I went to the mall this morning to do a couple of errands (and to revel in the abundant air-conditioning), and as I was leaving, I noticed what looked like a clump of dried mud on my bicycle. Wondering how mud had gotten on my bicycle, I bent down for a closer examination and discovered that it was in fact a wasp’s nest.
Let me just repeat that for emphasis.
A wasp built its nest on my bicycle.
My only means of transportation.
And I didn’t notice until I’d already been riding it for several miles.
That’s so wrong in so many ways.
Upon making this discovery, I let rip a series of loud profanities in the general direction of said wasp’s nest, and as a result, frightened the little old Japanese lady who was, unknowingly to me, walking by at the time.
Upon reaching home, I ran upstairs, thoroughly pissed by now that a wasp had DARED to build its nest on MY bicycle, grabbed the can of wasp/hornet spray from our apartment, ran back down the stairs, and proceeded to spray the daylights out of that nest. I showed no mercy. I sprayed til it was dripping.
After waiting to see if anything came out to attack me (nothing did), I then began
fearfully poking violently stabbing the nest with the metal end of my bicycle lock. It started breaking off, and much to my horror, wasp larvae started falling out. I then shrieked like a girl and pranced around because it was gross applied even more force to my stabs and managed to break the whole nest off. I then sprayed the twenty or so larvae until they were well coated in wasp spray and I could stop prancing around in disgust.
Needless to say, it was a trying matter.
* * *
Last week, despite being sick and spending the whole week lying around weak and pitiful-like, I still manged to cook dinner and take pictures of some meals. Go me.
One night, I made Japanese for dinner. Here’s what we had.
Inari-zushi (sushi rice mixed with sesame seeds and stuffed inside of pieces of fried abura-age tofu that have been simmered). I love inari-zushi. There’s just something about that mixture of sweet and salty from the abura-age combined with the vinegary sushi rice that just really hits the spot in summer.
Simmered Yellowtail with Japanese giant radish (buri-daikon). This is a delicious, light fish dish. The fish, radish, and shreds of fresh ginger are simmered in a mixture of stock, soy sauce, sake, sugar, and mirin (sweet cooking sake). It’s not arranged very pretty in this picture, but in my defense, I was sick, and simply didn’t care. It really is a lovely dish though.
Here’s two simple side dishes, cold tofu with ginger paste and soy sauce poured on top (picture taken before soy sauce was added), and a cucumber and wakame seaweed salad with a sweet vinegar dressing.
I’m going to share with you a recipe for the inari-zushi and the simmered Yellowtail.
Inari-zushi (いなり寿司) (serves 2 – 3)
- Vinegared sushi rice, cooked with about 1 1/2 c. white rice (usually you can buy sushi vinegar and just add that to the cooked rice)
- 6 slices abura-age fried tofu
- 3 Tbsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 1/4 c. stock (I use Japanese bonito stock, available in powdered form in most Asian markets)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp cooking sake
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- Prepare the vinegared sushi rice.
- Place the abura-age slices on a cutting board, and one at a time, roll a chop stick over it to make it easy to open. Cut each abura-age in half length-wise, and carefully open each pocket with your fingers.
- Boil the abura-age pieces in water for 3 – 4 minutes to remove excess oil. Remove and then place them in a pan with the stock. Add the sake and sugar, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce to the pan, and cover with a drop-lid, or parchment paper cut in the shape of the pan, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is gone.
- When most of the liquid is gone from the pan, drain the abura-age and let cool for about 5 minutes. Lightly squeeze the abura-age to remove excess moisture.
- Add the toasted sesame seeds to the sushi rice and mix well.
- Fill each abura-age pocket with the sushi rice. Adjust the shape with your hands, and fold over the opening. Serve.
Simmered Yellowtail with Japanese Raddish (serves 2)
- 2 single serving fillets of Yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack)
- 10 oz. Japanese raddish
- 1 knob of ginger
- 1 2/3 c. stock (again, I use Japanese bonito stock)
- 1 Tbsp cooking sake
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- Cut the raddish into 3/4 inch chunks.
- Cut each fish fillet into 2 or 3 pieces. Blanch the fish pieces in boiling water for about 1 minutes, and then drain and place in a bowl of ice water.
- Add the stock and radish pieces to a pot and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, add the sake and sugar, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, mirin, and thinly sliced pieces of ginger to the pot. Cover with a drop lid (or a piece of parchment paper cut into the shape of the pot) and simmer until the radish is a caramel color and tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.
- Remove the fish, radish, and ginger to a serving plate and cover with a little of the sauce from the pot. Serve.