Tag Archives: Gratin

Halloween Baby Kabocha Gratin

The witches are gathering for the coming Halloween.
They told they love to concoct magical recipes inside pumpkins, especially the small kabocha the Dragons bring them from the Isle of The Rising Sun!
They seem to take a lot of pleasure out of baking them in hellish ovens!

INGREDIENTS: (for two baby kabocha)

Baby kabocha: 2
Onion: 1/2
Fresh Mushrooms (of your choice): 50 g ~
Chicken breast fillets/sasami: 2
Butter: 30 g
All-purpose flour: 30g
Milk: 300 ml/ 1 1/2 cups
Cheese (melting cheese, pizza cheese or cheese of your liking: as appropriate
Salt, pepper, spices: as appropriate

RECIPE:

Cut the top of the kabocha as to form a lid.
Scoop off the seeds and make a small “pot”.
First heat the kabocha inside a microwave oven for 3~4 minutes or until soft enough. Do check from time to time.

Cut onion, mushroom, chicken in equal bite size pieces.
Fry them all in a little olive oil, salt and pepper over a low fire until soft.

Prepare the white sauce/bechamel (it will be as liquid as a stew sauce. Over a low fire melt the butter. Once melted add the flower and whisk. Once the mixture is smooth add the milk in about three times whisking all the time for a smooth sauce. Once you have attained the wanted smoothness switch off fire.

Add the fried chicken and onion with their juices into the white sauce and stir gently for a uniform stew. Check the taste and add salt, pepper and spices according to your taste and priorities.

Fill the two baby kabocha with the stew and cover with melting cheese.

Bake until the top has melted and cooked to a nice brown color.

Serve immediately with its lid for decoration.
Sprinkle a little chopped green herbs for better effects.

Great comfort food in the cold nights!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Halloween Kabocha Gratin!

Halloween will be soon with us again this year!
Have you ever thought of cooking all these pumpkins?
In Japan Kabocha is the most popular pumpkin as it is very solid, therefore easy to prepare in many ways!
How about a Halloween Kabocha Gratin, then?
A great comfort food for the whole family!

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 people)

Kabocha: 300 g
Onion: 100 g
Bacon: 60 g
Garlic: 1/4 teaspoon, grated
Olive oil: 2 teaspoons
All purpose flour: 2 teaspoons
Pizza cheese: as appropriate
Dried chopped parsley (or fresh, then chopped): as appropriate

For the white sauce (Bechamel)
Milk: 250 ml
Consomme powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt: 2~3 pinches
Nutmeg: a little
White pepper: a little

RECIPE:

Cut the kabocha into 7 mm thick slices (cut them in halves after that if too big). Place on a oven dish. Cover with cellophane paper and cook in microwave oven for 3~4 minutes at 600 Watts
Slice the onion thin.
Cut the bacon into thin 1 cm wide strips.

In a large skillet pour olive oil and fry bacon first.
Add sliced onoin and grated garlic. Fry until onion has taken on a nice light-brown color.

Lower the fire to minimum.
Add flour and mix well. Add milk and mix. Add salt, consomme powder and white pepper.
Mixing all the time cook until the sauce bubbles up.
Add kabocha and cook for 3 more minutes.
During that time heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius.

Transfer the whole into a gratin dish.
Cover with pizza cheese.
Bke for 10 minutes at 250 degrees Celsius.

When cheese has become a nice color, take the dish out. Sprinkle parsley over the cheese and serve!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sansai/Mountain vegetable Recipe: Itadori/Japanese Knotweed

The Sansai/Mountain Vegetable season has started for good in Japan and might be around the corner in many parts of the world, but many people are still wondering how to prepare and eat them.

Here is a simple explanation of how the Japanese do it with some of them.
I’ll try to research for more in the near future.

ITADORI/JAPANESE KNOTWEED

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum, Reynoutria japonica) is a large, herbaceous perennial plant, native to eastern Asia in Japan, China and Korea. In North America and Europe the species is very successful and has been classified as invasive in several countries. About time to eat it, then!

Closely related species include giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis, syn. Polygonum sachalinense) and Russian vine (Fallopia baldschuanica, syn. Polygonum aubertii, Polygonum baldschuanicum).

Other English names for Japanese knotweed include fleeceflower, Himalayan fleece vine, monkeyweed, Huzhang (Chinese: 虎杖; pinyin: Hǔzhàng), Hancock’s curse, elephant ears, pea shooters, donkey rhubarb (although it is not a rhubarb), sally rhubarb, Japanese bamboo, American bamboo, and Mexican bamboo (though it is not a bamboo). There are also regional names, and it is sometimes confused with sorrel.

In Japanese, the name is itadori (虎杖, イタドリ).

Japanese knotweed flowers are valued by some beekeepers as an important source of nectar for honeybees, at a time of year when little else is flowering. Japanese knotweed yields a monofloral honey, usually called bamboo honey by northeastern U.S. beekeepers, like a mild-flavored version of buckwheat honey (a related plant also in the Polygonaceae).

The young stems are edible as a spring vegetable, with a flavor similar to mild rhubarb. In some locations, semi-cultivating Japanese knotweed for food has been used as a means of controlling knotweed populations that invade sensitive wetland areas and drive out the native vegetation.

RECIPE:

Peel the knotweed from the root (easier this way). Peel all the skin!

Boil the knotweed. If you have a lot of them, proceed in batches.

Once the knotweed colour has turned from deep green to “tea green”, the boiling should be enough. It would take up to 2 minutes for items of the thickness shown on the above picture.
Note that that if the deep-green colour hasn’t sufficiently gone, the knotweed will be acid in taste.

Now as soon as you attained the right colour, scoop knotweed out or over cooking will result in the plant breaking up. Very important!

Transfer immediately into chilled water. Leave it there for a whole night and you will be able to get rid of astrigency and unwanted matters.

Next morning drain, cleanse under cold running water and drain thoroughly.
It can be preserved inside the fridge for quite some time inside a tupperware box.
If you have a lot you can always make salty pickles of them.
If you do so, just put them inside a tightly closed tupperware box with a good measure of salt. Wash them with plenty of water before consuming them.

Freshly boiled, they can be eaten as they are with mayonnaise, or a simple dressing for vegans and vegetarians. A little chili pepper is fine, too!

Simple recipe 1:
Two large knotweed (boiled and prepared as above).
Japanese sake: 1/2 tablespoon
Water: 1/2 tablespoon
Mirin/sweet Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon
Men tsuyu/vegan dashi: 1/2 tablespoon
Gently simmer the whole together for a little while.
Try and serve together with other boiled vegetables!

Simple recipe 2:
Two large knotweed (boiled and prepared as above).
Aburaage (fried tofu sheet): 1/2
Cut the aburaage into fine strips and fry them quickly with knotweeed.
Add Mirin/sweet sake (1 tablespoon), men tsuyu or vegan dashi (a little less than a tablespoon) while frying. Finish with withsome sesame oil and eat at once!
Great with beer or sake!

Uropean/American style cuisine suggestion:

Itadori/Japanese knotweeed in tomato sauce!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
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Vegan Japanese Tofu Gratin

Gratin can become a problem for vegans as they usually involve the use of butter and milk.
Here is a simple recipe that will help you solve that problem:

Japanese Beans Gratin!

INGREDIENTS: For 1 person

-Tofu (kinudofu/Silk tofu) 1 block/300g
-Onion: 1
-Shiitake Mushrooms: 3
-Oil: 2 tablespoons
-Flour: 2 tablespoons
-Soy milk: 1 cup/200 cc/ml
-Miso: 1 tablespoon
-Salt & pepper: as appropriate

RECIPE:

-Cut/Dig out tofu block to a depth of 2 cm and leaving a 1 cm wide rim.

-In an oven dish cook the tofu block for 2 miutes 30 seconds in the microwave oven, take out and let rest for more than 3 hours.

-Chop the onion finely and cut the shiitake mushrooms in 5 millimeter/half a centimeter strips.

-Wrap the chopped onion in cellophane paper and cook in microwave oven for 1 minute.

-Pour some oil in a frying pan and sautee the onions. Once a nice smell cmes out the onions add the shiitake mushrooms and fry. Season with salt and pepper.

-Switch off the fire. Add the flour and mix well with a soft spatula.

-Add the soy milk and miso and mix. Switch on the fire and cook until the sauce has acquired a smooth texture. Switch off fire. (you may add the tofu dug out of the block!)

-Pour some oil in a clean frying pan and fry the tofu block on both sides until it attains a nice colour (see picture above).

-Serve the fried tofu on a dish and pour the onion-mushroom sauce on it!

NOTE:

-If you want to really look it like a gratin, you may grill the lot!

-Decorate with some leafy greens!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Avocado & Crab Gratin (Japanese style?)

There is little to say again how tasty and healthy avocadoes are.
Since we can find them all year round, try and find some crab meat, and you will able to reproduce this easy Japanese cuisine-inspired recipe:. I’m sure you will expand on it!

Avocado & Crab Gratin!

INGREDIENTS: For two people

-Avocado: 1 large and just ripe
-Crab meat: a standard small tin (about a quarter of a cup/50 CC)
-Onion (finely chopped): 1 and half tablespoons
-Lemon juice: to taste
-Mayonnaise (make your own!): 4 tablespoons
-Mozzarella cheese: 1/4 ~1/2 ball
-Wasabi (try to real one. If not available, horseradish should be ok!): 2 teaspoons (grated)
-Salt: to taste
-Pepper: to taste

RECIPE:

-Cut the mozzarella cheese into 1 cm cubes
-Take crab meat out of tin with its water (will add taste!) and drop it in a bowl with mozzarella cheese, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated wasabi, salt and pepper. Try to experiment with quantities!. Mix well.

-Cut avocado in half(ves) and discard the seed.
Fill each half of the avocado with half of the crabmeat sauce.

-Bake in oven at 200 dgrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

-Eat it hot! Hot avocado is suprisingly tasty, so have this appetizer in cold weather!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie, Easy Does It Recipes, Oyster Culture, Once A Chef, All In Good Food, Cooking Stuff

Please check the new postings at:
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Mushrooms Gratin

When the Missus came back home from work last night, the night was miserable with wind and rain.
As I came back a lot earlier, I decided to prepare a simple hot dish to warm her up.
I had just bought plenty of mushrooms at the supermarket and they were to come handy!

I used five of them, three shimeji varieties, one eringe, and the last maitake.
Of course you can use absolutely any kind of fresh mushrooms in that simple recipe:

Mushrooms Gratin!

There are two ways to go about this recipe:
Either you make less sauce and include only one egg white and 50 ml of fresh cream, or you use the whole ingredients like I did to avoid any wastage. In the latter case many will call this gratain an open quiche, although a recipe is slightly different!

INGREDIENTS: For 2~4 people

-Mushrooms: as much/many as you want! At least two big fistfuls.
-Eggs: 4
-Butter: 50 g
-Fresh cream: 200 ml
-Salt, pepper, nutmeg: to taste

For frying the mushrooms:
-Olive oil + butter: 1 large tablespoon of each
-Shallot: 1 (chopped fine)
-Garlic: 1 clove (chopped fine)
-Fresh herbs: to taste, finely chopped (this where you can further improvise)
-Slat (a little!), pepper. Other spices are OK, but think about the whole balance!

RECIPE:

-Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius.

-Separate yolks from whites.

-Drop the olive oil and butter in frypan to fry the mushrooms. on a medium fire, fry shallots and garlic until they become translucent.

-During that time, melt 50 g of butter over a small fire in a pan or frypan. Once the butter has melted, add egg yolks and keep stirring all the time to obtain a smooth sauce. Stop for a only a few seconds to drop the mushrooms into the frypan. Fry the mushrooms over a medium high fire. Toss them from time to time while you stir the egg sauce.

-Once the egg sauce has attained a smooth and creamy aspect, add the egg whites and keep stirring energically for a while. Once everything is well mixed add fresh cream and stir again. Once it is smooth, add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix and switch off the fire.
Fry the mushrooms until tthey have become soft and releae their juices.
Add salt, pepper and spice and stir for a few more seconds.

-Pour all the mushrooms and their juices in a flat shallow oven dish.
Pour all the egg sauce evenly over the mushrooms.

-Bake for about 10 minutes and serve hot!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Dodol-Mochi

Please check the new postings at:
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Japanese Gratin: Doria

The Japanese have their own version for Gratin called Doria which is prepared with rice, especially leftover rice.
It is said it was first invented by an Italian family with the name of Doria who tried to represent the Italian flag (with tomatoes, cucumbers and chicken) in this recipe they first cooked in Paris.
It was first prepared in Japan in Yokohoma by a French cuisine chef from Switzerland at the New Grand Hotel in 1925!

It has become a mainstay in Japan in homes and restaurants.
The variations are endless, but here is the basic recipe:

Japanese Gratin: Doria

RECIPE:
I leave the kinds and weights for the ingredients to your creative imagination!

First make a bechamel sauce:
Use the smae volume of flour and butter.
Melt butter in a large saucepan.
Once the butter is melted, add flour and stir until you obtain a smooth mixture.
Add milk (warm will make things easier) cup by cup and stir well. make as much as you want. Keep stirring until you obtain a thick (the thicker, the better) bechamel sauce. Season with salt (easy on that!), pepper and nutmeg.
Set aside and let cool completely.

Slice onion thin and fry in a little oil until soft and just before colouring.
Scoop out and set aside.
You may of course add such vegetables as sweet pimentoes, etc.

The Japanese make their doria with chicken usually, but you may of course replace it any white meat, fish or seafood.
Cut the chicken into small pieces and fry them in same oil until crispy.
Scoop out and set aside.

Use leftover steamed rice.
Fry it with salt (careful on that one again!), pepper and tomato sauce (ketchup is fine, tomato puree is even better).
Season with other spices if you wish to.
Add onions and chicken and stir fry until all ingredients are well mixed.

Butter the inside of an oven dish.
Pour the whole fried rice inside.

Cover the rice with as much as bechamel sauce as you wish.
Add a generous layer of cheese of your choice.
The original recipe called for parmegiano, but cheaper cheese did not exist then!

Bake inside oven as you would do for any other gratin.
Keep in mind the colour you wish to attain.
It might be a good idea to serve them in individual dishes as they come out very hot!
Can be frozen until cooking them in an oven!

The same recipe with boiled macaroni!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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