Menu – October 2019

If you know me at all, every few months (especially in the fall when the days are getting shorter and weather is getting cool enough that I want to cook again), I’ll think up a multi-course menu to feature my region’s best produce and seasonal vibes.

I’ll invite a friend or friends plural to dinner and we’ll just chatter and cheers to good food and fine wine.

This year, because I’ll be going to Tokyo in December, my head’s been inundated with some of the Japanese flavours that coloured my childhood when I lived in Taiwan and Vancouver.

Not really a whole lot to say here except that this is essentially another recipe dump. I think alot of you were very interested in the osmanthus, bonbon squash, and chestnut mizu yokan. I personally loved the diver scallop and chrysanthemum chawanmushi the best, but that’s exactly what I loved about this menu. Different people would connect with different flavours and textures within the same meal. Anyways, let’s get to it. Note that all of these recipes have been scaled to yield four servings, so do your math.

Late Fall 2019

Miso Shiru
Hakurei Turnips | Smoked Sablefish
Sunomono
Hinona Kabu | Cucumber
Chawanmushi
Pearl Shiitake | Chrysanthemum | Diver Scallop
Crudo
Yellowtail | Yuzu Kosho | Olive Oil
Misoyaki
Sockeye | Eggplant | Sweet Potato
Nabe
Napa | Dungeness | Brown Butter
Tomato
Cardamom | Lime
Mizu Yokan
Bonbon Squash | Osmanthus | Chestnut

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Miso Shiru

  • 4 hakurei turnips, halved, or equal amount in weight of daikon, diced
  • 60 g smoked sablefish
  • 4 tbsp awase miso
  • 2 tbsp wakame
  • 150 g silken tofu, diced
  1. Place the turnips and smoked sablefish in a pot and cover with 1.5L water, bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 20 minutes, or until the turnips are completely tender.
  2. Remove the turnips from the broth and strain the dashi through a fine sieve.
  3. Return the broth and turnips, with the tofu and wakame, to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the miso.
  4. Divide between four bowls and serve immediately.

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Sunomono

  • 4 ume and bay pickled hinona kabu radishes, trimmed and halved
  • 12 garlic pickled cucumber slices
  1. To make either of these pickles, bring equal parts of white vinegar and sugar to a boil until the sugar us completely dissolved. Meanwhile, fill mason jars with whatever vegetable (in this case radishes or cucumber slices) and their flavourings (ume and bay leaf, or fresh sliced wet garlic).
  2. Pour the vinegar sugar mixture over the vegetables to cover. Cover and twist the cap to finger-tightness. Cool completely before chilling in the fridge.
  3. The cucumbers will be ready in about 2 days, but the hinona kabu will need a least 2 months.
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Chawanmushi

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c water, including the mushroom water
  • 10 g hondashi, dissolved into the water
  • 2 diver scallops, cleaned and halved
  • 6 pearl shiitake mushrooms, soaked and halved
  • 4 chrysanthemum leaves
  1. Lightly whisk together the egg and prepared dashi until combined. Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Arrange the scallops, mushrooms, and chrysanthemum in heat proof containers and gently pour in the egg mixture.
  3. Steam on low heat for about 20 minutes until jiggly but set.
  4. Serve immediately, while still hot.

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Crudo

  • 200g sushi grade red tuna
  • 2 small jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 2 limes, zested
  • sansyo pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil – grass and cream profile
  • flaky salt
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lime zest and jalapeno with a pinch of salt until a dry paste forms.
  2. Thinly slice the yellowtail using a sharp knife and arrange on a plate. Dot with yuzu kosho and sprinkle with sansyo pepper, and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil. Finish with salt.

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Misoyaki

Salmon

  • 450g organic Norwegian salmon fillet, from the thick end, rinsed and cut into 4 long pieces
  • sea salt
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil
  1. Cure the salmon fillet with salt and sugar for 30 minutes. Dab dry with paper and sear to medium (about 3 minutes on each side). Make sure the skin is crispy and allow to rest, skin side up, on a plate lined with paper towel, to drain.

Eggplant

  • 2 small Japanese eggplant, chopped and steamed until tender
  • 2 tbsp red miso
  • 4 black garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 3 tbsp black sesame paste
  • 2 tbsp mother of rice wine
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Season to taste – the puree should be intense but balanced.

Sweet Potato

  • 4 small Japanese sweet potato, chopped and steamed until tender
  • 100g ricotta
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2/3 c flour
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the ingredients. Roll the dough into a thin log and cut into 2cm pillows. Make a dimple in each piece with your finger.
  2. Cook in boiling, heavily salted water until the gnocchi float to the top.
  3. Drain and fry in a mixture of oil and butter until crispy and browned.

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Nabe

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 8 thinly slices ginger, sliced with the grain
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ½ c rice, unrinsed
  • 2 c shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 dungeness crab, roe, liver and jus only, blended until smooth
  • 1/2 c fresh milled soy milk
  1. Melt the butter in a small heavy-bottomed pan. Add the ginger and fry until crisp on medium head. Fish out the ginger and drain on paper towel.
  2. By now the butter should be deeply brown and almost black. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Stir in the rice and toast until fragrant. Stir in the cabbage and salt. Cook, adding water in a risotto style for 20 minutes until slightly thicker than desired consistency.
  3. Stir in the kane miso and allow to return to a boil. Remove from the heat and stream in the soy milk.
  4. Serve immediately and top with fried ginger.

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Tomato

  • 4 strawberry tomatoes, blanched and peeled
  • 1/2 c fresh lime juice (yuzu would be siiiiick if you can get your hands on it by all means use it)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 6 green cardamom pods, pounded
  1. In a saucepan bring the lime juice, sugar, and cardamom pods to a boil. Switch off the heat and let cool completely.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a Ziploc bag and pour add the simple syrup. Press out the excess air from the bag and refrigerate for 3 days until the tomatoes are thoroughly infused.
  3. Drain on paper towel and serve cold.

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Mizu Yokan

  • 350 ml water
  • 5 g agar agar powder
  • 280 g steamed bonbon squash, flesh only (reserve the skin to make soup or something)
  • 120 g sugar
  • 15 peeled roasted chestnuts, if you can find them tinned in heavy syrup, that’s even better
  • Dried osmanthus flowers
  1. Bring the water and agar powder to a boil, whisking constantly until the power is fully dissolved.
  2. Blend the squash, sugar, and agar mixture in the blender until smooth.
  3. Line a large bento box with plastic wrap and pour in about a 1cm layer of the squash mixture. Chill in the fridge until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Arrange the chestnuts evenly on top of the set layer and pour in the remaining squash mixture.
  5. Sprinkle on the dried osmanthus and chill completely in the fridge until set. Cover and slice when ready to serve.

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Thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

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