Saturday, July 7, 2012

Horse mackerel with tomato and jalapeno pepper

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Hope this helps and I can`t wait to hear from you!

Now let`s have our food talk.
It`s been a while since I posted fish recipes, so today I`d like to share one using horse mackerel or "aji" in Japanese. I usually buy the ready-to-use butterflied aji, which is very easy to find at our nearby stores, because handling fish from scratch still won`t budge from my to-avoid list.
Anyway, since this dish was for our Saturday`s brunch where I wasn`t even sure if I was fully awake when I made it, it won`t take rocket science to whip it up within 30 min assuming that you use ready-to-use fish or fish fillet. After all, I know nothing about rocket, anyway. 

Here`s the fish where they are already cleaned and butterflied. But I rinsed them again and patted dry with kitchen paper.

Lightly dust the fish with corn starch to help it crisp up and hold its shape during frying later.

And by frying, I mean add a bit of olive oil on a frying pan over medium heat and put the starch-coated fish there.
I love hearing something sizzling on Saturday morning. Anytime before 12 is morning, right?

When the fish has turned white and curled in, set them aside on a plate. 
The chars were unintentional and I love how they made the grilly look on the fish.
I won`t blame you if you add salt to the fried fish and then..poof! They`re gone. It`s not your fault.

But if you can hold yourself a bit, here`s a little extra work Parsley, cherry tomatoes, and lemon.
Those colors are what my eyes need to open up. I feel healthy already just looking at them.

Chop up parsley and tomato, but leave a few whole tomatoes for serving later. Stir in olive oil and squeeze in lemon juice. Add the zest too if you want. Throw in sliced pickled jalapeno peppers and season with salt and black pepper.
Stir everything to combine and adjust the seasoning to your liking. When you`re done, add it to the fried fish you prepared earlier.

The fish is crispy on the outside but still juicy inside and the addition of sweet-tangy-hot salsa will make you chew them up quicker and add more on your plate. My husband enjoyed this with a plate of rice, but I wish I had some baked potatoes that day. It seems like I have to recreate this soon!
Serves two persons

4 horse mackerel, cleaned and butterflied
1-2 Tbs corn starch for dusting
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
2-3 whole cherry tomatoes
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 cup chopped parsley
3 Tbs sliced pickled jalapeno pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
Black pepper

1. Clean and butterfly horse mackerel. Lightly rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper.
2. Lightly dust the fish with corn starch.
3. Add a bit of olive oil on a frying pan over medium heat and fry the fish.
4. When the fish has turned white and curled in, set them aside on a plate. 
5. In a bowl, stir chopped parsley and tomato, olive oil, lemon juice (add the zest too if you want), and sliced jalapeno pepper. 
6. Season with salt and black pepper. 
7. Serve the fish with the tomato and jalapeno salsa. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tokyo Banana Tree

It`s late now, but my eyes are still wide opened and I`m too awake to be sleepy. So, I guess I`d better use my energy to post something here because I happen to have something unusual to show you. One thing got my full attention when I came to Japanese stores was the vast options of baked goods and food specialties that are meant for souvenirs. But what impressed me most was the visual presentation. The food itself looks already delightful on its own, but the packing brings it to a higher level in aesthetic department. It`s obvious that in Japanese culture, you enjoy the food with your eyes before you actually eat it. And when we want to bring them as souvenirs or presents, the visual gorgeousness surely add up the whole happiness for both sides. Although environmentally speaking I`m not too keen on the individual packaging, especially for the bite-sized cakes or cookies, sometimes I think it comes in handy under some circumstances.

So, the coffee table in our laboratory is often filled with some food specialties brought as souvenirs (called "omiyage or お土産" in Japanese). As usual, they`re usually pretty and neat. But this one was very interesting that once I saw it, I brought one home because I knew I just had to take some pictures of it.
If you come to Japan, chance is you`d hear about Tokyo Banana and you`d probably won`t leave Japan without bring some home with you. Alright, I`m a little exaggerating here, but the point is, it`s super famous. It`s actually a banana-shaped banana sponge cake with bananaey custard filling. But recently, with the opening of Tokyo`s SkyTree, the Tokyo Banana maker released Tokyo Banana Tree with Choco Banana custard filling...with leopard printing on the cake!

I`m definitely not into leopardy stuff (because honestly, I`m so much more into cows!) and I really have no idea how the leopard connects with the banana or cake. If you have some info on it, please share with us here because I`m so intrigued right now.

Is this art giving you some new ideas for your next kitchen projects already?

Done with the outside. Now the inside.
The thick custard had a quite strong accent of banana, although I wish the chocolate flavor stood out more. But generally, you won`t disappoint anyone with presents like this :)

Now I`m getting hungry and I think I want to grab a banana (the fruit, not the cake) before going to bed.
Nite nite!