the weekend started with donuts - after a stressful day of writing an entrance exam and signing some contracts i bought three donuts to share with my spouse but by the time i got home i was so starving that i ate all three. the shame in this didn`t really sink in until my espoused came home with a box of crispy cream to share with me, of (get this) four donuts. what a jerk am i.
i don`t know what happened to us, but we ended up staying home all weekend after that watching movies and eating junk food. cookies, cake, donuts, instant ramen, more instant ramen, ready made gyoza, yakisoba…beer. guilt kicked in around dinner time last night and i tried to salvage a bit of respectability by cooking a well balanced meal of tofu, spinach omelet, natto, rice and soup. i`m normally a health nut so i can`t imagine what went wrong - stress i suppose. it reminded me of when we lived in nara and the both of us would come home from work every night sometime between 11pm and 1am… we ate a lot of junk back then. some nights i would come home from work, kick off my shoes, crawl under my desk and eat a whole wheel of hokkaido camembert! i didn`t inherit good arteries, either. it was when we rented the two garden plots and started growing our own food that we really started to shift in our eating habits. i think i`ll call this the `lost weekend` and just keep on trucking with the slow healthy meals.
i bought a lotus root, an old-style japanese carrot, and some gobo so i plan to make a big pot of `nimono`; a house favorite. recently instead of the usual winter nabe hot-pot i started omitting the water and layering leaves of napa cabbage with thin slices of pork, topped with leaves of regular cabbage. i roast it over the gas range in my big dansk nabe pot, pouring in just a trickle of water for steam and to keep it from burning. when it`s steamed, we eat it with ponzu for dipping. despite just three ingredients with zero seasoning besides the ponzu, the flavor is incredible. another favorite dish lately is simple roasted eggplant - i take a few japanese eggplants , slice them into fours and fry them skin-down in olive oil until they are soft and tender. i put the juicy darlings in a shallow dish. i deglaze the pan with a little bit of `mentsuyu` (cheater! what we call `tempura butter` in the west, i guess..) and pour the hot liquid over the eggplants. it`s quick and so delicious! while i struggled for years getting the hang of cooking japanese, i`ve hit my stride recently. i`m sure my taste is a bit off for most people, as i only use konbu-dashi, but after working with konbu for so many years i`ve finally figured out how to work it, and it`s become my best friend. i really like the formula of white rice, plus a few tasty vegetable sides with a tiny bit of meat for flavoring. my love of slow cooking really kicked in after we moved out of my in-laws house and finally into our own place last summer. i was so deeply pleased to be able to hold a knife over a cutting board, chop beautiful vegetables that i picked by hand, and cook whatever i pleased, whenever i pleased i got really into it. which brings this ramble to it`s final destination, a nanosecond of a reflection on that fact that we`ve lived with both of our inlaws, more than once each, a few times, over the last three years. if you`ve lived with your inlaws, you hear me. if you haven`t, i`d love to throw out a bit of thirty-something advice that i wish someone had given me - try everything you can to avoid it. lol.
have a great day!