Bochan kabocha cocotte eggs and Autumn turmeric side

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Oeufs cocotte are French baked eggs. They are baked in a dish that is called in French, guess what ? A ramequin, a bol, etc. It’s never called a cocotte. Because a cocotte, it’s hen, it’s a woman sometimes, well in the kitchen, it’s a big stew pot. So baking eggs in that over-sized pot, that’s like quail eggs inside a pumpkin. Well, today exceptionally we’ll do that.

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Botchan kabocha (little boy pumpkin) is the smaller Japanese pumpkin. It’s perfect to make individual stuffed pumpkin dishes. For instance :

okowa sticky rice kabocha

Thai steamed custard

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Open and empty the kabocha, steam it till the flesh is soft. Fill with quail eggs and a mix of soy milk, argan oil, salt and pepper. Bake till the egg whites are stuck and the yolks still soft.

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Served with toasted home-made whole-wheat bread.

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Turmeric. In Japan, they cultivate a few types. Autumn turmeric is the most common. Spring turmeric (in English “wild turmeric” ) is the second most common. This plant is believed to have great medicinal properties.
This one is only a little bitter, perfect for cooking.

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Stir-fried gently a few slices of turmeric and of dry apricot. On low heat, added in daikon radish leaves, stirring till they get wilted. Added salt, walnuts and chrysanthemum flower.

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A nice Autumn brunch.

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Tofaye, the ultimate potato pot

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Tofailles, tofaie, tofaye… whatever the name is the solid treat from the Lorraine Vosges mountain area. Ideal for cold or chilly days, so it was served year round in farms. They all made their own bacon surely.

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It’s potatoes. Bacon. Onion. White wine. Some add this or that… And the main ingredient is time. Forget it hours on the wood (or induction) stove :

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It’s so soft and nicely caramelized under.

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A camelia bud, still Winter but blossom season is arriving…

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Gyoza miso nabe (relax hot pot). Step 2 : cook’n eat.

Let’s eat this miso hot pot with ginger chicken gyoza…

You have everything ready (details here).

1. fill 2/3 of the pot with hot water, add the kombu seaweed, let simmer a few minutes. You can put the lid if you want to speed up.
2. add a part of the miso, at your taste. It’s very salty. You want the water drizzle slightly, just enough to poach and cook the ingredients. The “don’t let boil” advice for miso soup can’t apply here.
3. when the level of broth goes down, complete with hot water. When you get near the end of the meal, you can let the broth thicken.
4. add small amounts of the ingredients and pick them out as soon as they are cooked. The cooking time differ slightly. Here, the kabocha is the longest, I put some in first, then gyoza, then mochi and I like my cabbage and sprouts very crunchy so they need only a quick dip.

While the kabocha cooks, you have the time to form a few gyoza dumplings :

Inside the gyoza : meat, ginger and a little miso. Wet the outer circle and fold in 2, try to push out all air from inside and shape in little bags. They cook in about 5 minutes. You can see the change of shape and color.

FINAL ROUND :

At the end, everything that is left, the rest of miso, of veggies, the unused dumpling skins and the big block of mochi. The kombu seaweed has become much softer and it can be eaten. I cut it in ribbon and let it in.
When the mochi melts, serve the soup.

Other nabe hotpots :

Japanese miso hot pot with Winter crab
Nikomi Udon, noodle nabe
Duck and veggie nabe
sukiyaki, beef , sake and soy sauce

Gyoza miso nabe (relax hot pot). Step 1 : display.


A cool… no hot nabe Japanese hotpot with ginger flavored chicken gyoza dumplings. A meal to cook directly on the table and relax longly, and enjoy season food. It’s very popular for parties and all gathering, but you can start at one. Preparing takes less time than reading this post.

gas + donabe

Material :
-a stove you can place on your table. They make convenient and cheap gas ones (in any Chinatown). I also have a small induction one. A brasero is too slow for a big pot, but for one or two, that works.
-a nabe (pot). That can be any thick bottom pot. There are beautiful ones in black cast iron (kuro tetsu), or in pottery (donabe). It’s better to use one that seems too small than too big for the number of guests. The goal is to cook progressively and eat immediately each bite, so you want to cook in many small batches.
-a pot with hot water not far away

A bit of dashi kombu, the seaweed. That’s the base for the broth.

Chunky koji miso. How much ? I’d say a good spoonful per person for a full meal. Then that depends if you like your food salty.
Some mochi. It’s the full season as we are so close to New Year. I had square kiri-mochi. We can buy any size here. They sell thinly cuts ready for hot pots, but slicing yours is not difficult. I slice some, I keep some whole for the final.
Dumpling skins that you can make yourself. I bought them this time. Well, some buy the gyoza ready, but that’s not funny.
DIY gyoza

For the filling : ground chicken meat and diced fresh ginger. That’s all. The ground meat could go bad if it stayed too long unrefrigerated, so take it from the fridge at the last minute. If you are many, bring one a bowl and refill later as you go.

Season veggies that you like.
The greens of hakusai (napa cabbage). Bean sprouts. And yukikesho kabocha, sliced finely, if possible. The rind of kabocha is edible.

That’s ready. Jump to step 2 (here).

French oven veg’ baked tian

We’re back into Winter time slow cooking. I’ve let this a while on stove top, then put in the oven till meal time…

Let’s pick in today’s market…

Hokkaido pink skin golden potatoes.

Late aubergines.

Onion, garlic, negi, green pepper, refried in olive oil. Plus red beans. And rosemary. I’ve layered this between potatoes and aubergines. Covered, let cook…

The top potatoes are grilled, everything is soft and hot. Just side dishes.

Natto, cucumbers and negi leeks in mustard sauce.

Blueberries with vegan chocolate ganache for the anti-oxydant refill. And for dessert.
That’s a good balance, some Autumnal freshness with a solid chilly day dish.

Daube de cochon (Provence pork stew, why we say “braisé”)

The daube (Provence’s stew) is more often done with beef, or lamb. Well I made it with pork this time.
Daube de porc. Daube de cochon. Pork Daube.

That’s delicious but the main ingredient is time. You nearly need one week :

Day 1 :
Short ribs of pork as the meat. They are marinated in red wine, with carrots, lots of onions, a bit of orange peel (mikan today), a bouquet garni, a few spices…
24 hours.
Then garlic is added, and tomato.

Day 2, Day 3… After searing the flour coated meat in olive oil, I used the rice-cooker as a crock pot. I did one cycle (2 hours + stay hot about 6 hours). Skimmed the fat after cooling. Another cycle the next day.

ENERGY, WATER, EFFICIENCY

You may know, or not that we live in time of “setsuden” (energy cutting campaign) in Japan. Due to some issues with power plants after the disasters last year, we try to reduce energy consumption. I have an energy-saving induction rice-cooker, so this method is the most ecological for long simmering, compared to stove-top or oven. In old times, in Provence, they were saving differently. The dish was simmered in a daubière, a pot designed for daube. Some models were in copper, but the most traditional was pottery, like this :

daubiere Source (read this article in English) in this English language blog about French culinary history.

Why we say braisé ?

With that you have to “braise” as on high heat the pot would explode… In French, “braise” means “ember”. The origin was to put the pot on embers. The lid of a daubière forms a sort of bowl. And one of my cast iron pots has the same shape because it is a braisière. So, they could place embers on the lid, and that would cook from both directions, bottom and top. Convenient in Winter.
But that’s not so efficient as anyway the heat goes up. The second way is to fill it with cold water. That seems weird ? When you simmer your food, some steam goes up and slowly escapes as the lid is not totally hermetic, even with a good lid, you have condensation. And after a while, your stew dries, so you add more water. Well you need to check, to be here. When you cover the lid with water, the lid stays slightly cooler, the steam hitting the lid instantly gets back into liquid and falls back into your stew : it does not get dry.

Day 4 : reheat and serve.
Day 5-6-7… you can reheat, it only gets better.
Toppings : minced black olives and sage.

Simple sides of boiled veggies are perfect. Okras are not from Provence, but well, I had that. That was a delicious meal.

2 servings of daube and veggies :

Cal : 865 F40.1g C88.9g P41.3g

Guess what I made with leftovers of sauce. Answer here.

Red cold Winter : slow wined cabbage and yu-dofu

Red cabbage, and poached tofu for a chilly day. French + Japanese, and they make a nice pair. This is vegan and surprisingly filling.

The idea was to empty my fridge. I had the half of a red cabbage, a few black potatoes, 2 purple shallot, red wine… Blue day ! I’ve let that simmered in the cast iron cocotte, longly.

I also found an orphan chili in a nook. Behind you can see a clove. I added a mace and sugar too.

Finish touch : roasted poppy seeds and a few goji berries.
Delicious.
I could have eaten only that but I added a side for the proteins and more fun.

Yu-dofu.

That’s a Winter style to serve tasty tofu. Cubes in hot water with a strong salty sauce to balance the tofu’s creaminess. Silky type goes well.
The sauce is not classic. I mixed Chinese tobanjan hot chili sauce and lemon juice.

The meal :
Cal 521.5 F10.6g C 92.7g P19.2g