Sunday, April 22, 2012

Breakfast ・朝ごはん

Good morning everyone!

What have I been up to but work, work and more work?

Being an ALT is draining, but at the same time, when you're being mobbed by excited happy kids, you momentarily forget how tired you are and somehow manage to find and tap an energy that was tucked away somewhere inside of you.

I've also been biking nearly two hours to and from work almost every day, and while I'm sure this is doing great things for my health, it's also been making me incredibly hungry compared to when I was in the US.

This usually means I have to get creative with what I'm going to eat, especially in the mornings when I have no milk for oatmeal, and a personal favorite lately is ochazuke (お茶漬け).

Ochazuke is pretty simple and versatile to make. You can put whatever you like on top, and it also is pretty healthy since it involves little to no oil or sodium.

The one I have here is topped with wakame and katsuobushi, which are shaved bonito flakes. If you end up making this for guests, I'm sure it'll be amusing to have them stare at the "dancing" katsuobushi in faint horror/wonder. Because katsuobushi is so paper thin and light, the steam from the rice and tea will make it curl and move, despite it being a very dried and dead fish.

The liquid this particular ochazuke is in is actually a combination of tea and dashi stock. I heated up the dashi stock and poured it into some jasmine tea leaves I had used previously. While it tasted nice, I think a roasted sencha or something similar would have been better as it has its own distinct flavor. My tea tasted faintly of dashi, but the floral jasmine lost in the battle of fish vs. flower.

My ochazuke also changed the typical white rice to my recent favorite lately--short-grain brown rice. It definitely adds a bit of a nuttier flavor and texture, which helped since the tea wasn't quite up to par.

I also toyed with the idea of adding salted grilled salmon on top, but since I was rushing to get to work, my ochazuke remained simple and light with a splash of soy sauce instead.

Other highlights this week included having tea with ☆子, K, Matt and T. It was pretty casual, but it involved plenty of snacks and tea. And good company typically tends to make for delicious food, no matter what you're eating.

☆子 and K also were super thoughtful and brought me some snacks that I'm having for today's breakfast. Where else can I find such thoughtful and lovely people? (´;ω;`)

These little muffins are green tea (matcha, 抹茶) flavored with red beans baked into them. Matcha and red beans are a classic pairing in Japan, and there's no doubt they went together perfectly. I believe I also tasted a hint of ginger, which was a nice spicy surprise in these bite-sized pieces of delight.

Meanwhile, till next time!

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