Who wants to go behind the scenes of I’ll Make It Myself?
Not everything I do culinarily makes it to the pages of this blog. Some recipes require a special trip to the cheese counter of a department store–seems a bit unfair for my readers in rural Japan, and trust me, I have been there. Some articles are interesting but don’t merit a full rant–er, analysis.
If you, dear readers, are interested, I’d be happy to make this “What I’m Cooking & Reading” a weekly affair. Rather than a laundry-list meal plan, this feature can be like an online salon. You’ll just have to clue me in on what tea (or beer) you’re drinking while you read. Help me with the format, too–would you like a weekly or monthly post just on recommended recipes and another on articles of note, or should I just do one long post like this one? How about monthly book and cookbook reviews? What I Ate Wednesdays?
By the way, if you are on social media, follow me on Twitter and Facebook to keep abreast of what I’m eating and reading (including The Onion); I use Pinterest for my recipes, recipes I like, and recipes I want to make.
From the (Digital) Bookshelf
Aaron Bobrow-Strain. (2012). White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf. Boston: Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
Amazon recommended this book to me, and I knew I had to buy it when I read the first line: “Is this stuff even food?” Bobrow-Strain sets out to examine the social history of bread–not just the shift from “peasant” bread to Wonder Bread to artisanal bread but to discuss sociocultural dialogs about nutrition, ethnicity, and class through bread over the last 100 years. This book really sets my obsession with whole-grains in a new sociological light–but if we didn’t seriously question the impetus for our culinary convictions, life would be far less interesting. Expect a full review later. Also, do you need a research assistant?
Around the Web
“Vegetarian Diet: Scientists Predict The World’s Population Will Become Vegetarian By 2050.” Huffington Post Canada. 27 Aug. 2012.
A look at the possible benefits of a diet with far less meat–on a global scale. I’m very confused by the slideshow, though: “Check out these 8 healthy — and tasty — substitutes that are just the same as eating one ounce of meat.” In what? Protein? Calories? (Probably not fat or cholesterol.)
Makiko Itoh. “The bittersweet taste of Japanese words.” The Japan Times. 27 Aug. 2012
How to use food- and flavor-related idioms in Japanese.
Regan Eberhart. “Farm Fresh: Easy and Local.” Middlebury Magazine. 30 July 2012.
A new way to shop for local food in the Middlebury area (VT): “Originally conceived and started by growers in Charlotte, Your Farmstand has the potential to elevate local agriculture, opening new markets with a fresh approach that combines the best parts of CSAs and farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and e-commerce.”
Kris Kosaka. “Innovative organic farming achieves sustainability in rural Hokkaido: German Stefan Koester-Hirose applies wide experiences to build a diversified business.” 18 Aug. 2012.
Interesting profile of a German expat who runs an organic farm and cafe with his wife in Hokkaido.
Maria Popova. “Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child: A Lesson in Publishing and Perseverance from the Iconic Chef.” Brain Pickings. 15 Aug. 2012.
Popova’s review of As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, Julia Child’s correspondence with Mastering the Art of French Cooking‘s co-editor Avis DeVoto, provides a look into how the publishing industry has changed since the 1950s (and showcases Julia Child’s pure awesomeness).
One advantage of living in the city and having access to Omicho Market is the insane amount of produce there is here. Kitagata Vegetables (きたがた野菜) in Omicho is one of my favorite stalls, as they sell the heirloom and local produce from the Noto and Kaga areas. Right now we are buried in squash: korinkii (コリンキー), aka-kabocha (utsugi akagawa amaguri kabocha, 打木赤皮甘栗かぼちゃ), spaghetti squash (soumen kabocha, そうめんかぼちゃ; also known as kinshi uri, 金糸瓜), butternut squash (batânattsu kabocha, バターナッツかぼちゃ), and even some massive Hubbard squash (habâdo kabocha, ハバードかぼちゃ). Most are grown in the Noto, some in Kaga, despite not all being local varieties. Korinkii, spaghetti squash, and butternut all going for about 100-300 yen; the red kabocha is 300-500; others vary based on size.
This Week’s Recipes
Naturally Ella. “Twice-Baked Butternut Squash (with quinoa and gorgonzola).”
True story: I’d never cooked a butternut prior to this month. I had some weird childhood aversion to squash and sweet potatoes, possibly due to my dislike of mashed potatoes (or all potatoes, really) and those marshmallow-yam casseroles people eat in the Midwest. This recipe is also the one for which I made a trip to Kaji Mart cheese display in M’ZA, one of the only places that sells blue cheeses in Kanazawa. This was also my first venture into cooking with quinoa, which I can find at the local grocery store with the rice, as well as at the import stores with the dried beans.
Martha Rose Shulman. “Roasted Okra.” Recipes for Health. The New York Times.
Cheruko generously gave me a bag of veggies from her garden! I’d also never cooked okra before, but roasting it was delightfully hands-on and tasty. Cuts the slime, too!
Yep, still delicious. Great way to use those eggplants and some leftover rice!
“Honey Apple Crisp.” The Ishikawa JET Kitchen. p. 77
We’re finally getting apples from Nagano in Ishikawa, which means it’s time for my favorite fall dessert: apple crisp!
I tried to make red kabocha rice earlier this month and was unimpressed, so the rest of my kabocha ended up on a couple pizzas with odds and ends of spinach, corn, or asparagus, depending on the night. If you dice it small and put it on top of the cheese, it roasts up nicely.
What are you cooking and reading?