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


Breakfast, December 3, 2012

We had lunch with Tom's sister and niece at Shanghai Garden in Seattle yesterday. My favorite dish at the restaurant is pea vine (shoot) saute. It is a very common dish, and Shanghai Garden’s pea vine saute tastes as good as those I used to have in Taiwan. Pea vine saute is not a fancy “wow” dish, but it certainly hit the spot and inspired me to make a decent breakfast the following day with ingredients we already have on hand and something just purchased in Seattle.

  • Steamed rice, with toasted black sesame seeds
  • Konsai no misoshiru / miso soup with root vegetables (burdock root, carrot, daikon radish, baby taro root), with sliced green onion
  • Kinoko no iridofu / scrambled tofu with mushrooms and egg 
  • Chikuwa to tomyo no nibitashi / chikuwa fishcake and pea shoots simmered in broth
  • Shiozake no guriru / grilled salted salmon

A typical miso soup with root vegetables, yet again. While what root vegetables go into this soup depends on what we have, and I change between rangiri cut, julienne, dice and thickly or thinly sliced to get different textures and levels of “filling/satisfying,” it probably is the miso soup that appears most frequently at our table. I am grateful that Tom doesn’t complain about this repetition. I would definitely complain if he repeats his repertoire.

After taking care of the fiber (gobo burdock root), stomach conditioning (daikon radish), beta-carotene orange color (carrot) and potassium (satoimo baby taro root, to help balance sodium intake), I decided to make nibitashi with pea shoots. Ohitashi, a similar dish served at room temperature or cooler is my usual dish with pea shoots, and it tastes great. Based on that, I knew pea shoots would make a good warm nibitashi (“ni” is from “niru [simmer],” and “bitashi” is from “hitasu [soak]”). Since my menu plan for today’s dinner included usuage thin deep-fried tofu, and also because this breakfast involved sauteing firm tofu, I used chikuwa – grilled, oil-free fishcake -- to avoid overlapping ingredients for the day.
As expected, it turned out pretty good.

The main cast of the tofu dish this morning were actually several kinds of mushrooms we bought at H-Mart in Lynnwood and Uwajimaya in Seattle yesterday (and some from our local Sunny Farms a few days ago). Iridofu is a humble tofu dish that usually has vegetables or mushrooms and an egg. Since so far I have only five vegetables (gobo, carrot, daikon radish, satoimo, pea shoots), I added the white sections of green onions, and used the green sections as the garnish of miso soup. In total six vegetables. Not bad. Moreover, four kinds of mineral-rich mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, oyster and eringi)! Using  three or four kinds of mushrooms adds complexity to dishes. This simple scrambled dish fully benefited from the depth imparted by mushrooms.

While preparing breakfast, I grilled salted salmon for tonight. Since the piece was too large for a dinner side dish (garland chrysanthemum, bean sprouts and grilled salted salmon marinated in light broth), Tom and I ate some, leaving enough for dinner.

A satisfying breakfast for a good start to the day.

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