Thanksgiving Part 2 (at a friend’s house) went smashingly! I made Naturally Ella‘s Twice-Baked Butternut Squash (with quinoa and Gorgonzola) as the vegetarian main dish. With the exception of the turkey, which was expertly cooked by the hosts, all the other dishes were vegetarian: mac & cheese made with Cougar Cheese, a sharp canned cheese from Washington State (glorious); vegetarian cranberry-mushroom stuffing; fresh green-bean casseroles; vegetarian bean gumbo (spicy!); root vegetable purée; bourbon cranberry sauce made with reconstituted dried cranberries (and arcane magicks); and lots of pie: pecan, pumpkin, and chocolate.
There was also mulled wine and apple cider. The best thing about local potlucks is that the leftovers get distributed pretty reasonably–we only had one day of leftovers for dinner (and savored it!). That concludes my Thanksgiving posts for the year, so on to the reading and recipes:
On the Web
Holly. “Winter Seasonal Poll Results.” Bitch Beer.
Bitch Beer‘s poll results for their readers’ favorite winter seasonal beers.
“The new Coca Cola freestyle fountains: an illustration of the American mentality.” A Tuscan Foodie in America.. 14 Nov. 2012.
“One may wonder if you really need 100+ flavor combinations, but this is America, baby: if you can think it, you shall have it. (And I love this about the US).”
Kirsten Adachi. “Stocking a Allergen-free Japanese Pantry.”Cooking in Japan. 26 Nov. 2012.
A guide on how to find hypoallergenic (gluten, MSG) dashi, soy sauce, and more. Includes vocabulary, resources, and brand names.
Jamie Jeffers. “Dark Age Dinners” Series. British History Podcast.
My favorite flavor (har) of history is social history, and the history of food culture is, as you might have suspected, right at the top of that list. A friend recommended to me The British History Podcast‘s series on food in the Dark Ages. Don’t worry if you don’t have a good background in British history or medieval studies–I started listening to the podcast from here and didn’t feel lost at all. You can listen on the site or download the podcasts for free on iTunes.
“Dark Age Dinners I: the Vegan Edition”
“Dark Age Dinners II: BBQ”
“Dark Age Dinners III: Where The Wild Things Are”
“Kanazawa + Standard Stirfry.” Daily Nibbles.
I know I’ve linked this post before for the Thanksgiving photos, but Sarah’s simple guide to stir-fry is great. One of the biggest problems I had when I moved to Japan was that I (1) didn’t know how to cook anything basic like stir-fry and miso soup from scratch (I used kits and packaged versions in the US) and (2) no one would tell me how because it was so basic! Stir-fries are great for all diets, so pop over and check out her guide.
Alton Brown. “Bird to the Last Drop.” Food Network.
This recipe very loosely inspired my turkey carcass soup. I made the stock with powdered vegetable stock, some celery leaves, peppercorns, and the turkey bones (the ribcage and wings) thrown in. When the stock was done, I added a fresh onion, a huge heirloom carrot, two celery stalks, chopped leftover turkey meat, red pepper flakes (from the US), and 200 g of noodles. You could add vegetables to made the stock instead of using powdered, but I was having some grocery issues last week and didn’t have enough. Cooked rice would also be nice, too–Japanese short-grain brown rice is probably not going to cook in 20 minutes, but if you added cooked rice at the end, that would be tasty. (In short: do whatever you want!)
Snow crab season opened in Omicho Market on 6 Nov. and Beaujolais Nouveau wine season opened on 15 Nov. (I really like the Japanese word for open-season: 解禁–the lifting of a ban.) I bought a bottle of the Bouchard Aîné & Fils to get in on the Beaujolais craze since I’ve never had it. Persimmons are also dirt-cheap right now–6 for 200 yen, and the price of apples is decreasing, too.
I think I might make jam for holiday gifts with my new canning jars. If they work, I’ll give you all a run-down on where to get them and how to use them. I know everyone in the US uses Mason/Ball jars, but they are not available in Japan as far as I can tell, and I’ve had bad luck with the rubberized screw-on lids sealing properly. (Read: jam goes in freezer storage.) Hopefully this will work!
What are you cooking?