- French omlelets
- Potatoes nik
- Fresh pasta
- Putanseca sauce
- Pita bread
- Baba ganoush
- Veg stir-fry
- Thai green curry
- Cauliflower soup
- Salads of all sorts
Recently in Food Category
Absolutely enormous asparagus. Not from Fukushima. 398 yen per stalk.
Today in the supermarket, I expected to see some empty places in the produce aisle - conspicuously absent spinach and leafy greens with apologetic signs regretting the inconvenience. But I was wrong. There was as much spinach and other greens as usual. All from Chiba and Saitama, areas adjacent to Tokyo.
But I think that abundant produce won't be the case forever. The government is making farmers in four prefectures destroy their crops and we will feel the pinch soon enough. Of course, we aren't going to starve; we will make do with what comes our way and it will be plenty, if not always exactly what our recipes call for.
As for tonight, while I have the luxury of buying exactly what I want to eat, I am going to enjoy my spinach - and the huge asparagus.
Amanda gets down on the kitchen floor with the curry paste tonight.
During our Chiang Mai vacation, we indulged in a lot of Thai food and took several cooking classes. The first class was a day at the Thai Farm Cooking School where we visited a farmers' market, toured the school's organic farm, ground curry paste by hand and made more food than we could eat, including curry with our fresh paste and a dessert of mango with sticky rice. A few days later, the cook at Maesa Elephant Camp led us through some simple recipes at dinnertime. Back in Chiang Mai we did an evening course at Baan Thai and made fish cakes, soup, more curry paste and the local noodle dish, khao soi.
I was sort of surprised at how none of the cooking methods were exotic - mainly stirfry and simmering.
Curry is basically fried vegetables simmered in coconut milk. There's no major mystery to making tom yam soup; it's just a lightly boiled soup. Steaming rice is a bit different than boiling it, but even that is just steaming.
It was the ingredients that made all the difference. So many good smells in Thai food, as Tod says. We worked with kaffir lime leaf, fresh lemon grass, members of the ginger family and oh, those tiny bitter eggplants! We despaired of ever recreating these dishes in Tokyo, despite our instructors' enthusiastic entreaties to "Please cook Thai at home!" But today, Tod discovered a Asia Superstore, a Thai grocery in Okubo near Higashi-Shinjuku station. He biked over and came back with a mortar and pestle and everything else needed to make curry paste. They even had the eggplants.
I recently noted elsewhere that I prefer vegetables to fruit. This is strange because I generally prefer sweet over savory. But given the choice between a tomato and an apple, I'll take the tomato. So why is that? I think I figured it out.
Fruit doesn't meet my expectations. It should give me instant gratification. I want to grab a whole fruit cold and crisp from the fridge and eat its sweet, juicy goodness, as if it were nature's candy bar. But it rarely works that way. Fruit usually needs as much preparation as vegetables - peeling, coring, slicing. I don't expect it to be so even though my experience proves it is.
Fruit is unpredictable. It may look gorgeous, but it isn't always ripe or juicy and it's hard to tell before you taste it. The surprise of a mealy apple or a sour plum isn't a good surprise. And fruit doesn't stay in its optimal state very long before going bad. While a wilty carrot makes good soup, a withered peach is trash.
But I have found a solution that solves my issues. I turn my fruit into juice. Blending a couple of fruits together evens out any unripe bitterness, and I expect juice to need preparation so I'm not disappointed that it isn't instant food. Plus I can toss in vegetables, ice and other flavors to make smoothies. Tomorrow I'll share some of my smoothie recipes with you.