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Posts Tagged ‘mirin’

My husband just celebrated his 50th birthday.

He is a very lucky one because this birthday has been celebrated a bunch of times at this point. The first time was when we were home in Sweden a while ago, the second time was a big birthday party for a whole bunch of family & friends (this also took place in Sweden) and the third and last time was this week when he had his actual birthday.

My sister with family and one of my brothers and his family gave my husband an overnight stay at this most fantastic Japanese spa “Yasuragi” in Stockholm. I was also a lucky recipient of the present.

It was the most fantastic experience. A little bit like a cult when you first looked at all the people walking around in the same robes and slippers, but what a different experience. It was all about eating, relaxing and doing a whole bunch of nothing. Just the way I like it.

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yasuragi

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My family had chosen Teppanyaki as dinner for us.

Teppanyaki is food prepared on a huge griddle or iron plate in front of a small group of dinner guests. It is clearly a visual as much as a taste experience. “Teppan” means iron plate and “Yaki” means grilled. So, it was a huge griddle. The chef prepared different smaller dishes for us. A reindeer fillet, dumplings in a broth, grilled kale, lobster, sushi and so much more.

There was one thing that really stood out. They had a marinated garlic that was absolutely marvelous. It had been marinated for 2 years. They heated it up on the griddle and folded it into some rice. Wow! What a taste memory that was. I am about to make this myself. I asked them for the recipe and they gave it to me gladly. Really easy actually. The problem is only to wait for it to be done… It will be a long 2 years wait.

marinated garlic.

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Marinated aged Garlic;

Good garlic, if possible, organic.

Equal parts Mirin

& Soy sauce. Preferably organic as well but a good Soy & Mirin will also do.

Water for blanching the garlic cloves in.

Directions;

Bring water to a boil. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the boiling water and blanche them for about 3-4 minutes. Let the garlic cloves dry off & put them into a dark glass canning jar (or other jar) with a tight-fitting lid. Pour over equal parts Mirin & Soy. You reach the best result if you fill the container to the very brim. Make sure the lid is tightened well. Let the jar sit in a dark place for 2 years.

At the spa, the chef told me that they are making new batches of marinated aged garlic cloves every year. It is one of their staples in the kitchen.

 

IMG_0151

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One of the vegetables they prepared for us was fresh kale, well cooked on the griddle with garlic slivers.

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raindeerlobster

 

 

 

 

 

 

full force

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The whole meal was a perfect display of cooking and showmanship. Perfectly pared with different kinds of drinks such as aged Sake.

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japaneese dining room

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A more traditional Japanese dining room.

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hot springs*

The outside hot springs were fantastic. Even though it was below freezing outside when we where there, we didn’t feel the cold since the different heated springs kept us nice and warm. We ended up staying there for hours. Some of my friends that has visited the spa told me they had spent time in the hot springs looking at the snow falling.

sauna

 

Scandinavians loves their saunas. At the spa, they had one called the “Panoramic Sauna”, overlooking the water. We sat there late at night in the dark, looking at the cruise ships going to Finland. I must say it was the first time I ever have liked these ships.

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viking line

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They were even nice to look at during breakfast in the morning….

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room

Part of our room.

robe

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And my little husband in his “yukata”, Japanese robe.

 

 

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I don’t know why, but Udon noodles are my favorite noodles.

It is to the point where I need to come up with something new to eat for lunch at work. It can get a little boring to eat the same thing (almost) all the time. Does it count as a different thing if I get it from a new place??? Ok, I know. Same thing. I was just joking…

At times, I make Udon noodles at home. It tastes much better and I can add anything I want. Here is a Beef Udon noodle I make quite often. It is light and yummy. And knowing my husband & I, it always ends up a little spicy in our version, but it is up to you, what level of heat you like and can stand.

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Beef with Udon noodles.

Serves 2.

2 packages of Udon noodles, fresh not dried. (If you use dried, follow instructions on the package.)

About 1/2 lb Beef, any kind but preferably a good cut meat. (If you would like more beef just add more…)

Miso paste. Any kind. About 3-5 tbsp.

2 tbsp. Soy sauce.

2 tbsp. Mirin.

Juice of 1/2 lime.

2 – 3  cups of water. (Depending on how “soup like” you would like it to be.)

1/2 hot pepper, any kind. For decoration.

2 tsp. lightly toasted sesame seeds.

About a handful per person of any kind of vegetables you like or have in the fridge, cut small. For example chives, spring onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sprouts…

2 tbsp, finely Julienne (leaves rolled up and cut thinly, creating long strips) fresh basil.

1/2 stock cube. (I use chicken stock.)

1 tbsp finely cut fresh coriander.

A pinch of lime zest.

A splash of hot sauce (optional).

You can add any other kind of herb or spice you like.

Directions;

Cut the beef into strips. Marinate in the Mirin, Soy sauce and lime juice for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours. If you don’t have Mirin you can use rice wine or cooking sake. When done, pad the meat dry on some paper towels. Fry in a skillet on high heat until done. It will just take a minute or two.

In a pan, boil the water with the miso paste & the stock cube. Add as much Miso as you like. I usually get the lighter Miso paste and use about 3-4 tbsp. (optional. Add the splash of hot sauce.)  Add the udon noodles. Let them just get warm.

Add all the finely cut veggies into the bowls. Add the udon noodles on top. Pour in the Miso liquid. Arrange the beef on top of the noodles. Sprinkle the coriander, basil, lime zest and sesame seeds on top. Finish off with the finely cut peppers.

This of course is just a guideline of what you can do. It works just as well with chicken, shrimp, pork or why not just the noodles with vegetables. You can also add small cubes of tofu to the noodles.

I hope you will enjoy it.

 

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I am all about making things easy and simple. During the weekends, I can cook complicated things, but for the weekdays, it has to be fast and furious!! However, it doesn’t hurt if it looks hard and complicated, that is just an added bonus.

There is nothing worse than you cooking for hours and having people not realizing that you spent most of your day in the kitchen… I learned that early on. One time, I must have been an early teenager, I cooked some chinese complicated dish. It took almost a whole day. When I finally was done, my brothers came home, and it just said “swoosh” and that was the end of that. All gone in a matter of a split second or two. I’m not even sure they knew what they ate. It was the last time I did a complicated family dinner. I was so disappointed. But, that is how my mother (and so many other cooking parents all over the world)  must have felt many times.

I try to come up with simple but fun ways of cooking things, in particular vegetables. It is a little “tricky” for some people to eat that in my house… I see these little isolated vegetable islands on my husbands plate… But, if I make things fancy looking or different from its original shape, it works. (Hm…isn’t that what one does with children, tricking them into eating vegetables??)

Anyway, A really smart way of skipping some carbs is to make zucchini spaghetti. It actually tastes great.

You can serve it to so many things. I choose salmon today…

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Sesame Salmon with Zucchini “spaghetti”.

Fresh salmon. As many pieces as per people you are serving.

Sesame seeds, white non toasted.

Zucchini, yellow and green. Be sure it is fresh and firm or it will taste very bitter.

1 Lemon or lime, squeezed. Or half a lemon, half a lime.

1/2 cup Mirin (next to the soy sauce in the grocery store.)

1/2 cup Soy sauce.

1/2 cup rice vinegar (or vinegar of your choice. You could also use balsamic vinegar.)

1/2 bunch of cilantro or Mexican cilantro. Finely chopped.

Pinch of salt.

Oil for frying.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions;

Use a zester  to carve out long spaghetti like strips from the zucchini. Disregard the center that has all the seeds. Collect all the spaghetti into a bowl.

Mix Mirin, soy sauce, lemon/lime, cilantro, vinegar & the pinch of salt together. Pour over the “spaghetti”. Let sit and have the tastes “marry” while you cook the fish.

Pour out the sesame seeds onto a plate. Salt and pepper to taste. Dry the salmon and push it firmly down into the seeds. Let it be very well coated. Don’t forget the sides. You could even do this a little ahead of time and let it rest in the fridge.

Heat up some oil on medium heat. Cook the salmon until seeds turn golden brown. Be sure to not have the heat on too high, or you would just burn the seeds and have the salmon still being raw.

Swirl the zucchini spaghetti onto a fork. Make it into a little “birds nest.” Plate it and place the salmon on top. Decorate with some slices of lemon or lime and sprinkle over some sesame seeds..

Enjoy.

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Fried rice is one of the easiest things to cook. For me, it is a way of taking care of left overs. You can make it vegetarian or use any kind of protein. There are no limitations to what you can add. My version says “anything goes”.

Coming from a salmon loving country, I always have smoked salmon at hand. When I make rice, I make sure to cook enough for lunch boxes and for a possible fried rice dish. This is one way of making fried rice.

Smoked Salmon fried rice.

Serves 4.

2 cups of cooked rice ( 1/2 cup per person. I use basmati rice boiled with a little turmeric and a stock cube.)

Smoked salmon, about 8 slices (I love smoked salmon, so I add more)

1 onion, finely chopped.

3 tbsp of dried cranberries.

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half.

5-8 asparagus, cut in small pieces.

1-2 spring onions, cut into small pieces.

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp of capers, cut in half. (can be eliminated if you don’t like capers).

1/2 a bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped. You can also add cilantro or any other herb that you have in the fridge.

Pepper to taste. (no salt since the smoked salmon is salty enough).

Hot sauce (optional).

Mirin to taste (optional).

Soy sauce to taste (optional)

1 tbsp. olive oil for frying.

Directions:

Cut all vegetables into small pieces. Heat up a skillet. Add the vegetables. Cut the salmon into 1″ pieces or slightly smaller. Add half of it into the skillet. Make sure to stir well. If the vegetables are leftovers, just warm them up, if they are fresh, fry until soft. Add the cooked rice, cranberries, capers and spices. Mix it  well. Since the rice is already cooked it just needs to get hot. At the end, add the chopped dill and the rest of the smoked salmon. Stir a last time just to make sure all is well incorporated. You can add additional spices and herbs according to your taste buds. I like a little splash of mirin and soy sauce to this.

Plate and enjoy.

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