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Coming Soon: Japanese Cooking Days!

Katsu

What a difference a year makes! Last May I declared that I was going to start cooking Japanese food and document the whole process.  I believe I did approximately 1 post regarding Japanese cooking after that!

Fast forward a while later and I naturally started to collect Japanese recipes in anticipation of my moving to a bigger place and bigger, badder kitchen! I used the prospect of a new kitchen to inspire me in terms of what I would make in the future and I was getting really excited as a result.  I knew this was going to be a big deal.

The most exciting thing that I found was that these recipes were simple.  Meals that I thought would surely take hours, would only take minutes and not nearly as much energy as I previously envisioned.  And how did I know all this? Because I was collecting VIDEO recipes.  Being a visual learner, I need to see that the actual process of cooking certain dishes is not as painstaking as I’ve made it out to be in my head – and it wasn’t – and I was thrilled!

So, here we are, a year later and I am again declaring May my food month! With my new kitchen in tow, I plan to make this one stick!

Join me on my Japanese food journey! (^v^)

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My First Onigiri!

And Bento May! has begun!

I found a recipe for salmon onigiri last week and as soon as I saw it, I knew right away that I wanted to try it.

So off to the market I went to stock up on all the ingredients for the recipe as well as other always-essential Japanese cuisine ingredients like sesame seeds, soy sauce and cooking sake.

Back in the kitchen I first prepared the salmon, baking it for about 30 minutes.  After that I broke it apart in a frying pan and sautéed it along with a sweet sauce and sesame seeds – all the while, Japanese rice cooking in the background.

Once the rice was finished, I put the mixture together and attempted to mold these puppies into decent shapes.  Luckily at the market I bought an onigiri mold just in case the hand-molding didn’t work out – it didn’t – so out came the mold.  I tried my best to produce some decent-looking pieces however any decency that was there was quickly diminished when I attempted to plastic wrap them.  Come to find out, I need a mold for that, too.

So at the end of it all here’s my feedback:

Yays:  Rice was cooked perfectly, seaweed was wrapped nicely and the pieces were decently-salted (it could have used a tad more).

Nays:  I used a bit too much oil when sautéing the salmon and I couldn’t get past that taste.  That coupled with the fact that I’m not used to having onigiri with the main ingredient (in this case, the salmon) throughout the rice as opposed to simply in the middle of it.  That made the taste a bit overwhelming.  Next time, I will refine accordingly and limit the ingredient to the middle only.  Besides, it’s nice to have that little surprise, anyway.

Overall I’m ecstatic because I never thought I would find myself actually making one of my favorite Japanese staples successfully!

Next dish. . . . ideas?

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~ Bento May! ~

BentoMay
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been an unenthusiastic lunch eater.  Breakfast and dinner foods are my thing and I can easily skip lunch at any time.  I’d much rather have a smoothie or refreshing drink in place of a lunch meal.  I don’t care much for sandwiches, salads or any other lunch-y dish.  There is currently only one sandwich on the planet that I can always have and never be disappointed – I’m looking at you, Bacon Turkey Bravo from Panera Bread.

Lately a friend at the office and I have been talking about all things Japanese, one of which is food.  Ever since I left Japan, I’ve craved onigiri.  I literally can eat these at any time of the day.  In fact, when I went back to Japan 2 years ago, I made sure at the end of each day on my way back to my hotel room I would stop by the conbini and stock up on the onigiri that I would partake of for breakfast and snacks.

Ever since being back in the ol’ U.S. of A, I have yet to find a place where I can buy them in my area.  The only thing to do, it seems, is to make them myself.  So when my friend mentioned that her mother taught her how to make them, I was really excited.   She was even kind enough to bring me some for breakfast two mornings in a row and they Hit. The. SPOT.  I was so happy and instantly transported back to the Motherland.  Who knew seaweed had such power over me.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I don’t have much of an appetite – nothing satisfies my hunger – especially, as I mentioned, at lunch time.  But the one thing that I’ve found that never fails to satisfy my finicky appetite is Japanese food. Whenever I have a Japanese meal, it never failing to satisfy.

Recently, the talk of Japanese food came up again and as a result I was inspired to start making bento lunches.  After all, it made sense –lunch food was doing nothing for me and the only food that was working for me was Japanese food.

So I’ve declared May – “Bento May”.

Join me as I begin a quest of making Japanese food dishes all throughout the wonderful and awesomely fantastic month of May.  Why wonderful and awesomely fantastic, you ask? Well, because I was born in that great month!

Let’s enjoy Bento May together!

Any Japanese recipe ideas you’d like to share? Send them my way!