This has been my Japanese week. I attended a cooking class called "Made in Japan" and thoroughly enjoyed it and I made one of Cafe World's Japanese theme dishes.
The class was at my local LCBO, the liquor stores here in Ontario. You can see on their website that only a limited number of their stores offer the classes, so I'm lucky that my closest store is on the list. I would seriously recommend these classes to readers in Ontario, I can't speak for the other locations, but I was impressed with the class and had tons of fun. This class wasn't hands-on, you got to sit back, watch, ask lots of questions and then enjoy the food and also the wine and beer pairings. It was enough food for a meal. I will do this again, but bring my husband or a friend for a fun night out. The other benefit of such a class is being able to ask about ingredients and where to find them. I was able to discover an Asian market that was cheaper and bigger than the one I'd been shopping at. My original intention was to learn about sushi making, so I feel I can now confidently take on this challenge. The instructor and LCBO hosts suggested that they might have a hands-on sushi making and design class in the winter sometime, so I will definitely look out for that one.
Here is the full menu of dishes prepared at the class:
-Salmon Sushi Roll with cream cheese
-California Roll with crab
-Shrimp dumplings with butter sauce (not prepared at class)
-Spring salad with ginger dressing
-Steamed sushi rice with coconut flakes
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup served with various toppings. In this instance the major topping is Chashu, simmered pork. In the above picture you can see that the Cafe World version has the pork, some fish, nori, bamboo shoot, scallion and egg topping, so they pretty much went Full Monty. I chose to stick to basics and only used the pork, bamboo shoots and green onion. I used a great book for all the recipes, The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo. I got this book from the library and did some web searches and found this blog, Tess's Japanese Kitchen, she is learning to cook Japanese food by cooking her way through the book. So you can find the recipes from the book on her blog. It is also worth reading through some of the comments as you get tips about finding ingredients and alternatives.
This was a multi part dish and allowed me to cook the broth the day before, then make the pork the next morning and then cook the noodles and heat the broth and enjoy that night. If you were to follow the recipes in the book and make all components from scratch, you'd be following five of the recipes (click the link to be taken to the recipe on the blog):
-Basic stock for ramen noodles (Ramen Sutokku)
-Simmered Pork for Ramen (Chashu)
-Sweet simmered bamboo shoots (Menma)
-Garlic paste (Ninniku-dare)
-Ramen broth flavoured with soy sauce (Shoyu Ramen)
That last recipe is basically the master recipe that brings all the others together and gives you the final dish. Since I don't have endless time and was only making this for my little family, I used commercial bamboo shoots and garlic paste, so I skipped the 3rd and 4th recipes.
If you're not interested in reading through the recipes, this is a summary. The noodles are served in a tasty broth with garlic paste and the soy sauce pork liquids added and then topped with sliced simmered pork, bamboo shoots and scallions.
A very tasty meal. You can see good pictures of all the components and ingredients on Tess's blog and below is my result.
Cafe World Cookbook Changes
Vampire/Werewolf theme, so Vampire Staked Steak. In line with my weekend plans...going to see Twilight Eclipse, hopefully I've given it enough time since the release to avoid a screaming mob of tween girls. Watching New Moon a day after release is not an experience I want to repeat. But I'm a sucker for the Twilight Saga so will have to see it on the big screen.
Next Up: I'm feeling like some sweet treats, so some homemade ice cream and I might try my luck at donut making. I'll be able to cook up my corned beef the week after.
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