Ramen Heresy

Japanese/American Cultural Collision

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seduced by a Fish

Seduced by a Fish Posted by Picasa
I never should have bought this fish. People that live alone don't need 2.5 lb (1kg) fish. It will take me three days to eat this. I admit it was an impulse buy. Being tired of poor quality of produce in my local grocery store, I went to a more upscale store to shop for veggies. While there I came across this fish. Really good fish is hard to find here in Colorado, so when I came across this beautiful Snapper I bought it even though I didn't need it. I don't regret it though, being a landlocked seafood lover I've already forgiven myself. I think the leftovers will make great fish tacos.

Friday, February 17, 2006

In Praise of Dashi.

Dashi cures all ills and makes you happy. Dashi is a broth made from konbu seaweed and bonito flakes. Salty but damn tasty. It is the base for my latest heresy. Scallop Ramen. This one is actually made in the Japanese style. Everything is prepared seperately and assembled at the very end. Make a marinade of 3/4 cup of sake, 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup garlic teriyaki sauce, the juice of 1 orange and 1 lime.
We already have a heresy going with the marinade. Kikkoman, one of the oldest companies in Japan, is the creator of teriyaki sauce. They didn't think it would sell in Japan so they marketed it in the U.S.. So teriyaki remains a style of cooking in Japan, but is a sauce in the U.S.. The oranges would be considered strange in Japan as well. In Japan they can't get real oranges, they have mikan (tangerines) which are much sweeter so the flavor wouldn't be right for this dish.
Enough of that. After about an hour drain the scallops and save the marinade. Saute thin sliced onions, celery and garlic and set aside. Boil the noodles from 1 pack of instant ramen (throw the flavor packet away) in plain water, drain and rinse. Pan sear the scallops.
Heat 2 cups of dashi and 3 tbsps. of the marinade till it simmers. Divide the noodles into two bowls, top with the onion mixture and the scallops. Pour the dashi over it and enjoy.
Japanese but not...really not if you ask a Japanese person.

Hell Week

So ends a hell week in the magical world of cable television. In the last seven days I've had to be at work before 5:00 a.m. 4 times. The last three days consecutively before 4:30. Now if we had managed to have everything flawlessly completed by 6:00 a.m. it wouldn't be so bad. Unfortunately there were complications. Video on Demand and High Speed Internet had some issues. No doubt some will think that satellite is better because of that. After all they can't even offer competing services, such are the advantages of low expectations.

On top of that my fiancee calls me today, at 2 a.m. Tokyo time, after waking up from a nightmare. In the nightmare she forgot how to speak English and I got mad at her for it. It turns out she'd been reading a blog of some Japanese woman who married an American. This woman was apparently desperately homesick and hadn't managed to make any friends after she came to the U.S.. This woman had posted this poll on her blog that was ostensibly a "Are You American" poll. It consisted of several questions derived from every negative stereotype of American's that you can think of. So I end up having to answer the questions of this dumbass poll so my fiancee feels better. I really didn't need this today.

Ah well...at least it was payday.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What is a Ramen Heresy?

So what is a Ramen Heresy? Sausage that's what. In Japan ramen is served much differently than here is the U.S., in ramen shops it is served in many different varieties, all very artfully presented. Here it is a packet of some powdery flavor substance to be mixed with the noodles after they are cooked. My way is a variation on the military way. Long, long ago in a land not so far away, I was a Marine. On field operations we used to take ramen and anything we could catch or get off the local economy to make C-Rats more edible.

This brings us to the heresy. One of my current favorite ramen flavorings is hot Italian Sausage. When my very Japanese fiancee and her friends heard this they were shocked and appalled. Sausage is not considered appropriate with ramen. Of course this means I'm going to make her eat it. After all, I tried pizza with mayonnaise sauce and shirako when I was in Tokyo.