Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taste of Japan

Tonight's dinner turned out very Japanese. A lot of vegetables and fish—just the way I like. My mom would be proud of me. Mom, I cook! Nowadays, you can get various Asian groceries around here. More variety of exotic vegetables have been seen at grocery stores especially last five years or so. Some shimeji and maitake mushrooms are grown in Canada. I find them at the local grocery store next to crimini mushrooms. Plus, I have learned what can substitute for certain groceries and ingredients to make Japanese dishes in America. Adaptability is one of the great features of animals. We find a way to make ourselves comfortable and happy. This time, I found some burdock roots and nice thick shiitake mushrooms. I made Onishime shown in the middle with them adding carrot and daikon radish. It's a simmered vegetable dish.

American food is one of the things I have never been able to adapt though I love eating and trying different foods. I like Italian, Chinese, Thai and Greek. Naturally I love Japanese food the best. That is the food comforts me anytime. This won't change in my life. Adaptability hits a wall here. I have adjusted my diet with what's available in America to meet my needs and wants. Now, I add: Adjustability is one of the great features of animals.

The fish looked so fresh at the store. Their eyes were so clear, which is an indicator of freshness of fish. I couldn't pass them out. I need to emphasize it is very rare to find fresh fish in this quality regularly at least in my area. The poor fish got their tails and a part of the heads chopped off. They are popular in Japan, especially in fall which is their in-season. I don't know their English name. They are called samma in Japanese. They are good for you as a source of omega-3 like a sardine. These fish taste best when they are cooked very simple. Just sprinkle some salt over them, grill them, squeeze fresh lemon juice on the top and serve hot. This is a typical taste of home in Japan. It goes well with white rice. Chad tried it before, but he didn't like it because it has small bones. This time, these are all mine. Lucky me! Their bones are soft. They are easily digested. It's safe to give them to your pooch. Marilyn gets the head and bone for her strong bone. She loves them. Marilyn is also lucky one.

To make up for the fish, I made Oyako-don for Chad. It's a rice bowl dish. Onion, chicken, green onion and egg are cooked in stock called "dashi" with sugar, soy sauce and mirin, then poured on hot white rice. It tastes a little bit like teriyaki, but much lighter and more flavorful. It's a quick one pot dish, perfect for weeknights' dinner. It's filling as well. You can try it at a Japanese restaurant.

It sounds like we always eat Japanese food. That's not true. Italian and Chinese dishes often appear on our table. I like them and I enjoy them. But, when I eat Japanese dishes, my body reacts differently. I can feel my body is happy. Is this something to do with my gene? My body might be missing Japan.

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