Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food Preservation-dehydrating zucchini

Food Preservation-dehydrating zucchini

 Dried Zucchini Roll

This rolled sushi is usually made with simmered 'kanpyo' a kind of dried squash.  I have tried to re-create this using zucchini instead. 

'Kanpyo' comes as a dry food ingredient and can be found in most of the markets in Japan.

Food preservation culture ; pickling, fermentation, canning, and dehydration has been in Japan for thousands of years. 

Especially, where I grew up in the northeastern part of Japan in the snow country we could not grow green leafy vegetables until the early spring.

When I found a super huge over-grown zucchini hiding behind the prickly leaves, I thought of drying them like how my mother used to do.
 As a child, I have watched my mother and the temple workers splitting the huge squash and drying them out on the roof. 

                   zucchini plant and flower


Our little guest found a huge zucchini that was hidden.

Over grown zucchini are perfect for drying!
They were peeled, stripped and laid flat on our porch table.

Thanks to the Californian sun. Zucchini dried very, very well.
      This is after about three days of drying. 

Depending on what I want to use them for, I have cut them in different thickness and shapes.

Round slices are rolled and fried.

zucchini cut like matches are good for light stir-frying

minced zucchini were used in the 'gyoza', Japanese dumplings.

Thanks to Californian sun and the fresh air.

Bountiful harvest for creative cooking

♫Happy Harvest♫

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Preparing for the winter

Preparing for the winter

Cold and foggy morning, waiting for the fog to burn off, I head to the garden.

I really am not a farmer nor do I have a green thumb.
Gardening is hard work, but little by little I began to appreciate it.

This will be our last harvest for the season as we will be gone for three month.
Harvested all the zucchini that were left on the plant.
Green tomatoes are for frying tomorrow.

Roses are coming to an end too.

Not that I intentionally dried the string beans...but I got tired of harvesting them in the summer and now I have dried beans! 
For a beginner farmer, this was a surprise.

Found lots of beans in the soil. We should have lots of volunteer bean starts next spring.

After shoveling the weeds and fluffing the soil, I will sprinkle these 'cover crops'.
They will keep the garden bed nicely covered until I am ready for planting in the spring.

Gopher plants keep away gophers that love to dig holes.
Thanks to our neighbor and a friend for teaching me the gardening tips.

Onion bulbs and some flower bulbs will be planted before we leave for the winter.

Crown quails watching over the garden...They have a pretty feathery ornament on top of their head. They are probably thinking of eating the seeds I plant.

                                                  blowing in the wind ♫

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tempura Cookout

Tempura Cookout 

Beautiful autumn day brings us out to the outside picnic table.


This Japanese portable gas cooker works great outside.

"itadakimasu" A simple Japanese word to express appreciation before eating.

Tempura bowl (burdock and carrots, peppers, onions, and rice), simmered seaweed, soybeans , burdock and carrots, sautéed dried zucchini with spicy sesame oil, red beets and other vegetables.

    Exclusively for cooking rice. A Japanese earthenware cooks tasty rice very efficiently.


 Pretty flowers add colors to the meal

Happy Autumn ♫

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our daily meal

One plate meal ~October~

Here are our daily one-plate dinner for the month. I do occasionally have leftovers, too. Leftovers are usually served once every two to three days.

Baked croquette, simmered zucchini, mushroom and soy beans, sauteed burdock and carrots, bamboo shoots with sesame, carrots graces, daikon greens and dried fish pilaf.

dried zucchini and dried shrimp buchimgae, corn buchimgae (Korean style pancakes), rice balls and veggies.

dried zucchini and scrambled egg gyoza, bamboo shoots, pepper, swiss chard with balsamic vinegar, steamed corn and rice with black rice.

broiled mackerel, simmered dried bamboo shoots, buttered brussels sprouts and carrots, flavored rice (daikon radish greens and sesame seeds), creamed pumpkin soup

Pasta with brussels sprouts, potato croquette, steamed corn, asparagus and tomatoes

Fried tofu with grated daikon radish, mashed pumpkin, steamed bean sprouts and greens, rice.

Egg plant parmesan, lobster tail fried rice, roasted veggies, steamed broccoli, apple marinated with tofu sauce, and bread.

baked crab cake, roasted squash, cauliflower and red pepper, simmered gluten and veggies, red beets, beets greens with miso, and rice. 


Leftover meal: Teriyaki deep fried tofu (seaweed, burdock, carrots, and onion), steamed cauliflower, won-ton soup (seaweed, aburage, and won-ton-pi), garlic butter shoyu fried rice

Pasta with homemade tomato sauce and broccoli, roasted squash and zucchini, bread

Deep fried tofu (carrots, burdock, onion, and seaweed) with grated daikon radish, swiss char with balsamic vinegar, steamed brussels sprouts, simmered pepper, sauteed burdock and carrots, asparagus marinated in sesame miso, rice

Pesto pasta and tomato pasta with sauteed dried zucchini, buttered brussels sprouts, kale salad

vegetarian mapo eggplant, baked kale chips, pumpkin and cream cheese salad, tomatoes and rice.

Leftover meal: Indian curry, dahl, apple with tofu sauce, simmered seaweed with soybeans,burdock, carrots. roasted vegetables, rice

 mushroom and tomato risotto, sauteed bok choy and lobster tails, spinach soup.

A Casual Meal for an Unexpected Guest

Served a casual meal for a friend who came to help us with cutting some trees.
It was a beautiful autumn day and we enjoyed eating out on our picnic table.

Flavored rice wrapped with swiss chard
rice:swiss chard stems, white miso, and fish (shirasu)

Steamed cauliflower with guacamole, apples with tofu sauce
tofu sauce: tofu (ground till smooth), sugar and peanut butter

Cold soba noodle with fish broth
condiments: grated daikon radish, deep fried tofu (aburage), and seaweed (wakame)

deep fried tofu with grated daikon radish with citrus soy sauce,
peppers, roasted zucchini with white miso
fried tofu: seaweed (hijiki), onion, burdock roots (gobo)

                                                             Happy meal ♫