Tricia, a blog visitor, asked me about the Watanabe family eating habits and urged me to blog about what we are eating. Actually, this had been an original intent of mine when I started blogging... Choose one day a week to photo our dinner whether it be fancy or plain. But THAT plan quickly faded when I realized again what a slipshod cook I am. A major embarrassment!! But I decided to take Tricia's suggestion to heart and write an occasional post about food.
In the winter months I have it fairly easy because a common meal is NABE. Nabe actually means "pot" and there is an infinite number of nabe recipes for the cold winter evenings. Practically anything can be thrown in a pot and simmered together to make a steaming main dish to serve alongside the ever-present bowl of rice. Actually all you absolutely have to have is the nabe! The pot itself! And I suppose any pot would work (preferably not a pasta pot... too deep).
Our nabe is an inexpensive pottery one... large enough to put almost anything in it. I love these pottery pots and have thought that if and when my children ever settle into their own home I really need to bring them a Japanese nabe. (It probably can't be shipped though.. Too heavy and too easy to crack in shipping.)
Okay... here are my ingredients for last night's nabe. You will notice that I do a lot of cheating. Well, better that than dinner out every night.
Starting at the top right:
A carrot (and hidden behind that is a Daikon radish.)
A chinese cabbage. I used about a quarter of this. (This particular cabbage was from Y-kun and I've been peeling leaves off for various meals this week... That's why it no longer looks green.)
Maitake, a type of mushroom.
Two blocks of grilled tofu. Regular tofu can be used as well but the grilled ones add texture and color.
Pre-made chicken meatballs. The meat-balls are just meatballs with onion and carrot in them. I thought the Styrofoam plate that they are sold in was very pretty... A Japanese red and gold leaf pattern.
Green onions. I used one.
And pre-made nabe soup! My lifesaver! I didn't have to think about putting various ingredients together to make the soup. This is probably fish and chicken stock with flavoring. There are COUNTLESS nabe soup packs that I use constantly because I am too lazy to figure out my own variations of nabe flavors. See.. I told you I cheated.
So I started simmering the soup in my pot, I cut up all the vegetables and I set the whole thing on our kerosene stove to simmer.
Uh-hum. Thanks to Tricia, I got fancy (have to show off a bit for my blog) and made carrot flowers. My one cooking skill? Even Tetsu noticed.
"Did you make the flowers? Wow! Pretty good for an American!"
We ate our nabe with rice and a side dish of pickles. Clean-up was pretty easy too.