Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nikujaga FAIL

Well, almost!

A couple of nights ago, I made this after I talked to my born-in-Japan nail tech. We were talking about what kinds of vegetables we buy and eat. I told her I'd bought beets for the first time in a while, and enjoyed them raw, sliced into matchsticks, with a dressing of lemon and parsley, and  the stems and tops eaten later, after sauteeing with olive oil and garlic.

Potatoes were on her produce list, and I asked what she did with them. She said that nikujaga - potatoes and thinly sliced beef - was a staple of Japanese home cooks. Instead of beef, she uses pork, and I thought of the family-size tray of pork I'd purchased.

I pulled a portion out of the freezer, defrosted it slightly, and sliced the meat thinly and combined it with the rest of the ingredients - and it was a short list. I referred to Maki's Just Hungry recipe for ingredients and technique.

BUT, 45 minutes later, my potatoes - the small, red, waxy ones - were falling apart at the edges, and I still had much too much liquid! I tasted the pork and potatoes, and they were delicious. DH thought so, too!

After I'd put the leftovers away, though, I had over 2 cups of the liquid. All the rest of the night, I thought of how I might re-purpose this, as I hate to waste food.

As the broth is substantial, the first thing that occurred to me was soup with udon - except I don't like udon! There were Sun Noodle ramen noodles in the refrigerator, though - I use these to make jaja mein or a quickie version of laksa.

The next night, I thought of what might be good with the noodles and broth and decided on choi sum stems and leaves and poached eggs. Heating the broth in a saucepan, I poached the eggs right in the broth. Yes, the heat was low to medium so I avoided getting egg drop soup! I warmed the noodles with a couple of tablespoons of water in the microwave, then poured off the water. On top, I placed the rinsed, broken choi sum right in the serving bowls, and ladled the soup over it, serving with chopped green onions and cilantro.

DH loved this, but he likes anything soupy with noodles. I'm pickier, and thought this was too sweet.

Still, nikujaga SAVE!

Now, what am I going to do with the leftover whole wheat spaghetti with homemade basil pesto? I'm thinking frittata with onions and bell peppers. Any suggestions?

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