Tag Archives: maitake

Weekend soba January 2012

17 Jan

The girls love having soba noodles on the weekend.

This weekend’s soba included:

Hachiwari soba, or noodles, whose buckwheat content is 80% vs wheat flour.  Often, you’ll find there are soba noodles being sold with 50/50 or even less of buckwheat, or soba-ko.  These were not organic, but I couldn’t find organic >50% soba at the store.

Poached egg, poached in the boiling tsuyu (soup)

Blanched carrot slices

Blanched scallion (the green parts cut into 1 inch pieces, dipped in the boiling tsuyu (soup) until brilliant green), the white parts cut into 1/8 inch pieces and sprinkled on top before eating

Turkey soboro

Maitake simply blanched in the simmering tsuyu or soup.

The soup was a quick concoction of:

Dried niboshi, about 2 tbs that I simmer in a small pot of boiling water.  I break up the fish into smaller pieces – as they are dry, they crumble easy like crackers.  1 tbs of the ground shiitake  powder, which I slowly mix into the water.

I add salt and a quick circle-around-the-pot of soy sauce to taste.  Since the niboshi is salty, and the soboro is already seasoned, I keep the flavor on the mild side.

In a separate pot, the soba was cooked until al dente – my girls take a little more time to eat their noodles, so this prevents the noodles from getting gummy and mushy.  I drained the noodles, and portioned into bowls.

I cooked the carrots and scallions in the boiling soup pot, and removed the pieces once they blanched.  The maitake took even less time – I just “pass” it through the heat.

I then poach the egg until the white is opaque, but the yolk is still a little soft.  This goes on top of my noodles.  I arrange the veggies around the egg.  I top this with the soboro, which I’ve heated (microwaved for 1 minute) separetely, and then ladle the soup over the noodles.

I garnish with the chopped scallions, as well as some turnip greens which I’ve coaxed to grow from the top of a turnip I had cut last week, and placed on a dampened paper towel in a plastic tupperware container. 

I can’t go to my garden, but I’ll figure out a way to grow SOMETHING!

I sprinkled a little shichimi togarashi or seven-spice red pepper for color (and a little taste) and the girls were happily slurping their lunches.


***  I wanted to add and to clarify, the above methodology is NOT the conventional or traditional way to make soup broth for soba and udon!!!! Maki of “Just Hungry” provides an excellent summary and explanation of how to make this very delicate, fragrant, and delicious broth , here.  I tend to take a very informal approach to cooking due to limited time, patience and ingredients on hand!!  *****


Second week of January 2012, Monday and Tuesday bento

10 Jan

My mother left me a copy of my favorite magazine, Esse, during her visit last year, and I finally had time to carefully read, and re-read the recipes included.

This week’s bento includes several ideas gleaned from the magazine.  The magazine focused on seasonal ingredients (cabbage, mushrooms) as well as dishes that are good to have that can be used creatively (soboro).

Monday included:

Baked chicken drumette and wingette, seasoned with poultry seasoning and a drizzle of soy sauce, cooked at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Multi-grain rice, topped with a turkey soboro, made by braising ground turkey in 1 cup water, 2 tbs shiitake powder, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin until cooked.  I mashed the turkey as it braised, to ensure the pieces didn’t clump up, then cooked over low heat until all the liquid cooked away.  I adjusted the flavor at the end with a pinch of salt and sugar, and a quick sprinkle of shichimi (seven flavor) red pepper flakes.

Roasted beets in heart shapes

Julienned cabbage, abura age (deep fried tofu slices) slices cut into 1/4 inch stripes, sasakama fish cakes in 1/4 inch pieces sautéed in canola oil, seasoned with soy sauce, salt, white pepper and tossed over medium heat until well coated.  I then added 1/2 cup water + ground shiitake powder, 1 tsp mirin into the pan, and cooked away the liquid.  The cooked cabbage exudes a sweetness accentuated by the savory, slightly nutty flavor of soy sauce, while the abura age soaks up the liquid.

Tuesday’s lunch included:

Baked chicken drumette and wingette

Sautéed three types of mushrooms – sliced eringi, maitake, shimeji sautéed over medium heat (I use a small dab of butter), seasoned with soy sauce, squeeze of lemon juice and a quick twist of the pepper grinder.  I added 1/2 cup of water, and over medium-low heat, cooked away the liquid.

Carrot sticks

Roasted beets in star shapes



A hen-of-the-woods-sardine-capers extravaganza

19 Aug

My children’s daycare provider is a retired nurse, who also happens to be an Italian grandmother. 

Often, as I drop off the girls in the morning, I am greeted by the unmistakable, scrumptious fragrances of their lunches.  My stomach grumbles, and I start salivating as my girls bounce into the house, and I’m sent off to work with:

“We’re having turkey meatball soup with pastina, kale and beans!”

“We’re having whole wheat pasta with sautéed zucchini, onions, eggplant in homemade gravy!”

“We’re having freshly made waffles with fresh blueberries!”

This past week, I was a bit flustered every night as I raced against bedtime(s) to prepare dinner for the girls.  We had gone away over the weekend, so I did not have my usual opportunity to pre-cook in advance. 

I needed something quick to prepare, that was healthy, but hearty.

Upon a quick search, I was happy to find ingredients for a quick meal.  The pantry produced some sardines, capers, a jar of tomato sauce, and whole wheat linguine.  The garden had some fresh onions and tomatoes.  The refrigerator had garlic and a package of maitake.   I was ready to cook.

Dinner was going to be linguine with a sardine, maitake and caper sauce.  My kids cheered when I said “We’re going to have men-men (their nickname for long noodles) and osakana (translation:  fish).”

MEN MEN!” both girls jumped up and down, and clapped.

They then, ran into the living room to prepare their own version of dinner at their play-kitchen.

Here’s how I made this dish:

2 cans sardines in water, drained (conventional)

1 package fresh maitake – I use Hokuto brand maitake, which I carefully rinse, and then roughly chop into 1 inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 red onions, minced

2 tbs capers, drained

Handful cherry tomatoes, or a medium tomato cut into bite-size chunks can also work

2/3 jar Trader Joe’s Basil and Tomato Marinara sauce (adjust the amount depending on your preference for more or less liquid)

1 tbs olive oil

Whole wheat linguine – enough for 2 adults.  The amounts above made enough sauce for 2 adult meals – this was enough for the girls and myself.  Papa was working late – and he’s not a sardine fan… he doesn’ t know what he’s missing!

Heat up the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and stir well until fragrant.  Add the drained sardines (I pick out the intestines, but don’t remove skin or bones) and break the pieces up with a wooden spoon.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and capers, and mix everything together.  Lower the heat and allow to simmer.

In the interim, bring a large pot of water to boil.  I add two large pinches of salt.  Once the water’s boiling, add the linguine, and cook until al dente.

Once the pasta’s done, I drain the pasta, reserving a ladleful of the pasta water, and stir into the sauce.  Plate the pasta, and ladle the sauce.  Add some freshly ground pepper or cheese if you prefer.

The girls enjoyed picking out the capers, and swirling their forks through the linguine.  My mother, who watched them devour their dinners, suggested adding freshly julienned shiso to the sauce as seasoning.  I’ve had a bumper crop of the fragrant herb so this certainly is a good idea!