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Showing posts from December, 2009

Yuzu Marmalade - Tastebud Joy

Yuzu is a citrus fruit unique to Japan and unique in flavor - stronger than a lemon and with a bit of a punch. About the size of the mekon oranges also in season at the moment, the yuzu is sunny yellow rather than orange. It is used both in its green state as well as its fully ripened yellow primarily as a flavoring for various dishes, especially fish. The Marmalade Experiment Inspired by my first batch of marmalade earlier this year, it seemed like something worth giving a try. The Takashi's were a bit skeptical, but I decided to go for it anyway especially after reading about this successful attempt . (I'm also quite inspired by the yuzushu recipe , too.) And after stopping at a favorite fruit stand where we've bought kiwi and kaki (a.k.a. persimmon) before, those golden globes just seemed irresistible. Throwing caution almost entirely to the wind I bought two bags. I cut up the fruit and removed the seeds of probably 14 or so yuzu. I didn't remove the pith out of

Tokyo Garden Update - Winter Crops Sprouting

One of the best parts about today (other than speaking with friends and family back home celebrating Christmas) was peeking into the row covers and seeing little tiny sprouts looking back! We planted just under 360 seeds on December 13th in freshly tilled soil. This time of year calls for leafy green vegetables that can withstand the chilly nights (dipping a tad bit below freezing on occasion) and short hours of sunlight. (It's dark dark about 5pm, and doesn't get light until about 7am.) I'd had a few moments of stomach-dropping doubt when I didn't see any sprouts the past few visits. And while the little guys are difficult to see in the photo at left the resulting sigh of relief and shared smile with the Takashi's as we peeked in made it well worth the wait. Here's what we planted: Pak Choi - one of the many tasty Asian greens that are perfect in stir fry or salad. Komatsuna - A tasty Japanese leafy green named after Tokyo's Kamatsu River it has a nutt

The Joy of Dirty Hands

When I was a kid I hated gardening. My mother asked me to help her in the garden, and I'm pretty certain I whined and was such a miserable companion that she finally found great relief in letting me just stay indoors to read or watch TV. It was too hot. It was boring. It was dirty. And tomato hornworms were just too gross for words. Gardening is now something I find I can't live without. Our move to Tokyo in March of this year was only feasible in my mind because I had a chance to have a garden. (That first one fell through, but then another and even better opportunity presented itself .) I didn't even have a garden of my own until we moved into a farmhouse in Michigan more than five years ago. There, along an old fence, I dug out the sod in a strip about two or three feet wide and about ten feet long and planted my first tomatoes, beans, kale, swiss chard, basil, parsley, and beets. It wasn't long before nasturtiums and johnny-jump-ups, and a couple bush squash plan