On all sides

Feet planted on the side of twenty that rounds up to thirty, repose looks lavish and breathing feels like it’s done six feet under water. When I’m in a crowd, I fear I say too much. When I’m alone, I’m afraid I have nothing to say. Self censorship is an unceasing drone of off-white noise humming inside my skull, an imposter so successful that I sometimes mistake it for a friend. Silence, I say, in the voice I’ve acquainted through the bones of my face. My inner voice, which sounds huskier and lower than in recordings, in zoom meetings. Silence, I say again, in my inner voice, this time charged with a magnetic fuzz. And as if it were swelling of foam on the shore, the off-white subsided. But it inevitably returns. Because it only napped, not to the sound of my command, but by its own lunar rhyme.

Late Summer Sides

Shiso Pickled Radishes

  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 cherry radishes
  • Small bunch of fresh purple shiso
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and sugar to a simmer just until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and trim the radishes, then halve them lengthwise.
  3. Wash and separate the shiso leaves and trim off any woody stems.
  4. Pack the radishes and shiso into an appropriately sized clean mason jar.
  5. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the radishes until they are fully submerged (if not, top it up with boiling water).
  6. Seal with the lid and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 2 weeks before enjoying. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Sesame Eggplant Salad

  • 3 small Chinese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
  • 2 tbsp roasted white sesame paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp black vinegar
  • 1 glove garlic, finely grated into a paste
  1. Steam the eggplant until soft.
  2. While eggplant is still hot, beat in the remaining ingredients and mashing slightly as necessary to form a coarse paste.
  3. Chill completely before serving with toasted nori sheets and rice.

Tamagoyaki – from Just One Cookbook

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp dashi
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  1. Beat together all the ingredients except the oil using chopsticks until fairly even.
  2. Generously brush a tamagoyaki pan with oil.
  3. Heat it until a chopstick dipped with egg drawn onto the surface sizzles instantly. (I use a copper one which heats up extremely fast on a gas burner.)
  4. Pour a thin layer of egg to coat the bottom of pan fully.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and using chopsticks or a rubber spatula, fold the egg over itself several times towards the side opposite the handle to form a roll. Push the roll flush against the side with the handle and brush the remaining parts of the pan with oil again.
  6. Return the pan to the heat and repeat steps 3-5 as many times as necessary to use up the egg mixture.
  7. Turn the omelet out onto a bamboo sushi mat so that it is parallel to the bamboo. Wrap the mat firmly around the omelet and secure it with a rubber band.
  8. Chill until set.
  9. Slice and serve. Wrap any leftovers in clingfilm – will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

2 thoughts on “On all sides”

  1. I hope you are kind to yourself and your thoughts during these strange times, even the intrusive and belittling ones. I have definitely welcomed a terrible anxiety into my body throughout the last year, one that is more self-effacing and self-aware than any I have felt. Maybe we need some amount of comparison with others to be kind; maybe in our quarantined loneliness we have turned this comparison to past selves that we perceived as cleverer or more worthy, and are blind to the wisdom and the kindness that we have cultivated in more recent years.
    PS – This is Maddi btw, I don’t have access to my old wp account so I made a new one to keep up with your blog.
    PPS – I was thinking about you yesterday while making pork floss & green onion buns with the leftover pork floss I bought for your taro buns a few months ago… I’ve got a lot of eggs in the fridge, perfect for this tamagoyaki recipe 🙂

    1. “Maybe in our quarantined loneliness we have turned this comparison to past selves that we perceived as cleverer or more worthy, and are blind to the wisdom and the kindness that we have cultivated in more recent years.” That hit so squarely home. And thanks Maddi (I was wondering who this was!) I will say too that tamagoyaki is a journey, takes alot of practice and there’s always room for improvement (but the great thing is it still tastes good even if you mess up!)

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