A Simple Lunch

Tofu salad and stir-fry

Lately, I’ve been working on some writing that is not for this blog, and it’s been consuming a great deal of my time.  There are days when I’m so busy tapping away at the computer that I almost forget to eat lunch.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I realized it had been hours since breakfast and stumbled into the kitchen, weak-kneed and lightheaded.

After staring into the fridge for a few minutes, ideas for two dishes began to take shape: one would be a bold stir-fry, the other a cool, refreshing salad.

I pulled out some leftover pork belly, a mildly hot green pepper, ginger, half a leek, silken tofu, some miso, and a packet of red pickled ginger.  From the cabinet, I retrieved ground toasted sesame seeds, mirin, sake, shoyu, and sesame oil.  On the counter were garlic and a container of tiny, sweet cherry tomatoes.  I grabbed those, too.

Then I set to work chopping, slicing, mincing, and mixing.

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A Japanese Feast in Brooklyn

Sesame seeds in suribachi

I was recently back home in Brooklyn for several weeks, mainly to take care of some important tasks to prepare for my new job here, like getting a Japanese work visa.  In my free time, I found myself craving Japanese home cooking – foods like simply prepared vegetables flavored with dashi or miso, grilled fishes and meats, and homemade onigiri (rice balls).  In Japan, it’s easy to obtain these dishes from takeout shops that advertise “auntie’s” or “mama’s” cooking.  In New York, such a shop would be overpriced, not to mention difficult to find in the first place.  Besides, if you have the right ingredients, it’s easier and much more fun to cook these dishes at home.

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