Wednesday, May 28, 2008

culinary assistance needed

So...another trip to Oto's yielded some culinary questions:

I bought a Taiwan gobo (burdock). It's a long (over three feet) skinny root. I consulted my cookbook and there were a couple of recipes but I also took a bite raw and found it to be really unpleasant. It tasted like licking a chlorinated pool. Anyone ever used this stuff for anything?

They also had green plums (ume) which they were touting as "in season" and "locally grown" which suckered me into buying them, but then when I tasted one, it was as hard and sour as....a green plum. I know that people eat them pickled but what the hell do you do with raw ones?

I bought some preserved tofu in a jar which I was excited to try, but the jar was leaking so I had to throw it out. I also got some fresh bamboo shoot (it's in a tub in the front near the vegetables, floating in liquid) which was tasty to snack on. It reminded me of canned pineapple. I went for some frozen eel that was touted as organically farmed and it was really good over rice.


Anonymous said...

A popular Japanese dish is kinpira gobō (julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar, mirin and/or sake, and sesame oil)

I've seen people eat those green plums with salt which counteracts the acidity.

I love eel over rice!

beckler said...

thanks! i'll try that with the burdock.

Liv Moe said...

ume are good soaked in booze. in fact i don't think i've had 'em any other way. my ma worked on the design for a sake/plum wine plant in napa years ago and we had plum stuff galore for a while.

Alice said...

i think dani had a burdock root recipe that included a wasabi dipping sauce. baked burdock (cut it up like carrot sticks) on its own isn't that exciting, however.

Anonymous said...

tempura burdock is killer.Slice/Shred it nice and thin.It should be like those rubicon fries when ya fry it.Kinda boxy--but more crucnchy when done.I have planted burdock.It took digging a very deep trench.Then planting the seeds.Next was covering the trench and then building a mound above the trench.The trench was wide(1.5 m) and long(50 m).Raining season was coming so we had to pat down the loose dirt.Maybe your gobo/burdock was made with too many chemicals.I`ve eaten it raw here and it tasted like fiber/wood with a little tangy/sour taste.People here have used it in a martini instead of the olive.But maybe that was just one bar here in the land of fire.My mom in law is getting her organic farmers permit.Melon season is coming soon .Anybody try a melon from japan??There are amazing!!!and expensive.
PT Farmer --JAY

Anonymous said...

Is the preserved tofu that you got the chinese fermented tofu? I love that stuff! It tastes like blue cheese. I think it's great as a condiment, rather than the main event. Say you have a bowl of rice with vegetables, throw some of the fermented tofu in there, and it's a very lively accompaniment. I like the spicy kind.


Anonymous said...

Fermented tofu is also delicious with congee. That's how we ate it as kids.


beckler said...

yeah, that's what I got. I never have been able to locate it at the asian food center, but i found it at oto's. it was probably fine, but the fact that it had no seal freaked me out. call me crazy, but i'm pretty scared of botulism.

Liv Moe said...

ha! i'm pretty scared of botulism too. perhaps not as scared as you seeing as how i can my own food and eat it all the time but.... jam attack and i were talking about the state fair's various competitions over the weekend and it hit me how crazy it must be to judge the home canning division. the home canned stuff i eat i'm totally familiar with but eating the canned goods of strangers seems freaky!