Category Archives: japanese

Clam Rice

The content for this post (photos and recipe below) arrives courtesy of a guest blogger: my father. He calls this dish “Clam Rice.” And I agree that it is. But what about a name that includes the green peas? See, mame gohan refers to green peas and rice. And gomoku takikomi gohan refer to putting a whole bunch of stuff in rice. But what if you only have two things you are adding to the rice? Oh the calamity!

Clam Rice

Clams:

  • Pour 1 cup of water in a large pot.
  • Place the pot on a stove and set it to HI heat.
  • Put the clams in the pot.
  • Shake the pot to bring the opened clams to the top and the unopened ones to
    the bottom.
  • Once all the clams open, they are done.
  • Remove the clam meat from the shells.
  • Use a teaspoon to detach the adductor muscles.
  • Using paper towel as a filter, pour the clam juice into a container.

Rice:

  • Prepare to cook rice at a rice-to-water ratio between 1:1.2 and 1:1.5,
    according to your preference.
  • Discard 1 cup of water from above.
  • Pour 1 cup of clam juice.
  • Place the clam meat on top of the rice.
  • Cook the rice.
  • When the rice is done, place a handful of fresh or frozen peas on top of the
    rice.
  • To cook the peas, cover the rice pot for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Distribute the clams and peas evenly with the rice before serving.
Advertisements

Kuitan = Food Porn, Mystery, and Comedy

Some friends want help get over your addictions. Like my one friend, who objected when I filled her TV with Food Network shows for the second day in a row one evening. But it was so important – Michael Symon was making his way to becoming Iron Chef. She told me that there was more to TV than cooking shows. So, I let her change the channel. Let me clarify…the channel changed only AFTER he won!

On the other hand, some friends are enabling. One of my friends who follows Japanese dramas introduced me to KUITAN, a Japanese show about a detective who solves crimes with his superhero knowledge of cuisine. Clearly, he must have more compassion than my other friend. That’s true friendship.

Can’t remember which episode it’s in, but Kuitan leverages his knowledge that hijiki (a Japanese seaweed) requires several hours to marinate to assess the timeline of a crime. Ultimately he finds that an innocent man is in fact taking the fall for the real bad guy, because the fall guy was lying about when he was going to each lunch. Now that’s power.

Meals, meals, and more meals abound in this series. Oftentimes, Kuitan must sample multiple dishes to ascertain the identity of an important witness or so. This means you as the viewer will certainly see several close-up shots! I’m talking about professionally captured food porn.

Kuitan also waxes wistfully on culinary traditions in little, tender asides. These I especially adore, because he is teaching the “why” of these dishes – why this or that ingredient is important, taste-wise as well as giving cultural context. Oh, and the show is highly comedic, in a very lighthearted way. This show has it all: comedy, mystery, and culinary erudition. Who could ask for more?

I’ve embedded here a link to the first few minutes of the premiere episode. Thanks YouTube!

P.S. Here’s a 12-minute discussion of the artifice involved in food porn (also available as a transcript) in a show called “Pornucopia.” I think this is a bit over the top. Is Mr. Kaufman’s outrage at Food Network’s attempt to “get the emo” really justified???

Update: July 13, 2008 – one of my friends told me about crunchyroll which has kuitan episodes available online. sweet!

Californified Miso (Miso & Whole Wheat Cappellini)

Organic, whole wheat cappellini…how’re you going to use that? Well, I spotted it at the local fancy-pants market for the same price as the organic refined wheat cappellini- thought I’d give it a whirl. Whole wheat cappellini…how to describe it…it’s delicious. Sweet, with sunshine-y flavor, utterly yummy.

Ingredients:

  • “white”* (or, shiro) miso paste (I got mine from Whole Foods – seemed to work fine);
  • dashi**;
  • regular or soft tofu;
  • scallions; and
  • whole wheat cappellini.

Simmer the water, and add the miso. Add the dashi. Do not let the water get above a simmer. Cube the tofu into 1/4″ pieces (well, you could have them bigger). Drop into the soup. Once the tofu is hot, add in the cappellini. By the time that the soup regains the proper temperature (remember, no boiling!) the cappellini should be almost done. Slice the scallions as small as you can. Sprinkle the scallions and serve. The miso and the whole wheat truly complement each other beautifully.

*You could use “red” (aka) miso, but, I am not sure that the red will complement these noodles as much as the white would.

** This recipe is “flexitarian” because of this ingredient, i.e., dashi includes fish stock.

Mr. Bento Porn

One of my friends told me that she considered buying a Mr. Bento for her homemade lunches. Mr. Bento? what’s that? A profound device for keeping food, hot or cold, for hours and hours on end. She told me that she looked at Mr. Bento porn. I was afraid to ask what that meant…but I too became addicted.

Devotees of Mr. Bento proudly snap their lunches and post to Flickr to show the world what they are eating. The thing that makes me lose my mind is that people make little notes on their photos. These tiny commentaries reflect triumph, disappointment, or relief about their lunches. Who knew that storing vitamins could ever be so cute – yes, why not put them into a Hello Kitty container? I encourage you to get totally, and unrepentantly addicted to Mr. Bento Porn.

P.S. check out Mr. Bento Rodeo too…where else can you read, “besides the seaweed salad, i brought a riceball sprinkled with sesame seeds, sesame jimmies if you will, and some more potato soup and… a blood orange, which was a tart little mofo.”!?!?!?!?!

P.P.S. You can see the Flickr Mr. Bento Porn Pool here.