Japanese Lunch

Lately I've been obsessed with Japanese food. The light and airy flavors paired with savory soy sauce are addicting! I don't live anywhere near an Asian market so I have to use ingredients I've bought here and there from co-ops and make hodgepodge versions of Japanese food at home.

My favorite successes so far have been fried tofu and udon soup. For today's lunch I followed a recipe I found online for dashi stock and used that as my base. Dashi stock in Japanese cooking is what chicken broth is to Western cooking. It's really easy to make; just soak a piece of kombu kelp in a pot of water for 30 minutes then add a handful of bonito flakes and boil for five minutes. Strain and it's ready to use! Some recipes called for using dried anchovies, but I didn't have any of those.

In my soup bowl I put one sliced green onion, two sliced and blanched mushrooms, udon noodles, dashi stock, and cubed tofu. In
another version I added cut up pieces of nori. What I really wanted to make was miso soup, but I don't have any miso so I settled for using just dashi stock and it turned out really well.

Here's a picture.
On the side I had a small cup of sushi rice mixed with jade pearl rice and a cup of match tea.

Happy New Year

Well it's time for one of those cliché, "I haven't posted in so long!" posts.

The past year and the current year have taught me a lot about change. Changes in life, situations, and feelings. I've always loved change, even when I'm not enjoying the uncertainty it gives me. I look forward to the future and wonder where I'll be living, what I'll be doing, what friends I'll make, what friends I'll lose, and more importantly how happy I'll be.

Like I said earlier, the past year taught me a lot. I learned that I'm not quite as prepared as I'd like to be for the real world. This unpreparedness has lead to a lot of fear about my competency in holding down a "career" job. I've worked small service jobs since high school, but nothing that will prepare me for the future. I've relied on my schooling to help with that. Now's the time when I have to push myself for what I want and not be afraid.

I also learned what it means to lose friends (something I'm far too familiar with) and gain new friends. With every friend lost there are two more to replace that one friendship I held so dear. New friends give you a new pair of glasses to see the world through and the ones I've made this far have done just that. I've learned what it's like to truly enjoy life and know that I have a great group of people standing beside me when times get rough.

I've also strengthened old friendships. I thought I knew people, but really I had no idea (how cool they were)!

So as 2010 keeps rolling I hope to make some big changes that will impact my life in very positive ways. I know there will be hardships and not everything will go my way, but what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger.

Have a very happy 2010 everyone!