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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Saba no misoni (miso mackerel)

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鯖の味噌煮 saba no misoni, mackerel simmered in miso.
Mackerel is a smelly fish, isn’t it ? Not in this recipe. The rich sauce perfectly show-cases this rich fish.

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I first bring to boil 1/2 cup of sake with a few slices of ginger and a piece of chili pepper. On low hear, add the fish, cover. When the fish is done, add 1 tbs of miso, 1/2 tbs of brown sugar, simmer a little.

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Serve with fresh ginger on top.

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Renkon, lotus root. It’s a common vegetable in Asia. It is sold fresh or pre-boiled. That’s very different.

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It has to be well washed, peeled. Then you can cook like a carrot, in multiple ways.

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I stir-fried it. I sprinkled on it sudachi lime juice, and cut skin of sudachi.

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4 sides : steamed green peppers,
wakame konnyaku with fresh wasabi,
suimono (soup of shiitake mushroom,
hijiki seaweed and goji berries),
silky tofu.

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A multi-dish quick lunch.

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Island fish, somen chilled vermicelli and rape blossoms…

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A slice of tai (seabream)cooked nearly like a dessert, with warm cake flavors : vanilla, almond… Chilled noodles. Greens. Natto. That makes a hot day lunch.

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I first stir-fried the renkon (lotus root, sliced) and onion (sliced), put them aside. Then in the same pan, the fish with a little bit of star anise, salted. In a cup, I mixed saffron, vanilla powder, water, a pinch of sugar. 1/4 ts of potato starch. I’ve added to the fish when it was cooked, turned 2 or 3 times while reheating on low heat. I finished with a few drop of almond oil.

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Steamed na-no-hana (rape blossoms) with sesame seeds.

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Somen : thin wheat vermicelli. It’s boiled, refreshed in fresh water and served in a bowl of iced water. Next to it a dipping sauce : dashi (fish broth), black rice vinegar, onion et soy sauce.

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Another little side, natto with nira (garlic chives) and onion.

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Kibinago no nanban-zuke (fishbait in sour marinade)

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Second visit of kibinago fish bait.

南蛮づけ nanban zuke. It’s fried fish, then marinated in a sour sauce. The result is very light on the stomach.

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kibinago (silver stripe round herring) are these small mini-fish, often to small to cut them. Perfect for frying.
Wash the fish and drain well water. Sprinkle black pepper and chili pepper or other spices (optional).

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Heat frying oil. Pass the fish in potato starch, fry them.

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The fried fish, onion, carrot, ginger (grated) a chili pepper.

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For the sauce : 1/2 cup water, 2 tbs mirin, 1 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs sake brought to a boil. Then add 4 tbs of black rice vinegar. Pour on fish and veggies. Cover. Let 30 minutes minimum. I prefer overnight.

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The next day.

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Renkon (lotus root) in black vinegar with ginger. Green beans and edamame in yuzu citrus juice.

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Genmai (brown rice) and miso soup with wakame seaweed.

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Lotus and edamame eggs in a soba nest

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As Spring arrives, I have to cook my quota of Easter eggs.
What comes first ? The egg or the nest ?

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Let’s say it’s the egg. Some eggs, like those of quail are irregular in colors, just like that.

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The eggs are made of pasted edamame beans and broken renkon lotus root. There is also onion, garlic, white miso and for a cheezy touch some bits of sake kasu. I have cooked the paste then shaped.

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The nest.

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I had seen some “cookies” made from soba noodles, so I knew they were tasted after being dried.
I have simply baked fresh soba buckwheat noodles under the grill of the oven toaster. The noodles are boiled, but cold. I have not added any flavoring, they are delicious that way.

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It’s crispy around and soft inside.

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Tsubomina and lotus root stir-fry as a side.

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Sakura okowa as a second side (details here).

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That’s a Spring lunch for me.

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Lotus root and shiso tortilla

That’s a Spanish style egg based tortilla, with renkon (lotus roots) replacing the potatoes. That’s deliciously crispy under the teeth. The shiso brings a green touch.

I had slices of boiled renkon (lotus root) that I stir-fried. Then I poured beaten eggs with minced shiso leaves.

I sprinkled a little turmeric on top.

Served with goya-maki as a side and a little kimchi.

Bonus : small bites made with the rest of goya-maki filling and slices of renkon.

Tofu du jour, left-over style


Yes, this plate looks like a garbage dump. That was tasty garbage. The soft tofu was let to drain under a plate during one hour. So it stays in cubes in the sauce.

A rest of tomato meat sauce, volumed up by konnyaku cut in cubes.

Shiso, for the green balance.

Slices of lotus root to get something crunchy under the teeth.
Here is a good lunch :