Tag Archives: Japanese

Grilled chicken yakitori: $1.82/serving

Despite the fact we in Portland are more or less forced to make the absolute most of our three months of sunshine, I don’t do a whole lot of grilling. Mostly because there’s not much to grill other than large amounts of (expensive and not-too-good-for-you) meat, and also because if I am going to grill a large amount of expensive and not-too-good-for-you meat, I’d rather do it on the smoker and really make the whole enterprise worthwhile. Dragging out the grill for just a quick 20-30 minutes just seems so inefficient. But if I’m going to do it, this is one of the things I like to make. It’s on skewers so you can choose as many or as few bite-sized chicken pieces as you want, and the yakitori glaze really complements the grill-smoke flavor. Serve it as a full meal with rice and salad, or bring some skewers to a group barbecue.

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Cucumber rolls: $1.05/serving

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I don’t like seafood. Every year I try once again to taste something “mild” that everyone claims “absolutely does not taste fishy,” and end up almost dry-heaving after feeling like I’ve trawled the harbor at low tide and taken a bite of everything that came up in the net. Tuna, fish sticks, shrimp—it’s all inedible to me. So, obviously, sushi has been and probably always will be a no-no. Having been dragged to sushi restaurants all the same, I thankfully discovered the wonder that is cucumber rolls. How on earth people could choose fish over crisp, delicious cucumber is beyond me. This is a fun, refreshing dish any time of year and quick enough to throw together on a weeknight.

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Carrot soup with miso and sesame: 53 cents/serving

Yes, yes, I know: more carrots. What can I say? Our crisper is packed with them. They’re 50 cents a pound at most; can be pickled, roasted, pureed, or eaten raw for a snack; and last practically forever in cold storage. I realize this dish is veering into pious, ascetic spa-food territory—territory I usually prefer to enter wielding some bacon strips and a six-pack of beer like a crucifix—but I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen earlier this month and filed it away for consideration because we have a tub of miso that’s about to expire. Turns out that while this soup is indeed virtuous—vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, you name it—it’s also incredibly satisfying. Unfortunately for the picture, however, I tried to artfully drizzle the sesame oil over the top instead of just pouring it on haphazardly as I normally would, and it ended up looking like an abstract modernist painting of human eggs being fertilized (don’t ask me what the green onions are. Confetti? Perhaps the sperm are having a party?). So, I apologize.

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Shiitake & chard soup with hand-cut noodles: 84 cents/serving

Garden chard, you fought the good fight. You survived slug infestations, heat, frost, and your bed being used for walnut storage by squirrels. But I see where you’re headed, with your wilty stems and pallid leaves, and you don’t deserve to go that way. Which is why I’m harvesting you—all that’s left of you, anyway—to be honored in this addictive ramen-style soup.

The recipe was adapted from one by David Chang by way of Food & Wine magazine. As listed here, it makes 3 generous servings. However, be forewarned it’s somewhat traumatizing when it runs out, so if you’re without shame and untroubled by budgetary concerns, you may want to consider doubling it.
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