It's been a lazy Sunday, so why not top off the day with a bath? And if it's a bath of olive oil and garlic, then so much the better.
Picked up some snapper at the grocery store and then prepped some salsa mexicana while I slow-roasted some mojo de ajo (literally translates to "garlic bath") in the oven. Some arroz blanco, black beans and a quick fillet sear later, dinner was served. And our house has never smelled so heavenly!
One skill I have never taken the time to learn is grilling -- perhaps because marketman has already mastered it. So our best dinners are a joint effort: he manning the grill in the Forest Hill fog, and me warm in the kitchen over the stove. Tonight we had grilled chicken thighs in escabeche (a vinegary, complex-spiced sauce) with homemade tortillas, pickled onions, Spanish rice, refried black beans, and guacamole. We're a great team!
P.S. Today marked my first foray into cooking with pork lard, and might I say that I am a 100% Bible-thumpin' convert.
Hint: Try mixing freshly ground sesame seeds and karashi (Japanese mustard) into your tonkatsu sauce. Trust me.
We took a timeout from Italian Week (also managed to squeeze in a brown butter lobster risotto along the way) for a throwback to Japanese Week(s). While in Tokyo, we ate at a restaurant that specialized in a very delicate rice casserole cooked in a metal pot. It's called kamameshi, and you can make it with just about any topping of your choice. In Japan, I had eaten mine with sake oyako, or salmon and salmon roe (oyako means "mother and child"), while marketman tried the awabi (abalone).
At restaurants that specialize in this dish, they serve it quite festively in the metal cooking pot and then provide you with your own shamoji to spoon into a separate bowl. My home-cooked version was done in an electric rice cooker, but it had a very crispy-chewy texture to the bottom of the rice, which is exactly what I remember from the version we ate in Asakusa. Mine may have lacked some of the delicateness of that meal, but it was a nice reminder of one of my favorite lunches in Japan!
marketman picked up the shrimp at Molly Stone's on the way home, and I set about frying up my first ever batch of tempura. I didn't realize how easy the udon broth would be, either: dashi, some soy sauce and mirin, and a little sprinkle of my new shichimi togarashi (7 spice) that I brought home from Tokyo. This is a week of firsts!!
In Hiroshima, we were lucky enough to sample their famous okonomiyaki. The experience left an indelible impression on all of us, and I was just mesmerized by the constant addition of ingredients and flipping going on at the other end of the grill. Here's my first stab at it, assisted by a big helping of kewpie mayo and okonomi sauce from our weekend trip to Nijiya Market:
I realized that -- while I have been diligent about photographing my kitchen exploits -- I have been slacking on posting them here. So this represents about two weeks of meals in the Yoo household.
...marketman eats very well thanks to mieko14!!!
The southern girl in mieko14 springs up once in a while.
I come from a family of spicy weaklings. Mom usually avoids it. Both Dad and I become blithering, sweaty, runny-nosed wrecks but always come back for more. Taisho12 appears to be the only one relatively unaffected, though his vice is wasabi (occasionally we would have to explain to him that sushi is also intended to be eaten with shoyu) which is very different in its effect. But I am A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D to mapo doufu, a spicy tofu and pork casserole that brings me to tears...of pleasure or pain, I cannot say which.
The odd thing is that I can't make it spicy enough. We discovered it at Spices II in the Richmond, and I order it every time (seriously - the waitress pretends like she's taking my order for the first time, but I know she's written it on her notepad before she even reaches our table). When I first set out to make this dish, my missing ingredient was the fermented black beans (and, as I discovered, the kind with ginger - use the Yang Jiang brand in the yellow box) which sounds weird but is vital to the flavor. So despite the title of this recipe, I am really on v3.2 or so.
Tonight I made this with a side of Szechuan long beans, and it was - eh - ok. Needs more spicy, for sure. I think I will up the ante next time and add more Szechuan chilis (and perhaps even chop them). Get the Costo-sized kleenex ready!