Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thistle Roots

These are young thistle roots. Yes, we eat them around here. At this time of the year, we can buy them at farmer's market, or dig them on the beach. Can you imagine how we eat them?

Thanks for guessing, dear readers.
The answer is "TEMPURA!" Yes, we dip thistle roots in batter and deep-fry them. They are flavorful and pleasantly crunchy. :) Mmmmmm....
Sorry, I don't have a photo of deep-fried thistle roots at the moment. Maybe next time.

BTW, thistle is called "Azami" in Japanese.

(Added Feb.28, 2010)
Here's a photo of our Thistle root tempura.
Azami tempura

I know. Too much batter... :P

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ponkan Orange Cake

Ponkan Orange Cake

It is orange season around here now, and my family has been busy picking oranges for the past couple of weeks. Like I wrote in my previous post, I cannot say that I truly enjoy the work, but it does feel good to work in the orchard on a nice sunny day, hearing birds and breathing crisp air.

And today, while dad was at some community gathering and mom was in the orchard with my aunt, I baked this cake.

Ponkan Oranges

The cake was not a great success, but it felt good to occupy the kitchen and bake something. Really.

BTW, here's a good news -- well, at least for me. I think I have written several times about mom's bad leg? She has been limping quite some time, but never agreed to go see a doctor no matter what.

Then last week, she suddenly started saying that she wanted to see a doctor because she might have gout. I had no idea why, but why should we miss this once-in-a-lifetime-chance to send her to a hospital? Everyone, including a couple of relatives, strongly supported her decision, and finally she drove to a hospital in the neighboring city yesterday.

Can you guess what the doctor said after seeing the x-ray of her foot? According to mom, he went, "OMG. You're missing a piece of bone here!"
It turned out that she somehow had a minor bone fracture in her foot years ago, and a small piece of her bone came off. She just ignored it, the piece was displaced (wrapped by the surrounding tissue?), and she has been limping for years, saying that it was aging thing and no doctor could fix it.

Anyway, she is going to have an MRI scan tomorrow, and the doctor would decide on the treatment. The treatment could include a surgery, which is good, I think. She would hate being hospitalized for a while, but it won't be long. It would be much, much better than living with the pain for the rest of her life, don't you think?

Oh, I'm so happy that things started moving forward...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Creamy Turnip Soup

Creamy Turnip Soup

I haven't posted about the winter veggies in our family vegetable gardens, have I? I guess I took a couple of photos at the end of last year and just forgot about them. Anyway, now we are growing daikon radishes, spinach, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, shungiku, Japanese mustard(?) and lettuce. Oh, and my turnips. I'm growing them in the spot where I grew zucchini in summer.

It turned out that my parents do not care for turnips very much, so basically I'm the only one who brings them into the kitchen. And this is the dish that I usually make with them. The ingredients are turnips, onion, spinach, chicken, sausage, flour, margarine, powdered chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, soy milk and a little herb (I used dried thyme today).

The turnips turned out really soft and sweet. And the leftover soup might taste even better tomorrow.


Today my parents, my aunt and I went to the orchard to pick oranges. Sounds like a wonderful family cooperation? But the truth is... it's pretty stressful to work with elder people with some health problems. Dad says that he can't see well. Mom has bad legs. My aunt always nauseates after picking a few bagful of oranges (perhaps because of the Meniere's syndrome that she hasn't completely recovered from).

I guess I'm getting more and more impatient these days. Yes, I was never totally happy when I had to repeat the same thing many times when talking with my parents, or walk/move slowly when doing things with them. But it didn't bother me THIS much before... Now it annoys me much more because, at work, I'm getting used to talking and working with "normal" people, and enjoying it. I must be sounding awful, but I have to admit that this is the truth.

But working 5 days a week has its good side; I AM MAKING MONEY. And I'm planning something exciting for this coming spring. Just wait and see. Obachan might surprise you in a couple of months.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

My First Baking in 2010

Sweet Chestnut Financier

Gee, I haven't done any baking for more than a month! Time really flies...

Today is the first day of a long weekend here in Japan, and I was alone at home all morning. When I opened the cupboard in the kitchen, I saw my silicone bakeware right next to the thing I was looking for, and I suddenly felt like baking. Maybe it was the baking fairy who made me feel that way.

Anyway, there were some Tenshin amaguri 天津甘栗 (Tianjin sweet roasted chestnuts?) in the kitchen, and I decided to bake the sweet chestnut financier. It was about two years ago when I tried it out for the first time, and I truly loved it then.

But today, I found the buttery flavor of the financier overwhelming. :(

I'm really older now... *sigh*

Friday, January 01, 2010

The First Day of 2010

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Time for a brand new start!


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