Tag Archives: Tasting

Seafood Spaghetti Salad

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I often cook for my better (worse?) half on Friday Nights (sometimes) Sunday nights (often) as her job keeps her busy on weekends. As she is a pasta addict, I end up preparing some one every two meals. After a hard day’s work she is pretty happy with this recipe as it leaves me with plenty of improvisation according to the season and the market!

As for measures and proportions, I will leave it to your imagination, although a good observation of the picture should be a good enough guide for you! The plate pictured above was one serving.

Prepare or choose a dressing for the spaghetti. I usually use soft Dijon Mustard (with or without the seeds), Xeres vinegar, hazelnut oil (or walnut oil), salt, pepper and a few baies roses/dry pink peppercorns. Naturally, olive oil, wine vinegar, soft mustard, salt and pepper is fine, too.
Boil the spaghetti to the consistency you prefer, drain them and hold them under running cold water for 30 seconds, shaking them well to prevent them from cooking any longer.
Drain the water energically and stir in some dressing for taste and to prevent them from sticking to each other. Leave them in a all-purpose bowl.

At the top of the picture are slightly sauteed scallops with onion confit.
To make the onion confit (can be done the day before or a few hours in advance), peel and cut 2 large onions in thin slices. Discard the “foot” (bottom core) as it is indigestible. Fry them in a pot with 100g of white butter on a medium fire. When the onion slices have become soft and translucent, add a large tablespoon of honey, a cup of red wine, a tablespoon each of Xeres vinegar and Port wine. Season with salt and white pepper (thin powder if possible). Simmer until most of the liquid has reduced. Check and add more honey if not sweet enough. A little tomato puree might help,too. Let it cool and keep it away from any heat and light source (do not leave it in the fridge as it might congeal).
Sautee the scallops with a little salt and lemon juice on a small amount of olive oil. As soon as they have reached a very light brown colour, take them off the fire and let them rest on a grill to get rid of excess liquids.

At the bottom of the picture are small prawns.
Take off the shell, tail and heads (discard or use them for making broth).
Make a shallow incision all along the middle of their back. Pick off the innards.
Sautee them like the scallops with a little salt and lemon juice on a small amount of olive oil. As soon as they have changed colour, put them to rest with the scallops.

Keeping in mind you are making two servings, cut a tablespoon each of red, yellow and orange sweet pimentos in small cubes. Fry them in olive oil without any seasoning. When soft, drop them in all-purpose bowl. Do the same with a little assortment of scallops, small shrimps and cockles (can be easily bought frozen at large supermarkets), or whatever seafood you can put your hands on. Keep in mind they ought to be of all the same approximate size (that’s a lot of “keep in mind”, isn’t it?)

When all ingredients have cooled down to room temperature and this just before you are going to serve them, toss in some finely cut fresh tomatoes (if you add them too early they leave out too much water in contact with salt!) add the pimentos and seafood in the same bowl and mix in a reasonable amount of dressing. Take half out and mix it with the spaghetti.
Place the spaghetti in the middle.

Arrange scallops interspaced with some onion confit above the spaghetti as in the picture.
Arrange sauteed prawns below as in the picture.

Add a good quantity of “baby leaves” (young leaves mixture) of your choice with rest of the veg and seafood salad and arrange on both side of the spaghetti.

Of course this is open to any kind of variations. I just hope I stimulated you into your own recipes!

Bon appetit!

Local Food: green, healthy and social.

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By Patrick Harrington


As this article appears more current by the day I decided to post it again for the attention of all my new friends at Foodbuzz!

From all the excellent articles in the Shizuoka Gourmet blog the one which had most impact on me was the shortest one, with a quirky title that hid a very serious issue: ‘Shimizu goes bananas’, in March 2007.

As we all know our use of the earth’s resources is exceeding the earth’s ability to sustain itself. It is calculated that we would need an earth almost twice the size to sustain our thirst for resources.

It may seem obvious but one way of significantly reducing our over-use of resources is by consuming local food.

We can massively reduce the amount of transportation. Can you imagine how far strawberries must travel to keep the supermarkets of Northern Europe stocked year-round?.
And we can also reduce or eliminate the the processing and packaging, not to mention the advertising. Plus there is reduction in the need for chemical preservatives and irradiation.
Growing local food also results in a tendency toward multiple cropping and better crop rotation. This can lead to reduced pesticide use, minimization of crop failure and better preservation of indigenous biodiversity.
In addition the by-products, eg manure and silage, may be used productively rather than be viewed as nuisance waste.
However multiple cropping requires multiple skills and a wide range of tools and machinery, but it utilizes human labour more efficiently as each crop will have a different cycle.
The green dimension of local food is something we can all probably agree upon.

Secondly there is also the health dimension. As mentioned above the amount of processing and the need for pesticides and chemicals can be reduced by using local food, but it is also thought that better nutrition also results.
Regional and seasonal conditions affect the compostion of plants and animals and consuming local food provides an optimal nutritional fit.
Having said this, science has been unable to prove nor disprove this idea, but anecdotal evidence abounds. A simple example is the consumption of oranges in Shizuoka in the winter months. The vitamin C from the oranges helps combat the increased risk of catching colds at this time of year. A more radical example would be the traditional Japanese diet of rice, fish and green tea, which surely provides a better nutritional fit for the people of Japan than a diet of burgers, french fries and cola.

Thirdly is the social dimension. Local food can help protect local jobs and shops, and increase food security. Support for local food may also result in the continuation (or re-discovery) of community structures and values. And local food often carries inherent traditional and cultural symbols for a community, something which is perhaps undervalued in today’s global society.
Though it may be counter-argued that international trade is a method of wealth redistribution, this is a highly complex issue, and evidence suggests that the wealth divide is actually widening rather than narrowing.

So the argument for local food appears to be a compelling one. But don’t get me wrong! I’m not advocating that we forsake all food from outside our local community. In fact it is ludicrous to imagine every region being self-sufficient in food. What would happen to Tokyo, or Finland, or Singapore?
And why shouldn’t Robert eat cheese, and why shouldn’t I eat bananas?

But cheese is now made in Fujinomiya, and bananas are now grown in Shimizu, which make them local (to Robert and me).

Admittedly there aren’t many places which can boast Shizuoka’s capability to produce such diverse foods, but I would urge a greater balance toward local food in the diet. There are significant green, healthy and social benefits to be gained. And local food tastes better too!

Simple Recipes: Scallops Salad

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My wife, a couple of days ago, was “stuck” with some succulent-looking scallops. The problem was they were too small to make acceptable sashimi. So for once, she forgot she was Japanese and opted for the European thinking.
She had some very fresh cress (cresson) grown in Shizuoka Prefecture as well as a variety of tomatoes called “Aamera”. These tomatoes are the second smallest (there is another variety looking like redcurrants!) grown in our Prefecture only (so far). They are very firm and very sweet. You could serve them together with a plate of red fruit!
So as you can see on the picture, I first made a thin bed of cress topped with avocado slices, made a rondo of scallops in the center with a core of cut aamera tomatoes. It certainly looked more difficult than it reaaly was!
Topped with a dressing of your choice, with the option of some cottage cheese and finely cut Italian parsley or basil, it makes for a beautiful appetizer!