Having friends (Canadian & American couple) for dinner together here, I prepared YAKITORI (Chicken pieces on skewers) & OKONOMI-YAKI(Japanese- savory pancake), which were both good for Japanese style casual party with friends!
Usually we were using an electric banquet frying pan for OKONOMI-YAKI at the dining table. " So how do we cook for YAKITORI...? "
Got an idea from my Samurai-husband, to use a special appliance "YAKITORI Grill" which had been in our storage room for long. It was a gift from my friend in Japan and used couple of times before, but now it was stored for 6~7 years. "Yes, it must be perfect!!" I went into storage for treasure hunting, then got it!!
With drinking beer and Sake, Samurai- husband enjoyed the YAKITORI cooking on this special grill which was in front of him, usually he didn't do any cooking though.
Got enticing aroma of chicken beeing grilled deliciously! Great cooker, great performance!!!
But it was small that only 5 skewers could be cooked at once. Couldn't wait so long for the next one! Wondering if it had more capacity to cook for more people. I knew it had been designed for placing it on a small dining table in a small Japanese house, though...
While waiting for the YAKITORI, we enjoyed OKONOMI-YAKI as well. It was fun to make own one with favorite ingredients and toppings on the table. Sharing with others for the delicious hot one.
One of traditional Japanese sweets, YOKAN, which is made from a paste of Azuki beans and sugar, added Kanten (agar-agar), and shaped in a mould. I love this special sweet and got one from a Japanese friend the other day.
As it's too big enough for enjoying by myself, I wondered it could be shared with local friends. But I knew many NZ people, probably other country's people as well, didn't like the taste of YOKAN itself, because they were not familiar with this charactaristic taste and texture. So I tried to get an idea to re-arrange it, adding some Western flavor by a bit of work, to be acceptable for them.
I have found a left over piece of flaky puff pastry sheet in my freezer. Let's try to make a fusion style sweet!
Cut the pastry sheet to suitable size (a bit larger than a sliced YOKAN piece), then bake them in a oven for 12~13min. Split the golden flaky pastry in half, and put the YOKAN piece in between. Add softened cream-cheese and fresh strawberries.
Julie has come to Wanaka! She is a Japanese girl from Tokyo. ...Last year, she visited Wanaka and Mt.Aspiring college with her mother (Julie-Mama) thinking about her application to the school, then they decided! She has started her new school life at M.A.C. from this term-4!
As they loved NZ salmon, I got a whole salmon tonight. Let's have SASHIMI!
弱火でじっくり煮込んだポークに、ピクルド・オニオン を加えて、その後味付け。 今日はちょっと味付けに変化を加え、 酒・しょうゆを使った和風煮ですが隠し味に グレープフルーツ・マーマレードを少し。 Japanese stew of KAKUNI pork. I cooked the variation, adding Grapefruit flavour to Sake & Soy sauce broth, tonight.
After hours of simmering in broth, both pork pieces & pickled onions got soft texture, like melting in a mouth, with juice from each other.
Sunday came finally. It was a moving day for Julie to her homestay which means their good-bye day. Also it was the last night here for the parents. They were supporsed to leave Wanaka early next morning for back to Tokyo. " Cheers for Julie's new life in Wanaka, and cheers for the parents' life in Tokyo! "
Here comes the season of Asparagus displayed in local shops. We can enjoy them now until the end of the year, with various style.
I often cook them simply in salted boiling water, then serve with Mayonnaise, plenty of Bonito flakes topping, and home-made Dashi soy sauce, which is common in Japan. I also do the arranged version which is served with poached egg, yummy NZ blue cheese, and parmesan cheese, sprinkle with good quality of salt & pepper.
Place poached egg on cooked warm asparagus, and scatter crumble of blue cheese and shaved parmesan cheese on top. On the table, put a knife into the egg to break. Enjoy the sauce mixed with cheese for simple asparagus. Don't forget cracking tasty salt & pepper on top!!
My favourite tasty salt: **Ishigaki salt (from Japan)
**Truffe salt (from France)
**Himarayan Pink rock salt (from local grocery shop): This pink salt gives a great Umami to today's asparagus!!
Because of some extra asparagus today, I decorated piece of them beside of eggplant dish of Miso-Dengaku. Crunchy asparagus was good accent for the soft texture of eggplant. This dish is one of menu in our cooking classes this month. Let's cook another Miso dish with eggplant!! Please visit our class blog for the details as mentioned below.
We have invited a local couple for dinner tonight.
...It was 12 years ago that we met them for the first time, when we operated a cafe restaurant "BISTRO BRUNO" which was our first business in Wanaka. When the couple came to our restaurant as one of customers, a music CD (Jazz) was playing there. The husband of the couple was the musician on the CD that was playing! He was a professional trombonist in U.S.!!
We were surprised that the musician, who played our favourite music, was visiting our restaurant!! He might be surprised as well to listen to the music there unexpectedly! (Later, he gave us a present of another CD in which his performance was recorded.)
11 years later (2011), we got an amazing chance to meet the couple again! They booked for my cooking class and came here. We didn't notice each other at first, but when they talked to me about the episode of 11 years ago, I was so surprised and said "It was me, it was my husband, it was at our restaurant!!!"