Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ryokan Repast

As I type, I am sitting in my tatami mat room at a stunning Hokkaido ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn. Recently reconstructed, this Noboribetsu ryokan is a creative blend of East and West built with comfort in mind. Beautiful baths, cozy couches, gorgeous green scenery, what’s not to love? But a ryokan stay would not be complete without an intricate kaiseki dinner. Last night’s food was rich, delicate, and oh so plentiful! It was so good that I forgot to document nearly half the meal. With that in mind, I thought I’d take this opportunity to showcase a May meal from a ryokan in Nagano.

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The dauntingly long, yet promisingly delicious menu.

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Our appetizers.

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Next up, sashimi!

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And… one of my favorite spring dishes: mountain vegetable tempura.

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Your basic nimono, or simmered dish.

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Polished off with pickles and rice.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a true ryokan meal without a, shall we say unusual, fruity desert.

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Farmers’ Market @ UNU Tokyo

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Every Saturday and Sunday, a sizable farmers’ market sprawls out in the middle of Tokyo. Situated in front of UN University in Aoyama, this market boasts fabulous produce and cottage industry food items. From unusual Japanese citrus and interesting vegetables like gobo (burdock root) and manganji (peppers indigenous to the Kansai region) to freshly baked bread, frozen yogurt, and newly picked greens, this collection of covered vendors seems to have it all. In Tokyo this summer? Looking for incredible ingredients? This is the place to be.

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Farm-fresh-froyo

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Sweet and sour citrus (with samples!)

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The Very Best Baked Potatoes

Pippi, my family’s little yellow lab, had to go the vet last week, meaning a 45 minute trek to Tokyo’s suburbs. In the corner of the gravel parking lot across the street from the clinic stood a small vegetable stand. We bought some fresh cukes and a bag of baby taters before taking the dog for a turn around the neighborhood. On our walk, we passed a fairly large vegetable patch. Perhaps the origin of our produce? Gotta love fresh food.

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Anyways, the next morning, while hemming and hawing over breakfast possibilities, we remembered our baby potatoes. Why not? We thought.

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After thinly slicing the tots, we tossed them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, and stuck ’em in the oven. Crispy and warm, these potatoes made for a delicious, if unconventional day-starter.

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Recipe

Adapted from Donna Hay’s Salads and Vegetables

You’ll need…

  • some of the freshest potatoes you can find
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

2. Thinly slice the potatoes as far down as possible without cutting all the way through.

3. Toss with a small quantity  of oil (gauge by the number of potatoes) and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

4. Bake for roughly 40 min, or until cooked through.

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