Thursday, May 8, 2008

Making Lunch Out of Nothing at All

I'm on a tight budget this week, coming off of a vacation with a week left to go before payday. I've got to make the most out of my groceries, so everything is being streeeeeeettttccccchhheeeedddd.

Remember that daikon? I shredded some to make those noodles? Yeah, I had to peel it first - and guess what? If you scrub the thing first, those peels are edible. I had some carrots lurking in the back of my cupboard, and I knew they had to be dealt with as well, before they went off. So I multitasked.

Along with the chopped end of cabbage I found loitering with the carrots, I made some mul kimchi, and set it aside to bubble. That'll be great for the end of the week, when there's nothing left in the fridge to go with rice after work. I'll post on how to make that later, it's one of my top five favourite Korean dishes, and it's so refreshing for the summer.

To make the mul kimchi, I sliced and punched out the carrots with an attractive vegetable punch. But I had all of the trimmings left over, which I didn't want to waste - so they got chopped up and thrown into a little plastic container I keep in the freezer. When I'm making fried rice for bentos later in the week, I just spoon out some into my frying pan - no chopping, and the rice gets instant colour.

The rest of the carrots got julienned, along with the daikon peel. I threw them into the frying pan for kinpira. Kinpira can be made with any vegetable bits you have lying around the kitchen - it's a great way to use up scraps. It's traditionally made with burdock root, but carrots and radish peels work wonderfully as well. Slice everything up into matchsticks, and throw into a hot pan to sear them. When they start to brown, I drizzle in some sake, sesame oil, and soy sauce in equal measure. Then, when the vegetables are tender, I add chili flakes and sesame seeds to taste. I've made this successfully with broccoli stem, and it's just as good. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, and is great warm, cold, or at room temperature in a bento.

I wasn't finished with that daikon yet, though. I bought the one with the tops still on. After a good soak in the sink, I blanched them and dressed them in sesame-miso dressing. I drained and cooled the stems, then ground up sesame seeds in my suribachi. I added a few tablespoons of white miso, and a tablespoon each of soy sauce and mirin, and tossed the greens with the dressing. It had a faintly peanut-buttery taste, which Peter loved. I was hoping to have some leftover for lunch the next day, but we ate it all.

Even after all that slicing and dicing, I still have half a daikon yet. I'll have to pickle it.


Canadian Bento said...

I assume that daikon is the Japanese equivalent of zucchini? Therefore, you should be able to find a recipe to turn the rest of the daikon into chocolate cake. Heck yeah!

nakji said...

In that it never ends? Yeah. But it tastes hot, like a the end I pickled it with soy sauce and lemon, which Peter loved, go figure.

Canadian Bento said...

Indeed, in that one daikon equals a week of figuring out what to do with it. Soy sauce and lemon sounds tasty :) I'm in my conference season, I've had a lot of really boring food so far. The Keg just doesn't stand up after Craftsteak...sigh.

nakji said...

There's some sort of theory of vegetability in there, somewhere, isn't there? One inanimate object equals several hours of energy spent transforming it in various other inanimate objects of decreasing palatability...

The Keg is no Craftsteak, I agree. Although: I've only eaten at one, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the better one in that pair.