Haskap Jelly

March 21st, Thursday:

DSCN4416

  • Kashiwa Udon (Udon, Chicken, Onion, Carrot, Green Onion, Aburaage, Naruto Surimi)
  • Milk
  • Spinach and Beansprout Salad (Spinach, Beansprout, Ham)
  • Haskap Jelly
  • Kcal: 688

Long ago, Haskap was valued by the Ainu people as an elixir of youth. Haskap in the Ainu language means “Many on top of the branch.” It has a rich flavour that is both sweet and sour.

Saint Patrick’s day was last Sunday, something I completely forgot about until I checked my Facebook page and stared wondering why everyone was posting pictures of green things.  I like St. Patrick a lot–I mean, he drove the snakes out of Ireland and wears an incredibly awesome hat. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations however seem, like nearly all modern celebrations, superficial and rather meaningless to me unfortunately. That said, when I was child, for St. Patrick’s Day my mother would always make us green eggs and ham, green muffins, mint milk shakes, and pistachio pudding for dinner. I feel that dinner was representative of my mother’s cooking style: strange, but full of love?

In Japan, St. Patrick’s Day, unlike St. Valentine’s, is fairly unknown. (Although Buri-Chan talks about the St. Patrick’s festival in charming Matsue in her always interesting blog.) However, four leaf clovers are used all over the place as a cute and easy to depict symbol. In fact, my lunch menu gives us a four leaf clover as a sort of “My Plate” health symbol. Here I translated it for you!
DSCN4415

Balanced Nutrition Clover

Main Dish: Rice, bread, or noodles etc. that have lots of carbohydrates that give your body energy.

Main Side: Seafood, Meat, or eggs etc. that include a lot of protein, which help our bodies build our bones and muscles.

Second Side: Vegetables and fruits, including lots of vitamins and minerals, which keep us healthy

Soup (Drink): Besides supplying us with water, it supplements our nutrition with minerals etc. which we cannot do without.

かしわうどん
牛乳
ほうれん草ともやしのサラダ
ハスカップゼリー

Graduation Cake

March 7th, Thursday:

DSCN4360

  • Pork Udon (Udon, Pork, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Beancurd, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Beansprout Namul (Beansprout, Carrot, Spinach)
  • Graduation Celebration Cake
  • Kcal: 874

The graduation ceremony is soon! Let’s celebrate with feelings of congratulations and gratitude towards the 6th graders who have helped us so much and 9th graders for whom this will be their last school lunch.

Namul is a type of Korean dish, but it wasn’t spicy at all: rather it was blanched vegetables seasoning in a vinegary sesame dressing. It was delicious, as the girl next to me pointed out today. We also had cake, which was one of 日東’s Friends Sweets line. It didn’t list the ingredients on the box, but all the other Friends Sweet line are made from local ingredients/rice flour so this probably was too. It tasted pretty good, a little bit lighter than a standard Japanese cake. Most of the students liked it a lot, although one of them complained that it was too sweet.

I have an insatiable sweet tooth, but it pains me to confess, I don’t like cake so much. I love butter cream frosting. And the bread-like castella variety of cakes are very nice. But a typical white/yellow cake, especially when covered in whipped cream frosting, has nothing to recommend. Please give me a soft cookie, daikfuku, fruit pie, or nerikeri instead. When I was a child, my mother used to make my brother and I (we have the same birthday!) a cake, but once my brother moved out, I started asking for fruit pie instead, and every year we would have apple or some other type of pie.

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肉うどん
牛乳
もやしのナムル
卒業お祝いケーキ

Crab Salad

March 6th, Wednesday:

DSCN4357

  • Pork Rice Bowl (Pork, Onion, Bell Pepper, Shimeji Mushroom)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Carrot)
  • Japanese-style Salad (Octopus, Cucumber, Wakame Seaweed, Imitation Crab)
  • Kcal: 822

The condition of when someone or something is sought after by many people is said “hippari-dako (stretched octopus)”. This comes from the fact that when making dried octopus, their legs are pulled out in all directions to dry them.

I am not sure what was so Japanese about today’s salad, given it was dressed in mayonnaise, but it was full of crab-mayo deliciousness. That said, it wasn’t all that popular with the students. I think a lot of them were put off by the looks of it. Also, students who dislike cucumbers are surprisingly common.

豚丼
牛乳
みそ汁
和風サラダ

Suiton Soup

February 18th, Monday:

DSCN4307

  • Suiton Soup (Wheat Dumplings, Chicken, Bean Curd, Naruto Surimi, Carrot, Daikon Radish, Green Onion)
  • Five Ingredient Kinpira (Burdock, Carrot, Pork, Satsuma-age, Sliced Konnyaku, Green Bean)
  • Natural Teriyaki Amberjack
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 871

So, suiton (水団) are sort of hand formed soup dumplings made of wheat flour. As you know, I love dumplings, so I liked today’s soup. It was also full of other things I love like abura-age, naruto, and carrots. Also, the five ingredient kinpira seemed a little different than before.

I’m tired today… I was so busy last weekend.

Because who doesn't want to see a close up of this awesome suiton soup?!

Because who doesn’t want to see a close up of this awesome suiton soup?!

Meiji Period Curry!

February 13th, Wednesday:

DSCN4288

  • Old Fashioned Curry and Rice (Grilled Chikuwa, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Boiled Vegetable Salad (Broccoli, Cabbage, Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper)
  • Spinach Omelet
  • Kcal: 989

When meat was not eaten as much as it is today, ground foods were used as an ingredient in curry.  Most representative of these are fish sausage and chikuwa. Having listened to the children of olden times, what do you think?

I like chikuwa a lot, so I enjoyed today’s curry more than usual. Curry itself is a rather heavy dish I think, so using chikuwa rather than makes it a little light I feel. Not that it seems to have any less calories. Today’s salad was decent, but without much flavour. It was dressed in sesame and made of “western vegetables”, as broccoli etc. are sometimes advertised as here.

So, today was “old-fashioned” curry, so I thought I would post a recipe I translated from a Meiji period (1873) cook book I translated:

curry

○「カレー」ノ製法ハ葱一茎生姜判箇蒜少許ヲ細末ニシ牛骼大一匙ヲ以テ煎リ水一合五タヲ加ヘ鶏海老鯛蠣赤蛙等ノモノヲ入テ能ク煮後ニ「カレー」ノ粉小一匙ヲ入煮ルコト洋一字間已ニ熟シタルトキ塩に加ヘ又小麥粉大匙二ツを水ニテ解キテ入るヘシ

As for the method for making “curry”, you should cut finely one stalk of green onion, half a ginger, and a little bit of garlic. Add 1 and a half gou water with one large spoon of ox bone added to it. Add chicken, shrimp, sea bream, oyster, or red frog and boil well. Then, put in one small spoon of “curry” flour and simmer for one Western hour. After it is well cooked, add salt and two large spoons of wheat flour to the water, so it is dissolved.

To be honest, this recipe seems a little to difficult for my poor cooking skills, I can recall only lumpy less than successful results from my days when I still attempted to make things like flour thickened sauces. But I do like cooking from historical recipes. For example, I did make a delicious castella cake from the Meiji period recipe recorded by the Kaientai:

BakumatsuCastella

 

ちょっと昔風カレーライス
牛乳
ボイル野菜サラダ
ほうれん草オムレツ

Miso Oden Yum! Yum!

December 18th, Friday:

DSCN4209

  • Miso Soup (Winter Mushroom, Tofu, Green Onion)
  • Curry Miso Oden (Squid Surimi, Quail Egg, Daikon, Konnyaku, Carrot)
  • Salt-Broiled Dull Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 860

Oden is a type of simmered dish. The ingredients differ depening on the place and household, but include daikon, bamboo surimi, and boiled eggs. What do you like in your oden?

Francois Launet is a french artist whose internet name is “Goomi” (塵), whose Cthulhian art I’ve been a fan of since high school. Here is a comic of his I always bringing to mind when eating. Unfortunately, only

CthulhuRamen

 

But I really honestly do love miso oden.

みそ汁
カレー風味みそおでん
とろさば塩焼き
ごはん
牛乳

初給食

January 17th, Thursday:

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  • Kashiwa Udon (Chicken, Naruto Surimi, Egg, Carrot, Onion, Bean Curd)
  • Milk
  • Squash Dumpling
  • Yogurt
  • Kcal: 755

“Kashiwa Udon” is udon with chicken meat in it. An udon dish from Nothern Kyuushuu, chicken meat is called “kashiwa” there.

I like udon a lot. It has a delicious fairly light broth and the noodles are wonderfully soft and chewy. It is just a pleasent food to eat. The other day, I was reading a historical recipe that called for うどん粉 or udon flour. Looking at the market, all the flour was marked soft, medium, or hard protein: none of it was marked “udon”. So I turned to that infallible font of knowledge: wikipedia. And here is what I found out.

Soft flour was unknown in Japan before the Meiji period and it wasn’t used much until after the war. Hard flour, on the other hand, was mostly used in ramen making. The most popular wheat flour was medium flour (in haole language we call that “all purpose flour”) and since the most common wheat-using dish was udon, this is called “udon flour”.

Also of interest was the difference between “udon flour” and “meriken flour”. They are both medium flours, but udon flour is grown in Japan and whiter in colour, while merikan flour is an off-white and of course, imported from America.

かしわうどん
牛乳
かぼちゃもち
ヨーグルト

Petit Chou

December 13th, Thursday:

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  • Konbu Udon (Chicken, Konbu Seaweed, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Bean Curd, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Mince Meat Dumpling
  • Petit Chou
  • Kcal: 830

During the cold season, Seven Spice (Shichimi Tougarashi) is a condiment which is required for noodle dishes. The flavour will warm up our bodies. It is a characteristically Japanese mixed spice.

Petit chou are mini creampuffs, Beard Papa being the most popular brand in my hometown. But I hate chou cream, especially in cream puffs. Why? you ask. They taste decent, are fairly expensive, and full of elegant French class so there are occasions when they are served to me as a treat. But the yicky milk chou cream make me terribly sick. Yet I feel obligated to eat this specially expensive treat the host so thoughtful bought for me.

昆布うどん
牛乳
粗挽き肉しゅうまい
プチシュー

Qingjiao Rousi

November 30th, Friday:

DSCN4071

  • Slightly Thickened Egg Soup (Egg, Imitation Crab, Shiitake Mushroom, Trefoil)
  • Qingjiao Rousi (Pork, Green Bell Pepper, Bamboo Shoot)
  • Shrimp Crystalline Dumpling
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 841

Egg Usukuzu Soup is a soup that has a thin viscosity. There is also a simmered dish with the same name (usukuzu). 

Lately, it seem like we have been having Chinese-style lunches on Friday. Dishes like dumplings are generally served on Thursday (with Chinese noodles of course), so I was surprised to see it on today’s menu. Qingjiao rousi is a dish characterized by green peppers and meat. As awesome as crystalline wrapped shrimp sound, my favourite today was of course the soup. Mostly, because I really love soup. And I also really love imitation crab. Yum! Yum! “Ususkuzu” is literally “thin-starch”, so it means a soup whose broth is thickened slightly with kudzu starch. I was asking my friend about precisely what it was, and she mentioned that while they never ate usukuzu soup in her hometown in Okayama, she thinks of Kyoto when hearing the term. So it might be a somewhat locallized dish.

Chestnut Squash

November 8th, Thursday:

  • Wakame Udon (Chicken, Wakame Seaweed, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Bean Curd, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Fried Chestnut Squash Roll
  • Orange Jelly
  • Kcal: 734

This the first time we’ve had Chestnut Squash Roll. Using chestnut squash that we can enjoy the sweetness of kabocha with, it is then wrapped with surimi and fried.

I wanted to eat Chestnut  Squash Roll, but instead I was very sick. 😦

わかめうどん
牛乳
栗かぼちゃロールフライ
オレンジゼリー