It’s been a long time since the last…

19 Nov

ImageFOOD POST.  Yay.

Recently, it’s gotten a lot colder in Kiryu.  The temperature has been dropping severely, and the forecast today is an unfortunate high of 50º fahrenheit or 11º Celsius.  I’ve been freezing in my poorly-insulated apartment (which I think may have been built sometime around the 60s or 70s) and so I’ve been trying to find ways to keep warm.  While I’m lucky enough to have been left a kotatsu by my predecessor, that doesn’t solve all my heat problems, and so, last Friday, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe: white stew.

Maybe this is just me, but I had never heard of white stew before coming to Japan.  I’ve had my fair share of stew made from beef cooked in a pressure cooker (one of my favourite home-cooked meals in America, eternal thanks to my amazing mother) but that was always most definitely brown, and the only thing vaguely stew-like that I’ve had that was white-ish is pork gravy… which isn’t really white, anyway.  But white stew is made from a cream base, and so, while I had never had it before, I decided to embark on an adventure and try it out.  Luckily, it was a delicious success!  Aside from looking fabulously like generic stew out of a Miyazaki movie, it also tasted fabulous and was a wonderful cold-weather dinner.  This week, I want to try to make a Japanese-style version with enoki mushrooms, Japanese bacon, and negi, so we’ll see how that goes!

And then the next day, Saturday, I had lunch with a coworker of my father’s.  It turns out, one of his Japanese coworkers just happened to live in Isesaki, about a half hour by car from Kiryu, and so she was kind enough to come take me to lunch and make sure I was settling in nicely in Japan.  We went to Italian food, and I was treated to delicious pastas.  I haven’t been to an Italian restaurant in Japan before, so this was my first time tasting a Japanese take on Italian cuisine.  It was probably about as authentic as in America albeit different, but it was also equally delicious!

ImageThe pasta was wonderful, but probably the most amazing part of the meal was the desert.  I ordered caramel cheesecake, so, naturally, I was expecting… well, a slice of cake.  What I got, however, was more of a mini-dessert course. It contained a tiny slice of cake, but also included on my plate was little scoop of raspberry gelato and a small stack of fresh fruit.  Delicious!  It was almost too pretty to eat, but… somehow, I managed.  I’m a huge fan of gelato, and while this didn’t compare to the gelato I had while I was in Italy, it was pretty amazing.  The cheesecake was great as well; since cheese isn’t a hugely integrated part even of Japanese yoshoku (Western-style food), cheesecake isn’t readily available here, so I was thrilled to get to enjoy such a high quality piece of cake.

…now that I’ve written this post, I’m starving, and I have to teach one more class before lunch.  Alas.

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