Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Well seasoned

Three vegetable dishes

DSC_7626I’m cutting back on meat lately, due to a lack on meal planning. What? 5:45 already? The time flies when I’m watching Korean drama. I don’t have time to defrost meat, beside I really need to use these vegetables before they get moldy like sooo yesterday.

I have to come up with vegetable dishes that make any vegetarian proud?
Easy (going), wholesome, and well seasoned …Thank you for the compliments but let’s not talk about me, I have a dinner to prepare.

The crown daisy (shun giku 春菊) is not available in regular markets and spoils rather quickly so it’s shame to waste it, today it is my number one priority veggie. This vegetable has harshness (アク) to it, in another words, I can’t eat it fresh. I must tame this sucker by giving it a hot bath…now I’m on my way to a vegetable galore meal!  All three are accompanied well with cooked rice.DSC_7609

Burdock and Crown Daisy Salad for three people

  • 1 Dried whole hot red pepper. Remove seeds and slice.DSC_7615
  • Rice vinegar 2 Tablespoons
  • Soy sauce 1 Tablespoon
  • Sugar 1 - 2 teaspoons
  • Sesame oil 1 teaspoon
  • Burdock roots about 10 inch length. Wash well and cut into 2 inch lengths then soak in cold water for 5 minutes.
  • Corn starch or flour 1-2 Tablespoons
  • Crown Daisy 1 bundle about 4-5 stems. Wash thoroughly  .
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  • Fried bean curd (油あげ) 2-3 Place in a strainer over the sink and carefully pour very hot water over it to remove grease residue. Slice. Note: Fried bean curd can be frozen but not tofu.DSC_7673DSC_7669
  • Oil for frying
  1. Make dressing first – combine hot red pepper, rice vinegar, soy sauce , sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Prepare ice water in a large bowl. In a medium pan, boil 2 cups of water. When the water starts to boil sprinkle in the salt . Put the stems of the Crown Daisy in first and boil for 30 seconds in an up-right position then lower the leafy part into the pan for another 30 seconds, cook a little bit longer if you like tender texture, however you loose more nutrients that way. Drain the water then immediately immerse in icy water. Drain and squeeze liquid from the vegetable. Cut in about 2 inch lengths. Set aside.
  3. Paper towel dry the burdock, put in a zip lock bag and seal it. Pound the burdock with mallet or rolling pin to crush, not smash the texture a little but. Heat oil to about 340 degrees in a heavy bottom pan.
  4. Pour corn starch or flour in the zip lock. Seal it and shake the bag to coat the burdock well. Dust off excess flour.
  5. Fry the burdock for about 2-3 minutes until tender but still firm. Place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  6. Arrange fried bean curd on a plate then put the  crown daisy on top and lastly the fried burdock on top. Pour dressing over the salad.DSC_7630

Tofu keeps well in the refrigerator but even it eventually reaches its expiration date. Old tofu gets acidic in my opinion, when the water in the package becomes cloudy it is time to throw it away. I usually remember it’s there but occasionally it gets pushed further back in the refrigerator or someone leaves it on a higher shelf that I can’t see…put the candle back… I mean tofu back where I can see it. Note; My joke is from an old movie Young Frankenstein.
My son does not like this dish very much saying that he is not into tofu. Ou-key then, you don’t know tofu.

Seasoned Pan Fried TofuDSCN1680

  • 1 packaged firm tofu
  • 2 green onion chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 red hot pepper, remove seeds and slice
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Korean preferred) More if you like spicy.
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Remove tofu from its package and wash under running water. Wrap in paper towel and place it between two cutting boards to squeeze out some of the water, about 6-8 minutes. The longer you do this the tougher tofu gets.
  2. In the meantime, combine the green onions, garlic, red hot pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and chili powder in a small bowl.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice the tofu into thin slices. Slide the tofu in with a spatula. Brown tofu until the edge is crispy about 4-5 minutes. Do the same to other side.
  4. Lower the heat a bit and spoon the green onion/garlic mixture over the top of the tofu. Cover and let steam for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately. Saucy variation; Add about 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to green onion/garlic mixture and mix well. Pour in the pan and cook until the sauce thickens and tofu is coated with the sauce.DSCN1677

Ginger la-yu marinated cucumber is appetite enhancer, with this and rice I could eat a lot! Ginger la-yu is also used as seasoning in fried rice or sautéed vegetable.

Ginger La-yuDSC_7637

  • 1Green onion chopped small
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 2 Red hot pepper seeds removed and  sliced
  • Olive oil 1 Tablespoon and 1/4 cup
  • Dried powdered ginger 10g
  • Soy sauce 1 teaspoon
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Put green onion and garlic in and sauté until garlic turns brown, turn off heat.
  3. After green onion and garlic is at room temperature, add olive oil, dried ginger and soy sauce and mix well. Keep refrigerated. Use in two weeks.

Preparing cucumber –  Wash and dry 2 small cucumbers (I used Persian  cucumber that has tiny seeds) then pound to break up into chunks. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Add 2 teaspoon of ginger la-yu and 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce, white sesame seeds and rice vinegar. Combine well and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. DSC_7643DSC_7641

Market find – Thai fresh ginger. A little bit easier on the wallet than Japanese new ginger but very tough. Yiiike! Where is the head?DSC_7589

Forgotten pumpkin – I bought it on impulse before Christmas. It became hard as a rock. I had to cook in a pressure cooker first to see if it is even still good.DSC_7600DSC_7606It was good! I made Pumpkin Flan with Pumpkin Chantilly Cream on top.

DSC_7647DSC_7652DSC_7659DSC_7663DSC_7686I momently forgot that I’m on a diet but it was super delicious!

My neighbor friend shared parsley with us. (This apple is ‘Junami’ a new variety)DSC_7679We sprinkled fresh parsley on top of the spaghetti meat sauce my husband made. My vegetarian days are over…DSC_7682..

No more frost, just rain

I can see the true color of the Burning Bush now.DSCN1683







  1. Can you move to Hawaii so I can be your best friend?

    1. I wish! I feel like your my best friend when I read your blog. You're fun, funny and charming (just like me). Thank you so much for your comment.

  2. Wow, you've been busy in the kitchen;) I would like to try the cucumber dish you've made one of these days...they look appealing:)

    1. Thank you for your comment. I'm going to try your 12345 recipe.

  3. ムムム 揚げたごぼうも かぼちゃも とうふも きゅうりも皆おいしそうだ。

    1. コメントありがとう。 いやそれほどでも。

  4. 私は かぼちゃオーブンに入れてすこしやわらかくして切るけど
    圧力釜ではどのようにクックするの?少し水を入れて くるくる回り始めて何分くらいクックするのかな?

    1. またまたコメントありがとう。お水は使わなくてOK! 入れて、低めの気圧で20分くらい。今度レシピを書きます。

  5. 春菊ってどうしても鍋に入れてしまおうって感じであまりレパートリーがなかったので、これ是非作ってみます!美味しそうー。お豆腐も。ご主人のミートソースも美味しそうです。私、ミートソースに弱いの。カレーとミートソース、誰かが食べてるのみると、3日以内には作ってます(笑)。韓国ドラマ、はまってるの笑いました。うちの母も。私もはまりたいんだけど、子供のスケジュールなどで、なかなか・・・。そして次の日は泣いて腫れた目でお岩さんになってることもしばしば(悲しいドラマ系みるからか・・・)。

    1. なみちゃん、コメントありがとう。ミートソーススパゲティは新しいレシピに挑戦でしたが、これはとても美味しかったので、キープ!