Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shiso Wrapped Asparagus

I got back from the World Cup trip a couple of days ago. It was an amazing experience. I was never particularly a soccer fan, but after being part of attending the game, I am now hooked. My wife and I have been going to the nearby British pub called George & Dragon (famous for showing soccer matches) every night to watch the other games.

During this trip, I spent about 4 days in Germany, and four more days in Spain. I enjoyed the beers and pastries in Germany, and fell in love with seafood in Spain, particularly the octopus dish called "Pulpo ala gallego." I've been to Europe before on my own, but this time I had local friends show us around, which was ten times better than following a guidebook.

I'll have to write more about my trip, but for now, let me introduce today's recipe. I'm sure this exists, but I've never seen it offered at restaurants. My mom used to make this years ago, and recently I somehow remembered about it, and decided to make it myself.

IN JAPANESE: Asparagus no shiso maki
CATEGORY: Side-dish, Vegetarian
SERVES: 2 people

8 shiso leaves
4 fresh green asparagus
1 TBsp miso
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp sake
1/2 TBsp vegetable oil

In a small bowl, mix miso, mirin and sake until it becomes a smooth paste.

Cut the asparagus into similar length as the width of shiso leaves, and boil for 3 minutes.

While the asparagus is being cooked, gently wash the shiso leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel. Lay them flat, and pour about 1/3 teaspoon of miso-mirin-sake paste on top.

Scoop the boiled asparagus pieces from the pot, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place a piece of asparagus on top of the shiso leaves and carefuly take one end of the shiso leaf and wrap the asparagus. Don't worry if some of the miso paste comes out from the sides.

After all the aparagus pieces are wrapped by shiso leaves, pour some oil in a heated pan and carefully stirfry them for a minute or two, rotating them around so they are evenly cooked. Remember, the asparagus is already cooked, so you don't need to stirfry for too long!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Asparagus & Bacon

After a couple of months of sending out resumes and interviews, I finally got a job offer from my number 1 pick. I won't say here what company I will be working for, but I will be working in the tallest building on the West coast. It's a big relief as I will be leaving for Germany tomorrow for a World Cup game (Japan vs Australia), and I wanted to find out the answer before I was out of town for 10 days. With this job, I will be dealing a lot with Japan, so I will probably have to stay late to coordinate with their time zone. Hopefully I can still continue to cook.

It's still the asparagus season, so today I'll introduce an easy but tasty side dish using asparagus.

IN JAPANESE: Asparagus to Bacon
CATEGORY: Meat, Side dish
SERVES: 2 people

3-4 slices of bacon
6-8 sticks of asparagus
some shrimp (optional)
some salt and pepper

Cut slices of bacon into small pieces (about half an inch wide), and cook them in a frying pan to your preference (if you like crispy bacon, then cook it long time).

While the bacon is being cooked, wash the asparagus and chop them into bite size pieces.

Add the asparagus to the pan (add the shrimp as well if you are using it), and stir fry for about 3 minutes until asparagus looks rich and green.

Season with some salt and pepper and serve.