Mini pumpkin patch and crunchy kabocha salad

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I have a little collection of mini-pumpkin. So I made a kabocha sarada, a pumpkin salad. That’s a healthier alternative to potato salad.
It’s the ideal way to get a refill of vitamins in the darker season.

First, this is my basket :

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4 minis. There don’t all have names. Well all pumpkins are called kabocha in Japanese.

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A baby butternut.

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The smallest is called a botchan kabocha. Botchan, it’s the last youngest son of a family, the spoiled brat.

If you want ideas to use pumpkins, browse :
my pinterest selection
and
Dissection of a Summer kabocha, no waste
and
Cinderella gourmande, recipes of golden carriage
and
kabocha keyword

So take any sweet pumpkin, steam it and take the flesh. Add the white part of negi leeks, a small onion thinly sliced, a little fresh ginger thinly minced. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

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Add the juice and grated zest of 2 sudachi limes.

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Renkon, lotus root. I buy them already peeled, sliced, cleaned and blanched, but you can do it yourself

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Small cucumbers, cut in sticks. Add the cucumber and lotus into the kabocha mix. You may need to add water. Cover and let a few hours in the fridge.

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The next day, flavors have mixed harmoniously.

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I eat it over 2 or 3 days as a side dish, or as an item to fill a lunch box.

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How to handle your yama imo (naga imo, Japanese yam)

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Apparently that’s not obvious when you have not seen it done. So a few photos are better than a long speech.
This veggie nagaimo is slimy and if you peel it it becomes very slippery, and you may get some skin allergy into the bargain. But that’s only after it’s peeled.

You can touch the skin without problems. So with a knife, peel a length of that long potato, or the tip if it’s the round type. Like a pencil, you sharpen it as you need.

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First way.

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Grating the in the traditional way in a suribashi (mortar). and you rub it against the lines of the pottery.

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Second way, with modern graters.

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Now you can prepare tororo, okonomiyaki, negiyaki
It can also be cubed, sliced, etc, eaten raw or cooked.

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Namul, Koreanizing the veggies

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Here is a plate generously filled with decadent veggies, and that’s only one serving. I don’t know why but when the Koreans prepare vegetables, they change them so much that I have the impression of eating dessert. But you never have too many veggies. So let’s make a ton !

They can be served as banchan (sides) or used to make a :

DSC00667-001 bibimbap (click here tomorrow)

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The vegetables are raw or lightly cooked (blanched/steamed). I flavor them with fragrant sesame oil, soy sauce, grated garlic and dry chili. If I have some, a little grated yuzu zest doesn’t hurt. Then top with toasted sesame seeds. I try to use little salt, since I will eat a lot. Now there are many good low sodium soy sauces.

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I’ve let these raw.

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The greens of the turnip. I have steamed them slightly.

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I’ve bought this sprouted soy bean kimchi.

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ゼンマイ zenmai (osmunda japonica) is a type of fern often eaten as a vegetable in East Asia. We usually by them boiled. I just added sauce.

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Flower power pasta

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Two flowers and a dish of spaghetti. Happy !

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My beloved nanohana are back on the market. They are the unopened blossoms of rape (the plant to make rapeseed/canola oil) and the greens around.

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Lots of leaves… They sell some like that, with lots of stalk, cheaply. It’s possible to buy only the blossom part and the first leaves, and it’s more expensive.
The pasta dish is very simple. I blanched the nanohana in the pasta water (1 minute before the end). Then added on the pasta, with parsley, salt, olive oil.

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There are still some edible miniature chrysanthemum. I think it’s good to eat flowers to fight pollen allergy. So I just placed them as toppings.

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A side dish : natto, kimchi, and cut shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves).

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Tsubomina, bud veggie

つぼみ菜 Another Japanese special vegetable. Tsubomi means bud. It’s the symbol of early Spring.
Well it seems the complete name is Hakata tsubomina as there exist another plant called tsubomina. Hakata is an alternative name of Fukuoka, the city of Kyushu.

This page gives some details.

They are the bud of a type of large size mustard green. The whole plant makes 3 to 5 kg but only the buds are gathered. The season is February~March.

I ate them in salad and in soup before. I think that most recipes for Brussel sprouts could be use. But they are particularly excellent in tempura.

The inside is white and creamy.


Tartare d’huitres au yuzu (French-Japanese oyster appetizer)

That looks so hip that you can’t guess what it is, like in those avant-garde restaurants that have done it for…ever. You have to pretend it’s new all the time. Well it’s marinated oysters with fresh veggies, and it’s yummy.

Japanese ingredients : small oysters and (blanched cooked) edamame beans.

Also white kabu (raw). And okra (gombo, blanched).

A fragrant yuzu lemon. I simply juiced the yuzu and added all the other ingredients diced. Mixed. Let a while in the fridge.

Serve in small amount as an appetizer, or with a toast or hot rice… well, that was a hot boiled potato.

Soupe du jour : lumaca pace…

It cooks at the slow speed of a snail…
Because we have a weather to eat soup. As you can see, it contains pasta and many items but no lumaca (snail), only lumaca pasta (the package claims that, it should be “lumaconi” maybe).

Kabu (turnip).

Kyo-imo (kyoto potato) also called ebi-imo (shrimp potato), a kind of taro.

Kuromame black beans.

Small bits of fat pork, onion, tomato passata, garlic, chili, olive oil… then I added the pasta, some cabbage.

The creaminess comes from the addition of ground sesame.