Tag Archives: Vegetarian cuisine

Zucchini Gratin

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There are many recipes I have learnt back home like any good son in any part of the world.
I come from a family where does and can cook!
This particular dish is a specialty cooked by my father Andre (83!)
The Missus still raves about it!
It is very simple!

Ingredients:
for 2~4 people
3~4 medium-size zucchini (courgettes)
3 eggs
1 cup of fresh cream
Breadcrumbs
Salt, pepper, nutmeg (other spices according to preference)

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Clean and cut zucchini into large chunks. Do not peel skin.
Grind into robot or cut/grate very finely. Mix in some salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan drop some butter and olive oil and cook zucchini on medium fire until very soft. Switch off fire and let completely cool down.
In a bowl beat the eggs into an omelette. Pour in and mix fresh cream. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Add mashed zucchini and stir well.
Coat an oven dish with butter and pour all the zucchini paste. sprinkle with plenty of very fine breadcrumbs. Add parmeggiano cheese on top if you like it (I do!).
Cook in oven at 180 Celsius degrees until top has turned a nice brown colour.
Can be served hot, lukewarm or cold.

Variant: One could use zucchini of different colours for effect. Adding a few finely chopped herbs would be a good idea, too!

Vegetarian & Vegan Cuisine: “Mukashi Mushi Pan”/Old-Fashioned Steamed Bread


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Although I’m neither a vegetarian or vegan, I make a point to introduce anything I discover here which might help friends out!

Fukasawa Foods in Shibakawa Cho at the foot of Mount Fuji produces all year round an incredible array of soba/buckwheat noodles, udon/wheat flour noodles, ice-creams, cakes and I don’t know what else.

Now, all their food is organic. No artificial fertilizers are used for whatever they grow or buy, and no additives or preservatives are used in any of their product, which means all have to be properly stored and eaten quickly.

Vegans will be happy to know they use tofu instead of any dairy product.

This particular cake called “Mukashi Mushi Pan” or Old-Fashioned Steamed Bread was made with wheat flour, tofu, brown sugar, raisins, salt, vegetable oil.
That is all!

One cake could have easily been held inside your palm, but it was very fulfilling and delicious!
They have other varieties made with pumpkin and other vegetables.

Fukasawa Foods
Fuji Gun, Shibakawa Cho, Naibo, 3895-8
Tel.: 0544-65-0143
Closed on Tuesdays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Vegetarian & Vegan Cuisine: Ginger as a Vegetable


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Ginger when eaten outside Japan generally comes under its semi-dry or dry root.
Actually here, and in Shizuoka especially, fresh ginger or “Ha Shoga”/Leaf Ginger comes into some great recipes to please any one who does not consume meat (of course ginger is used in many meat recipes!)

Extensively grown in our Prefecture, it can be bought fresh in season in any Supermarket:

There are many ways to prepare and eat it:


Fresh Ginger pickled in miso.
Very practical when you can buy loads in season. Choose your miso paste well so as avoid too much salt!


Everyone knows pickled sliced ginger (use fresh plants only!) served with sushi!


Ginger can be steamed with rice or served very finely cut on top of a bowl of steaming rice!


Ginger is great finely chopped and fried with egg-plant/aubergines, soy sauce and mirin!
(Plan to introduce recipe!)


Fresh thin ginger roots are simply beautiful fried/sauteed with othe vegetables!
(Plan to introduce recipe!)

Enjoy!

Vegetarian & Vegan Cuisine: Myoga as a Vegetable


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Myōga (茗荷) or myoga ginger (Zingiber mioga, Zingiberaceae) is an herbaceous, deciduous, perennial native to Japan that is grown for its edible flower buds and flavorful shoots.

As a woodland plant myoga has specific shade requirements for its growth. It is frost-tolerant to 0F, -18C possibly colder.
Some constituents of myoga have shown promise for potentially anti-carcinogenic properties

A traditional crop in Japan, myoga has been introduced to cultivation in Australia and New Zealand for export to the Japanese market. I’ve always wondered if it were available on American and European Markets.
It is a great plant for use in vegetarian and vegan dishes as it adds lots of soft flavors.
Flower buds are usually found finely shredded raw in Japanese cuisine as a garnish.
But there are many other possibilities:


Tenpura.
Actually some Japanese restaurants will prepare the flowers as well as tenpura.
Vegans should replace the egg white included in the batter with a little cornstarch.


Myoga in Miso Soup.
Cut the myoga into thin strips and just add them to the miso soup inside bowls before serving it.


Myoga Gohan/Myoga Rice.
Cut the myoga in very thin strips and put it on top of the rice before steaming it. When the rice is cokked, mix in the myoga with rice and serve.
Vegetarians and Vegans may use genmai/whole rice for higher nutritients.
Beautiful when freshly cooked!


Myoga Pickles
Wash myoga quickly under running water. Drain and take excess water with kitchen paper.
Best pickled with amazu/sweet rice vinegar. If not available use rice vinegar, sugar and soft umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums.

Enjoy!

Local Agricultural Products: Agriroad Miwa


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11 years ago, farmers’ wives living in Miwa and in the vicinity of the Abe River in Shizuoka City founded Agriroad (Agricultural Road) Miwa with the help of JA.
A good friend of mine who lives nearby had told me many a time about it and had strongly recommended me to visit it, but it seemed I needed something special prod me into action.

Actually, the opportunity that finally triggered me into cycling all the way on a blistering hot Wednesday morning was a round orange zucchini I discovered last week at Bu-Ichi, a favourite izakaya of mine. When the Oyakata/Chef-owner mentioned it had been grown in Miwa, I had no recourse but to check for myself!
So, I arrived in JA Agriroad Miwa at exactly 9:30, its opening hour (I did not know…).
It is a small establishment by all accounts, but before I talked to anyone I had a look at the wares on sale.

All vegetables are not only grown in the vicinity, making them easily traceable, but all labels featured the name of its grower and the date of harvest!
The place was crowded with local people, but also a few obvious “strangers” (not mentioning the barging expat!) were seen coming in cars apparently knowing well what they intended to buy. I found out later that some of were clever owners of restaurants downtown (a good 10 km away, mind you!).

The quality would have been enough to warrant regular visits and the originality (Shizuoka goya, for example) of some vegetables should attract many a food critique.
But the prices! Absolutely ridiculously low! How do they make business?
Try to decipher the prices on the following pictures:


Most of them are 100 yen (less than 1$ in Japan!) or 150 yen (less than 1 Euro!)!
Even recipes to prepare and serve them are provided for all interested!


Naturally the green tea for which Shizuoka Prefecture (70% of the total national output!) is so famous is purely local!


Great fresh eggs with not only names but also pictures of the farmers!


Even the flowers are local!


That is when I noticed one of the employees (actually they work in shifts on a association basis) cooking “Kin Tsuba” cakes (their name comes from the shape of a samurai sword guard). They are made of a batter containing “yomogi”, a plant common all over Japan and “Anko”/Japanese azuki beans sweatmeats. The lady answered to the name of Natsuko Koyanagi (Small Willow). We quickly started chatting and the “interview” became a real pleasure with lthe dear ady needing no prodding into answering my questions. I actually obtained more than I bargained for!
The cakes were not on sale as they had all been ordered early in the morning. The poor lady had to refuse them to all local customers who seemed to have a developped a particular liking for them! I felt a bit embarrassed (and pleased) when she offered me one when no one was looking!
Hot and freshly cooked, it ate like a delicious pancake!
This was when I mentioned that round orange zucchini that Rowena would like so much to find about.
She knew the lady who grew them and so generously offered to drive me to her place as soon as she had fished cooking all those cakes!

I certainly had a great time visiting her friend’s plots after I had been invited to refeshments in her home!
Unfortunately, this was the end of the season for zucchini/courgettes and the treasures I had been looking for were all gone!
But when I mentioned all those flowers that seemed to go to waste, I asked the two ladies if they knew how to cook them. They did not! Taste Memory Girl will never believe me!
At last I could give something back! I told them at least three ways to cook them, and Mrs. Koyanagi started picking them up in earnest!

Unfortunately again, I could not stay too long with them as work was waiting for me, but you can expect more articles as I plan to cycle there regularly!
Problem is that they might ask me to contribute to their recipes. LOL.

〒421-2114 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Abeguchishinden, 537-1.
Tel.: 054-296-7878.
Fax: 054-296-7878
Business hours: 09:30~15:30 (from 08:30 on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

Vegetables Sashimi at Yasaitei


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As often happens on a long work day, I needed a quick fix around 7 p.m. keeping in mind that I would eat dinner at 9:30 back home.
I have taken the habit in such a dilemna to visit Yasaitei and eat vegetarian food there.
I have already introduced their specialty, “Vegetables Sashimi”. As it changes with the season I know I will eat something fresh and different every time!

Allison and maybe Rowena would jump on that, I’m sure!

From left to right:
Small red radish, freshly cut ginger root (still thin and just out of the garden with leaves and all), “myoga” leaves (another variety of ginger, thinly sliced daikon on shiso leaf, radish again and Japanese cucumbers (very crunchy and juicy at the same time!)

The seasoning plate contains miso, salt and sesame oil.
A repast for vegetarians and vegans alike! (I’m neither, sorry!)

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended