Vegetables and more vegetables

Posted on Aug 18, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

Japan is now having a vegetable boom!  Restaurants, take-out food companies and vegetable mongers are pushing a “more vegetables to the table” campaign.  At Hibiki restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, I had a wonderful vegetable dinner.  Here are some of what we, my sister and her husband and my husband and me, ordered and enjoyed during that splendid vegetable (nearly 100% ) meal.  Carrot, turnip and red daikon radish served with flavorful miso sauce, crisp baby cucumber, morokyu, served with pickled ume plum sauce, baby sweet fish, chiayu (the only non vegetable dish).  And also we enjoyed sweet onion in spicy, vinegar marinade, green leaf of udo tempura, grilled eggplant and okra in ohitashi sauce, steamed asparagus, baby tomato and corn served with rich sesame sauce, home-made tofu served with white thinly sliced scallion and sea salt, and grilled mild-spicy green bell pepper from Kyoto Prefecture.  We wrapped up our meal with salt pickled summer vegetables and a kagoshima Prefecture specialty rice dish.  Fo this dish we decorated the top of the rice in individual bowls with an assortment of toppings including sweet simmered green papaya, yuzu citrus fruit rind, nori, steamed chicken breast (a little more protein), sesame seeds, shiitake mushroom and julienned omelet and then poured a rich and cloudy-looking (you can see from the photo (will be posted soon) chicken broth over the rice before consumption.  I am not a vegetarian by any means, but I do love to enjoy the freshest vegetables of the season when they are available and prepared in the Japanese way to preserve their flavor, texture and color through minimal cooking and seasoning.

On my next blog I will post flavorful miso sayce for you.  Enjoy it wiht the height of the season, summer vegetables – cucumber, fennel, breakfast radish, tomato, turnip, scallion, summer cabbage…all goes wonderful with the sauce.