdang and coconut milk veg stew... When I was growing up, my grandmother often made some kind of spicy beef stew, red rice, and fresh veg in her village home in bangladesh. This dish of mine [specially made for my son, who these days needs to eat a lot of protein and greens] is an homage to my south asian heritage; infused with aromatic spices and herbs like lemongrass, ginger, kaffir leaves, star anise, and fresh turmeric. red and black rice... "Red rice is also bundled with flavonoids such as anthocyanins, apigenin, myricetin, and quercetin. As such, red rice is more effective than brown rice as it helps the body fight cancer-causing free radicals. Additionally, red rice also helps in reducing inflammation, controlling cholesterol levels as well as lowering blood pressure. Black rice is also known as the Forbidden rice, and the reason for this is that this rice was reserved only for the royal people in ancient China. For a much longer time, black rice was included in Chinese cuisine. This rice variety is jet black in color which normally turns purplish when cooked. As per studies, black rice boasts the highest antioxidant activity which makes it a nutritious choice for consumption. Black rice comes packed with antioxidants, fiber, protein, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, iron, and vitamins. Consumption of black rice also helps in shedding weight, detoxifying the body, reducing the risk of diabetes as well as cancer, etc.” -- Archana Kabra veg stew in cocunut milk... parsnip, carrot, cheakpeas cooked with fresh shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, palm sugar, lime, and cocunut milk... beef rangdang... See more on my beef randang dish here.

  • sambal chicken

    my version -- cooked with ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili, palm sugar, lemon grass, coconut milk, etc.; served jasmine rice and mango cucumber salad... Sambal is a chilli sauce or paste, typically made from a mixture of a variety of chilli peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice. Sambal is an Indonesian loan-word of Javanese and Sundanese origin (sambel). Sambal is often described as a hot and spicy Indonesian relish. It likely originated from Java, as etymology studies suggests that the term is a loanword derived from Javanese sambel. However, its main ingredient, chili pepper of the genus Capsicum, is not native to Southeast Asia, but from the Americas. Common variants used in sambal recipes include Cayenne pepper and bird's eye chili pepper (both varieties of Capsicum annuum). These variants are native to the Western Hemisphere and were introduced to the Indonesian archipelago in the 16th century by Portuguese and Spanish sailors during the Columbian exchange. Researchers note that the people of the Maritime Southeast Asia were already familiar with a type of hot and spicy relish prior to the 16th century. -- Wikipedia "Traditional sambals are freshly made using traditional tools, such as a stone pestle and mortar. Sambal can be served raw or cooked. There are two main categories of sambals in Indonesia, they are sambal masak (cooked) and sambal mentah (raw). Cooked sambal has undergone a cooking process that resulted in a distinct flavour and aroma, while raw sambal is mixed with additional ingredients and usually consumed immediately. Sambal masak or cooked sambals are more prevalent in western Indonesia, while sambal mentah or raw sambals are more common in eastern Indonesia."

  • unadon (鰻丼) eel rice

    my unadon served along with chawanmushi... "Unagi sushi is a mainstay item at most sushi restaurants, but have you tried unagi rice bowl before? This classic Japanese dish is called Unadon (鰻丼) or Unaju (鰻重), or you might have known it as eel rice. The Japanese have a special affection for Unadon because the satisfaction of eating perfectly grilled unagi over a bed of warm rice is incomparable. Oh, and the aroma of the sweet caramelized sauce…that alone is enough to make my mouth water. In the Tokyo region, the skewered eel is first broiled without the sauce, and we call it Shirayaki (白焼き). Then the unagi is steamed, before being dipped in the sauce and grilled again. Unagi (freshwater eel) is considered an expensive delicacy in Japan, and it’s not an everyday dish. I did a quick research and found out that 26.2% of people eat unagi “about once every 6 months”, followed by “once every 2 to 3 months” at 16.8%, “less than once a year” at 16.1%, and “once a year” at 15.8%." -- JOC "Japanese home cooks don’t buy a live eel to cook at home. They buy pre-grilled eel fillets and just reheat them before serving. Here in the US, you can purchase grilled eels that have been vacuum-sealed in Japanese/Asian grocery stores." along with unadon... my chawanmushi (with salmon, corn, peas, fish cake) and snap pea carrot salad…

  • provencial bouillabaisse

    my version -- cooked with cod, haddock, prawn, clam, crab, purple potatoes, carrots, turnip; served with saffron rouille and garlic toast... “Bouillabaisse was originally a stew made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. What makes a bouillabaisse different from other fish soups is the selection of Provençal herbs and spices in the broth; the use of bony local Mediterranean fish; the way the fish are added one at a time, and brought to a boil; and the method of serving. In Marseille, the broth is served first in a soup plate with slices of bread and rouille, then the fish is served separately on a large platter; or, more simply, as Julia Child suggests, the fish and broth are brought to the table separately and served together in large soup plates.” -- Wikipedia another day... my provencial bouillabaisse with monk fish tail, red snapper, shrimp, and garlic rouille...

  • oven baked tandoori chicken

    my version -- marinated with ginger, garlic, lemon, turmeric, mustard oil, yogurt, chili, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, clove, etc.; and baked in oven... History of Tandoor takes us back by 5000 years to Indus valley and Harappan civilizations of ancient India. "Chicken tandoori is a traditional Indian dish of chicken marinated in yogurt, citrus, and spices, and then grilled or broiled. The name comes from the cylindrical clay oven, or tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared. The chicken is best marinated overnight, but if you’re in a time crunch, a few hours will do just fine. Serve with Homemade Naan, Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruits and Almonds or a refreshing Cucumber Mint Salad." -- Jenn Segal "Traces of tandoors were found from the excavation of these historical sites. Use of tandoor however is not limited to only the Indian subcontinent; people use tandoor in West and Central Asia as well. Traces of tandoor have also been found in ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. However, modern tandoor was brought to India by the Mughals. Portable tandoor was invented much later during the reigns of Jahangir, a Mughal ruler. It is said that portable tandoor was carried by a team of cooks whenever he travelled. Despite the long history of tandoor, tandoori cooking was not common in Delhi till 1947. It was then that the Punjabi refugees brought tandoor to Delhi. Finally tandoori cuisine took its root in India and now there will be hardly anyone who would not salivate on hearing about tandoori chicken, tandoori roti, naan and other delicacies." -- The Food Funda another day... served with aromatic basmati rice, tamarind chutney, mango corn relish...

  • japanese salted salmon (shiozake 塩鮭)

    my salted salmon served with dashi braised bok choy and mushrooms; and cha soba (green tea soba) in dashi and kimchi... salted salmon... "salted salmon, or shiozake (often shortened to shake), is a staple of the Japanese breakfast table and has been since time immemorial. While salted salmon is readily available for purchase in Japanese supermarkets, it can be difficult to find in the United States. This recipe approximates the flavor and texture of Japanese salted salmon by curing the salmon and letting it rest in the refrigerator on paper towels overnight." -- serious eats "The salmon is marinated with sake and let rest for 10 minutes. Before salting, you want to make sure to pat the salmon surface dry with paper towels. Then sprinkle sea salt liberally on all sides including the skin. The salting process not only helps to remove any fishy taste, it also plays a role in enhancing umami and firming up the flesh of salmon. We will then wrap the fillets in a few layers in an air-tight container before keeping them chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 days. After this, they will be ready to be broiled in the oven, grilled or pan-fried. The fish will come out tender with a flavorful crispy skin. When ready to enjoy, have a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice to perk it up. It is really that straightforward." -- JOC along with salted salmon... Along with my salmon, I served toragashi seasoned seared yesso scallops over squid ink black garlic sauce and carrot daikon slaw; and cha soba (green tea soba) in dashi and kimchi...

  • japanese chilled tofu -- hiyayakko (冷奴)

    my version -- infused with gochujang, chili crisp, soy; and carrot, daikon, avocado salad with ginger dressing... "Hiyayakko(冷奴) is Japanese chilled tofu that is served as an appetizer or side dish. The smooth silky and creamy texture of the tofu helps to cool the body and makes a delightful respite on a sweltering day. To make Hiyayakko, we use silken tofu which has a creamier and velvety texture compared to regular tofu. Silken tofu also contains a lot more liquid, so you need to drain the tofu for 10-15 minutes prior to serving." -- Just One Cookbook here infused with gochujang chili, mirin, sake, dried garlic and jicama salad...

  • salmon teriyaki

    my version -- with wasabi peas mash potatoes and asian green salad with ginger dressing... ingredient for Teriayaki sauce -- sake, mirin, and soy sauce. asian stir-fry veg (carrots, boo-choy, radish, mung beans).

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