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


Breakfast, April 23, 2013

A power breakfast.

Tom needs coffee to wake up in the morning.
I don't. My brain is up and running pretty much the moment I open my eyes in the morning.
But I need food to keep it going, especially before a big job.

  • Aatichooku to ebi no kakiage tentojidon / artichoke and prawn tempura cooked in broth with egg over rice, with mitsuba
  • Tomatoto to tofu no akadashi / red miso soup with tomato and tofu, with chives 
  • Daikon to asupara no ponzu-ae / daikon radish and asparagus with citrus soy sauce

Artichoke kakiage (mixed tempura) was an experiment from the day before. Gorgeous, large globes of artichoke started to appear at grocery stores here, and I had been wondering what Japanese dishes I could make with them. Tempura seemed to be an easy and suitable dish. It turned out pretty good, but perhaps it should have been paired with lemon wedges or salt instead of the tentsuyu dipping sauce I served last night. The delicate flavor of artichoke could not stand up against the aroma and flavor of tentsuyu or prawns. Naturally, the tentojidon for this breakfast wasn’t working with artichoke (as it was cooked with tentsuyu), but I was too lazy to think about it, and the prawns in kakiage and the mitsuba I added provided enough character for the rice dish.

We have been tied up with work lately, and our fridge is getting unusually empty. We didn’t even have green onions. But now, things are happening in the garden. The chives are up.
There was a small container of kinugoshi soft tofu in the fridge, and a ripe tomato on the counter. When combined, they made an interesting miso soup: slightly sour because of tomato, and a bit soft in terms of texture and taste because of soft tofu. Chives added a fresh, soft garlicky note. It was also slightly salty due to the red miso. I wanted to add a small amount of usuage thin deep-fried tofu for a mild note, but I skipped it -- the rice dish was kakiage tentojidon, and there was enough oil already.

To counter the excess oil of kakiage for breakfast, I made a small pickle-like dish with julienned daikon radish and thinly sliced asparagus. Fresh daikon helps with digestion of oil. The lower section of asparagus is skinned (the skin is tough!), thinly sliced into ribbons, and blanched. This was another experiment. I intentionally made it with very subtle flavoring using ponzu citrus soy sauce, since tentojidon and miso soup already offered enough flavor. Nevertheless, Tom commented, “this is good, but it needs something.” I dismissed his comment. I understand his point, but if it had a stronger flavor, it would not serve the purpose of refreshing your palate between mouthfuls of strongly flavored tentojidon and miso soup, and that would be overdoing it.

People usually are surprised to hear we eat tempura in the morning. But believe it or not, our tempura breakfast is much less greasy than omelets, scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, pancakes or cinnamon rolls served with butter, which are our breakfast options when we occasionally eat out (blackout mornings when we’ve lost power).

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