Valentines Part 1 – The Feast

Just before Valentines Day, three lenses that I’ve been wanting for a longgg time went on sale! After doing a ton of research on the best Micro 4/3 lenses, I had put CamelCamelCamel alerts on 3 different Amazon listings, and all of their prices dropped by over $50 in the same day! I managed to convince myself that I only needed 2 of the 3 ( the third was more of a portrait lens, and I don’t really shoot portraits ), so I ended up buying a telephoto and a 25mm 1.8 prime lens. The lenses arrived just before Valentines weekend (thank you Amazon Prime!!) and I figured, since Brian and I had planned to spend the weekend exploring our city, it would be the perfect time to take the lenses out for a test drive. I took hundreds of pictures, so I’m breaking this weekend up into 4 posts due to image heavyness.

Friday, February 13th – Dinner

Brian had been sent to Conneticut for work the entire week leading up to Valentines Day, so I thought surprising him with a homemade feast would be the perfect way to welcome him home, and kick off the weekend! We both love love love Japanese food, but we rarely ever make it at home, so I planned out an epic 6 course menu as follows:

Menu

Course 1: Garlic Pepper Edamame

Course 2: Miso Soup

Course 3: Yuzu Tuna Tartare

Course 4: Assorted Sashimi Plate (Hamachi Crudo and Salmon)

Course 5: Miso Blackened Cod with Sesame Spinach

Course 6: Assorted Mochi (Mango Ice Cream, Red Bean)

Prep

On Wednesday, I hustled off to the Japanese grocery store after work, to amass the ingredients I would need (there quite a few – yuzu juice, fresh sashimi grade salmon and hamachi, etc ). Luckily there’s a Nijiya less than a mile from where I live, which is an easily traversable distance by bus! The cod needed to be marinated, so I prepped that on Wednesday night. Then, on the day Brian was scheduled to come home, I went home early from work on the pretext of having a package delivered, so I could make sure all of the courses were ready before he got home.

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2 things I learned while prepping:

1. Read the instructions of the recipes before even going shopping – I didn’t realize that they all had the dashi stock measurements in grams… and I don’t own a food scale. I had to guesstimate based on the size of the dashi packets.

2. Read the labels on foreign products! I needed to buy yuzu juice to make ponzu sauce as well as the top layer of the tuna tartare. After staring helplessly at the rows of boxes, all with brightly colored pictures of citrus fruits on them, I bought one at random, since I assumed that there couldn’t be that big of a difference between different brands of yuzu juice. Boy was I wrong – I should have read the ingredients list! Turns out what I had bought was some weird yuzu chili paste, and not juice at all! 😦 I made do as well as I could, but I still wonder to this date how much better the food would have tasted had I gotten the correct ingredient..

I was really proud of myself, since I timed everything perfectly – Brian texted me to let me know he was in a taxi just as I was wrapping up all of my prepwork. The only thing I had left to do was to broil the cod and assemble the tuna tartare. He only had to wait outside for 5 minutes or so while I put the finishing touches on everything.. so for a dinner that took a total of 4.5 hours to make, I’d consider that pretty well timed!

Feast!

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I didn’t take a picture of the miso soup, since it didn’t look any different from normal miso soup, and was incredibly easy to make.

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I’m not sure if I actually did this recipe any justice, as the dashi I made ended up being a bit too fishy and concentrated. Next time I attempt this, I will make sure to have a scale…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I totally misread the instructions in this recipe – I was supposed to not squeeze out all of the water from the daikon, but I read it as ‘make the daikon as bone dry as possible!’. It didn’t end up making too big of a difference though. It was delicious!

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You can’t mess up salmon 😉

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I actually liked the recipe for Miso Cod a lot! I first fell in love with this preparation for cod at Roka Akorwhich Brian and I went to for SF Restaurant Week a few months ago. Their version was fired on a banana leaf, and was incredibly flaky and moist. I’m not quite sure my rendition did the original any justice, but Brian liked it, which is what counts, right?! 🙂

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