Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Croquettes using Mashed Potatoes

Do you have left over mashed potatoes from the holidays? Try making these croquettes with them. Adding bacon and cheese will melt your mouth. These are yummy appetizers for your family and guests!

Croquettes using Mashed Potatoes

·      3cups (720cc) of mashed potatoes
·      5 pieces of bacon
·      ½cup of cheddar cheese
·      3 scallions
·      some all-purpose flour
·      some egg
·      some breadcrumbs
·      some frying oil

1.     Chop the bacon into small pieces and cook them until they are nice a crispy. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

2.     In a bowl, mix mashed potatoes, cooked bacon, scallion and cheddar cheese.

3.     Shape the mixture from 2) into a golf ball size.

4.     Beat the egg. Coat each ball in order of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

5.     Heat up frying oil in a pan and fry your balls until it crisps. Try to fry it over high heat quickly. Remove croquette from oil if cheese starts to come out.

6.     Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Falls Sanma (Pacific Saury) Rice

In Japan, fall is when Sanma (Pacific Saury) are in season! This is a signature dish for my family during the season. I use my Le-creuset to cook Sanma and rice together. Ginger reduces the fishy smell so don’t be hesitant cook it all together in a pot! You might be hooked after trying this delicious recipe.

Falls Sanma (Pacific Saury) Rice

·      3 cups of rice, uncooked
·      2 Sanma (Pacific Saury)
·      1 tablespoon of ginger, thinly sliced
·      some salt
·      2 tablespoons of soy sauce (preferably light colored soy sauce)
·      2 tablespoons of Mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
·      2 tablespoons of Japanese sake
·      500 to 510cc of Dashi broth
·      any citrus and/or green onions

1.     Wash the rice and let the rice soak in water for 30 minutes.
2.      Remove and discard the head and the intestines of Sanma. Sprinkle some salt.

3.     Grill the Sanma until it browns. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked.

4.     Drain the water from the rice using a strainer. Keep the rice in the strainer for 5 minutes to let the water drain completely.
5.     In a pot, combine Dashi broth, soy sauce, Mirin, Japanese sake, and the rice. Adjust the liquid amount if necessary.
6.     Place the grilled Sanma and the sliced ginger on top of 5).

7.     Place a lid on the pot and cook over high heat at first. Once the pot starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 to 13 minutes. I usually remove from heat after 11 to 12 minutes.

8.     Let the rice steam for 15 minutes after turning off the heat.

9.     Remove and discard the bones from the Sanma and mix the fish with rice.

10.  Garnish with any citrus and/or chopped green onions. Serve.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hashi-oki Collection (Chopstick Rest)

Hashi-oki (ha-she-oh-key) are Japanese tableware used to keep the chopsticks tips from touching the table and to prevent the chopsticks from rolling. In my house, we use the Hashi-oki for every meal. Preparing the chopsticks and Hashi-oki is typically my kids’ job as we set the table. Thinking about which Hashi-oki to use is the fun part for them. Also understanding the season and showing it on the table is a very important part of Japanese food culture so selecting the correct Hashi-oki helps them to learn this.

I have quite a collection of Hashi-oki. Here are some of the highlights of my collection…

These Hashi-oki are for spring. The pink one is shaped and colored like the peddle of a cherry blossom. The green one is for “verdure season” which happens after the cherry blossoms are fully bloomed. Spring is just around the corner and I can’t wait to use these spring themed Hashi-oki.

These white and blue porcelain Hashi-oki are perfect for the summer. The colors look cool and refreshing, they take us away from the heat of summer.

These earthy heavy looking pottery Hashi-oki are best to use in the fall or winter.

These lemon Hashi-oki can be used both in the summer with lemonade or in winter with hotpot, since winter is the season for lemons and I use my homemade meyer lemon ponzu.

These small mallet shaped Hashi-oki is for bringing luck to our table so I usually use them for New Year’s.
For fall, I love to use these Japanese maple leaf shaped Hashi-oki.

And, real Japanese lantern

More of my collection.
From Kyoto, vegetable shaped Hashi-oki made from Bamboo

Pretty pastel colored bowtie Hashi-oki

Tomatoes and grapes

Kabocha squash

Lovely flower Hashi-oki, I think it is the dahlia flower

These Hashi-oki have a European look. It fits well with foreign dishes.

My favorite spring and summer Hashi-oki are shown in these two pictures. The flowers encased in glass are gorgeous. I love them a lot.

See if you can find a set of Hashi-oki at your Japanese, Asian market, or kitchen, dining, and homegoods store. Make it a point to try using your Hashi-oki the next time you eat a Japanese dish!

The process of putting your chopsticks on the Hashi-oki is said to slow down our eating and help us relax and enjoy our food. It might even help us eat less, at least this is what they say.