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


Dinner, October 14, 2011

Recycling sushi rice. There is a small amount of frozen sushi rice, and some leftovers from two nights ago in the fridge.

  • Unagi no mushizushi / steamed sushi with grilled eel, topped with julienned egg crepe and Chinese celery
  • Tofu, age, shantoreru no akadashi / red miso soup with tofu, thin deep-fried tofu and chanterelle mushrooms, with sliced green onion
  • Horenso no ohitashi / spinach in light broth
  • Gobo, ninjin, renkon no kinpira / kinpira saute with burdock root, carrot and lotus root

Frozen or refrigerated sushi rice is hard and sends off no aroma. Heat it up in microwave? Maybe. But what really works is steaming. When steamed, all the dried-out looking grains of rice come back with a supple, fluffy texture and a gently sweet and sour aroma. I kept the last grilled eel piece in the freezer to mix in steamed sushi rice. Solid frozen grilled eel also puffs up when steamed while giving some flavor to surrounding rice. Egg and grilled eel are such a good match, and the sushi rice is topped with julienned egg crepe. While sansho leaves would have been the perfect choice for a topping, our sansho tree has already started its autumn (currently light yellow with some pink) and the leaves are not available until next spring.

Other dishes should be simple and straightforward. Among a number of items I thought about, I picked red miso soup with tofu, thin deep-fried tofu and chanterelle mushrooms – pretty much a standard choice with a seasonal twist. Chanterelles are so versatile, and go well with many different ingredients and preparation methods.

Another dish I picked is also a standard ohitashi with spinach, topped with coarsely ground toasted sesame seeds. Ohitashi with leafy vegetables has such a clean taste, and this dish refreshes your mouth between other dishes. 

The other dish I selected is once again a standard kinpira. Sesame oil gives a rich, toasty and satisfying taste. The dish will also help us catch up on vegetables. We've been eating rather heavy food with not enough vegetables lately, and my body has started to complain. Food matters.

Tom seemed quite impressed with how well the steamed sushi turned out.

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