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Posts Tagged ‘meatloaf’

Osechi-ryori is the Japanese style of traditional foods eaten on New Years Day. It typically consists of many different small dishes that are served in stacked jubako (fine lacquer boxes similar to bento). To purchase a ready-made Osechi can set you back well into the hundreds of dollars. Or, you can spend all of that money on an airplane ticket to Japan and let your mother-in-law cook all of the food and arrange the jubako for you, Kawabata family style. Now, I’m not completely sure of all of the ingredients that were used, but I’ll sure do my best to fill you in on what filled my belly.

First and foremost was a delicious bottle of sake. My father-in-law always gets a really nice bottle when I come to visit. This is a bottle of Junmai Daiginjo from Aomori (Aomori is the farthest north area of Honshu and I once hitchhiked from central Tokyo all the way up there, but that’s a story for another time) called Denshu. It’s one of the best bottles in Japan and you won’t find it anywhere in the States. Junmai Daiginjo is sake that is made from pure rice without any added alcohol or sugar, rice that is polished at least 50%, and cold brewed at less than 5 degrees celsius. While you can find some Junmai Daiginjo in the States, you won’t find any as nice as this. It’s smooth as a baby’s ass! Even if you don’t love a baby’s ass, you’ll certainly love this bottle of sake.

In this box there was some simple steamed pea pods, shiitake simmered in shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), boiled satoimo potatoes, simmered lotus root, simmered carrots, and koya tofu (freeze-dried tofu, something I’ve never eaten before but really like the texture).

Here we have braised beef wrapped gobo (burdock root), salmon wrapped in kombu, sweet-pickled daikon and carrot, and sweet shoyu glazed yellow tail.

This level of jubako contained dried herring roe, white and pink fish cakes, ikura (salmon roe), mashed sweet potato, soy-glazed dried anchovies, Cool Breeze Amongst Pine Trees (Uichiro’s name for his famous meatloaf, don’t ask me how he came up with that name, some things are probably better unknown), and ham.

Next to the jubako was a plate with some grilled red snapper. I’m always disappointed when I order red snapper in Chicago. I’m never disappointed with I eat it here in Japan. Tamiko got the skin nice and crisp while keeping the flesh moist and juicy. Extremely fresh fish.

Then, she brought out bowls of soup. A clear broth made from kombu and katsuo-bushi (bonito flakes) filled with mitsuba greens, fish cakes with good fortune written in the middle, mochi (an absolute necesity at the Japanese new years table), shiitake, and slices of yuzu peel.

Last, but surely not least, she served up some red snapper sashimi that was cured in kombu. A touch of wasabi was all it needed.

Dessert was simply fresh strawberries and green tea. Strawberries are extremely expensive here in Japan so they’re always a treat.

To wipe our mouths we used “Year of the Dragon” napkins since 2012 is the year of the dragon. I was born in a year of the dragon as well.

Happy new years everyone!

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One of the great things about meatloaf is that you can do pretty much anything you like with it. You can use any kind of ground meat, vegetables, sauces, etc. It’s also extremely simple to make. I have some rosemary still growing on my back porch and with the weather starting to cool down here I figured I should use it up before my plant dies. With that in mind I decided to make a very straight-forward meatloaf and use up the rosemary, although I still have some left that needs to be used within the next week or so.

My ingredient list includes 1.5 pounds of ground beef (20% fat), 1/5 pound of ground pork, 2 small celery ribs diced, ketchup, 2 eggs beaten, 3 cloves of garlic minced, a bunch of green onions sliced, panko, 1/2 cup of frozen peas, and a bunch of rosemary chopped.

In a large glass bowl I mixed together the ground meats with the celery, eggs, garlic, green onions, peas, rosemary, and some salt and pepper. Once it was all good and mixed I let it sit for about 15 minutes to let the flavors settle.

 

Once the meatloaf settled a little I shaped it into a loaf and put it into a loaf pan. I squeezed some ketchup on top and brushed it to cover the entire top surface. Then I sprinkled some panko over the ketchup. I put it in a 350 degree oven and let it cook for about an hour.

For some side vegetables I used 1.5 carrots chopped, 1/2 onion sliced, a bunch of haricots vert, and some more chopped rosemary.

I simply laid vegetables out in a roasting pan, drizzled them with olive oil, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and the rosemary. I put them in the oven for about a half hour.

Once I got the vegetables in the oven I boiled some water and salted it. I took 5 good-sized Yukon Gold potatoes and skinned them then chopped them into quarters and dropped them in the boiling water along with 2 garlic cloves cut in quarters as well. I let them boil for about 10-15 minutes. Before draining them I reserved a cup of the water. After draining them I put the potatoes and garlic back into the pot, scooped about 1/3 cup of sour cream in, about 1/2 cup of the reserved water (didn’t need the rest but had it there in case I wanted to thin out the mashed potatoes), salt, pepper, and more chopped rosemary. With my potato masher I mashed it all up till they were smooth and creamy.

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Alright, so I didn’t cook last night, nor did I post anything yesterday. In light of that here’s what I made Wednesday night, a Pork Curry. This recipe came from my father-in-law in Japan. He was very excited when he sent it over and translated it into English for me. Some of the measurements that I used are a little different from his since he’s on the Metric System. I also did a couple of things different. Overall my dish was pretty true to his recipe.

To start, I sautéed a sliced onion, a shredded carrot, and two ribs of celery chopped in some soy oil with garlic and ginger. Uichiro adds a little butter, I didn’t because I’ve been eating a lot of butter lately. I need to keep my girlish figure.

Once the vegetables were sweated down for about 7 minutes I added about 2/3’s of a pound of pork chops that I had sliced to about 1/4 inch width. I let the pork cook just until the exterior turned white but the insides were still uncooked. Then I added 2 tablespoons of curry powder, about a teaspoon of black pepper, 5 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. I stirred that all in and sautéed for a few more minutes. Then I poured in 50 ml of white wine and let it boil down.

Once the wine had boiled down I added three cups of water, a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (Uichiro chopped 1 cup of fresh tomatoes), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, once chicken bouillon cube, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Once that all came to a boil I covered it and turned the heat down to med-low. That simmered for about 40 minutes.

After the 40 minutes I took a half an apple and grated it into. This adds a lot of sweetness as well as some starch to help the flour thicken it up a bit. I also added a large pinch of sugar to help balance out the spice.

To add a green element to the curry I threw some mache leaves in right after turning off the heat. Uichiro didn’t do that. It really didn’t need it, I just wanted to add the color.

Overall, I have to say, it’s another winner from Uichiro. Next time I think I’ll use about a half cup less water, but otherwise it was delicious. I am disappointed that he didn’t have a cool name for the dish though. He calls his meatloaf “cool breeze amongst the pine trees”. I have no idea why, but it is a damn good meatloaf!

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