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Good Soup, Good Karma

10 Dec

The weather in SF has been unpredictable. One day the temperature just dropped and it was FUH-Reeezing. So I decided to use the chicken carcass I always seem to have on hand and make some soup. Veering from my usual soup that I always make, I decided to change things up, as Normalicious suggested, so I made an Asian soup instead.

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My mom taught me how to make this awesome Japanese soup that she calls Obousan soup, or Buddhist Monk Soup.  Buddhist monks are generally vegetarians so this soup incorporates tons of veggies and is traditionally made with either fish broth or no broth at all.  It’s light aromatic and reminds me of home.

Kitchen Mischiefs’ Mama’s Obousan Soup

chicken carcass
1 gobou (burdock root)
4 – 5 taro potatoes
1 carrot, cut in half-inch pieces
1 basket of shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
a block of konyaku (yam jelly), cut in 1/4 inch pieces
soy sauce, to taste.  (I think I used about 2 tbs)
mirin or sake, 2 splashes
salt, to taste, (I think I used about 1 tbs)
sesame oil, just a drizzle
  1. Make chicken stock but do not use celery or garlic; use only chicken and onions.
  2. Peel the skin off of the burdock root with a peeler.  Cut the root asymmetrically into quarter-inch thick pieces.  Toss cut burdock root into a big bowl of water to keep it from oxidizing.
  3. Peel the taro potatoes, cut and quarter.  Soak in another bowl of water.
  4. Wash and cut shiitake mushrooms in half.
  5. With the gobou and taro, drain the water and add to the chicken broth.
  6. Rinse the block of konyaku and cut into 1/4 in. slices on its shorter side.
  7. Then, add the shiitake and konyaku.
  8. Add seasonings, and keep playing with the measurements until you acquire the amount of flavor you want.
 
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Purple is My New Fave.

7 Dec

So the other day, I mentioned how our friend made us a fancy 3 course French meal….well, this friend is also a huge culinary buff, (I know, stating the obvious).  He tends to have expensive taste, though, so I’ve never tried any of his recommended restaurants.  There was once place he recommended that I could never forget about that I actually wanted to try.  He always raved about this Japanese restaurant in San Francisco called Murasaki, which means purple in Japanese.  Over our special 3 course meal, my friend mentioned how the sushi chef there may retire.  As soon as those words left his mouth, I knew I had to eat there ASAP before this happened!  Two weeks later, I went there with my mother and Normakins.

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We got a few appetizers and split the Omakase, which means chef’s recommendations.  The Omakase is an assortment of 7 dishes the chef will put together based on whatever is fresh in his inventory.  It usually consists of a salad, something fried, an appetizer, and entrée, sashimi, and sushi.  In our case, the chef presented to us the following: crab salad, tara no kasuzuke (grilled cod marinated in sake lees), fried oysters, raw oysters, chawanmushi (egg custard with seafood), assorted sashimi, and a plate of beautiful nigiri.

Below is the nigiri plate he made for us, (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of everything else).  As you can see, the fish was extremely fresh, everything was meticulously prepared, and he even gave us two pieces of otoro, which alone, costs about $15-20!  Oh, we also had a piece of amaebi which was sooooooooo sweet and creamy!  And, they fried the amaebi head for us, just like they do in Japan!

I have to say this place is effin amazing! The sashimi was fresh and impressive, the sushi rice was perfectly seasoned, what’s not to like? Although we didn’t order a proper entrée, surprisingly, the omakase was enough to fill us up. We all enjoyed it that we went back the following weekend to take my grandmother for her birthday and ordered 3 omakase’s for 5 people.  Murasaki definitely made its way close to the top of my list for best sushi spots in city.

Pork, It Does a Body Good.

5 Dec

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A friend of ours who went to culinary school called us up randomly one day and said “I ordered a whole pig head.  I’m going to make a lot of pork.  Come over and pick some up later this week.”  Well, Normakins and I were uber excited, as we both love PORK!  (Bacon ftw).  Who doesnt’!?!?!  So we anxiously waited for his call.

When the weekend came, we got the call.  He asked us to come anytime before 5 pm but to let him know at least an hour before we leave.  We just had lunch with my parents and were still at their place so I borrowed a few tupper wares from my mom, grabbed a bottle of vino, and headed to his place.

When we got there, he invited us in and showed us to his dining table, which had place settings for two.  Much to our surprise, he cooked us a 3 course meal!  We were stuffed, but powered through and ate his dishes like we had holes in our stomaches.  Lucky for us, his dishes were French style, so the portions were small.

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The one on top was the appetizer, which was a radish with charred something to mimic the look of crops in dirt, paired with prosciutto and cream cheese.  I can’t remember what the charred thing was but it was ridiculously delicious.  And, the smokiness of it went really well with the salty prosciutto and cream cheese.

To the left was the next dish.  It was a French pork stew using primarily the gelatinous pieces of the pig head, along with pickled green beans (unbelievably delicious), and toasted French bread.

And lastly, on the right is the entrée.  It was a soft poached egg (in Japanese it’s called Onsen Tamago) on top of a pork fritter, sitting atop a balsamic infused vinaigrette.  This was the best dish, obviously, because it was fried, had an egg, and was hearty.  I’m easy to please.  hahaah.

The meal was so delicious!  And our friend is such a skilled chef!  I was utterly impressed.  I’m craving those pickled green beans right now.

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