Ashirai Garnish and Grilled Fish in the Japanese Way

Posted on Feb 27, 2018 in Hiroko's Blog

Have you noticed that when you order grilled fish at a Japanese restaurant that the fish is always served with some accompanying condiment: grated daikon and lemon (for oily fish such as mackerel and sardine), pickled turnip, pickled hajikami ginger (ginger with a red stem), pickled cucumber, pickled myoga ginger, sweet simmered broad bean, sweet simmered kumquat to name a few. These garnishes are called ‘ashirai’. All of them serve to refresh your palate while consuming...

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Wholesome Vegetables: Welcome Kohlarbi!

Posted on Dec 7, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog, Recipes

Are you looking for more vegetables to add to your diet? Forget about processed vegetable protein products or other similar items. To me they are just another form of processed foods. Today most people are getting rid of them from their diet. Why don’t we enjoy vegetables as wholesome ingredients, just as they are? Starting two weeks ago I began to notice at the Farmer’s Market here in Union Square that my favorite winter vegetable, kohlrabi is back. To tell the truth I did...

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Wholesome Vegetables: COOKING KABOCHA

Posted on Nov 25, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog, Recipes

After the harvest when kabocha is stored properly it remains fresh and delicious for the next 2 to 4 months. In order to survive this long kabocha is protected by a hard, green skin. Attacking it raw with a dull knife can cause you injury. The best way to soften it is to heat it in the oven. First rinse the kabocha thoroughly under tap water and clean with a hard scrub brush. The attractive green skin is quite edible so it should be clean. The skin becomes tender when it is...

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Bring Seasonal Change into Dining Room – Matsuba-yaki

Posted on Nov 10, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog

I foraged for pine needles in upstate New York two weeks ago to try a delightful, traditional autumn dish: Matsuba-yaki. Matsuba-yaki is a dish in which seafood and/or mushrooms and vegetables such as Matsutake mushrooms are placed on fresh pine needles and cooked together in a stove-top pot or in the oven.   It is a fundamental principle that Japanese cuisine respects and honors the seasonal changes in nature. Chefs and home cooks alike try to bridge nature and dining...

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Gingko Nuts: Hard to Do, but Limit to Ten

Posted on Oct 24, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog

When something is delicious it is hard for us to stop eating. When it comes to gingko nuts, we should limit consumption to about ten nuts at a sitting. Over-eating can bring a reaction to methyl pyridoxine, a chemical found in the nuts.  This can cause a stomach ache and, in extreme, vomiting. On other hand, gingko nuts has been used as a constituent of Chinese medicine to cure some illness for centuries, so limiting to about ten nuts a day seems to be a good idea.  This...

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