Japanese Curry with Salmon; Daikon Wrapped with Beef; Chinese Broccoli (July 8, 2018)

I went for comforting food this week knowing that I’d be busy with work and some travel.  Comfort means deep flavor and tasty vegetables.  Japanese curry is an easy go to such that I can use up vegetables from the week and add whatever protein I wish.  In this case, I wanted to use up some cabbage and purchased the ever present “salmon byproduct,” which are the tasty bits left after cutting sashimi pieces.  Thinly sliced fatty beef was available and I wrapped each around a stick of daikon.  These were then simmered in a simple mirin, soy sauce, and dashi sauce.  Lastly, Chinese broccoli was stir fried with a thickened sweet and spicy sauce.

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Lamb Chops; Cauliflower; Bok Choy; and Scotch(ish) Egg (July 1, 2018)

I saw a video with a different take on scotch egg and wanted to give it a try.  Instead of using pork sausage, the outer meat covering is beef with cabbage.  Of course, I cooked the egg to a very soft boil making the coating process a little delicate.  While shopping, I happened to notice next to the 85% lean ground beef were tasty looking lamb chops.  I decided to get several noting that this week’s lunch has quite the protein.  So to balance things out, I got some cauliflower and bok choy.  The lamb chops marinated in a sweet and spicy mix of gochujang, honey, and soy sauce.  The ground beef’s flavor was enhanced with miso and soy sauce.

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Pork Belly; Salmon and Seaweed; Miso Eggplant; Mushrooms; Beef and Dandelion (June 24, 2018)

This week was a clean out the freezer effort given the remnants of beef, salmon, and pork belly from prior meals.  The pork belly had been smoked and sliced.  A taste test confirmed the juicy and tender result.  This was wrapped in a pickled daikon slice to cut through the richness.  The salmon was sliced, lightly cooked in soy sauce and added to seaweed for a salad.  While dandelion leaves can be bitter, a little bit of sugar balances the flavor.  Beef, which was simmered in soy sauce and dashi, matched the strong flavor of the dandelion leaves.  For vegetables, eggplant was cooked and then mixed with a miso sauce and mushrooms were sautéed in Worcestershire sauce.

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Salmon and Leek; Bamboo Shoot; Mushrooms and Leek; Miso Cod and Black Rice (June 10, 2018)

So it’s an all fish week for my lunch.  A stroll through my local 99 Ranch Market showed me some good black cod, which made me easily think of the Japanese restaurant staple of Miso Black Cod.  Seeing Taiwan leeks (thinner than typical leeks) in the vegetable section, I mentally dismantled it’s components and constructed various dishes as I thought through the meal while shopping.  Leeks and salmon made a nice flavor combination as the other protein component of my meal.  I did have an already boiled bamboo shoot, which was simmered in a soy sauce and mirin dashi to deepen it’s flavor.

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Stewed Daikon and Salmon; Yam and Beef Dumpling; Meatballs; Kimchi; Strawberry Mochi (June 3, 2018)

I’ve been meaning to try cooking with nagaimo or mountain yam largely to experience working with its characteristic of becoming very slimy when grated.  It has a delicate flavor and serves as a nice background to bolder flavors.  Seeing it at the market, I decided to try to make dumplings with the yam.  It appears that steaming the grated yam solidifies it, making for a delicate dumpling.  The filling was minced beef with pickled ginger and chives.  The left over beef filling was turned into meatballs.  Keeping with the theme of root vegetables, I stewed daikon in soy and mirin, pairing it with salmon.  Still on my mochi kick, I decided to get a bunch of strawberries and wrap them in mochi as dessert.

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Yui Restaurant: A Gem in Sierra Madre

There are some reliably good Japanese restaurants in and around Pasadena.  However, they did not have a dish I took for granted while living in Silicon Valley in the Bay Area.  While on a search for a Japanese restaurant with kakuni, or stewed pork belly, this particular restaurant came up.  Yui Restaurant, in the next city over, proved to be a gem in the midst of a small collection of local shops and restaurants.

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Salmon and Sprouts Roll; Eggplant and Mushrooms; Miso Pork; Mochi (May 28, 2018)

It’s hard to pass up the “salmon byproducts” at the local H Mart since those “byproducts” are just parts of high quality salmon that was cut up to make sashimi.  So I’m happy to use the high quality cut off skin and meat.  I’ve not seen brown rice paper before, let alone the black sesame and sesame versions, as I was used to just plain white rice paper.  This led me to think of making rice paper rolls with kelp, sprouts, and the salmon.  Thinking to make a Japanese curry with pork for my spouse, I decided to use pork in my lunch as well.  Marinated in a spicy miso that was turned into a sauce, the pork was paired with oyster mushrooms and Thai eggplant.

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