Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas (p. 104), Vegetable Soup (Soupe Paysanne) (p. 128), and MY TRIP TO JAPAN!

First off, I'm pumped! I seem to have readers--and some of them aren't family members! Hooray! And I was mentioned on Jennifer's awesome knitting blog, www.pieknits.com , which is one of my favorite blogs (even though I'm far, far too uncoordinated to knit). I'm not going to mention that she is one of my extremely good friends, who I've known since 2nd grade...so she kinda has to read the blog...but she doesn't have to mention it to others!

I had a rotisserie chicken that we bought from CostCo, so we had a lot of extra cooked chicken. I decided to make Chicken Enchiladas (p. 104). This is a relatively time consuming process. You make the enchilada sauce (which you don't have to do--you can buy it--but I wanted to be authentic), make the meat mixture, heat up the shells, dish out the meat, roll them up, cover in sauce, and bake. Not difficult, but time consuming.

Sauce, pre-puree:

Sauce, post-puree. Remember, I have the smallest food processor in the world, so this took about five batches:

And I thought they were bland...but maybe I'm just not an enchilada fan. Are chicken enchiladas typically bland?

Corn tortillas are amazing. I had some in the refrigerator that were so old, I swear they came with the fridge. But they still tasted good and rolled fine. Any cracking was due more to my lack of ability than to the tortillas.

Tortillas. pre-roll and post-roll:

The finished product (cheddar on top):

I made Vegetable Soup (Soupe Paysanne) (p. 128) while I was making the enchiladas. It was a simple recipe, make a mirepoix, add stock (I used store bought vegetable stock), tomatoes (I used canned--it isn't like "fresh" tomatoes are that fresh this time of year), potatoes (no turnips, I'm not a big fan), and spices. Later I added some cabbage and pepper.

This was a delicious soup that heated up extremely well. The cabbage was a really good addition--it's cheap, has a lot of flavor, and is filling. The soup is tomato-y, but not overwhelming, and has a great pepper bite. I have been thinking about this soup for the last few days so it is going to be re-made--but I think some peas or corn added would be even better.

Josh was disappointed by the lack of meat but I like my vegetable soup vegetarian.

Only one picture of the soup--there wasn't much to photograph.

So, I'm sorry I was out of commission for a few weeks--I WAS IN JAPAN LAST WEEK! How cool is that? So, some food related photos from the trip (not all of them, don't want to bore you!).

1. Although Japan has a lot of their own foods, they have interesting versions of brands that are common here. I had a delicious green tea doughnut from Starbucks (I know, I know, but it was next to the Hotel Okura, where we were staying), for example. And there are green tea versions of almost everything, such as Green Tea Kit-Kats:

2. Shabu-shabu! Delicious. So is tonkatsu (which I don't have a picture of) which is essentially fried pork that you dip in sauce. But shabu-shabu...you take raw pieces of highly marbled beef, swish them around in a pot of broth (apparently the sound is supposed to sound like shabu-shabu), dip it in sauce, and eat it. Yum! My father brought a whole set home from Japan, so I had eaten it before, but it was amazing to eat in Japan.

Raw beef, sliced thin, and the sauces, seseme based and soy-sauce based:

Getting dipped:

3. The Tokyo fish market, which is getting torn down soon (or so I hear). Well worth the trip if you're in Tokyo, even though you have to get there really early (like 4 am). They auction off tuna, both fresh and frozen, the size of which is AMAZING! HUGE fish...and then you can walk through the market and see an incredible assortment of fish.

Tuna ready for auction:

Giant clams (mussels? What's the difference?):

Octopi--Yum--We eat these every Christmas!:

4. I thought that it was just a stereotype that Hello Kitty is popular in Japan. Apparently not, because I saw her EVERYWHERE. Including (during a trade show) in a bento box display, made out of both rice AND meat, with little sausages that are imprinted with Hello Kitty on the side. I adored it...Hello Kitty rocks!

5. I ate the most expensive meal I've ever seen. A former grad student's father treated us to a meal, six courses, and the main was Kobe beef, with black truffles, drizzled in truffle sauce. It was delicious and I was excited to try both Kobe beef and black truffles! They lived up to my expectations BUT I still think that American Corn-fed Prime beef is every bit as good.

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  1. See, you totally make me smile, lol. :) The vegetable soup looks gorgeous! And looks like you got do quite a bit in Japan, how cool! I so covet a Hello Kitty bento box...

  2. The enchiladas look good! And yes, chicken enchiladas do tend to be a bit bland (I like them, though!) - you might be able to spice up the sauce a bit with peppers for a little more zing. Or maybe try a different type of cheese on top.

    (I know my username is different on blogger... I am aka jaynalee on OLS!)

  3. I'm not sure why, but your pictures aren't showing! Please let me know if you get them back up - I want to see! (From a fellow OLSer)


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