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


Dinner, June 29, 2012

We had our friends over for dinner yesterday (June 28), and there were leftover ohitashi with mizuna as well as gomadofu. I was originally going to make fish dumplings with crabmeat (another leftover from last night), but I had bought too much fish. Chingensai baby bok choy in the raised bed is about to bolt, and there are lots of mushrooms in the fridge. It would be good to use them up. With leftovers and the need-to-go ingredients at home, we had a pleasant meal.

It is hard for me to resist buying fresh green peas -- more commonly called English peas -- in season. Mame gohan is a must-have rice dish when green peas are in season. Because I add sweet rice, this mame gohan has a mellow flavor, which makes it a good match with a strong-flavored dish. For this meal, it was fish saute with garlic butter sauce. Butter, garlic, white wine, soy sauce and lemon together give an aromatic toasty taste, while chingensai and mushrooms prevent the dish from becoming overly rich.

Gomadofu is a rich little dish made of sesame paste. Wasabi and soy sauce are typical companions. I diced half a peeled tomato, yet another leftover ingredient from the meal the night before. Tomatoes and soy sauce are a good match, and the summery acidity of diced tomato somehow counters the richness of gomadofu.

My standard leafy vegetable ohitashi was mizuna. Its clean taste is always refreshing with any dish. Coarsely ground toasted white sesame seeds add a mild toasty note, and bring it together with gomadotu.

The zucchini pickles were actually a failure. I knowingly used a thick zucchini where using skinny ones are the key to making this pickle work. For some reason I thought -- maybe, possibly, perhaps -- even a thick one might be OK. It didn’t work. Only the still-firm flesh of young, thin zucchini has the quality that karashi mustard can bring out. Another lesson learned.

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