an austere post-election Sunday dinner. . .


I’ve been making an effort to cook semi-macrobiotic food for a couple of weeks now. It isn’t always easy to put together an appetizing menu but tonight, I think it’ll be tasty although the idea of it is rather austere:

  1. kabocha nimono:  squash slices parboiled in a dashi/soy broth; then broiled in the oven with maple syrup glaze;
  2. Minnesota wild rice with mushrooms and onions
  3. carrot and hijicki nishime: sauteed carrot sticks with soaked hijicki seaweed braised together in a soy and mirin based dashi broth
  4. roasted chestnuts after dinner to eat along while watching the Patriots game against the Seahawks at 8:30 EST.

KABOCHA SQUASH RECIPE: I took a chance buying a small squash with a dark green skin and when I cut it open, the bright orange flesh inside told me it was indeed Kabocha. I scooped out the seeds and, using a very sharp knife, cut the squash into wedges. I made a dashi stock and added a tablespoon of soy sauce and simmered the squash with the cover on. It cooked through in just about 20 minutes which surprised me. I took it out and drained it on a baking sheet to hold until I brushed on a little maple syrup before running it under the broiler to brown before serving. The texture of kabocha squash tastes a lot like sweet potato too.austere-4

CARROT & HIJICKI NISHIME: It took me about ten minutes (much to my chagrin) to locate where I had put the Hijiki seaweed in the pantry that I had ordered on Amazon. It’s sometimes hard to locate at Asian markets and I had ordered two packets of it. I used half a packet for this dish. It was a little harder to cut the carrots by hand into thin matchsticks before sauteeing the carrots in a little sesame oil in a skillet. While the carrots cooked, I added the hijiki after rinsing it well under running water to remove any impurities (and having soaked it in boiling water.) Mixing the carrots and seaweed together, I added a mixture of 2 tablespoons of Ohsawa organic soy sauce and 1 tablespoon mirin, a touch of splenda for a little sweetness and some of the dashi broth that I used to poach the kabocha squash to austere-2promote the umami taste of the dish.

WILD RICE & MUSHROOMS: I like cutting up large button mushrooms into quarters and sauteeing with some chopped shallot in unsalted butter before adding a packet of wild rice and spice packet, letting it steam for about 20 minutes before dinner, removing the lid and letting all of the liquid to absorb and crisp up the rice.austere-3

I’m impressed by the umami tastes of the kabocha squash, the carrot and seaweed nishime and wild rice mushroom dish. It seemed like a rather austere menu in the abstract when I first decided to make it. But it turned out to be quite complex in flavor and very flavorful with varied textures to boot. It’s also a water-based cuisine so very refreshing to eat and savor.  Definitely a keeper!

Rather cheery outcome, especially in light of the world spinning around us!