Thursday, July 29, 2004

Dengaku (gesundheit)

(Originally posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004 by Tim)

Today we wired half the kitchen. Well, half the kitchen if you don?t count the overhead lighting. It?s hard to make estimates when it comes to 1st floor overhead lighting. Depending on what you find in the ceiling, it can take anywhere from half a day to a college semester to get the fixture installed and responding to a wall switch somewhere in the room. I?m waiting for someone to invent a device that talks to my lights by remote control and delivers 20 amp power to them without wire or singeing dog hair.

The biggest victory for today is the dishwasher. Huzzah! It is now hooked up and it appears to run as advertised. We have yet to test it with un-rinsed dishes. We will probably do that in a day or two after today?s dinner has crusted on harder than the plaster we just put up in the bathroom. Speaking of dinner, here?s one of the Japanese dishes I like to make. It?s officially street/snack food, but I make this as a meal. At it?s current size it?s good for two hungry people. Double it if you are cooking for more or just add another dish.

1 lb extra firm tofu
3 small to medium potatoes
1 Japanese eggplant cut into 1 inch rounds
toasted sesame seeds
6 tablespoons (3 oz) miso
3 tablespoons sake (or white wine)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
juice of ¼ lime

Press water out of the tofu. To do this, I first palce the tofu block in a large colander. I then find a bowl slightly smaller than the colander and place it on top of the tofu. Finally, I fill the bowl full of cans of beans to weigh it down so it will press the water out of the tofu. You can pretty much fill the bowl with whatever heavy objects are handy: Rocks, batteries, cans of Spam, or 12 gauge electrical wire will do nicely. Allow the tofu to press for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1 inch rounds and boil them for about 20 minutes or until they are just beginning to become slightly tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

This meal gets its name from the sauce that is made with the remaining ingredients. Place the miso, sake, and sugar in a small saucepan. Add the 3 tablespoons of water slowly while heating and stirring this mixture until bubbly. Once mixed and bubbly, add lime juice and immediately remove from heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature (actually, it doesn?t really need to be room temperature. Just let it cool a bit.)

Cut the tofu into ¾ inch to 1 inch thick pieces. Spray two baking sheets with Pam and arrange the potatoes, tofu, and eggplant on the sheets. Set your oven to Speed Broil so that you can use both of your broilers to cook both baking sheets simultaneously one above the other. If you do not have a Speed Broil setting on your oven, I don?t know what to tell you?I guess you bought the wrong house. Broil and flip the tofu and veggies until golden brown on both sides. When done, remove veggies from oven and brush with a generous layer of the dengaku sauce. Sprinkle the brushed veggies with toasted sesame seeds and serve warm with plum wine.

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