Kabu and onion soup

kabu-onion-soup

I wanted something nice and light for lunch yesterday so I decided to try making a soup that I had the day before at Earthen Place Cafe here in Zushi. It was a kabu (a white turnip) and onion soup so I gave it a try and was happy with the results. Click here for a picture of the kabu. Despite the texture resembling the daikon radish, which takes a long time to cook through and become tender, kabus cook very quickly. This soup can easily be vegan, gluten-free or any other allergen free simply by changing your bullion cube.

Kabu and Onion Soup

500mL water
1 bullion cube 
1 medium onion
1 medium to large kabu
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and thinly slice the onion into half moon shapes. When the water has boiled, add the onion and bullion cube and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the onion turns translucent. I let mine get soft because I don’t like onions that are still firm. While the onion is cooking, peel the kabu, cut in half, then each half into thirds. Finally slice thinly. You basically need to cut a thin slice into six pieces. Once the onion is ready, add the kabu and simmer until it becomes tender. This should only take about five minutes.

Other soups you may enjoy:

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Salad dressing love

salad-dressing-japan

I need to up my game when it comes to salad dressing. I’m pretty predictable. I make a vinaigrette every time. There is some variety in the spices but not that much. Salad dressing is inexpensive to make (unless you get caught up in fancy vinegar and oils) and pretty easy as well. I’ve done a peruse on Pinterest and narrowed it down to five recipes to try. I’m still on the lookout for a good ranch dressing recipe. I’m pretty sure that if I substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise and buttermilk it will work well. I just need to play with the spices.

Mamma Allegra’s Vinaigrette – I would probably reduce the sugar a bit

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette – on Premeditated Leftovers (love the blog name)

Homemade Italian Dressing Mix – this will be a big time saver

Paleo Italian Salad Dressing

Carrot, Miso and Ginger Salad Dressing – I can’t wait to try this

Dressing ingredient substitutions

  • buttermilk –> Greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise –> whipped tofu (as in put soft tofu in the blender)
  • Mayonnaise –> yogurt
  • Tahini –> sesame paste (nerigoma 練りゴマ)

hummus-workshop-japan

Quinoa Flat Bread (Gluten Free)

quinoa bread

I came across this recipe on Pinterest a week or so ago and thought one of my gluten-free friends would like it. I didn’t actually intend to make it myself but she happened to come over later that week so we tried it out. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. We didn’t follow the suggestion of putting the pan in the oven and subsequently it wasn’t crispy on the bottom.  The top was delightfully crispy and the Parmesan cheese I sprinkled over the top was great. I wanted to try it again pan fried. I made it twice because I wanted to try a couple of tweaks. I am teaching a hummus class at a local cafe in June and am making pan fried flat bread at the same time. I thought could be a great addition to the lineup as it would taste superb with hummus. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that well panfried. So baked it will remain.

I made a couple small changes to the original recipe.

  • used rice flour instead of quinoa flour (you can make your own by grinding quinoa in a food processor or coffee grinder)
  • baked it for 30 minutes (mine was about twice the thickness of the picture in the original recipe)
  • added a bit of salt, pepper and garlic powder to the dough before baking
  • used olive oil

Where to get quinoa キヌア kinua in Japan

  • supermarkets – some supermarkets carry small bags of quinoa in the rice section. This quinoa is meant to be added a tablespoon at a time to rice as an add-in. The brand I most often see is this one (be careful as they also sell millet in bags that look exactly the same) and it is a perfect size for a couple of batches of quinoa bread. 
  • import shops – you will likely find bigger bags here but still possibly only 400g or so. I often see this bag. You sometimes also find Alishan Organics quinoa in import shops.
  • Health food stores will have medium sized bags.
  • Amazon – here is a link to a search for キヌア
  • Rakuten – here is a link to a search for キヌア
  • Yoyo Market – they carry Alishan Organics quinoa

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Freezing Yakionigiri

fried rice balls yakionigiri

I think one of the first frozen foods I had in Japan was frozen onigiri. The hubby bought them one evening and I was skeptical. I don’t really like frozen food and these seemed to simple to be good. I loved them. Haven’t bought them since but they did inspire me to explore the world of yakionigiri. There have been terrible results in the past but now all is good. I haven’t perfected them but they are pretty good. I usually use the frying pan but I tried them in the riceball plates of my waffle iron and was pleased. It’s so easy. Since I need to have some food prepped in the freezer for work day breakfasts, lunches and dinners, freezing riceballs seemed to be perfect. You can just reheat with miso soup for a quick meal. They are best heated in a toaster oven so they don’t get too soggy. I use the grill setting in my microwave but keep the pan on a lower level than when actually grilling.

Basically, lightly salt the rice and make riceballs. If you need a tutorial, check out this one on Just Hungry. In a small bowl mix a bit of soy sauce and grated ginger. Lightly oil a frying pan and heat up the pan on medium. When the frying pan has heated up, place the rice balls and fry until they are just starting to turn golden. Turn over and either brush or sprinkle with a spoon the ginger soy sauce mixture on the cooked side. Just a little at a time so the riceball doesn’t fall apart. When the other side has started to change color turn over again and repeat with the sauce. Now you can fry them until they turn a deeper color. If you are freezing them, cool them completely before putting them in the freezer. Either thaw at room temperature or microwave for about 30 seconds and then put them in the toaster oven until they look nice and toasty.