recipes

Pigeon’s Recipes for Busy/Lazy People: One Seasoning Mexican-Japanese Rice and Beans

One thing we don’t eat in my household is beans. I heated up a can of imported refried beans once and my husband didn’t like them (who doesn’t like refried beans??). But I do make tacos regularly, and I wanted a side dish to go with them. So I threw this one together.

I used:

  • mixed beans
  • cooked rice (normal, sticky-ish, Japanese rice)
  • garlic
  • green peppers
  • taco seasoning
  • mitsuba (ミツバ)
  • a tomato

As usual, these ingredients are just a guide.

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1. Cut your stuff up. Put oil in the frying pan and heat up your garlic.

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2. Add your green peppers and beans. Fry.

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I used this can of mixed beans, which contains garbanzo beans (ガルバンゾ), marrowfat peas (マローファットピース), and red kidney beans (レッドキドニー). And lots of fiber (食物繊維/shokumotsu sen’i).

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3. Add your taco seasoning powder and mix well.

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I used this Japanese brand, S&B. I find that Japanese import stores and sometimes supermarkets have basic Old El Paso brand products, but they’re expensive, since they’re imported.

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Add your rice. Try to fight through the stickiness and get the beans and taco seasoning thoroughly mixed in with the rice.

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Finally, add your tomatoes and mitsuba. You want these to be only slightly cooked, so maybe turn off the heat soon after adding them and cook them with leftover heat as you stir them into your rice.

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And that’s it! This is an easy way to enjoy Mexican food if you live in Japan and can’t get to/can’t afford to go to a Mexican restaurant here.

By the way, my husband balked when he saw this dish (“Beeeeeans??”), but he ate the whole bowl! Ha!

Pigeon’s Recipes for Busy/Lazy People: Umeboshi Chicken Burger

This recipe is probably the most important accomplishment of my life.

It came about when I heard about the “Kishuu plum burger” (紀州梅バーガー/Kishuu ume burger) sold by a bakery called Kawa in Wakayama prefecture. I really like umeboshi, so I thought it sounded good, but I also felt like the execution could be improved. And while I still haven’t tried the original, I’m pretty sure mine is better.

This recipe is probably the easiest one I’ve posted on here so far, but the ingredients might be hard to find if you don’t live in Japan, so plan/substitute accordingly.

I use:

-Chicken breast (I use skinless)

-Honey umeboshi (ハチミツ梅干し/hachimitsu umeboshi)

-Mild salt umeboshi (うす塩梅干し/usushio umeboshi)

-Mizkan brand “Ponjure” ponzu jelly (ぽんジュレ)

-Shiso/perilla/ooba leaf (しそ/大葉)

-Mayonnaise

-Soy sauce

-Cooking sake

-Tomato

-Onion

-English muffins

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1. First, cut the chicken breast up into patty-ish shapes. Try to flatten them out a bit so they’ll sit nicely on the bun. Season the patties with soy sauce.

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2. Heat up some oil in a frying pan. Put the chicken breast patties in and cook one side for about a minute. Then, flip them over, pour some cooking sake in, and put a lid on. Steam them until they’re done (depends on thickness).

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3. Make the umeboshi tartar sauce: Remove the pits from some of the salt umeboshi (about 1-2 per burger). Chop/smash them up with your knife until you have a ball of umeboshi goop. Put the goop in a bowl and mix it with mayonnaise (I think about a 1:1 ratio by volume is good, but taste as you go).

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4. Prepare the toppings: Remove the pits from some honey umeboshi (1 per burger); leave them whole. Slice the tomato and onion. Wash the shiso leaves.

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5. Mizkan’s ponzu jelly is a really good sauce for this. If you can’t find it, I recommend something light and fruity as an alternative. Maybe marmalade?

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6. When your chicken is done steaming, stack all of the ingredients on half of an English muffin: chicken, shiso, tomato, onion, tartar sauce, honey umeboshi, ponzu jelly.

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7. Put the other half of the English muffin on top, squish it down, and enjoy!

Pigeon’s Recipes for Busy/Lazy People: One Pot, One Bowl Pasta Salad

Here’s the third entry in my ongoing quick and dirty recipe series. Today’s recipe is the quickest and dirtiest one yet: pasta salad you can make even when you just do not feel like cooking. As always, the ingredients pictured are what I felt like using the day of the photo shoot. Change things up and make it your own.

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First, start boiling your eggs, since that’ll take a while. I like it best when the yoiks are runny. You know what a pain hard-boiling eggs the way you want them can be. Experiment.

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While your eggs are boiling, cut up your salad stuff. I always choose vegetables that don’t have to be cooked. If you want to complicate this by cooking your vegetables, go right ahead.

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If you really want to make this as meal-like as possible, add a can of tuna for a meat-ish and protein-y touch.

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Cheese is always a plus. I usually go with these cubes of gouda. (Open bag, dump into bowl.)

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Put everything in a big bowl. Cut/rip up your boiled eggs (take the shells off first) and put them in, too.

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Next, we boil the pasta. PROTIP: Boil the pasta in the same pot you just boiled the eggs in. I think tube-shaped pasta (macaroni, etc.) absorbs the flavors best. Boil the pasta for one minute LONGER than it says on the package.

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When the pasta’s done boiling, drain it and run it under cold water to cool it off. Add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.

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Dressing: my go-to dressing is vinegar + olive oil  + Krazy Mixed-Up Salt. If you do this, add, mix, taste, and add more if necessary.

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All done! Everything’s in one bowl, it’s a semi-balanced meal, and you only dirtied one pot. Pretty good!

Pigeon’s Recipes for Busy/Lazy People: No-Effort Doria

“Doria.”

By the way, did you know that doria is not Italian food? I just found that out.

Anyways, this doria recipe is what happens when I have to cook dinner at 11:00 at night and don’t feel like doing it.

1. First of all, we need some rice, so fire up your rice cooker or get some instant rice or whatever. Dribble some olive oil on a paper towel and coat the inside of a oven-safe pan thingy, and put the rice in it.

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2. Usually, if I made doria, I would make a tomato sauce similar to the one I introduced before, but today I don’t feel like doing anything, so these are my ingredients:

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We have eggplant and two kinds of mushrooms, which is what I could get at the supermarket at 10:00 at night. There’s onion, which was in the fridge, and some chopped green onions, which were also in fridge and had expired the day before (one day won’t kill you). There’s some basil, which is my way of trying to make it look like I’m making an effort. There’s also prosciutto (生ハム/nama ham), which I chose because it’s meat that you don’t have to cook.

I was determined not to use the frying pan this day.

3. Chop up/rip up all that stuff and throw it on top of the rice, thusly:

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4. I didn’t feel like cooking a sauce today, so instead I invited my new friend over:

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That’s Kagome Kakeru Tomato (かけるトマト/Pour-On Tomato) in tomato & basil (トマト&バジル) flavor.

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Pour it on. Maybe use the back of a spoon to try to get some even coverage, but don’t kill yourself over it, it’s not that big of a deal.

5. Cover the whole damn thing in cheese.

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6. Now the cooking part is up in the air, so I’ll leave that to you. Today, I cooked it for 30 minutes under the “grill” function of my oven. You could try baking it. You could even microwave it if you really don’t give a crap.

7. While it’s cooking, maybe make a fresh salad to go with it.

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Did I say “fresh”? I meant “one tomato and some vegetables that come in envelopes.” Throw it in a bowl and splash some olive oil and vinegar on top and there, it’s salad.

8. All done!

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The onions were still kind of raw but at this point it was 12:30 and any craps I gave were officially gone. Bon appetit!

Pigeon’s Recipes for Busy/Lazy People: Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

1. You don’t need to measure anything.

2. That’s a lie; measure the pasta. 100g per person ought to do it.

3. You should probably start boiling the water for the pasta first, because that usually takes a while.

4. Get two (2) tomatoes, onions and/or garlic, and some stuff that seems like it’d taste good in a pasta sauce. A bunch of vegetables and one meat is usually a pretty good combo.

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Today I have shimeji mushrooms, black olives, eggplant, green peppers, asparagus, and bacon.

5. Mince/food process the garlic and/or onions. Cut up the vegetables in whatever size and quantity you want. Cut the tomatoes up haphazardly into 8 pieces or so each, but keep them separate from the other vegetables for now.

6. Put some olive oil in a frying pan and fry your garlic and/or onions. When the kitchen starts to smell like garlic and/or onions, put your vegetables (not the tomatoes) in and fry them up. It’s usually a good idea to put the meat in a little bit later, but you can just throw it in there whenever if you’re that busy/lazy.

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This is two people’s worth, by the way.

7. Add flavoring. The only flavoring you need for this is salt and pepper. I use Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt. You can throw in whatever herbs you have sitting around if you’re feeling fancy.

8. After your meat and vegetables look almost all cooked, put the tomatoes in. After you fry them for a while, they’ll start melting and releasing juices and eventually just leave behind their skin. Taste it and see if it needs more salt. Add salt if you need some. Turn off the flame when you think the sauce looks saucy enough.

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Yeah, that looks pretty saucy.

9. Did you boil your pasta?

10. After you’ve boiled your pasta, drain it and put it into the pan with the sauce (with the heat off). Toss it like you’re tossing a salad and try to get all the stuff mixed in with the pasta.

11. Put your pasta on plates. If you have some parmesan cheese, put that on top.

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Ta-da!