Saturday, May 07, 2011


Last night Tetsu text messaged me saying that he would be late (as usual). And I e-mailed him back saying that I was in the midst of a battle with ingredients in the kitchen. Battle it was!

The first problem has been that since spring is upon us, many friends are giving me the fruits of their fields or forests. I don't want to seem ungrateful (but I guess I am) but a lot of the stuff given to me I don't know what to do with. Let's see... on our morning walk the leek farmers gave me a HUGE bundle of leeks (nira) that I've been slowing going through... How many leeks does one use in stir fry dishes or decorating noodles? Not a lot. My leeks are beginning to get pungent meaning I have to use them up soon. What to do?

And then a couple of days ago a pool friend called us and asked us to stop over because he had some bamboo shoots for us. Bamboo shoots are about the size of a boot by the way. Three shoots and we could hardly lug them to the car! (Our friend has a bamboo grove). The other problem with bamboo shoots is that I don't own a pot large enough to cook them in. They need to be peeled and then simmered with rice husks, then cooled in the pot and THEN flavored and cooked. This is a lot of work!!!

Our pool friend also gave us tree sprouts that he had collected in his forest. Two large bags full of two different types of trees. Each sprout about a foot long! Now what am I supposed to do with those? "Make tempura" was the suggestion but how much tempura do two people eat?

Our pool friend is very generous. He also gave us a bag of green onion shallots, "eat them raw with bean paste" and spicy radishes, "try miso soup" and Japanese pepper sprouts (these will knock your sinuses out!)

So I had all these vegetables in my kitchen and I needed to get them used up. And then my neighbor came to the door carrying two HUGE trout that HER neighbor had given to her from a husband's fishing trip.

Tetsu and I are not particularly fish eaters. I like fish but don't know how to cook it. Tetsu doesn't much like fish except for sashimi. But these fish gave up their lives to be eaten so I guess we'd better eat them.

Oh my gosh! These things are big! And slimy! And I've got to clean them?!

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me..."

(I actually thought this when I picked up my knife and laid the first fish on the cutting board.)

Hack, hack, saw, saw, stab, stab, ask for more strength.

I congratulated myself on getting fish heads off and entrails out. I KNOW Tetsu could never do this! Lord, I have come a long way to be able to wrestle with two fish as long as my forearm...

Of course, cooking is the next problem. Flop that fish tail right over edge of the frying pan and cook well. (I can think of nothing more disgusting than half cooked trout.)

By the time I sat down to a dinner of fried trout, bamboo shoots cooked three different ways, tempura, miso soup, leek omelet and rice, it was after 9:00 and I was too exhausted to consider how anything tasted.

I ate half of a trout and gave the other half to the cats. They thought it a wonderful meal.

And this morning I see evidence that Tetsu poked at his trout a bit. He complimented me about my fish cleaning. As suspected, he said he wouldn't have done it! The cats will probably get another trout meal tonight.

I'd really appreciate a fancy french dinner at a restaurant myself... No fish please.

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