Archive for April, 2012

April 18th, 2012

Breakfast in America

Could we have kippers for breakfast

Mummy dear, Mummy dear Supertramp may have inspired me to try kippers, but my husband’s love of deli breakfasts made it all possible…

You have no idea of my joy and excitement when I found out what kippers were and how frequently they were on the menu at local Jewish delis.  You see, I grew up eating kippers.  My mother cooks a really good kipper dish, which I always asks her to make when I go home to visit. In Japanese, kippers are called nishin.  My absolute favorite way to have it is by soaking dried kippers in water overnight, then cooking them in a soy sauce based broth until they’re tender.

When you travel to Japan, check the menu for migaki nishin.  It’s not as popular as sushi, still, I highly recommend that you try it. It’s usually served on warm soba noodles, but at home, I just eat it with rice.
“Boy, you are courageous”.  a veteran waitress told me when I ordered kippers at a Jewish deli in L.A..  I guess it’s not the most popular item for breakfast in America, but those like me, who do enjoy them, experience a delicious buttery, salty sensation.

My kippers were served alongside sauteed onions, potatoes, and eggs.   If they had come with a side of rice, I may had experienced the perfect breakfast.  Finally, it pays off to be married to a Jewish guy with an unhealthy obsession with breakfast.

April 16th, 2012

Jewish Deli

My father-in-law always asks me if there’s still a Jewish deli in Tokyo.  Apparently, he saw one when he visited back in the 90’s, and that surprising image has stuck with him.  To give him an answer, I couldn’t rely on experience, I had to trust Google. Growing up in Tokyo, I had never seen or heard of a Jewish deli.  In fact, I didn’t even know what the heck a Jewish deli was until I moved to NYC after graduating from college in Boston.  Come to think of it, did I ever even try a bagel back then?  Luckily, I’ve made up for it since, thanks to my Jewish American husband.

Obviously I’ve changed, because now, Jewish delis are some of my favorite places.  Don’t believe me?  Visit one to experience the excitement for yourself.  As you walk in, every sense is engaged.  You hear veteran servers shouting out orders.  You see black and white cookies and hearty, doughy bagels waiting to be taken to a good home.  You smell succulent pastrami as it’s being sliced, AND if you ask nicely, you can taste a sample.  Finally, at your table, your sense of touch grabs that dill pickle to stave off the hunger pangs you’ve just acquired.  You may only recognize half of the menu and display case items, but you know they must be good as it’s always crowded– ALWAYS.

I’ve come a long way in my appreciation of the Jewish deli.  Before I met my Jewish American husband, only things I ever ordered were items in my comfort zone, like pastrami sandwiches and cheese cake.  To be honest, I was just scared to venture into the unknown, never setting foot into the foreign lands of matzo bowl soup and knishes.  Even when I conquered that fear, one hurdle remained–pronunciation.  How in the world is a Japanese person supposed to order kasha varnishkas or matzo-brie?  Thank goodness I’m long past just pointing to many shades of beige items on the next table, when telling the server what I want.

Now with experience, I can proudly say (and pronounce) “Although I like matzo ball soup, I prefer kreplach soup”.

And no, I still haven’t found a Jewish deli in Tokyo.  While there are many delicatessens which sell cured meats and European delicacies, sadly, there’s not a matzo ball to be found in Tokyo.  Any investors out there?  Give my husband a call.

April 5th, 2012

Bruschetta

They say all married couples start to look like each other.  Is it true?  Today, my husband said, “You are turning into me.”  Why?  After eating my homemade bruschetta with a fresh baguette, I said, “I could eat all of this bread by myself.”

In my single days, bread was my least favorite carb.  Did I ever even buy a baguette?  Sure, I like bread, but if I’m going to consume lots of guilty calories, I’d rather it be something nutritious and versatile.  Bread is pretty much the least nutritious and the least versatile of all carbs compared to Japanese rice or pasta/noodles.  I firmly believe that I’m right, but I married a bread snob, who claims he could eat a dozen of bagels if I leave him alone for the day.  On top of that, he doesn’t like rice, so I have to find interesting ways to use less-than-nutritious bread.  One of which, is bruschetta.

My recipe is quick and simple.  Dice tomato, chop garlic & onion, chiffonade basil leaves add olive oil, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and good salt to taste.  Leave in a tightly lid container for a few hours to overnight in the fridge.  Spread on a nice piece of bread and you’ll feel like you are biting into a little of Italy; bright, fresh and delicious  It’s so good that it may change your opinion of that evil white bread.  It surely changed mine.  At least I found a way to include fresh vegetables so that I don’t feel guilty reaching for that third piece.  Maybe I am turning into my husband.

 

April 2nd, 2012

The Tofu Switcheroo

Lasagne is a great comfort food.  How could it miss with hearty meat sauce, noodles, and melted cheese all in the same bite!  I have nothing against beef, but recent news items have made me rethink my desire to eat burgers and steaks everyday.  With that in mind, don’t tell my husband, but I occasionally substitute the beef in my lasagne with turkey.

The result?  I think the text he sent me after his first bite, said it all: “Damn, that’s good lasagne!”

Am I being greedy to think I know how to make this healthy lasagne even healthier without sacrificing taste?

How, you ask?  Tofu.  Tofu is an essential part of the Japanese diet.  We eat it everyday with most of our meals.  It can be consumed many, many ways, as is, in soup, a steak or in a casserole.  It’s popularity is simple: it’s delicious, nutritious and versatile.

Even with all its selling points, my Asian food-phobic husband doesn’t approve of this particular item.  Why?  He thinks it looks too cubic–too futuristic; something from a not too far off time where we eat capsules instead of savor meals.  To get him to eat it  I have to be sneaky creative.  Regular lasagne recipes often use a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, and parsley.  Instead, I use a mixture of crumbled tofu, egg whites and chopped kale.  I also added layers of mushroom and spinach.  Delicious! The tofu switcheroo turned out to be the perfect April Fool’s Day hoax!