Friday, February 23, 2018

BITTER MELON SALAD

I’m having broiled hamachi collar tonight.  I would like to have a quick vegetable as accompaniment.

Have you had bitter melon?  I decided to make a salad with it instead of cooking it.

I simply washed the bitter melon, sliced it vertically and removed the core and seeds inside.  Then I sliced it in thin slices.

In a bowl, I poured about 1/3 cup of Seasoned Japanese rice vinegar in a bowl.  I added the rest of the ingredients.  Tossed them together and set it aside while I broiled my hamachi collar.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bitter melon

1/3 cup seasoned Japanese rice vinegar

1-2 TB of minced cilantro

1 stalk of scallions chopped

Salt for seasoning 

Optional: 1-2 Thai chillies minced.


This makes a good salad to eat with grilled or broiled fish.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

MY NEW YEAR IN NAGANO, Japan

I purposely arrived on New Year’s Eve to celebrate with my son and his family. 

We had a traditional dinner called Osechi Ryori.  It is an important dinner of the year comprised of traditional and modern dishes served in boxes.  From Sushi to individually cooked fish and soup.

We sat around as a family and feasted with all the traditional dishes.


As you can see, it was a feast!  After we finished, we went early to visit a Temple as this is what is done traditionally.


On the way to the temple is an array of food stands.  We were a little early so the food stands were just preparing the food. 

Above is the temple which was still closed.  But  one is supposed to say some prayer, clap hands and drop some Offering.

Because we were early, they just showed me around and the kids played some game on one of the booths on the side.

The food was delicious.  Even though we just had a feast we tried a few things.

They also sold Daruma dolls here to replace the ones they had from the ending year.  The Daruma dolls are made of paper mache without the eyes.  One is supposed to get one (it comes in different sizes) and you wish for something you importantly want to obtain.  For instance to get admitted to a University of your wish.  You make 2 important wishes or goals for the year.  Each goal is designated to each eye.  When your goal is fulfilled, you can now mark the blank eye with black marker to create an eye.  If both wishes are fulfilled within the year, you now have a completed doll.  If none, then there are no eyes till the end of the year.  If only 1 wish got fulfilled, you color only 1 eye.

Towards the end of the week, the Daruma dolls are collected and sewn into a garland.  They pile branches and reeds to hang the garland around .  They then light this pile of branches to make a fire in a large open area.  Locals who have given up their old Daruma dolls with or without filled in eyes attend.

This is a big event.  There is food served tonthe attendees.  I also learned they can cook some starchy food in a foil supposed to be good for you.  It was tasty.


This was a wonderful experience I will never forget.  Truly grateful to have been part of this event.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Japan Experience

I celebrated New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Japan 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

BABU JI (Modern Indian Food)

UWe read about this with great reviews so we wanted to try it.

Located in East Village in NYC where there are many hip and trendy interesting places to eat.

This claims to be modern Indian food.
There were some misses with our order.  My friends and I have traveled to India - with me just about over a year ago.

We started with crispy appetizer filled with tamarind sauce and cream.  That was good.
I know it's modern Indian food - but the first one we did not like which was highly recommended by our server was the cauliflower.  

Our imagination was running toward dreaming for it to get to our table.  But like a nightmare, one look and we said "what's this?".  After one bite, it tasted like sweet and sour pork with lots of dough and the cauliflower hidden in it.  It was literally covered with sweet and sour sauce.  I did not even finish my bite. We had it returned . They were nice about it.

Next thing we did not like was the Dahl.  
It was too saucy.  We hardly touched it.  It was like eating a glass of thicker sauce. 
Saving the night was my friend's butter chicken. But for that price - for that amount, a bit pricey.  It may look mushy but it actually tastes good and buttery.  Most people like butter chicken dish. This was done well but nit much chicken pieces for the price.

The shrimp curry sauce was good but the shrimp was a little over done.
Another expensive dish that was alright but not as good as the butter chicken, was the duck.  The size of the leg and thigh was as small as a small chicken fryer or almost as small as a Cornish hen's leg and thigh for $26 with sauce. 
Above was our basmati rice which we liked.  The garlic naan (not in photo) was excellent as well!  Hooray! It was well seasoned and over buttered - but I loved it that way.

If I ever go back, I will try the lamb next time - but I don't know why it is so expensive.  If the tip were already figured in every order, then I can understand the high price.  There are some who do that now.  You see when the price starts getting up there, your expectation start going up higher.  And this is a case I feel.

BABU JI
175 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SALAD ART

Contemporary cooking is all about presentation of food besides flavors.  I take the plate like canvas and arrange vegetables available in my refrigerator.

Instead of tossing all the various vegetables I have to make salad, I have arranged them on my white plate to combine certain colors to get together or separate them.
To the left, I used sliced fennel and flowers.  Top right, opposite the fennel are  thinly sliced rainbow radish which I bunched up and balanced the pink on the left.  I used the yellow cauliflower or the one color that is not common to any of the vegetables on my plate to the center with the darkest colors on one side.  The dots you see is balsamic vinegar glaze which could be the dressing for the vegetables except for the arugula which already has dressing.  I like plating my food to excite the palette and change the mood on the table.  It is like a three dimensional painting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

OOTOYA - #Japanesefood

I've walked so much today through snow puddles and slush only to find out the restaurant I was aiming for was closed. 

Thank God that Ootoya was open!  I have been here before and really liked it.

I think they serve really authentic Japanese food and they serve it really fresh.  Even though their sushi dishes are basic and familiar pieces,  they are fresh.

Tonight, I went for the original Ootoya Pork belly set.  I liked the grilled pork. I think it was grilled.  It was tender and juicy and sliced to pieces ready for you to eat it with chopsticks.  For those who don't know how to use chopsticks, they can give you a fork.  But you really won't need a knife.

It came with watercress salad, mashed potato, pickles on the side, bowl of rice and tofu custard in the small covered bowl.
Above is an appetizer which I ate as my dessert.  This is blue fin tuna with Uni on top of grated yam - which has the consistency of nato.
Above is a side dish of spinach with some mini mushroom and shredded bonito flakes. A little bit on the salt side, I thought.  But I wanted more vegetables.

They serve various items from grilled fish, sushi and sashimi, soba, ramen, chicken, beef and pork.

It is a very reasonably priced restaurant serving authentic dishes like as if you went to Japan.

#OOTOYA 
8 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011