Of Cabbages and Things

11 10 2016

When I was wee, just a toddler, my mother’s best friend was a woman from Okinawa. She was married to a former military man (my dad’s best friend) and they happened to live in the same mobile home park as my folks. I was far too young to remember them, but she taught me how to use chopsticks (my little fingers hurt using them the correct way so I improvised my own method that I use to this day) and taught my mother how to make omurice and yakisoba…both foods I then grew up eating. I like to think I came upon my Japanese culture fascination by chance, but something tells me this paved the way. Just as I cannot recall not being able to use a fork, the same goes for chopsticks.

Today I am making a pot of what I call Yakisoba soup. It’s something I devised recently to use up some cabbage & kale I had, without resorting to making the starchy deliciousness that is Yakisoba. It’s basically chopped cabbage (napa or green); chopped kale (whichever kind you have works…I used lacinato last time, am using curly this time); about 1-1/4 cups of diced onion (green, yellow or red); 4 slices of diced, uncured bacon; 1 carton of unsalted beef or chicken stock; one can of reduced sodium beef or chicken broth; fresh grated or powdered ginger (as much as you think you want…careful with the powdered); a little fresh or granulated garlic; a healthy drizzle of Worcestershire sauce; good sized squirt of soy sauce; a shake of toasted sesame oil; one packet of Herb Ox sodium free bouillon powder (chicken or beef depending on which broth/stock you used) and finally a drizzle of agave syrup. I just make it all in my pressure cooker and then end up being the only person who eats it for the next few days, but to me it’s comfort food in a bowl.

So in the wake of my 45th birthday, I raise my sake cup to you mom & Chieko, for instilling in me a lifelong passion (obsession). KANPAI!

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