Continuing on with the tale of our Tokyo adventures over the weekend, after Hisa and I finished enjoying our tour of the Yebisu beer museum, we found a lovely Thai restaurant for lunch. I love love love Thai food, but unfortunately, there’s only one Thai restaurant in the city we live in, and the food is a bit sketchy if you ask me, so we don’t usually get to eat Thai food all that much unless we make it ourselves.
In the afternoon we looked around little clothes shops and stores, found a really cool Italian market/restaurant where we enjoyed sampling delicious cheeses, and indulged in gelato and Italian coffee.
Later in the afternoon, we eventually checked into our hotel, rested a bit, and then left to meet up with some friends for dinner in Shinjuku.
I think we probably picked the worst possible day and area of Shinjuku to meet at, because when Hisa and I got to the East exit of Shinjuku station where we’d agreed to meet, it was total chaos. There was an anti-nuclear energy demonstration going on, so there were a huge number of people participating in that, and generally making a deafening amount of noise (think whistles, drums, and shouting). Because of the demonstration, there were about a hundred police officers running around trying to keep things under control. On top of all that, well, Shinjuku station is simply one of the most crowded train stations in Tokyo, so there’s always a lot of people.
After some confusion and frantic text messaging (it was too loud to call), we finally all found each other and left to go eat as quickly as possible.
We ended up going to two different izakaya (Japanese pubs), and had a generally great time.
Hisa and I ended up heading back to our hotel after midnight. We caught the last train, so we barely made it really. I think it was after one by the time we both collapsed into bed, but it was definitely a fun day.
I’ll tell about what we did on Sunday tomorrow. I know you’re so excited to hear about it right? Right…?
* * *
Although it doesn’t seem to be all that popular in the U.S. (at least not in the South West), carbonara is super popular here in Japan. On the flip side, I’ve never seen any pasta dish with alfredo sauce here, so there you go. Both are a delicious treat once and a while, but any more than that and your waist line will grow to hate you.
I made fettuccine & zucchini carbonara for dinner last week, and it was great! Now, if you’re Italian or an Italian food purist, you may cringe at this recipe, because authentic carbonara sauce does not have cream in it. All of it’s creaminess comes from adding whisked eggs to the dish right before serving. I’ve tried making carbonara sauce with only eggs and no cream, but no matter how much I try and let everything cool, my eggs always end up getting lumpy.
So, I decided to throw purist notions to the wind and make this carbonara sauce with cream and eggs. Lovely.
I found this recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website that has both cream and eggs in the sauce, so I decided to try it out, and I loved it. I love Jamie Oliver. He’s so down to earth and laid back, but extremely sincere and passionate at the same time. Oh yeah, and his recipes are really good too, hehe. But I digress.
So here’s my take on Jamie’s Courgette Carbonara recipe. Oh, and if you’re confused by this, courgette is the same thing as zucchini. Zucchini is the Italian word, and courgette is the French word. Interestingly, while we use zucchini in the U.S., they use courgette in the U.K. Interesting, no?
Fettuccine & Zucchini Carbonara (serves 2)
- fettuccine for two people (use your own good judgment here)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 – 3 slices thick bacon, diced
- 1/4 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 zucchini (green, yellow, pick your favorite)
- 1 c. good quality cream
- 2 egg yolks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Cook fettuccine according to package instructions.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 2 minutes. Add onion, zucchini and garlic, and continue cooking for another 3 – 4 minutes. Turn off heat.
- In a small bowl, combine the cream and egg yolks and whisk together. Add a little pasta water and whisk together. Gradually pour mixture into the pan with the bacon mixture while stirring. Once mixed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the fettuccine to the pan with the sauce and mix until the fettuccine is well coated. Dive everything between two plates, garnish with some grated parmesan cheese (optional), and serve immediately.