Today our "travels" took us to the elegant cuisine of Japan. Sushi, one of their most popular exports, happens to be a really big weakness of mine. However it's a rather expensive - and delicious - hobby. At some point I was eating it several times a week and decided that I could no longer justify spending that much money on it. So I took the frugal route and decided to make it at home instead. If you've ever wanted to try making your own sushi, you're in luck. I've got some great tips to help you get started. If you're scared of eating raw fish at home, don't forget, you can always make California or vegetarian rolls. To check out my tips, read more
Sashimi, pronounced sah-SHE-me
A Japanese delicacy consisting of raw fish that is sliced paper thin. Fish types range from the popular tuna, yellowtail, and octopus to the dangerous blowfish. Usually served with condiments such as wasabi or soy sauce and as a first course to a meal. Best when only the freshest, most high quality of fish is used.
While sake may be the most popular drink to pair with a Japanese meal, there is another option that is often on the menu. Umeshu, commonly known as "Japanese Plum Wine," is a Japanese liqueur made from ume (Japanese plums), sugar and shochu (or sake). The flavor is delicate and light, with an undertone of plum. It is usually very sweet and syrupy, and can be used as an aperetif, dessert wine, or as the base of a super delicious cocktail. Also, several brands (including Choya, which is one of the most popular) even come with the edible ume fruit inside. A bottle will set you back about $15.
Earlier this week we kicked off travel week with a post on how to toast in various different languages. If you found that fun, then you are really going to enjoy these cheers wine glasses from CB2. The set of 6 is available for $19.95 and come with the following phrases: Prost, Salud, Le'Chaim, Cheers, Kampai, and A Votre Sante. This modern dishwasher-safe glassware would act as an amazing conversation starter at any party.
Source: Hostess with the Mostess
These days you can find the ingredients necessary to make tasty Japanese (and other Asian countries for that matter) dishes in most major supermarkets around the country. Soy sauce used to be the only common component, but now Mirin, miso paste, and even Asian vegetables - like seaweed are prevalent. Tonight's super swift dinner incorporates these flavors in a Japanese style noodle soup. Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat and it pairs nicely with mushrooms and spinach. Before you make it, you have to read the recipe, so read more
One of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the maps of the area. I love the way the roads curve, the rivers wind and the streets intersect. Now, thanks to the folks at notNeutral, I can easily travel to four fantastic cities from the comfort of my dining table. Their City Plate collection is a series of four cities (LA, Shanghai, Cairo and Berlin) mapped out on 12" plates. The city's downtown core is on the center of the plate, with key buildings represented in bright orange. While it is a little pricey - each plate costs $32 - it's still small compared to airfare. Now if only they came with authentic food too... Thanks to TeamSugar member amadeo for the tip!
It might be a little shocking but sushi, Japan's most typical and in demand food, is native to China! With a history that dates back to the 4th century BC, sushi was used originally as a manner of preserving raw fish. Fish was flattened, salted, fermented with rice, and preserved for several months. When the fish was consumed, the rice was discarded. Only when the technique was later introduced in Japan did the rice get eaten along with the fish. Sushi gradually evolved, with the additions of vegetables and vinegar, as it become widely popular in Tokyo through mobile street vendors. However, in 1923, a large earthquake caused the majority of these street vendors to lose their jobs and head back to their home towns and sell sushi all over Japan. With Americans becoming more health conscious, sushi experienced a wide surge in popularity in the US in the 1980s.
In Ethiopian cuisine, it's not traditional to follow a meal with a sweet treat. Formal desserts, like ones served in America, virtually don't exist. Instead, many Ethiopians prefer to end their meal with a cooling course of yogurt and cottage cheese. Known as Iab, the mixture is similar to Greece's feta and is actually considered part of the main course. It has a somewhat acidic taste, and counter balances the heat from spicy entree dishes. To give this alternative to dessert a whirl, read more