Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Japanese attempt: Miso Marinated Broiled Salmon

After my trip to Tokyo (shaburaw foods), I was inspired to purchase a Japanese cookbook. I was not so interested in sushi preparation; I wanted to learn about the use of fundamental ingredients and flavor pairings for typical cooked foods. Therefore I settled on Washoku: Recipe from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh. The book pays great attention to "kitchen harmony" and the explanation and treatment of ingredients accompanied by few but inspiring photographs. It prepares a wide range of seasonal vegetables, fishes, and meats in ways that are achievable, though might require some time and lots of effort.

This is a recipe that I've used quite a number of times since I've purchased the book. However, I've altered it slightly because there are just some ingredients that I do not find practical to invest in (i.e. freeze dried yuzu peel). Furthermore, I've used mostly salmon filet because it is easy to come by, but definitely try this out with black cod, saberfish, or kingfish if you can come across it and if it fits in your budget.

From my Japanese kitchen: mixed mushrooms with ponzu dressing,
miso marinated broiled salmon, and homemade miso soup with enoki

Miso Marinated Broiled Salmon
1 1/2 lb salmon fillet with skin intact
Lemon wedges (optional)

3 tbs light miso
2 tbs mirin
2 tbs sake
1 tbs ponzu

1. Mix together the ingredients of the marinade.
2. After rinsing and patting dry the salmon filet, wrap it in a cheese cloth or surgical cloth.
3. Spread the marinade over the cloth and marinate for at least twenty minutes or in the refrigerator for up to an hour.
4. Preheat the broiler on medium-high.
5. Remove the cloth layer and place filet on an aluminum pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the skin develops a golden color and the meat turns an opaque pink. Flip the filet and do the same for the other side.
6. Serve accompanied with lemon wedges and a steaming bowl of white short grain rice.

✓ omega 3 fatty acids
✓ protein
✓ low sodium
✓ low saturated fat
Also see, My French Attempt: Lamb Stew and Gratin Dauphinois 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hiking in the Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park

When I studied abroad in the French Alps, I learned the hard way that I was scared of heights. I really have not done much hiking or mountaineering since, but I have recently purchased a pair of on sale hiking boots (they're Gortex, okay?). What I realized was that I totally noobed out in France because I was wearing a pair of gripless Nike ID 6.0s, when I should have been rocking my current New Balance hiking shoes. I'm still a bit slow on the decent, but I have a definite new found self-confidence. 

But in reality, the most important thing I gleaned from my weekend hiking trips with my host dad in France is that a hike is no hike without a picnic. I honestly think he went hiking so often because he just wanted a scenic lunch spot. Every hike, he would pack a baguette, some ham, leftover cheese, a tomato, fruit, and some sweets. So when I went hiking with Tiffany this past weekend, I did exactly the same. 

We followed a trail that included the Timp-Torne/ Appalachian Trail and Beechy Bottom Road, but we got lost a total of three times, which I think added approximately 1.5hrs and at least 3-4 miles to our planned 5 mile trek. Because of this, we completed a significant amount of the rest of the West Mountain Loop as well. There was a significant amount of forestry, climbing, and not to mention backtracking, but we finally made it to the scenic viewpoint including a glimpse of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River. Only, it wasn't even the original picnic spot we were aiming for because, yup, we were lost. Regardless, we were still able to construct our sandwiches, re-energize for the long way back, and probably ruin some ecosystem by feeding some ant families leftover cheese. 

It was an eventful hike with snakes, caterpillar colonies, and lots of ants, and I can only wish to make it back to see the views during autumn for the foliage... with a very generous picnic packed, of course! 

This is where Timon and Pumba find their grub.. grubs.

We had to scale some pretty vertical climbs!

Sad realization: I don't remember the last time being able to see this far away

Tiffany cutting the very squished tomato

Absolutely glorious. 

Hesitant ants scoping out my fallen cheese

Monday, May 20, 2013

American Museum of Natural History: Our Global Kitchen

The week before my graduation from my masters program in food policy and applied nutrition, I finally made it to the Museum of Natural History to visit their featured exhibit on how food affects our health, the environment, and the people who grow, trade, cook, and eat it. With the issues of food becoming more and more prominent in popular media and understood by the masses as a critical component to the function of every society, it makes sense that there is now an entire exhibit dedicated to the development, transport, trade, consumption, and celebration of food. 

In short, it starts with a dark room with circular screens flashing images of macronutrients, types of food, food access, and other meal or food related concepts. Then it leads to information on farming and agriculture practices of the past, present, and future and how our actions have altered the planet and its inhabitants. They have visuals that show how Japan developed methods of growing cubed shaped watermelons, the effects of over fishing in the Atlantic, and the complicated story of corn in America. There are then displays of how food is used in different cultures and how food was preserved, prepared, and consumed in ancient Rome, Victorian England, the Yuen Dynasty, and other histories. You can pretend to have a sit down dessert of ice cream with Jane Austen, learn the art of fermenting kim chi, or see what Michael Phelps eats at a typical meal. And of course, no food exhibit would be complete without a taste kitchen! We were able to sample cacao nibs (see: Taza Chocolate Factory Tour) and raw jicama. The exhibit is also book ended by two video rooms, which starts with a video on the future of food and farming and ends with a video on using food in celebrations in New York City. 

Overall, I think this exhibit is extremely well curated and it successfully engages people of all different ages and backgrounds. Everyone has a different relationship with food, and everyone can relate to the information with a different level of understanding. It's interactive enough to keep kids interested, and it's informative enough to keep adults absorbed. Look through the photos below to get a better understanding of what the museum teaches on food, nature, and culture: 

Current farming methods on the left, hydroponics on the right

Is vertical farming the solution to feed the anticipated 2bil population? 

Stepped back in time and visited a lively Aztec Market from 1519!

An interactive projected table where you can learn how to cook different recipes 
The taste kitchen at Our Global Kitchen

Learned all about my favorite meal from different places around the world
My brother smelling different spices at the scent stations
A meal in Rome with olives, figs, and fresh sea urchin!

A video featuring shopping for Chinese New Years on Bayard Street in Chinatown
Great fruit themed seats for the short film features
Not in the exhibit, but a relevant promotion of tap water around the museum
American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sam Adams Brewery Tour and Doyle's Cafe, Boston

I am perhaps the farthest thing from a beer expert, but when Fukuko visited me from Tokyo (shabu, raw foods), we decided to venture out to Jamaica Plain for Boston's Sam Adams Brewery Tour. For everyone graduating in the greater Boston area within the next few weeks, this is a spot in to seriously consider visiting before heading back home!

The tour is free with a suggested $2 donation, and you get a free mini glass to sample the original Boston Lager, their seasonal brew, and whatever they're testing out at the moment. With so many perks, why wouldn't you stop by? (Only downside -- you have to be 21+ to try anything, otherwise it's not too exciting.) At the beginning of the tour, you get an entire spiel on the brewing process and you even get to try and smell malted barley and hops. (Did you know that hops are actually flowers?) When we visited, most of the brewery was under construction, so we did not get much instruction on the tanks and all, but we did get to go straight to the tasting. In addition to the Boston Lager and the delightfully refreshing summer ale, we were able to taste test their citrus ale. Our guides don't think it will make it on the shelf, which is a shame because it was a crisp beer that I would've definitely grabbed for any upcoming summer time barbecue.  

After the tour, we were highly encouraged to take the free party trolley to the neighborhood Doyle's, which was the first bar to ever serve Sam Adams. Furthermore, if you show your tour pass at Doyle's after you order a Sam Adams, you get to keep the especially developed Sam Adams glass for free! Have you ever heard of so many upsides?? Anyways, I've never had a more passionate driver or met someone who was more obsessed with Boston. He adamantly insisted that we tried the lobster roll, the Reuben with sweet potato fries, and the clam chowder at Doyle's. I also learned from him that the Sam Adams 26.2 brew is only served at bars along the Boston marathon path and of course at Doyle's.  

Because Fukuko and I had a gigantic brunch at Paramount, we could not stuff down a lobster roll or Reuben, but we did get an enormous heap of garlic fries. Doyle's has a charming old tavern feel, for the bar, booths, and floors were all wooden and it's decked out with posters and advertisements dating back to the late 19th century. Now that I can navigate Jamaica Plain, I know I will be returning to Doyle's for an actual meal with a Sam Adams Red Brick or 26.2! 

This is what a hop looks like!

Our guides explaining how to taste the beer with different parts of  the tongue. 

Our free glasses filled with Boston Lager

Outside Doyle's

Delicious garlic fries served with honey mustard

Sam Adams Brewery
30 Germania St.
Boston, MA 02130

Doyle's Cafe
3484 Washington St
Boston, MA 02130

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

James Hook + Co., Boston

Today is the most perfect spring day I have had all semester, and the timing could not have been better because I took my last final today. And yes, that means I am officially done with my masters degree! Pushing my recently mastered food policy and nutrition knowledge aside, Doug and I (double Jumbos for life!) decided to go for a lobster roll lunch. Well, we really wanted to get something from the food trucks at Dewey Square, but the warm sunny weather had all the Financial District people out for lunch too. We took a walk from Chinatown to the Waterfront, which was a lot more scenic than I remember (by scenic I mean corporations took the money to pot flowers and do some landscaping). 

A regular sized lobster roll and San Pellegrino soda --the only I dare drink. 

Roughly speaking, James Hook can be described as a shack sitting in a pier side lot surrounded by modern skyscrapers. Upon entering the shack, a salty and fishy smell overwhelms you, but not as much as the refrigerators filled with lobster ravioli and lump crab meat or their tanks filled with gargantuan lobsters. Once you get over all the olfactory and visual bombardment, you'll perhaps notice the crowd of people all dressed in suits by the front counter ordering lunch. Doug and I went for two regular sized lobster rolls ($14 each) and he also got a clam chowder. 

Luckily, we were able to snag a picnic in the lot to enjoy our seaside lunch. The clam chowder was addictive, for I could not resist going back for spoonful after spoonful. It wasn't too thick, and I approve of the relatively high clam to  potato ratio. 

My favorite kind of lobster rolls are those that are most simple. Forget the celery and the lettuce. Lobster with a bit of butter and mayonnaise does the trick! It was served on a deliciously toasted white hot dog bun, and I am delighted to say that it was overflowing with lobster chunks. 

Fun fact: the last time I graduated from Tufts, I also celebrated with a lobster roll meal

Nutrition + dental students drinking soda. Who gives? 

You can't tell, but that claw is about two of my forearms.

Just in case you need some souvenirs!

James Hook + Co.
15-17 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02110

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strawberries + Oats = Crumble or Creamy oatmeal

Because I'm a hoarder and I can't let go of a bargain, I ended up with 4lb of strawberries last week that I bought for about 58cents a pound. I didn't realize it was strawberry season somewhere in the world, but I'm not going to complain about it either. Because I already had strawberry in my cereal and strawberries for dessert every day of the week, I figured it was time to try something new with them. So here you are, a recipe for a seasonal crumble, and a great no cook oatmeal recipe packed with nutrients! 

Strawberry Crumble (serves 6)
2 cus strawberries, sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour (or try using half whole wheat flour)
6 tbs butter, a little warmer than room temp (I microwaved the stick for 20 seconds) 
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2. Toss the strawberries with the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and honey. 
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, flour, and oats until crumbly. (Easier if you get down and dirty with your hands)
4. In a square baking dish (I used an 8x8in), line the bottom with a thin layer of the crumble. 
5. Then spread a layer of the sliced and spiced strawberries on top.
6. Place the rest of the crumble mixture over the strawberries.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. 
8. Serve fresh with greek yogurt, or refrigerate then reheat at 300F for 15-20 minutes. 

✓ fiber
✓ whole grains
✓ Vitamin C
✓ fruit

If you prefer a more Autumnal crumble, check out my apple crisp recipe


Overnight Oats (serves 2, unless you REALLY like oatmeal...)
⅔ cup rolled oats
¼ cup yogurt
¾ cup 1% milk (try almond or soy milk also)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs honey

½ cup strawberries, sliced
Optional: nuts, dried fruit, seeds, berries, banana, nut butter, chocolate chips, chia seeds
1. Mix everything together in a bowl.
2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Top with fresh strawberries or other mix-ins in the morning! 
✓ fiber
✓ whole grains
✓ Vitamin C
✓ low fat dairy

Oatmeal is a great addition to your diet because it is high in fiber, which will keep you more full during the day and really aid in your digestion. This recipe is packed with fiber, calcium, vitamins, and protein, so why not give it a try?