Saturday, April 30, 2011

Miso Work - Our homemade miso developments

It was time to check our miso babies again.

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All Japanese ingredients (including premium "Toyomasari" soybeans from Hokkaido), made in January 2010. It looked and smelled fantastic! It's nicely matured and finally ready.

This one is a real baby miso, which was made in November 2010 with all Japanese ingredients. Only 5 months old. The color is still light and you can see the grains of rice koji. We stirred the miso upside-down so that it will mature evenly.

This is our first "all American ingredients" miso, made in September 2010. The soybeans are organic Laura Soybeans from Iowa. The miso was aging very nicely, and it tasted so mild and nice. What a nice surprise! I want to let it age at least for 5-6 more months until I make them ready to use.

From March 2010, made with all Japanese ingredients. This has also very deep flavor and tastes really great. Mmm...we couldn't stop snacking on it from the bucket.

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And finally, our first batch, made in September 2009, had its finale. We've been enjoying it so much past months, and I was so sad that it was almost gone! For the last cooking with this miso, I made a simple daikon & shimeji mushroom miso soup, with my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". It tasted so special that I almost cried.

Happy miso making and happy donabe life.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Typical Japanese "Okazu"

Typical Japanese meal consists of plain rice, miso soup, and a few kinds of "okazu" (small savory dishes). When I was growing up, my mom used to make 3-4 kinds of okazu every day for us. So, I try to do the same every day now, too.

Plain rice (brown/ white half and half) was made with the double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". With this donabe, the rice is always fluffy and nicely chewy. Daikon miso soup was made with the Soup & Stew Donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". This donabe has the amazing heat-retention ability.

All the okazu dishes I made for the evening were vegetarian dishes. Dashi-maki tamago (fluffy omelet) with grated daikon, steam-fry lotus root (made with the tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san"), tofu "shira-ae" salad (creamy tofu salad), and asparagus "karashisumiso-ae" (tossed in mustard-miso-vinegar sauce).

My body felt so perfectly content after the dinner.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Toban (donabe skillet) cooking 3...Shrimp a la Plancha

Tapas-style dish with Japanese donabe.
I made Shrimp a la Plancha with my black toban (donabe skillet).

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Super simple procedure...just season the shrimp and sear them in the toban! The sauce is so good, so you want to serve it with some crusty toasted bread. You can find the full recipe on toiro's website.

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Donabe cooking class report...Charity tofu dishes

On Easter Sunday, I was invited to host a charity workshop as part of "To Japan: From LA with Love" fundraising event for Japan relief effort. This is a 3-week long event at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood (until May 1).

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All the items sold at this event are donated by various people/ businesses and 100% of the proceeds goes directly to American Red Cross Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. They put together such a nice gallery/ shop in this space.

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I demonstrated three tofu dishes. One of them was a donabe dish, by using a tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san". It was a lot of fun, and I was grateful to those who came to support during their busy schedule.

Thank you for your continuous support for Japan and the victims of 3.11 earthquake.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mini donabe recipe...Tofu Tamago-toji (Simmered tofu with egg)

This is another very simple Japanese dish. It's also a shojin (Buddhist-style vegan) dish. It's very easy to make, and also I can normally make it with typical ingredients which I hardly run out in the kitchen (tofu, eggs, some kind of mushroom, and fu).

This dish is also very soothing and easy on your stomach for digestion.


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I combined the broth, tofu, fu (wheat gluten), and enoki mushrooms and simmered together. Whisked eggs were added, covered, and simmered longer. That was it. (If you prefer well-cooked egg, simply cook until eggs become solid.)

Served with some sansho pepper. Beautifully tasty.
Here's my recipe.

Tofu Tamago-toji

1-1/3 cups dashi stock
1.5 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon raw brown sugar
1 tablespoon light color soy sauce ("usukuchi shyoyu")
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 package soft tofu, drained and quartered
some pieces of small fu (wheat gluten)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
1 tablespoon each kuzuko (arrowroot starch) and water, whisked together
2-3 eggs, beaten
some thinly-sliced shiso leaves for garnish
some sansho pepper

1. In a small-size donabe, combine the dashi stock, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to simmer.
2. Add the tofu, fu, and mushrooms. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Slowly drizzle the kuzuko-water mixture into the broth and stir.
3. Drizzle the eggs over the ingredients. Cover and continue to simmer until desired doneness.
4. Serve with shiso leaves and sansho pepper.

Happy donabe life.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mini donabe recipe...Quick-braised Flounder ("Karei no Nitsuke")

Another quick recipe with my mini donabe.
I made Quick-braised flounder fish ("Karei no Nitsuke"). I've introduced this dish (cooked with medium-size classic-style doanbe) in this blog before.

This version with a mini donabe, is a slightly different variation. It's also very simple (actually even easier). For this, I used small-size classic-style donabe, "Rikyu-Tokusa".

1C water, a piece of konbu, 1/3 cup each soy sauce & mirin, and 10-12 oz flounder cuts (blanched for 5 quick seconds in boiling water then shocked in the ice bath) were combined in the mini donabe.

The fish was simmered for about 15 minutes. 1 tsp sansho-no-mi (berries of mountain pepper) and some dry yuzu rinds were added, then simmered for extra few minutes. Yes, that's it! It was so good.

Happy donabe life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Herb-stuffed Branzino and Kabocha Miso Soup

I got a very nice whole branzino. So, I made a simple oven-roast dish with it.

Once the fish was cleaned and pat-dried. I seasoned it inside-out with salt and pepper, then stuffed with a mixture of herbs (thyme, oregano, dill, parsley, and mint).

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After about 20 minutes in the 400F oven, the fish was ready. It was served with some lemon wedges and steam-fry spinach (with my tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san"). So simple and so complete. The fish was really pure and delicious.

I also made rice (with double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san") and kabocha and tofu miso soup with my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". The miso was our aged homemade miso, which was so deep and soothing.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

K-town spots

I've been dining a lot in Koreatwon past weeks. These are among top of my list.

Ham Ji Park (I've been to 6th St. location) reminds me of a lively dining in Seoul. The place is packed with mostly local as well as ex-pat Korean people. The service is always so friendly and nice. On my first visit, I tried their Kamjatang (pork neck meat stew), which was really delicious.

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Last time, we did Samgyeopsal (pork belly BBQ). The meat was from Cheju island.

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I had fun grilling.

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Cod roe stew was also very satisfying.
This is a kind of place I want to go back over and over.

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I also enjoyed Olympic Cheonggookjang. This place is more like a small diner. There is no alcohol. You can't byob either (sad). But the food is outstanding. Their banchan (small dishes) are at their freshest quality. Their signature cheongookjang (fermented soy bean stew) was the best I've had. I also loved their beef tendon soup...just packed with rich collagen!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Donabe-smoked soy sauce and Donabe-smoked duck breast...again.

Yes, it was time again. I was craving for donabe smoked duck breast.

This is my beautiful donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin". It's basically, you just set the smoke chips and ingredients inside of this donabe pot, then over high-heat of the gas stove, you can make hot smoked food in just a little over 30 minutes. It's also smokeless (smoke is kept inside during smoking, with the waterseal), so this is an ideal indoor smoker.

First, I made smoked soy sauce. Whoever tasted my smoked soy sauce becomes addicted to it! It's so smoky and so good with many dishes.

Then, I smoked duck breast, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and soft-boiled eggs. Duck breast was seasoned with salt and pepper, and air-dried in the fridge 24 hours. Also, it's very important to score the skin into checker patterns before seasoning, but make sure not to let the knife penetrate into the meat.

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For smoking, I used my regular sakura (cherry blossom tree) smoke chips, plus some thyme sprigs. After about 37 minutes including 20-minute carry-over heat, everything was ready.

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The duck breast was so tender, flavorful, and smokey. I squeezed some lemon to the meat to enjoy. You can find the recipe on toiro's website. Hope you will try it.

Happy donabe life.