Tuesday, July 24, 2007

trying to beat the heat

Recently, I saw this at the department store and had to get it. It is watermelon sherbet made by Koujuken, a Japanese sweets maker in Nara.

The list of ingredients were kind of interesting, there was sugar, watermelon and melon, and then akadaikon (red radish)?, gelatin. When you looked at this up close it actually looked like a slice of daikon (long white radish).

The texture of this sherbet was different than what I was used to, it was more gel-like than icy. You can also just refrigerate it and have it as a gelatin treat. To have it like a sherbet, you need to freeze it for at least 5 hours.

Another treat made by Koujuken, is called kingyosukui. Kingyosukui is a game that you can participate in at many local matsuri (festivals). You pay an amount (about 200yen or so..about US$2) and receive a flat paper "net" with a handle and a little dish with water. You then have to dip the net-like gadget into the water and pick up a kingyo(goldfish) quickly without your "net" breaking. I've never actually tried this, but it seems quite hard because the weight of the goldfish usually tears the paper net before you can get the goldfish into the little dish that they also lend you. Whatever goldfish you do catch, you get to bring home. There are also contests to see who can pick up the most goldfish with one "net" called kingyosukui taikai. (I think last year a company or university created a robot that can quickly catch several goldfish with the paper net in a short amount of time.) With the yucky humidity that we had last week, the two of these desserts really hit the spot!

Yesterday, the sun was blazing, (hopefully I'm not jinxing myself by saying this), but the humidity actually wasn't too bad. The news is saying that this year maybe reika (cool summer). This means temperatures won't be so dreadful, but it also means that farming will suffer, especially with veggies and rice. Apparently, the last time reika occurred was in 1993--the price of veggies soared and they had to import rice from Thailand. I hope the weatherpeople are wrong, veggies are already pretty pricey as it is.

For dinner I made tofu salad. You can usually find this dish at pot-luck parties in Hawaii. This is a simple dish to make and it is definitely a nice way to stay cool.

Tofu Salad

1 can salmon
1 block tofu
tomato, diced
green onion
watercress, par-boiled

1/3 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a dish, layer the veggies. Heat dressing and pour over salad just before serving.

NOTES: I used momen-dofu (literally means cotton soy bean curd, but this is actually a firm tofu), it tends to keep its shape better in this salad. Hopefully, you can find fresh tofu where you live, if not, the ones that are boxed should be just fine. I couldn't find watercress, so I didn't put it in. Also, I used the veggies that were in my refrig. You can also add thinly sliced white onion. I heated the dressing, let it cool and then refrigerated it since I wasn't going to eat the salad right away. Just before eating, I poured some of the cooled dressing over the salad. The combination of tofu and salmon are a good source of protein without too much fat--perfect for summer!

Hope you are staying cool where you are!


Rowena said...

Japanese sweet treats and games are always so darn cute! I go nuts enough as it is whenever I'm back in Hawaii, buying up all those flavored gelatin cups, miniature cake rolls and rice cracker snacks.

BTW, I found dark miso. Can't wait to try the Ja Ja men dish, which I came to realize they call Dan Dan Mein at the chinese restaurants here!

K and S said...

I'm so happy that you found dark miso, Rowena and I hope you like the ja ja men dish.

Take care!


Warda said...

I am always looking for new ways to use tofu. Can't wait to try your salad. BTW, it's funny that you live in Osaka, I have my brother's girlfriend who lives there.

SteamyKitchen said...

I've played that game before!!! It was during the Cherry Blossom Festival. I caught a fish but had no home for the little guy so I gave it to a kid who tried but failed. He thought I was a fairy goldfish mother.

Anonymous said...

Watermelon sherbet sounds divine! I'm going to have to keep my eyes peeled for something like this. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

K and S said...

I hope you like this salad, Rose!

Thanks, Fairy goldfish mother! (Jaden!)

I hope you get a chance to try this Ari!

Take care everyone.

Monique said...

Yeah, summer is the time for something light and refreshing. I've also made some jellies to eat as a light dessert.

K and S said...

Light and refreshing is the way to go, Monique. Gelatin desserts sound really nice this time of year.

Take care.

Brilynn said...

I just made a watermelon chocolate chip sorbet which I'll be posting about shortly, it's really good!

K and S said...

I can't wait to see your post about the sorbet, Brilynn, it sounds really refreshing!

Take care.