Monday, November 16, 2009
I hope people aren’t intimidated by these mystery foods. Without meaning to, I’m actually discovering and enjoying new foods through your guesses. So thank you for participating.
After sampling on fancy bites and wines in the three days of the Foodbuzz festival, my stomach is rather exhausted. I love eating out and trying new foods, but this event tested my limits. Restaurant foods momentarily lost their appeal; all I want is simple, light, home-cooked meals. Luckily, my new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box just arrived on Thursday, the night before the festival. In this delivery were several Bartlett pears, Fuji apples, a few colorful peppers, a butter lettuce, leek, savory cabbage, spinach and a couple of broccoli crowns which summed up to about 10 lbs.
The good thing about signing up for a CSA box is that it encourages me to eat a variety of vegetables. Not that I don't eat vegetables, but instead of myself thinking of what to make, they pick vegetables for me, forcing me to get the creative juices flowing. On my own, I may not necessarily choose vegetables irregular to my palate. For example, I like leek, but I can count the number of times I actually bought the vegetable. Not all CSA vegetables and fruits are organic, but many tend to be, which then encourages people to eat them more frequently (due to its perishability).
This week, I challenged myself by making home-made Udon for the first time. But it turned out so easy that I couldn't believe why I had never even tried it until now. The reason why the noodle looks rather brownish is because I used whole wheat flour instead of white, which was simply the only option in my pantry. It didn't have the same flavor and texture of regular white udon, but without a doubt, it was delicious. It makes me want to stop buying dry noodles from now on. The problem with home-made fresh udon is that it needs to be consumed relatively quickly. (I followed the recipe here.)
I had also picked up a few Yuzu at the farmers market last week. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that is thought to be a hybrid of mandarin orange and Ichang papeda. It's slightly bigger than lime, sour, and taste kind of between lemon, lime, grapefruit and tangerine. It has a distinctive smell (but a very nice one) that's different from any other citrus fruits; the Japanese even put them in hot bath to enjoy the wonderful aroma. It goes so well with soy sauce and dashi. In fact, Ponzu (citrus soysauce) made with yuzu is pretty popular in Japan. But Japanese people like it so much that it’s used in almost anything - making desserts, salad dressings, soups, drinks, cocktails or simply drizzling over grilled fish.
I used both Yuzu juice and slices in this Udon which created not only interesting flavor, but also a colorful look. Adding some grated carrots heightened the texture as well as layering another vibrant color. If you can't find Yuzu in your area, don't worry. You can try substituting with different citrus fruits (but I would recommend choosing ones that aren’t too sweet like lemon, lime, kumquat, etc), and when you do have a chance to try Yuzu, don’t be hesitant. Remember, you can use it in almost anything!