I'm sorry but I don't have a working digital camera to show this meal. My plan for this blog was to show things like recipes, but it will have to wait.
The hijiki seaweed salad ended up perfect with some extra broth which will be used for the stock base for a soup tomorrow. A bowl of hijiki is in the fridge and it will last a few days. The stir fry was onions, marinated tofu in the Shanghai stir fry sauce, Chinese broccoli leaves, and some fresh garlic. The adzuki beans ended up not too sweet. The brown basmati rice with ginger, fresh garlic and almonds was heaven and is also waiting for another meal in the fridge.
The way eating this kind of meal is done at a Chinese home is that the dishes are spread out in bowls on the table and each person (today, just me) has a rice bowl and little bits of each dish is placed on the rice and it is eaten. The first time I ate in this way at someone's home the atmosphere was so friendly that every time since I have eaten this way I feel happy and at peace and think of that first day at a Chinese person's family home with friends.
Chinese and Japanese meals are cooked with "the five flavors" in mind. They are sweet, salty, pungeant, sour, and bitter. I didn't concentrate on that in making this meal but it turns out that the five flavors are there. The adzuki beans with some honey in them were sweet, the hijiki salad was salty with the vinegar for a little sour? The ginger and Shanghai sauce was pungeant and to a little extent the Chinese broccoli is bitter.
My kitchen is stocked with a lot of rice, dried beans, and other dried foods and I keep the pungeant onions, garlic and ginger around. The various dried seaweeds add a lot of minerals and flavor to my meals when I think of it. This is vegetarian east Asian country cooking and is very hearty. In the West it is also known as macro-biotic cooking. But I have been around Asian cultures so much that upon being around it I came to recognize what people were feeding me was macro-biotic. So instead of going to expensive health food stores I go to Asian markets to buy basic foods that sustain me.
This kind of cooking takes a lot of timing starting from soaking beans overnight to marinating to soaking the mushrooms and the hijiki seaweed. Then there is cooking the rice and beans and cutting everything for the stirfry, then cooking that. It takes keeping up an organized kitchen and then cleaning up. This meal, not including soaking and cooking the beans, took about four hours from beginning to pull it together, to eating it to cleaning up after it.
I did other housework and didn't get to making art today. I really wanted a holiday meal even though I am not around family today. It was a good day.
My house is beginning to smell real good. I decided on a vegetarian Asian meal from basic Japanese and Chinese foods. In actuality there is an overlap of home cooking between the two cultures and it is a little bit hard to say whether or not some of this is Chinese or Japanese. Then there is a little bit of Indian because the rice is brown basmati with garlic, almonds and ginger in it.
In Japan one of the holiday foods is red adzuki beans and rice because together they look festive. They should be cooked together or at least it should be timed so that the rice comes in later, I think. But today the beans cooked faster before the rice was to go it, so they are separate. Adzuki red beans are a hearty bean that is good in the winter months according to east Asian tradition and eating folklore. They are said to be a warming food. A Chinese friend of mine in 1989 served them to me once sweetened in sugar. So today I did it that way. I'm not sure if it done this way in Japan as the way I was taught in a macrobiotic household I lived in in Basking Ridge, NJ in the late '80's is a recipe with kombu seaweed and soysauce for the salt flavor. I'm making hijiki seaweed salad today so there is already the salt flavor in the meal.
Some tofu is marinating in a zesty Shanghai stir fry sauce made by a company called "Tastefully Simple" that my older sister gave me for Christmas. When she saw that she told me she knew it was exactly just right for me. She is right. There are also dried shiitaki mushrooms soaking to go into the hijiki salad. A store called The Great Wall on Route 27 near or in Kendall Park, NJ is where I get the dried mushrooms. It is a lot cheaper this way and I can store them in bulk for a long time instead of having to go through mushrooms in the refridgerator. I live in a rural area and don't want to spend the money on gas to shop, so I buy larger quanities for cheaper at this place.
The hijiki comes dried also and each packet which is $2 something lasts for several days and is totally delicious. I will be cooking it in water and some seame oil, the shiitake and some soy sauce. Then I let it cool down and put some rice vinegar in it with sesame seeds and grated carrot. This is one of the healthiest salads on the planet as it is full of minerals and vitamins.
The rice cooker just dinged so I need to get back to preparing this meal. I'll be back soon.