Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Day, Another Bento

This was rice mixed with hot mustard and left over salmon bits. Gyoza with a fish bottle full of soy sauce. The quick miso pickle. Some more of the ubiquitous apple bunnies. I tucked a little more of the left over saury in the corner, but it's a dark fish in a dark container, so it's a little hard to see.

It was pretty tasty. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hisashiburi da ne obento san!

It's been a while since I've packed a lunch for work. I think I will start doing it for various reasons, not the least of which is nutritional.

There's a potato salad that I made from the fried veggies that were part of a pot pie. I scooped them out of the pan (plucking out the chicken bites and putting them back in the pan). I let it cool down and dressed it quickly with some mayo and apple cider vinegar.

The green salad next to it is actually a quick miso pickle. You thinly slice some veggies (grated carrot and sliced cucumber), rub them with salt, let them weep for a while, let them sit in some miso for a while, and rinse the whole thing off. I poured a little rice vinegar over it. The white bits are rice from the organic white miso (it's a strange brand I won't buy again). Next time I think I'll leave the carrot shreds to the last. They don't really need to be salted or anything.

You can't tell from the picture, but the slices of apple are cute to resemble rabbits. There are various tutorials about the internet.

I also added half a saury which I cooked simply in a pseudo teriyaki sauce (sake, soy sauce, sugar). I took the bones out prior to packing to make for neater eating.

That thing in the plastic is a miso ball. You scooped some miso into a plastic bag, (adding some goodies if you like) and add a little hot water to make a thin, but enjoyable miso soup. It's a technique I picked up from Just Hungry which is a valuable Japanese cooking site.

The plan is to keep packing my lunch. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu

(Black Bean Katsu, picture from the internet)

Yesterday was my day off, and so I dragged The Boyfriend with me to the mall. It was a nice day, so we walked.

After considerable walking to the mall, and inside the mall, we (or rather, I) got hungry. The problem is that the food court is rather... lacking. We decided to head across the street to another food court, one located inside H Mart.

Kobe Wellbeing Kotatsu, despite having a Japanese name and serving Japanese food, has a menu covered in Korean with a little English here or there. always find this ironic, but the quality of food is very good.

I tried the sweet potato stuffed tonkatsu. I believe they cook the sweet potato, grind it into a paste, and sandwich it inbetween two thin layers of pork before breading and deep frying. A word of warning, even if the meat seems cool enough, the potato will still be molten lava.

It was very delicious, but super filling (even more than regular katsu). It also came with miso, a green salad, rice and pickled daikon two ways (yellow pickled, and kimchi pickled). They always put a spoon in the miso, which I understood should be slurped- excuse me, sipped from the bowl while using your chop sticks to push the goodies (tofu, green onion) from the bowl into your mouth.

The Boyfriend ordered a katsu burger with a side of fries. The fries were thick cut, and didn't deflate in thirty seconds, but over all were just fries. The sandwich came on a bun with lettuce and tomato and katsu sauce. I imagine it would have been better if they had served it with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce.

All in all, it's moderately priced, fun and good for when you want some fast food Japanese. It's a place we'll habit.

Friday, March 11, 2011


As I'm sure all of you are aware, I have a certain fondness for Japanese items. Today I purchased a cast iron tea pot (not kettle!) from Teavana. It was on clearance and I've had my eye on a cast iron tea pot ever since the Good Eats episode "Trew Brew II".

I purchased four cast iron cups to go along, but instead of the wave pattern I decided to go with the hob nail pattern. I felt that the hob nail pattern would add a little... shall we call it friction? I wanted it to contrast ever so slightly against the pot to add visual and textual interest.

I brewed some sencha which I also purchased at that same store. It wasn't fantastic, but it made a good pot. I will probably look other green loose leaf teas or look at more matcha. To be honest, I'm not sure if matcha is supposed to be brewed in a pot or mixed in directly to the cup, which is going far more into chado than I feel I can do alone.

In any event, I had added another cast iron creation to my kitchen collection. Isn't it pretty?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lesson Learned

Don't slice onions with your super sharp knife while talking to your sister over the phone about extremely distressing family news in the middle of the night.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Marsala: Take Two

I made chicken Marsala back for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately made it a creamy version that, on top of whole grain pasta looked entirely too beige and therefore unworthy of Valentine's Day, much less a blog post.

In any event, this was very much a "let's do this from memory!" rendition.

I had half a bag of dried porcini mushrooms which I quickly rehydrated in my cast iron skillet with a little water and a pat of butter. When they looked thoroughly soaked, I added half a sweet onion in thin slices and a crushed garlic clove. I let the onions get about half way to absolutely caramelized, then I added two whole chicken thighs to the skillet. I let them develop a crust, then flipped them. After the second crust I gave a generous glug or two of wine (don't you love my precision?) to the skillet and put a lid over it. The chicken essentially wine steamed to done, the raw wine flavor melted away and the onions were super sweet. I "mounted the sauce" by melting another pat of butter to the skillet and served it, once again, over whole grain pasta.

I tell you, though my photography skills are lacking, it was very attractive. The Boyfriend made appreciative noises when he looked at his bowl.

I thought it was super tasty and visually pleasing, so I will be making this again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Remember me?

That picture above is from the Samurai Noodle website.

Yesterday (Friday) I went to the Emerald City Comic Con. It was loads of fun, especially listening to James Marsters talk about his career and such. Even as an American brunette, he's still swoon worthy.

But you've come here for food related news!

Yesterday, I just had a bowel of cereal before making the drive to the convention center and then walked around for hours in the very noisy dealers' room having lost The Boyfriend. By the time I caught up to him again, I was pretty hungry so we decided to head out to Samurai Noodle.

Samurai Noodle is a shop that was recommended to me years ago by Minori, my Japanese exchange student friend. I had forgotten my camera and haven't had any real luck with my cell phone camera, but I did order the tonkotsu ramen shown above. The noodles were nice and chewy, and the broth was super thick. It must be all that "beauty enhancing" collagen.

The Boyfriend ordered the shouyu ramen. I snuck a spoonful of his broth which was also very good and a little refreshing after the heaviness of my broth.

We also shared an order of pork shumai which was served with shouyu, hot mustard and mayonnaise. I, sheltered being that I am, hadn't really had dumplings served with mayonnaise before, and it was pretty delicious. One of those things I know I shouldn't do, but will start doing at home. I suspect it will really only work with Kewpie style mayonnaise though.

I guess in summary, I liked the food at Samurai Noodle and will probably go back.