Saturday, November 28, 2009

Found a nice bento site

I must confess that I stumbled across a really nice bento site called: Just Bento. It's affiliated with the Just Hungry website. Oh...boy is it a nice site. I made a ton of pdfs of various recipes so that I can fill my bentos with something different. It also has some very informative descriptions of the various Japanese food stuffs. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seaweed Salad -- an update

Well...Sunday I made a new batch of seaweed salad with some changes that I noted from the last batch. I rehydrated my konbu with hot water and let it set for nearly 30 minutes before working with it. I couldn't say what made the difference. For all I know, it was my chance selection of those particular pieces of kelp that kept the seaweed from becoming slimy. At any rate I'll try the hot water again and hope that was what made the difference.
In addition to making changes to how I prepped my seaweeds, I also added another type of seaweed called hijiki that looks like little black sticks. It has a crispness that contrasts well with that of the flat leaves of wakame and konbu.
The dressing changed a bit as well but I forgot to write down the amounts of sugar, rice wine vinegar and water. I'll figure it all out again the next time I make this salad but I think the amounts were: 1 cup rice wine vinegar; 9 heaping tablespoons sugar, and approximately 1/3 cup of water.
Those amounts seemed to make the pickling liquid lightly sweet and not overpowered by the tartness of the vinegar.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Teriyaki Noodles

This is based on a meal that I once at a local japanese style fast food place.

precooked udon noodles
thin sliced carrots
thin sliced mushrooms
fresh bean sprouts

In a fry pan with a cover or a griddle, place the noodles to heat on a bit of butter or oil. Let the noodles heat for a bit then place the carrots, mushrooms and bean sprouts on top with a bit of water and then cover for steam. After steaming for a few minutes, drizzle some teriyaki sauce on top and stir to warm the sauce. Serve with more teriyaki sauce if desired.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brown Seaweed Salad

Found my local Super H-mart a little while back and had picked up some deli made brown seaweed salad. It tasted pretty good with all of the flavors being light in a lightly sweet pickling brine. I compare the brine close to the recipe that my mom taught me to make sweet dill cucumber pickles but not quite as sweet.
Anyway...after a quick search on the internet, I found out that konbu and wakame are considered brown seaweeds. Since I already had the konbu in the house, I figured it would be a simple matter to pick up the wakame and make this salad myself.
Well...things aren't always what they seem. The wakame rehydrated to a nice lightly crisp green about the color of lightly steamed spinach. I had trouble with the konbu. The konbu leaves tend to rehydrate with a layer of mucus that is hard to separate from the leaves. Also these uncooked leaves are a bit tough and chewy. Not knowing what else to do, I went ahead and made them into the salad. I hoped that the vinegar would neutralize the mucus from the konbu leaves. It really didn't. Now the mucus doesn't take away from the salad's taste but it does make it daunting to want to eat it due to the texture. So back to the internet for more research.
The few recipes that had both the konbu and wakame as salad indgredients don't say specifically what to do about the konbu. These recipes ASSUME that you've used the konbu for making dashi and that means it is already cooked and tender. So...if you want to use konbu in a salad you have to cook it first. I am presuming that this will remove the mucus as well as make the konbu easier to chew. I'll have to look in to dashi recipes as to how long I should cook the konbu.