Pickled Lemon Asparagus

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1⁄2 pound asparagus
3⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
3⁄4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon pickling salt

Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths.

Combine the white vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Pack the lemon zest, garlic, coriander seeds, and salt into a hot 1-pint canning jar. Fill with the asparagus. Pour in the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Seal.

Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.

 

“School” Vocabulary

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The challenges and difficulties of learning a new language are many and with Japanese even more so with its three separate sets of characters (hiragana, katakana and kanji), but I find it absolutely fascinating and look forward to my study time each day. This was my vocabulary list I worked on this week:

人 【ひと】 – person
アメリカ人 【アメリカ・じん】 – American (person)
フランス人 【フランス・じん】 – French (person)
日本 【に・ほん】 – Japan
本 【ほん】 – book
学生 【がく・せい】 – student
先生 【せん・せい】 – teacher
高い 【たか・い】 – tall; expensive
学校 【がっ・こう】 – school
高校 【こう・こう】 – high school
小さい 【ちい・さい】 – small
大きい 【おお・きい】 – big
小学校 【しょう・がっ・こう】 – elementary school
中学校 【ちゅう・がっ・こう】 – middle school
大学 【だい・がく】 – college; university
中学生 【ちゅう・がく・せい】 – middle school student
大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 – college; university student
国 【くに】 – country
中国 【ちゅう・ごく】 – China
中国人 【ちゅう・ごく・じん】 – Chinese (person)
日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 – Japanese language
中国語 【ちゅう・ごく・ご】 – Chinese language
英語 【えい・ご】 – English
フランス語 【フランス・ご】 – French
スペイン語 【スペイン・ご】 – Spanish
大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 – college student
社会人 【しゃ・かい・じん】 – working adult
中国 【ちゅう・ごく】 – China
韓国 【かん・こく】 – South Korea
カナダ – Canada
イギリス – England
オーストラリア – Australia
フランス – France
スペイン – Spain
ブラジル – Brazil
メキシコ – Mexico

Chicken Dashi

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Meat dashi’s are pretty rare in Japanese Cuisine.  Here in the United States chef David Chang has made his bacon dashi infamous in culinary circles.

This Dashi can be made more luxurious by replacing the chicken bones with duck bones.

3 pounds 5 ounces chicken bones
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 scallions, white part only
3 1/2 ounces carrots
1 3/4 ounces of ginger
1 cup sake

14 3/4 cups cold water

Remove any bits of fat from the chicken bones. Rub the salt into the bones and set aside for 1 hour to allow salt to penetrate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bones in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the scallion stalks in half and carefully char them over a gas flame on the stove or under the broiler. Wash and roughly slice the unpeeled carrots and ginger.

Transfer the hot roasted bones to a large stockpot and add the rest of the ingredients. Quickly bring to a boil, then simmer until the stock is reduced by half, skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

Remove the bones from the pot, and pass the stock through a fine sieve.

The dashi will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Vegetarian Dashi

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8 cups cold water
14 ounces of vegetable offcuts and peelings from 4 different kinds of vegetables such as carrots, daikon, Chinese cabbage, pumpkin, turnip, etc.
2 slices of root ginger
3/4 ounces of konbu

Place all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer until reduced by half.

Strain through a fine sieve and use as needed.

The dashi will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Shiitake Mushroom Dashi

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5 cups Vegetarian Konbu Dashi Stock
11/4 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon caster sugar
pinch of sea salt

Add Vegetarian Konbu Dashi Stock to a pan until hot but not boiling, then remove from the heat.

Add the shiitake mushrooms, sugar and salt to the hot konbu dashi and let them soak for 2–4 hours. Remove the mushrooms, reserving them for another recipe.

Strain the dashi into a bowl avoiding any sediment or grit from the bottom of the pan.

The dashi will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Vegetarian Konbu Dashi Stock

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11/4 ounces konbu
5 cups cold water
pinch of sea salt

Gently wipe the konbu with a damp cloth. Add the konbu and water to a pan, cover with a lid and let it stand for 8 hours or preferably overnight. The longer the soaking time, the more flavoursome your stock will be. At the end of the soaking time, remove the konbu from the water, add a pinch of salt and mix well. The konbu dashi is ready to be used.

The dashi will keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Niboshi Dashi

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This Dashi is a much stronger flavored version than the bonito and konbu dashi.  Excellent for Miso Soup and Ramen.

Pluck off and discard the fish heads, open up the fish stomachs and remove and discard the insides. Place the prepared fish in a pan with the measured water and konbu, or with the Traditional Fish Based Dashi, and leave to soak for one hour.

Bring the water quickly to a boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface and simmer very gently for 6–10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pass through a very fine muslin-lined sieve.

The dashi will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.