Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Let's get started with the first meal of the day!
Our breakfasts at our first inn in Tokyo were Western-style and plenty filling. It was so important to load up in the morning because we were never sure when or where we'd eat lunch.
The photo above shows our favorite combination to order. The sandwich featured a fried egg, cucumber, tomato, and what they called bacon (we would call it ham). The cinnamon set was basically french toast with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It was wonderful to start the day in the cozy, homey lobby at Andon Ryokan.
tamagoyaki (which means "fried egg"). Basically a lightly sweetened thin sheet of egg is rolled up and then sliced. This is also a popular item for bento lunch boxes. I intend to attempt making a version myself, but haven't tried yet. I wish I knew the actual names for some of the things I ate. I can just tell you that the rice had some small black beans, black rice, and millet mixed in and it was delicious. The miso soup had some sort of fried strips that softened in the broth like croutons.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
three-cup chicken with green beans (no photo)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Last week we used asparagus and spring onions from our first CSA box of the season to make a tofu-based stir-fry. I took some liberties with the recipe, including leaving out the spinach, basil, and mint (I didn't have spinach or basil and Matt doesn't like mint). I used more garlic than it called for, which was not a mistake.
I also opted for Wildwood brand super-firm tofu instead of the suggested extra-firm. My philosophy when stir-frying tofu is this--the firmer the better. I've had extra-firm tofu fall apart and turn to scrambled-egg texture too many times. Maybe I'm just not gentle enough, but I am a total convert to this Wildwood stuff. It has that lovely firmness that I usually attribute to restaurant tofu.
Do take the recipe's advice to have all your ingredients prepped ahead. This dish fries up quite quickly. Do include the lime zest and juice. It added a nice bit of sweetness and tang.
adapted from 101 Cookbooks (printable version available through link)
toasted sesame oil
8 oz super firm tofu, cut into strips the width of a pencil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
scant 1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lb or bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch chunks
a couple big pinches fine-grain sea salt
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big handful cashews, chopped up a bit
a few handfuls of spinach or other greens, optional
zest and juice of one lime
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 small handful each slivered mint and/or basil, optional
Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Alternately, you can do this in a dry non-stick pan - one of the few occasions I still use non-stick. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden - a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.
Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil if using. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.