breakfast: an american tradition.

i love breakfast, and i’m not ashamed to say it.  i can honestly and with 100% confidence say that, especially in the states, it is one of the most under-appreciated (if not completely ignored) meals in the course of a single day.  i make sure to wake up nice and early almost every day (including the weekends, i know i’m crazy) to make myself a good old-fashioned 1950’s style breakfast.

and as an avid breakfast fan, i’m here to tell you that while breakfast might not scientifically be proven as the most important meal of the day, it can easily become the meal that sets the pace for an entire 24 hours.  suffice to say, cereal won’t cut it.  if you start your day with cereal and some milk everyday, you are going to be sluggish and starving by lunch time.  it just isn’t good for you.

personally, i make sure to eat hearty.  eggs are a staple, and i always make an effort to include some fresh veggies and little bit of starch, too.  in all honesty, the only food group that i regularly completely ignore is fruit.  i’m not too big on sweet stuff, and high concentrations of sugar tend to make you crash later in the day.

today i was in rare form.  i woke up nice and early, made a big pot of coffee, and got to work.  my farmer friends have thrown produce at me left and right this month, so i resolved to use as much of the fresh goodies as i good today.  the result was absolutely delicious, super manly, and chock full of nutrients.

sometimes you just have to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you are from ‘merica.  and today was one of those days.

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raging lamb curry: not for the weak of heart (or stomach)

a lot of people like to generalize about japanese cuisine when it comes to heat.  most people assert that “japanese people can’t handle spicy foods,” and for the most part, i would agree with them.  but i am also of the firm opinion that we (those of us who hail from countries like the usa and canada) have a completely different concept of what “spicy” means.

we are friendly neighbors with central and south america, which means that for a lot of americans, our first introduction to spiciness is through foods like pickled jalapenos and hot sauce.  because both contain spicy chili oils, they leave a lasting capsaisin-based burning sensation in your mouth.  japan, on the other hand, regularly consumes foods like wasabi and ginger, which have a very fresh, short-lived, and intense heat akin to horseradish that builds up in the sinuses.  both chilis and wasabi are spicy, just in different ways.  sure, most japanese people would cry if they ate a raw jalapeno, but i think most americans would cry if they took a bite out a wasabi radish, too.  if you ask me, it depends on what you are used to.

still, capsaisin-based spicy foods can be a little hard to find in japan.  most options for true raging heat come from korea, japan’s neighbor across the sea.  gochujang and doubanjiang are great options to kick up the heat a little bit when cooking, and i regularly implement them when making salad dressings.  but because they are imported foods, they can tend to drive up the price of your dish a little more than you want sometimes.

my staple when i comes to spice is good old fashioned piri piri (a.k.a. capsicum frutescens, african bird’s eye peppers).  during the summer months, these little guys can occasionally be found fresh in huge plastic wrapped bouquets for a pittance in most japanese grocery stores.  in the non-summer months, they can also be purchased in small packages pre-dried and just as potent.

and it is these piri piris to which today’s lamb curry owes its rage.  if you have a pace-maker or chronic acid-reflux disease, you may want to navigate away from this page right now.  just reading the recipe could be dangerous to your health. Continue reading