All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Dinner, June 15, 2011

Carrot leaves sway in the breeze...
Carrots in a wine barrel on the deck are growing, leaves are getting taller and larger. The best-by is here. While they are still tender, we've got to eat them. Young leaves are the best part for tempura.

My tempura is not greasy. But, hey, it is still a deep-fry. Other dishes shouldn't have oil. Something strong and something mild would be nice. And something sharp to define the meal.

For something strong, satoimo no nikkorogashi, a dish I have been wanting to eat, would be perfect. Baby taro roots are first cooked in dashi, then seasoned with sake, soy sauce, mirin and just a little bit of brown sugar. The liquid is reduced to almost thick consistency, giving the rich soy sauce flavor with some sweetness on the surface, while inside remains pale and keeps the original subtle sweetness of baby taro root. Serve with karashi mustard. Its pungent, clean spiciness accentuates the dish.

There are about a dozen small dried scallops in water in the fridge. I should use them up. Pairing with dried daikon radish, it would be a mild dish that is gentle on the stomach. Fresh grated daikon is known for helping digestion of greasy food. Diastase, an enzyme in daikon, is damaged by heat, so the same effect is not expected from cooked dried daikon, but the word daikon always comes with a gentle-on-stomach image. Julienned snap peas are added to the dish for color and slightly crunchy, succulent texture.

For tempura, only the soft leaves are harvested. Flour and potato starch together makes a light batter. Egg would make it too rich. Sakura ebi adds color and toasty taste. Deep-fry in canola oil only, rather than mixing with sesame oil, to enjoy the taste and color of fresh leaves.

So far we've had 1.5 eggs today. With the 1/2 egg left over from jijigmae Korean savory pancake for lunch sitting the fringe, osumashi, a clear dashi-based soup would do the job to put all dishes together. Yum.

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