Dinner, April 17, 2018

The furled fronds of seiyo meshida [Western lady fern] are already up. Harvesting is as easy as snapping their stems, but they do take some time to clean. Still, they are one of the freshest harvests we can hope for, as they are growing right next to the creek in our field.

  • Kinki no taimeshi modoki / fisherman’s rice with channel rockfish
  • Asupara-iri kakitama misoshiru / egg-flower miso soup with asparagus
  • Renkon no ebi-hasamiyaki, gin-an-gake / sauteed lotus root with shrimp, with thickened dashi sauce
  • Seiyo meshida no goma-ae / Western lady fern fiddleheads in sesame dressing
  • Saishin no okaka-ae / yu choy sum with bonito flakes
  • Tomato / tomatoes

I harvested 8 spears of meshida for goma-ae. On the way back from the creek, two large deer were watching me. They barely run away from us as long as we keep some distance. This is their land, and the deer have trimmed most of my ornamental plants, some to the ground. But they do not seem to care for meshida, perhaps because they easily find something more interesting near our house.

The kinki channel rockfish was kept overnight with a small amount of shiokoji salted rice malt and sake, then grilled and cooked with rice in dashi and soy sauce (only a small amount, mainly to add aroma); the outcome was very tasty, as expected. As kinki is relatively fatty, its flesh stays fresh longer, especially when treated with sake and shiokoji. Its fat content also prevents the flesh from quickly absorbing sodium, and this is another big plus. We would eat more kinki if we could find it easily here.

Asparagus, another succulent spring vegetable with green spears, is added to a quick miso soup with egg.
There is nothing special about the miso soup, other than featuring an egg from a local guy and a seasonal ingredient (so it actually is quite special). Needless to say, his eggs are very tasty, just like the super fresh eggs from the chickens Tom’s mom kept.

One of my tempura repertoire involves chopped shrimp sandwiched between renkon lotus root slices, and it usually would be something I like to have with this dinner. But to give our stomachs a break — we have been eating out often these days (lots of grease) — I simply sauteed the shrimp-renkon sandwiches and served them with pale gin-an thickened dashi sauce. The dish was delightful, and I was pleased with the result and effect of all ingredients.

Now the vegetable dish still seemed small; yu choy sum was quickly blanched and mixed with a tiny amount of dashi, soy sauce and bonito flakes, and a tomato was skinned and cut into bite-size chunks.

A nice warm dinner for a spring day, with a rough sodium content of 650 mg per person.