Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Japanese Hospital Food

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital you’ll know that the food they serve isn’t exactly gourmet. It’s far from it. The best you can say is that it’s well-balanced and nutritious. But it’s bland, tasteless and unappetizing. It’ll get you through you stay at the hospital without starving but it’s nothing to write home about. Most patients, if they’re not on a restricted diet, have friends and family bring them real food when they visit. It looks like this would be unnecessary in Japan.
Recently an American woman gave birth in a Japanese hospital and was so impressed by the food she was served that she photographed it.

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken with mushroom sauce, braised pumpkin and pork, daikon carrot salad, rice, miso soup, chawan mushi.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Mackerel, konbu salad, natto, spinach salad, miso soup, rice, milk, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken fingers with shredded cabbage salad, bitter melon stir fry, agedashi tofu, carrot salad, rice, miso soup.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Sea bream, pasta salad, chicken meatballs, pickled daikon, rice, miso soap, chawan mushi, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Forget this fish name, braised vegetables, niku jaga (meat and potatoes), cucumber and baby corn salad, rice, miso soup, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Fried fish with tartar sauce, braised mountain potatoes, hijiki salad, spinach and carrot stir fry, rice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Salmon, tofu, spinach salad, natto, miso soup, rice, milk.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Final Oiwai Dinner – Camembert and raisins, roast beef, mashed potatoes, kabocha, lotus root with gravy, corn soup, rice, salad, tiramisu, fruit, orange juice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever been to a US hospital, this is what you could expect.

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Cooking with Garlic

Paul Scorvino slicing garlic in Martin Scorsese’s Good Fellas

 

Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic

Lots of people think that all Italian food MUST be made with tons of garlic. That’s a myth started by Italian restaurants that served mostly non-Italians. Garlic is a useful aromatic. It makes certain recipes taste better but it should never overwhelm the dish.

Sauteing it slowly and over low heat is the best way to get its flavor. It softens but doesn’t brown. A hint of golden color is fine but brown means burnt and bitter. Minced garlic cloves burn more quickly then sliced, so sliced is easier to work with. Large chunky slices are useful sometimes because you can see them and avoid eating them (if you want to).


Everybody knows I’m into kitchen gadgets so at Christmas and birthdays I get some interesting ones. Here are two that are basically miniature mandolins for garlic. They both work well and make easily make thin, even slices.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


A micro-plane is quick and convenient. It makes a fine pulp. A garlic press does the same but eliminates the garlic fibers and adds a more gentle flavor.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


. . . or you can do it like Paul Scorvino with a razor or use a standard utility knife the old fashioned way like my mother and aunts did. A sharp knife and years of practice is all you’ll need.Cooking with Garlic


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Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island

Somehow, a tradition started a few years back, where every Father’s Day my daughter Kristina takes me to Coneys Island. The amusement area isn’t as big as it used to be but it still has that good old Coney Island feel – a little seedy and not gentrified.
Coney Island
Kristina, Bridget, me, Nicki, Stephen and Jack – Molly had to work.

Ruby’s
We meet at Ruby’s Bar on the boardwalk for lunch. They have traditional Coney Island food – hot dogs, clams, onion rings, etc.

Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island

 


The Beach

Coney IslandAfter lunch we spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach. There must have been a crack down on vendors. You used to be able to buy just about anything on the beach – water, beer, ice cream, loose cigarettes, loose joints and nutcracker. One of my favorites was fresh mango sprinkled with hot chili powder – sounds strange but delicious. All we could get this year was lime ice.Coney Island

Kitchen 21
After a day on the beach we’d walk down to Brighton Beach and have dinner at one of the Russian restaurants but since Kitchen 21 opened we’ve been eating there.Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island


Coney Island

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Oatmeal

Oatmeal

 

 

Recipe for steel-cut oats –
Once you try this you may not go back to instant oatmeal. Steel-cut oats includes the whole oat kernel, cut up. These take longer to cook. Instead of cooking it for an hour or more, ignore the package directions and try it this way.

For 2 servings –
  • The night before – boil 2 cups of water with a little salt. Add one cup of oats (maybe with a handful of pomegranate seeds or dried currents), stir, turn off the heat and cover.
  • The next morning – add one cup of water (or ½ and ½ water and milk), stir, bring to a low boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Oatmeal

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches

It’s not summer yet but almost. That’s ice cream time. Cones are OK but my favorite is an ice cream  sandwich.

Ice Cream SandwichesThe Classic


Ice Cream Sandwiches

I wish this one was sold locally – a Neapolitan in wafers.


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Carvel Flying Saucers 


Red Bean Ice Cream


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Persian Ice Cream Sandwich


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Klondike – not just bars


Ice Cream Sandwiches

These even look like Oreos


 Ice Cream Sandwiches

Is a Ding Dong really an Ice Cream Sandwich if it’s made with “frozen dairy dessert?”


Ice Cream Sandwiches

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day  – August 2nd


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Deconstructed Recipes

Deconstructed Recipes

Marina Ekroos says, “I wanted to inspire people to think about what they eat.”
Deconstructed Recipes
Cinnamon rolls

. . . The very first photo was the Cinnamon Rolls recipe. . .


 . . . steps that are represented in the photographs were made into the final dish instead of throwing everything away. This food was shared with neighbours and friends.


Deconstructed Recipes
Aubergine Dip

More on Marina Ekroos and her recipe deconstructions.


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Forging a Kitchen Knife

Forging a Kitchen Knife

Forging a Kitchen Knife

A while back my daughter Kristina gave me a frying pan. It wasn’t just any frying pan, this one was hand crafted by a friend of hers, Marsha Trattner. Masha is a metal worker of the first order. She’s a welder and blacksmith making both functional and artistic items. Her site –  She-Weld

Forging a Kitchen Knife

Bridget and I recently went to one of Marsha’s forging classes. We started small, making some simple hooks to get a feel for the forge and tools.

Forging a Kitchen Knife

Then we started on the main project – making a knife out of a rail road spike. Wei was our instructor and a natural blacksmith. He thoroughly explained every step and checked-in on us often to see how we were doing.

Forging a Kitchen Knife
The heat from the forge singed the hair off my arm.
Forging a Kitchen Knife
Hammer and re-heat it, again and again.
Forging a Kitchen Knife
Sometimes it takes four hands.

The basic idea is to heat the metal to make it malleable and then hammer it to draw it out and shape it. Sounds simple but it takes a hell of a lot of hammering, enough to leave me with a sore arm the next day.

Forging a Kitchen Knife
Grinding, polishing and sharpening.

After the forging the next step is fine tuning. That’s the grinding. You start with the blackened piece of metal that was once a railroad spike and finish with a shinny and sharp knife.

Forging a Kitchen Knife

 

Eat Sumo Style

Chanko Nabe (sumo soup) by Naomi Sloman

 

 

Eat Sumo Style

Chanko Nabe


 Eat Sumo Style

Sumo wrestlers want a weight advantage. They average over 400 pounds and work to keep that bulk. They do it by eating Chanko Nabe almost every day. It’s a sort of stew or hot-pot with lots of protein, a delicious broth and varying ingredients.  In itself it’s not particularly fattening but in the quantities that it’s eaten, plus lots of beer and a nap after each meal, it does the job.
Eat Sumo Style

From Gurunavi


Eat Sumo Style
OSAKA, JAPAN – The Sumo Stable holds open day events for sumo fans to watch their training sessions, take part in sumo exercise classes and eat ‘chanko-nabe’ or ‘sumo stew’; a favourite dish in the diet of sumo wrestlers. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

From Atlas Obscura


Chanko Nabe Recipe from EpicuriousEat Sumo Style

 

New York Times – Squab: A Primer

New York Times – Squab: A Primer

New York Times - Squab: A Primer

The New York Times Food section just did an interesting illustrated article called – Squab: a Primer.

New York Times - Squab: A Primer


According to Wikipedia – squab is a young domestic pigeon, typically under four weeks old. . . It formerly applied to all dove and pigeon species. . .  More recently, squab meat comes almost entirely from domesticated pigeons. 


There’s more to pigeons than the ones raised for food and the others you see on city streets. Some people race them as a hobby. There’s also the sport of triganieri  that originated in Modena and is still practiced in New York today. And others just like the look of the fancy pigeon breeds.

New York Times - Squab: A Primer


Some pigeon facts –

A pigeon can fly as high as 6000 feet, at an average speed of 75 mph and cover 600 to 700 miles in day. They’ve passed the ‘mirror test,’ – the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror. They are one of only 6 species and the only non-mammal able to do that. These facts apply to the ones you eat as well as the ones in the street.

New York Times - Squab: A Primer


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Chinese Cookbook Illustrations

Chinese Cookbook Illustrations

This is definitely worth a look if you interested in Chinese cooking. Even if you’re not, the recipe illustrations are something special.


The Illustrated Wok, a new print collection of hand-illustrated Chinese recipes from 40 chefs around the world. The book pairs each chef with an artist who produces striking and frequently surreal interpretations of the recipe.