Kitchen Library – 9.24.2012

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Thai Carrot Soup (recipe by Frugal Feeding)

Around the Web

Shelton Brothers – A Conversation w/Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing.” My Beer Buzz. 16 Aug. 2012.
An interview with Bryan Baird, an American expat and the founder of Baird Brewing, located in Shizuoka, about the challenges of craft brewing in Japan.

“Beer shipments up 2.8% in August.” The Japan Times. 13 Sept. 2012.
Bonus: “Shipments of ‘happoshu’ low-malt beer fell 4.9 percent to 5.75 million cases.”

Mark Schreiber. “Getting food on tables is increasingly difficult.” The Japan Times. 16 Sept. 2012.
Schreiber discusses food deserts and import/supply issues in regards to a piece entitled “Announcement of emergency food conditions” in Nikkei Business.

Hashi. “American Foods the Japanese Just Don’t Like.” Tofugu. 19 Sept. 2012.
Additionally, the Japanese generally don’t seem fond of blue cheeses and turkey, though I suspect that’s just from not having those readily available–just like (real) peanut butter and root beer. When you think about it, though, there are parallels to everything: raw vegetables vs. raw fish, natto vs. blue cheese.

Zoe Li. “World’s first vegetarian McDonald’s to open at Indian holy sites.” 5 Sept. 2012.
I am fascinated by how corporations adapt their menus to suit the tastes of the local population during international expansion. I wonder if McDonald’s will ever try catering toward vegetarians back in the US. (Given the state of their salads, I’d still be disinclined to eat there.)

Anna Almendrala. “In-N-Out Veggie Burger? Petition Lobbies For Another Option For Vegetarians.” The Huffington Post. 30 Aug. 2012.
Speaking of which, should In-N-Out Burger (which I had for the first time in May) offer a standard vegetarian option? For the time being, there are veggie options on the secret menu, but none on the main.

Currently Cooking: Recipes
(Lots of bread this month!)

Kevin Lynch. “Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa.” Closet Cooking.

This was a great way to use some of the zucchini I had in the freezer. I reduced the cheese to 80 g (3/4 cup) because cheese is expensive, and I mixed in some white corn to make it more of a one-bowl meal. This went over very well at a potluck, and the leftovers were delicious.

“Whole-Wheat Bagels”
The weather has finally cooled down enough to make bagels! I’ve made a couple batches so far–one batch became breakfast; a different batch became lunch sandwiches with cream cheese, grilled eggplants, and lettuce.

Baba Ghanoush and Whole-Wheat Pita
Recipe coming soon! This hummus-like spread is made of roasted eggplants, making it a Japan-friendly way to enjoy your pita.

“Thai Carrot Soup.” Frugal Feeding.
In Kanazawa, you can get cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) at a couple gourmet grocery stores: 100-ban Mart in Kanazawa Station and the basement grocery (depa-chika, デパ地下) of Atrio in Kohrinbo. When I find cilantro, I use half to make TexMex (ZawaMex? see below, regardless) and half for this soup. To adapt this for Japan: Coconut milk is pretty easy to find in the larger grocery stores and in import stores, either with the Southeast Asian goods or the baking section; I use a dried red tôgarashi (赤唐辛子) for the pepper; I omit the lemon grass (レモングラス) because it’s hard to find, though sometimes you can get that in a fresh herbal tea mix at some grocery stores.

Flour Tortillas
Corn is in season, so I made a stir-fry of black beans (from the import store), corn, onion, and garlic seasoned with cumin, cilantro (see abobe) and chipotle powder (a gift from a friend. I usually add a dried red tôgarashi, sliced in half). I mashed some avocados with lemon juice, salt, and pepper for filling, too. When I can’t get fresh cilantro, I used powdered coriander (koriandâ, コリアンダー)–it’s not as good, but it’ll do in a pinch.

“Banana-Cocoa Soy Smoothie.” Eating Well.
I tried this with kinako instead of cocoa. I’m still in the process of tweaking this one–the shake is huge and dense, and despite being hard to finish at the time but I was hungry by lunchtime. More work required….

Food Almanac
The shipments of apples from Nagano have arrived in the market! After returning from a trip to Takayama, where I bought a huge bag of apples for 300 yen (I love the Gifu-Nagano border!), I came home to find Tsugaru (津軽) apples for sale in the grocery store in Kanazawa. Tsugaru are enormous, crisp apples with a bright flavor and beautiful peel and are in season in early autumn.

I also bought some cider-like apple juice from the gourmet grocery store. 100-ban Mart in Kanazawa Station and Diamond in Omicho tend to have brands like Ringo Work or Tsugaru Kanjuku Ringo Juice that make less-filtered apple juices. Look for liter-size glass bottles that say 完熟 (kanjuku, totally ripe). They’re pricier than in the US, but I’ll probably buy a bottle or two this fall. Note: cider (サイダー) in Japanese means sparkling, not like apple cider or hard cider.

What are you cooking?


5 Comments Add yours

  1. maha says:

    Hi! Found the blog through JETWit. Am jointly exploring cooking with my Japanese partner and will have to try some of your recipes out sometime.

    I find the peanut butter article interesting because Skippy peanut butter is carried quite commonly just about everywhere here in Kobe. If they carry it, I assume not only foreigners must be eating it….but I do often feel like I live in the Japanese City of International Food so maybe demand is higher here.

    I might have to go to India just for that vegetarian McDonalds ^.^

    1. Leah says:

      I’d be curious to see if and how study abroad programs have affected American-style peanut-butter consumption. I find that in Kanazawa, most Aeon supermarkets carry Skippy, and our import/gourmet stores have Skippy with honey, Smuckers natural, and Alishan or other organic/natural brands. When I wrote about peanut butter, I was living in fairly rural and very small town, so the only place that had peanut butter was the region’s only large grocery store 30 minutes away. No wonder all my city friends thought I was crazy for not being able to find olives, peanut butter, or coconut milk!

      Kobe is a great city for food! I think it’s a combination of the foreign influence over the last 150 years as well as that it’s a large metropolitan area.

      I’m really curious what a McDonald’s veggie burger would taste like, too!

  2. eastwood says:

    Like a lot of JETs, I’ve been following on and off through JETwit. The vegetarian stuff caught my eye in particular. Also, the Soumenkabocha Okonomiyaki makes me excited! :D Props on that one. :)

    Just curious, have you ever found grape jelly in Japan (foreign food stores excluded, though foreign food section within a normal grocery store not excluded)? That one always eluded me.

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you–please let me know if you try it!

      You know, I never have seen grape jelly here. I think Aohata makes just about every other flavor of jam than grape! I feel like grape jelly might be an American/Canadian thing–sounds like an interesting food mystery to research. :)

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