This past weekend was “Silver Week” in Japan, the fall counterpart of spring’s Golden Week, with Monday through Wednesday being national holidays. It’s difficult to take time off work at Japanese companies, so people are pretty dependent on holidays to get away from work and I was pleased with the way I managed to squeeze in quite bit. There was a night of drinking with coworkers (complete with late night booze in a park), the arrival of my new 50mm 1.4f lens (it takes gorgeous pictures), a dinner party with the Michigan kids at Mike’s place in Yokohama (always a good time), a day trip to Hakone (obscenely crowded, but the hour spent in the hot springs made up for it), and a night cruise of Tokyo Harbor. It was certainly busy, but that’s fine by me as everything turned out so well.
With 5 straight days off, you’d expect that I’d also have been cooking up a storm but I barely spent any time in the kitchen. In fact, I didn’t cook anything particularly significant until the very last night of the break. Yuki and I decided to make dinner together and she happened to have pasta, bacon, and eggs on hand (quite fortunate considering how empty her kitchen is!), so we decided to take a shot at Pasta Carbonara. I picked up some parmesan cheese on the way over and we were pretty much set to give it a go.
The recipes I’d seen called for using the entire egg, but she insisted that one should exclude the white, so we went with that. Personally, I think it would have benefited from having the white in there as it ended up being pretty thick but it was my first time making it, so what would I know. The alternative would be to add some milk or cream, which is the standard here in Japan, but I wanted to try to keep it authentic and wasn’t down for that.
The past couple of times I’ve tried new recipes have been at friends’ houses, all of whom happen to have gas stove tops. Having been cooking on my stupid little IH surface for the past 6 months now, I’d forgotten how much power gas puts out. It just heats up so much faster. Sadly, this lead to significantly over-cooked (read: borderline burned) bacon for the carbonara, as you can clearly see in the pictures, though it still tasted decent enough I suppose. Yuki also threw together a salmon and onion marinade (salmon and onions marinated in rice vinegar and lemon juice) and a quick salad (I played like a champion, eating the tomatoes and giving the olives a shot) to make it a real meal. Dinner was followed by super creamy banana milkshakes. I added a little soy milk to them and, though I can’t say for sure if it would have been any different with regular milk, they turned out absolutely delicious. God, I love milkshakes…
All in all, it was a pretty solid meal. The carbonara wasn’t bad but it certainly wasn’t going to win any awards either, so I’ll have to work on that. It’s a very straight forward dish to make and has potential to be delicious, so I think it’s worthwhile to try it out a few more times to see if I can’t figure out how to make it better.
As this is first and foremost a food blog, I try to keep things focused on food. That being said, I think there is room for exceptions, so I’m going to make one now. You may have noticed a cute Japanese girl showing up a few times on this blog as my primary accomplice in my eating and traveling adventures. Without going into details, I’ll just go ahead and introduce my girlfriend, Yuki.