Monday, April 11, 2016

First Abalone Picking in 2016

First harvest this year! Seventy of them!

I guess long-term readers of this blog already know that April is never April without this: abalone picking.

Here's my old post about this chewy type of abalone and my mom.
And one year later, mom had to have a surgery to cut off her left foot and wear an artificial foot. The above post in 2009 was the last time she was able to pick abalones.

Maybe a caring daughter should quit abalone picking completely for mom? If the daughter continues the habit, would that make mom feel miserable about her not being able to do that any more?
Believe me. I thought about that A LOT. And IIRC, I didn't pick abalones at all in 2011.
But in 2012, I finally decided to re-start and continue this habit. If I continued, she might feel miserable. If I stopped, she might feel guilty. Either way, she would feel hurt a little. Then wouldn't it be better that my family can at least enjoy the taste of this type of abalone?

So that's why I picked seventy of them last Saturday, like this:
(click on the word "this"above to see the viedo!)

... and cooked them in a pressure cooker.

I guess I'm going to batter-fry some of the leftovers in a few days. :)

And here comes some more photos from the abalone picking. Enjoy! :D

Not sure about the English name of this shellfish. Triton Snail?

The sea in this area is full of life. We're really blessed. :)


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

A Dream Came True !

Beetroot Pickles with Cottage Cheese

See what I'm enjoying now! :D

Never really thought I could make this happen here at my house (my parents' house, to be more precise), but oh, you never know!!  Oh, I'm so happy!!

What I would like to do differently next time is adding some whole cloves (I didn't use them this time) and making the pickling solution less sweet.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Road to Beetroot Pickles

When I try to recall my memories of cafeteria food at the University of Southern Mississippi, this comes to my mind first: beetroot pickles.
I had never seen anything like that before. And first they looked like some kind of jelly. So the taste and the texture was a big surprise for me.
And I loved it! Especially when I ate them with cottage cheese.

Now more then twenty years later, in my hometown, I often thought about them but never really thought that I could taste them again in my room here. Of course no local supermarkets here have them on the shelf. And although I can buy them online -- Amazon, as usual -- for some reason I didn't feel like giving it a try.

But two years ago, when I was wondering what to grow in my veggie garden, something inside of me told me to buy beetroot seeds via Amazon.

This Year's Harvest

Actually, my first attempt failed. The leaves grew alright, but the roots didn't grow at all.
But this year... See the photo above? This is how much I got. Quite enough to try making beetroot pickles!

So I gave it a try!! :D

Oh it was sooooooooooooooooo much fun to peel the cooked beetroots!! :D :D I thought I could keep doing it forever!
And the sink was like a scene from a splatter horror movie, except the blood was too pinkish.
And they say beetroot juice is good for your health, right?

Now, this is what I made. Beetroot pickles. Just like I dreamed of.
I can't wait to try them with some cottage cheese!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Daikon Pickles, STEP 2 and 3

 My Daikon Pickles in Mid February

So sorry that I didn't post about this earlier. Yes. My daikon pickles were already ready to eat mid February. And I tell you what. IT'S A GREAT SUCCESS!!! YAY!! :D

Oh, I have to apologize for not posting a picture of STEP 2. Actually I forgot to take a pic when I did STEP 2, so here's one from several years ago.... 2009. Basically what I did this time in 2016 was not really different from this.
STEP 2 (Photo from 2009)

What you do in STEP 2 is you take daikon out from the salty water, drain well, then place them in a new plastic bag with ingredients like sugar, vinegar, dried kelp and red pepper, and place a weight on top. For details, click here to read my post from 2009.

Now when I opened the lid to see if the pickles were ready in Feb. 2016, it looked like this. So let's call this STEP 3.
And they looked like this inside the plastic bag.
The photo above isn't too impressive, but the taste was really goooooooooooood! They turned out a little too salty in 2009, and I was more careful this year about how much salt I use. It worked. ;)
Now my family enjoys eating them at almost every meal. Yep, all the hard work is rewarded. :D

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Daikon Pickles, STEP 1

Making of daikon radish pickles. Step one completed this afternoon. :)
The details of the procedure is posted here, if you're interested.

OK. I have to admit that doing this task outdoor was a little... you know...

But after I placed the weight on top of all the daikon halves in the pickling bucket, I felt a great sense of achievement. :)

Can't wait to go on to STEP 2 in a few days. ;)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy New Year!!

 New Year's Greeting from obachan in Muroto, Japan!
Dear readers of my blog,
Hope you made a good start for 2016. And forgive me for being terribly lazy last year.
That won't happen again... hopefully.

Well, to make a fresh start for the new year, I'll post some photos I took on New Year's Day.

Hope you enjoyed them. :)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back at 2015: Oct-Dec

Wild animals living around my house seem to love my veggie garden. I knew raccoon dogs, wild boars and deers visit there almost every night for dinner. So finally, I asked a hunter to set up a trap near my garden, and one day a huge deer was caught.
Next day, the hunter gave me this piece. And I made venison stew cooked in red wine.

To add a little refreshing flavor, I topped it with some cranberry sauce. 
Oh, it was so good! :D

At the end of October, when the weather was good, I made candied ginger.

And this was the harvest from my veggie garden.

It was another eventful month.  At a fair near a fishing port, they made this lobster soup in a huge pot. Yes, it was free of charge. See how many people stood in line?
*To be precise, the lobster in these photos -- Japanese spiny lobster -- is a little different from the lobster you see in Europe and in the U.S. But it's still tasty (and expensive). ;)

And I bought this tiny pumpkin at the fair to make this:

At another event held in the same month, they treated visitors with tea ceremony.
These are homemade sweets made by the tea ceremony teacher and her pupils.

And the visitors were invited to join this casual outdoor lunch to enjoy local cuisine. The meat? Wild boar. Yum!

It was still warm at the end of Nov. -- warm enough to go on a beach and pick some short-necked clams.

And this is something I can't forget. I joined a crowdfunding to support a young guy who is struggling to keep a home-visit nursing care service in a depopulated village. As a reward, I got a packed ingredient of a hot-pot dish. The meat? Japanese pheasant. :)

To tell you the truth, I picked the persimmons from our persimmon tree in October and tried to remove astringency, using distilled liquor. (For more detail about this traditional method, click here. It's an article I wrote in 2014.) But it didn't turn out right. :(

So I gave it a try again this month.
This time I tried two methods to remove astringency: treating with liquor and sun-drying.
And both went well. :D  I sun-dried the peels for later use. Use for what? You'll find out in January...

And this shot from my veggie garden:

At the end of the month, I joined a hilarious BBQ party.
Can you imagine what's being cooked in this can?
Beer can chicken!! If you're not familiar with this exciting cooking method, click here.
We all enjoyed the chicken.

And finally, it was time for a Christmas fruitcake.

On Christmas Eve, I had a quiet, relaxing time with home-baked fruitcake, canapé and sparkling wine.

Here's my Christmas wish to you:

Thank you for being my friends and checking on my blog once in a while, even though I completely neglected this blog in 2015.



P.S. Sorry, I'm going to fake the date for this one. I couldn't finish this post in 2015...


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