Fish, pumpkin and cornichon soup

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A colorful fish soup that makes a whole meal. Freely inspired by Slavic gherkin soups. It’s quick and easy.

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Suguna kabocha pumpkin. I boiled the pieces in water till soft.

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The head of tai (sea bream). Fish head is cheap, flavorful and there is plenty to eat. It’s ideal for a soup.

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Cornichons à l’estragon.
Gherkins with tarragon. I made when ? Last May :


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I thinly sliced them.

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Put the fish in the pot, add half of the gherkins, the kabocha and cooking broth. Simmer 20 minutes.

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Near the end, take out 1/2 cup of broth, add cream, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, the rest of pickles. On the table, mix into the soup, put back the lid and wait a few minutes.

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Serve with croutons.

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Open and enjoy while it’s hot.

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Carotene fish curry

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I’m boosting this fish curry with carrots.

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From tai (sea bream) heads, that’s very cheap.

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Blend the ingredients of the sauce.

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Simmer the fish in it. Then add salt, red and green bell peppers, a little lemon juice.

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Garnish with slices of lemon.

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Prepare rice and a salad as sides.

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That’s ready in less than 15 minutes and really delicious.

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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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Tai no kabuto-ni. A helmet of sea bream.

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A Japanese meal with tai no kabuto ni as a main.
Yes, kabuto means helmet, and the resemblance is clear. Well think about those samurai helmets that everybody wears to ride a bicycle in Japan… er, no, but that’s this type with 2 ear flaps :

kabuto source :blog from the place where they make them (click here) . Visit the page for more details. They are display models for Little Boy Festival in May.

コラージュ

That’s an economical dish as they sell fish heads cheaply. And they sell them ready for this dish. I mean the scales are grated (roughly), and it is split in two. Well veggie readers (I doubt you’re still here) sorry for the view. But for us that eat animals, it’s better to avoid wastes. That said I would eat fish heads anyway. Because there is a lot of flesh in it, and it is of finer texture and tastier.

Recipe :

-Rinse the fish. What you can do is put it on a grill and pour boiling water on it, just once. It makes the fish white and the scales very easy to notice, so you can finish the fismonger’s work. For myself I don’t care if I have scales in my plate, anyway, you need to pick the bones and bits.
-Then it’s a classic nitsuke sauce 1:1:1 , sake, mirin, shoyu soy sauce. And a small piece of kombu seaweed. Put these in a pan with a little water, bring slowly to a boil.
Add the fish. Make a foil cover. Pass to moderate heat. Cook about 15 minutes.

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The veggies are steamed separately. Here 2 colors of carrots. And I had frozen garlic stalks. Let’s get the sides :

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I had kintoki red beans, and kimchi ready.

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A grated veggie salad. A soup, a drink-soup. It’s really water, veggies and black pepper. No salt as there is enough for the meal.

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Genmai, brown rice.

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Preparing the tonyu nabe (soy milk Japanese hot pot)

The nabe (hot pot) has saved generations of Japanese from freezing in Winter in the chilly houses.

The broth makes the pot. It’s a tonyu nabe, the soup is tonyu (soy milk) that I freshly made.

Flavoring for the soup.

Veggies, many : spinach, bean sprouts, onion, carrot, red kabu turnip, edamame beans, shungiku, negi and nanohana greens.

Seafood : shrimps and cuts of tai fish. So it’s ready for tonight, when it will be too dark for photos.

It’s simple, heat the broth (don’t boil the soy milk), add flavoring… and dip in ingredients.

Around O-shogatsu, a few Japanese New Year specialties…


MOCHI

Mochi is Japanese New Year and Japanese New Year is mochi.
These blocks of pounded sticky rice are made in this season and used as a decoration and as food.

mochi 101
my display of kagami mochi



A soup is made with mochi. There are many very different regional or familial recipes, many lovely original ingredients…

O-zoni (mochi soup), colorful
O-zoni, Kyoto style

Soba
Noodles eaten to pass the year and symbolize continuity.

toshikiri soba (2011, explanation)
toshikiri soba (2012)
toshikiri soba (2012)

Osechi Ryori, New-Year good luck dishes are old style dishes whose names, colors or shapes are linked with good things. Most of it is prepared a few days in advance with many different ingredients and displayed in big lacquer boxes.

Here is an example of home-made full menu :

the lacquer box
the Osechi menu 2011
kuri kinton
kuro mame
Osechi 1 : kazu no ko
Osechi 2 : kintoki ninjin and daikon for namasu
Osechi 3 : building a rice paddy
Osechi 4 : kohaku kamaboko fish cakes
Osechi 5 : chicken matsukaze
Osechi 6 : the vegetable box
Osechi 7 : tamago mosaic
omedetai, lucky grilled fish

Tai-meshi, a meal with Osechi leftovers


A tradition for January 7th

7 herb day
nanagusa okayu (7th day soup)

Little New-Year, women’ New Year… it’s a little forgotten.

okayu for Koshogatsu

And to finish with the mochi :

breaking the New Year mochi (done around January 15th)

Japanese New-Year count down (-1)

We arrive at the last step of preparations for the Japanese New Year Osechi Ryouri.
You were thinking there were only small bits and no big piece. That’s true in a way. Japanese meal favor the variety. The more items the biggest luxury.
But there is something else. A roast… well a grilled fish.

Shio-yaki tai (salt grilled tai fish)

Making a traditional meal of Japanese Osechi (New Year good luck food). That was an experiment and I had a lot of fun doing it. As usual, don’t look for perfection. I am no expert…

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