Sunday, November 16, 2014

kabocha-yuzu soup

All gone!
 You can't argue with an empty bowl. Or multiple empty bowls. 

(And do you like our 100-yen store tissue box cover? If you live in Japan, it's almost a requirement. Now that I've acquired one this time around, I feel as if my homemaking is complete.)

You could Westernize this by substituting regular pumpkin and lemon, lime, or orange juice (or a combo) instead of yuzu and leaving out the daikon. I wouldn't replace it with any other kind of radish. Click the link below for the full recipe. I served this with homemade hamburgers (no buns) with chopped green onion, garlic, almond flour, soy sauce, pepper, and cooking sake, cooked and topped with a red miso sauce and grated daikon radish.

You'll need: 
  • 1 whole kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), chopped and deseeded, but not peeled
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2-inch piece of daikon radish, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 sage leaves
  • about 1 t. rosemary leaves
  • 5 c. water
  • about 1 t. bouillon paste (or a couple of stock cubes if you have them)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk of your choice (we use soy in Japan because we can't get almond)
  • 1 yuzu (Japanese citrus), juiced 
Do this:

Saute the veggies in olive oil in a big stockpot for a few minutes (no need to soften completely), then add the water, herbs, salt and pepper, and bouillon paste. Simmer till everything is tender, then blend with an immersion blender or a regular one. Add in enough milk to make it creamier (I used about a cup or so), and make sure it's warmed through. For some final je ne sais quois, stir in the yuzu juice and taste for seasonings.

The creaminess of the kabocha, the hit of garlic, and the very Japanese citrus flavor of the yuzu work great together.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

gluten-free microwave berry crumble

Haven't got an oven? Hey, we're in the same boat! I'm not actually a fan of the microwave, but you do what you have to do to have a warm, berryfull dessert on a cool fall day (this crumble followed a really yummy veggie, ham, and sausage soup, to be posted soon).

I made these in four individual mugs, but ramekins or a bigger glass pan would be fine, too, if you wanted to make one dish to ladle from.

You'll need:
  • frozen blueberries and raspberries, about 1/2 cup per person
  • lemon juice and brown sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried coconut 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 large pieces of crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you have salted butter or nuts)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • honey for drizzling (if your crumble topping ends up being a bit too salty like mine was) 
Do this:

Plop your frozen berries in the container(s) and sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar (mix in). In a separate mixing bowl, stir the almond flour, coconut, nuts, crystallized ginger, spices, brown sugar, and salt (if using) together.

Stir the melted butter into the dry mix and mash together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. This will make about 1/2 cup of topping for each mug or bowl. Spoon the crumble over each container and drizzle with a little honey if desired.

My microwave is 700 watts, about half the power of a normal American unit, so please check your manual and adjust the cooking time as needed. Each of these cups (and don't forget to cover with a paper towel or similar) took about 90 seconds. If you have an American microwave, I would try for half that time and see how it goes.

The topping ended up happily nutty and crunchy, and our tummies didn't complain either. Tart berries and a granola-like topping! I've already been asked to make this again, and I won't say no.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

yuzu green beans

A lovely neighbor of ours shared the organic yuzu (Japanese citrus) and tougarashi (a kind of red chilli pepper) love. Aren't they gorgeous?

As a last-minute veggie side dish this evening, I grabbed some humble frozen green beans, sauteed them in olive oil, sprinkled on some chunky sea salt and pepper, and then finely grated some yuzu peel over all. It was as out of this world as the fireball meteor that flew over Japan yesterday!

We might not ever see a meteor like that in real life, but I'm definitely making this dish again.