Saturday, June 14, 2008

"There is no answer, but you ask me for one."

I'm excited by this news story about the immigrant population of Japan increased, not so much by this news story about measuring waists of citizens.

This morning I was woken up by an earthquake. It wasn't strong enough to knock anything down in my apartment, but in Iwate Prefecture where I was originally assigned to live a bridge has collapsed and six people have died. 7.2 magnitude - personally I think they need a system with a wider difference than decimals allow, because that's only a difference of .7 to the Sichuan earthquake.

Food experiments: little pale potatoes and big fat carrot cut into smallish pieces, mystery fish fillet. Roasted in a glaze of miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, and some dashi. Then a soy and honey sauce and sesame seeds on top. Seriously, incredibly delicious. The fish was that "melt in your mouth" cliche, and the salty miso was perfect for the bland little potatoes.

I should really work on my food presentation skills but it doesn't seem to matter when I'm the only one eating. Sometimes I want to make things visually appealing as well.

Then I had the idea of making scones so I'd have something filling for the following week of breakfasts. Well... I seem to have this aversion to following recipes. It's just so much more interesting to experiment. I'm prepared to face the consequences if the results are odd. I started out with this recipe except I don't have cinnamon, milk, or butter. I replaced apple juice for the liquid, and increased the honey a little. For starters, it wasn't nearly firm enough to spoon, so I poured it into a shallow pan. I drizzled criss-cross lines of honey because I like the lattice-look it leaves. Then I toaster-ovened it for fifteen minutes (because that's how long the timer is ; ) opening it up to alternate foil on top, taking off, so that it would get crispy but not burnt. The result was...

almost entirely unlike a scone. It really made me think more of pretzels, the chewy texture and the clear simple flavor were the same. Barely sweet at all. So I gave into my instincts and sliced a biscotti-size piece off, and sprinkled salt on the edge. Before you start looking at me askance, salt on sweet foods has a long and dignified tradition - here in Japan they even serve watermelon with a little dish of salt to "bring out the sweetness." I don't know that I'd go that far, but it was just the thing to make my little honey-soft-pretzel-slices delicious and somehow comforting. They made a good alternative to the muesli or fruit breakfasts, and also served for a Friday night dessert/"you survived the week" reward.

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