To Beverly, Ema and all of y’all patient and supportive human beings,
First things first: during my radio silence…I got engaged!
I think it’s safe to say that nobody was as surprised (in a good way) at this development as I was, and between this thing and that, we now have a little more than 5 months until D-day.
Scared? Excited? Nervous? Try going through a roller-coaster of all three simultaneously and it’ll almost come close. Seriously, I don’t know how you girls who’ve been through this did it. I feel like I need someone to constantly hold my hand and tether me to the ground or I’ll just float in a charged cloud of nervous excitement.
On top of that, I seem to have grown an emphatic bone seemingly out of thin air, so bad that I sometimes can’t watch Say Yes to the Dress without tearing up a little when a bride (finally) finds her dress. Really, it’s all sorts of a nuisance, except for the fact that it’s also maybe more than a little kind of nice.
Anyway. I digress.
Because whoever said that nothing is like a wedding to motivate you to getting healthy and in shape (does such a saying really exist?), must not be familiar with the saying easier said than done, because all I ever want to do is stuff my face with the greasiest, saltiest food ever known to mankind. The temptation is great, but you must be greater and push through. And, you know, make this.
This is comfort food that’s light and all kinds of pleasant. It’s a simple Japanese dish made by pouring hot green tea, oolong, dashi or even hot water over cooked leftover rice. You can eat is as is, or top it with a variety of toppings, making it as light or as indulgent as you like. Common toppings include salted or preserved food like tsukemono (Japanese pickles), umeboshi (pickled plums), nori (seaweed), furikake, sesame seeds, tarako and mentaiko (salted and marinated roe), salted salmon and wasabi.
Some of these ingredients are quite hard to get outside of Japan so feel free to change the ingredients and create your own ochazuke recipe. I’m putting kimchi on mine - that counts as something pickled, right? With charred green onions, fried ginger-garlic crisps and delivery-packet bonito flakes from that one time we had takoyaki takeout. Onsen-tamago (hot spring eggs !) too, just because
wedding dieting sucks lemons and I like to indulge myself.
Also, if you look closely, the editing is a bit of a hodge-podge situation at this point. Part of it is because I’m out of practice, but also because I’ve just downloaded a new post-editing program and I’m having way too much fun trying it out. Possibly maybe will tell you guys about it and maybe do a little tutorial. We’ll see!
(EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK) OCHAZUKE (serves 2):
[ 4 teaspoon Japanese green tea leaves, but any unflavored and not too strong green tea will do + 2 cups hot water + 1 teaspoon soy sauce + 1 ½ cup warm cooked rice + ½ cup kimchi; storebought or make your own, chopped + 2 green onions, charred in a hot pan with a little oil + bonito flakes + garlic-ginger crisps (recipe below)]
[ ½ cup peanut oil + 2 tablespoons minced garlic + 2 tablespoons minced ginger + salt ]
In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.
Put tea leaves in the pot. Bring the water to the appropriate temperature for your tea and pour into the pot. Set aside for 1-2 minute (follow the directions on your tea bag).
Divide the rice into 2 bowls, top with your choice of toppings.
Pour hot green tea over rice. Add a little soy sauce if you want. Serve immediately.