It Ain’t a Fishing Bait …

Lunch (12:00 p.m.): Work has been stressing me out a bit lately … although I can’t pinpoint exactly where this gloomy feeling is coming from. It’s been non-stop since January and I think I need a vacation. I’m so excited that we have a Monday off next week. (Updated 2/16/12: OMG, I just realized that Monday is a regular work day for me! Whaaaaaat?)

When I’m busy, I purposely make the time to cook myself nice lunch. Here’s today’s menu.

A bowl of rice.

Natto.

Renkon.

Grilled Japanese mackerel (saba) with grated daikon raddish (daikon oroshi).  Kevin calls it a bait, but I love saba!  It’s one of my favorite fish!

Snack (3:00 p.m.): Freshly-brewed Dunkin Donuts French vanilla coffee with chocolates.

Dinner (9:00 p.m.): Mushroom, onion, and garlic pasta (whole wheat), flavored with soy sauce.  I put in a little butter for extra flavor.  I don’t usually like butter (I don’t put it on bread) but the combination of soy sauce and butter is out of this world.

And a side of onion, avocado, and shrimp salad.  I had a few more pieces of chocolate for dessert.

Kevin and I celebrated our non-Valentine’s Day supper at home a day early. We don’t like the Hallmark holiday so we avoid 14th like a plague … so this is our “we don’t celebrate that silly holiday” dinner.

Stamina Bowl

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): I decided to call this dish “stamina bowl,” because it is packed with some serious good stuff! It has about two cups of shredded cabbage, yamaimo, natto, kimchi, and pork slices, on the bed of rice, served with goma sauce and ponzu.

Lunch (1:30 p.m.): I’m such a creature of habit. I had the same “stamina bowl” for lunch. I can’t get enough of this yummy dish.

Dinner (9:00 p.m.): Tiffany’s boyfriend Jesse is in town this weekend for his birthday so a bunch of us went to Hamjipark in Korea Town for some pork goodness. Shannon, Raf, Kevin, and I shared two orders of pork short ribs and some banchan and salad. I’m so proud that I didn’t drink any alcohol!

This restaurant specializes and is famous for pork dishes, but I have to admit that the food was mediocre at best. Servers were nice but they virtually disappeared after they took orders (even that took forever). I can’t figure out what’s so great about this place.  This is one of the only times that I didn’t agree with Anthony Bourdain … but dinner with friends was a lot of fun!

Deliciousness

Breakfast (10:00 a.m.): Chicken wings and legs cooked in tomato sauce. This is one of my favorite dishes that my mother makes, and my sister brought it over for me when she went back home yesterday.biggrin

What a simple but delicious dish this is. Chicken wings and legs are simmered in cooked onions, pickles, and tomato sauce. I’m so happy that I have two more servings of this in the fridge (thank you, mom)! I need carb with this – maybe I’ll eat with a little bit of pasta next time.

Lunch (3:00 p.m.): Pretty late lunch again. This week has been pretty crazy with work. I need to do a better job eating earlier, and eating smaller meals throughout the day, instead of just eating three. I ate natto rice, with a side of renkon kinpira, stir fry lotus. I sliced the lotus root with my mandoline, my new favorite cooking companion.

Dinner (6:30 p.m.): Steak fajita bowl from Sharkeys … delicious.

Natto Overload

Breakfast (10:30 a.m.): Grilled cheese with Fontina cheese. My sister suggested that I add protein to my meal so I added the cheese (cheese is protein, isn’t it?). I only had one slice of the fluffy Japanese white bread left so I cut it in half and “toasted” it on the grill pan. No, I still don’t have a Panini maker.

Accompanying the sandwich is a cup of freshly brew Starbucks Blonde Tiffany and I got as a sample last Saturday during the run.

Lunch (3:00 p.m.): I had to sneak out at lunch to meet with a florist for my wedding so I didn’t get to eat until 3:00 p.m. Good think I cooked white rice in the morning so all I had to do was mix natto with some goodies and pour it on rice.

I made the my natto extra special and added okra and squid kimchi. It’s probably Fear Factor overload for some, but boy, was it delicious.

I had ebi sunomono (picked cucumber with shrimp) on the side. I sliced the cucumber with my fancy mandoline last night.

Snack (4:30 p.m.):  Not pictured.  Had two mochi ice cream balls.

Dinner (8:00 p.m.): My sister came over to train me tonight. After the workout, we had a bowl of rice with natto, and leftover kimchi and sunonomo. No wine tonight but we still had fun!

Fear Factor

I’ve been pretty obsessed with photographing my daily food intake lately. My sister (a personal trainer who is training me for my upcoming wedding) is making me complete a daily food journal, and I thought it would be a fun idea to document everything that I put in my month, to accompany it.

This is like the modern version of “enikki,” a picture diary that we had to keep in elementary school in Japan.

Breakfast: I had breakfast at 10:45 this morning – a very late start. I started checking work emails and lost a track of time. I had a bowl of rice, miso soup using the leftover broth from last night’s mizutaki, and natto.

Natto is a Japanese delicacy made out of fermented soybeans and is usually enjoyed poured on top of steamed white rice. We Japanese eat this for breakfast, while our American cousins eat eggs and bacon in the morning.

I was a bit hesitant to post a fairly large photo of this dish because the visual of stringy rotten beans can be Fear Factor-ish and understandably unappetizing for some. eek Thank goodness there is no “scratch and sniff” feature here … as natto can be pretty stinky.  But it’s actually very delicious once you overcome the initial fear, and its health benefits are second to none.

Lunch (2:30 p.m.): I made a harusame soup thing, using the leftover miso soup from the morning. I boiled  ¼ head of cabbage and added some harusame to the broth, and enjoyed it with some gomadare, ponzu, and Sriraccha.  I wish I had some green onions to sprinkle on top for some crunch and color.

Snack (3:45 p.m.): A cup of Costa Rica coffee brewed using the French Press, with a splash of almond milk and homemade caramel for the at-home version of designer Caramel Maccchiato. I’m convinced that the French Press brews the best coffee.  I also ate one stick of the Korean chocolate bar.

This is the homemade caramel sauce I received as a Christmas gift from my soon-to-be sister-in-law. She is a wonderful cook and an amazing woman. And as for the gift … this is the best caramel sauce I’ve ever tasted. I have to be careful not to polish the entire jar in one sitting.

Dinner (9:00 p.m.): I had my favorite smoked salmon sandwich (with mayo, onion, and avocado) after I returned home from playing tennis with Shannon (and burned what we think or hope was about 450 calories). It was such a fun workout session and even funnier because I don’t know how to play tennis  … at all.