Ueno Market

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Japanese Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and other grilled treats

Hopping off the JR train line at Ueno Station is recommended for any visitor to Tokyo, Japan. Ueno offers a concentration of world class museums and ancient Buddhist temples, many of which are accessible along the walking paths of beautiful Ueno Park. Today we explored an open air market in Ueno Park, and we were not disappointed!

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Japanese kindergarteners, looking spiffy in their school uniforms, were visiting Ueno Park on a field trip. So adorable! So well behaved! They melted my heart with their shy smiles.

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Aren’t these grilled fish interesting? At 600 yen (approximately $5.30) they were a fair price, especially considering that Ueno Park hosts many tourists.

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Non-food wares were expensive, but still fun to peruse. Aren’t these bonsai trees beautiful?

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Dango, a traditional sweet treat made from crushed rice, was delicious. At only 100 yen (approximately $0.89) for five bites, this was a very economical snack. It reminds me a bit of the Korean Garaetteok we made here at Crowded Earth Kitchen a while ago, with the addition of a delicious soy-based glaze.

Next time, we’ll feature photos from the fantastic Tokyo National Museum, also located in Ueno. Our world is small… have big fun!

 

 

Tokyo Food Tour! Tsukiji Fish Market

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It’s hard to miss the main entrance to the Outer Market in Tsukiji!

Located in central Tokyo, Tsukiji Market is the largest fish market in the world. It’s so large, it’s actually one of the largest food markets of any kind in the world! The Inner Market is where tons (and tons and tons) of hundreds of varieties of fish and seafood are sold to wholesalers and restaurant owners during the early morning hours. The Outer Market is where the action is if you’re a tourist. It’s here, in the Outer Market, where people from all over the world can sample and purchase a seemingly endless variety of products, from fresh and dried fish to exotic spices to every ready-to-eat food imaginable.

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One of many shopping lanes in the Outer Market

Tsukiji Market is a must-see for anyone visiting Tokyo. It is truly a feast for the senses! While you need to taste and see and smell the kaleidoscope of offerings to fully appreciate Tsukiji Market, these photos will give you an idea of Continue reading

Ahi Tuna Salad

WIN_20160114_205827My local market sells small, individually sealed, frozen Ahi tuna steaks for a very reasonable price. Ahi tuna (Yellowfin tuna) is high in protein, low in fat, and packed full of B vitamins. While I generally prefer the sustainability and reliably lower mercury levels of small fish such as sardines, the delectable flavor of Ahi tuna is an indulgence I’m not ready to part with entirely. This recipe offers an easy way to enjoy this delicious fish.

A note about slicing tuna for pan searing: If you enjoy tuna a bit pink in the center, slice your tuna steak 1/3 inch thick and sear quickly. I prefer tuna cooked through, and slice my steak into 1/4 inch thick pieces. It’s up to you.

WIN_20160114_205407Ingredients (per person)

Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

3 ounce frozen Ahi tuna steak, sliced thin

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves

2 tablespoons cooked, shelled edamame (soybeans)

1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili vinegar

colorful pepper slices to garnish

WIN_20160114_203855Directions

Step 1) Arrange torn lettuce on a serving plate. Sprinkle with cooked, shelled edamame.

Step 2) In a small bowl, whisk together grated ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and chili vinegar to make a simple vinaigrette. Set aside.

Step 3) Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Make sure bottom of skillet is evenly coated with oil. Add Ahi tuna slices and sear 15 – 30 seconds on each side (if you like the middle pink) or up to 1 minute on each side (if you like the tuna cooked through).

Step 4) Arrange tuna slices over lettuce and edamame. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish with pepper slices.

Enjoy your Ahi Tuna Salad!

Coconut Pecan Crusted Salmon

WIN_20151028_183841This isn’t your average Tuesday night dinner, friends. This is dinner dressed in its Sunday best! Sockeye salmon is the real deal, with a wallop of heart healthy Omega-3s and flavors induced by the cold, wild waters of Alaska. Sockeye salmon is NOT the same as “Atlantic salmon”, which is code for farmed salmon raised is crowded conditions and often fed artificial colors to turn the flesh pink. No thanks. Instead of grabbing the lower priced Atlantic salmon, I wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually, Sockeye salmon goes on sale – for about the same price as Atlantic salmon. When this happens, I buy several pounds at a time – it freezes well.

Sockeye salmon is special all by itself, but we’re making it extra fancy today with a crust of coconut and pecans. If you’ve never done this, don’t be intimidated by the idea of a crust. There’s really nothing to it! The preparation is as simple as spooning a crumbly mixture on top of your fish fillet and gently patting it down with your fingers. Seriously – that’s all. Let’s get started!

WIN_20151028_173148Ingredients (Serves 6)

1 large sockeye salmon fillet (approximately 1.5 pounds)

1 lemon or orange

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1) Slice lemon or orange into 1/4 inch thick rings, and place rings one inch apart on a baking sheet with shallow sides. Place your salmon fillet, skin side down, on top of the fruit rings. This will prevent your salmon fillet from sticking to the baking sheet.

Step 2) Combine pecans, coconut, and salt in a small food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture has a texture like coarse sand. Don’t get carried away – you want some texture, not a smooth paste.

[My favorite small, affordable food processor: Englewood NJ100 Red Ninja Express Chop]

WIN_20151028_175326Step 3) Use a teaspoon (nothing larger) to carefully spoon the mixture along the center of your salmon fillet. Try not to let the mixture roll off of the salmon and onto the baking sheet. If that happens, remove as much of the coconut-pecan mixture as you can from the surface of the baking sheet, and place it on top of the salmon where it belongs!

WIN_20151028_175437Step 4) Using your fingertips, gently spread the coconut-pecan mixture toward the edges of the salmon fillet, creating an even crust over the entire surface of the salmon (it’s OK to leave a very small edge uncoated).

Step 5) Carefully place your baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake your Coconut Pecan Crusted Salmon for 20 – 30 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily.

Step 6) To serve: I like to bring the salmon fillet to the dinner table right on the baking sheet, surrounded with roasted vegetables (roasted green beans are pictured above). It is very easy to cut slices from the salmon fillet to serve your family or dinner guests. Enjoy!

 

Baked “TroutSalmon” (Baked Steelhead)

WIN_20150523_215706“What kind of fish is a steelhead?”

Well, that depends upon whom you ask. Some markets label this fish as “steelhead trout,” while others use “steelhead salmon.” The skin of this fish features a faint pink stripe, which by itself would land the fish squarely in the trout camp. Steelhead’s reasonable price is also more reminiscent of trout. The flesh of this fish, however, is pink and tastes exactly like salmon. Further, the fish actually contains MORE of those heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.

Call it a trout, or call it a salmon. Either way, it’s delicious. We’re going to use a light hand in preparing this tasty fish – no batter or tartar sauce today. All these wonderful filets need is a light dusting of chili powder and a bit of finishing salt to make the flavor pop!

WIN_20150523_212006Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 steelhead filets

1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon ground chili powder

finishing salt (I like Jacobsen lemon sea salt shown, left. Any coarse sea salt will do.)

Directions

WIN_20150523_211508Step 1) Slice the lemon and use it to line your baking pan as shown.

Step 2) Lay your steelhead filets skin side down on top of lemon. Dust with chili powder.

Step 3) Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes, until fish flakes WIN_20150523_211937easily. Sprinkle with finishing salt and serve immediately with a fresh green salad.

Fish Tostadas

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Fish tostadas are a pretty common dinner item here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. My pint size diners call tostada shells “big chips,” and seem to think they are getting away with something sneaky when they enjoy “big chips” for dinner. Fish tostadas are a healthy, economical, complete meal. They’re also fast – small filets of tilapia and other whitefish bake in just minutes.  Enjoy!

WIN_20150106_181339Ingredients (Serves 4)

8 tostada shells

1 small onion, sliced

1 pound tilapia (or other whitefish) filets

1 lime, halved

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 cups shredded red cabbage (add a bit of Do Chua for something a little different, if you wish)

1 avocado, sliced into thin strips

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (optional)

WIN_20150106_183943Directions

Step 1) Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Line baking sheet with onion slices.  Place fish filets over onion. Squeeze lime juice over fish and sprinkle with chili powder.

Step 2) Bake fish (uncovered) in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

Step 3) Flake fish into bite size pieces using two forks.

Step 4) Assemble tostadas. If using cheese (not strictly traditional, but tasty), sprinkle cheese on tostada shells first so that it melts underneath the fish. Add fish and onions, then cabbage, then avocado slices.  Serve immediately.