tofu and avocado soup: sometimes, less is more.

tofu and… avocado?  has the poor man finally lost his mind?

while the answer to that question might be “yes,” this is still a pretty dang tasty recipe i threw together the other day.

i am a firm believer that some of the world’s best soups are those that are just as good hot as they are cold, which is certainly the case of some of my favorites.  this soup in particular was inspired by none other than vichyssoise, one of america’s most classic soups.

as with some of japan’s greatest foods, the key to this soup is its mildness.  it contains no shocking flavors, no expensive ingredients, and requires no complex cooking methods at all.  literally any person with a food processor or a blending wand can make it.  and therein lies its beauty.

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udon you want me, baby?

yeah, i know.  it’s a great song, isn’t it?

don’t worry, this post doesn’t have anything to do with the 80s.  it does, however, have to do with one of the simplest and most delicious foods japanese cuisine has to offer.

when my beautiful female better half came down with a nasty cold last week, i vowed that i would do everything within my power to make her better.  did i bike to and from the store a bunch of times every day?  of course.  did i pick her up two different kinds of fruit tea so she wouldn’t get tired of drinking yuzu and honey all day?  that’s a given.  did i give her a neck massage and tuck her into bed every night?  goes without saying.

but when your hubby tells you that they don’t want to eat because “nothing just looks that good,” you have to make some tough decisions.  after all, you have to bolster their strength so they can fight off that nasty illness, but you can’t exactly go around making heinously spicy burritos or steaks without breaking their delicate little sick stomach.  in such situations, i tend to turn a good friend of mine.

and that friend’s name is udon.

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a fish, a man, and a super sharp knife.

i like to tell my friends that, when it comes to cooking, there are three kinds of people in this world.

first, there are the people who have a million different knives, none of which are sharp or useful.  second, there are the people who use their knife until it is no longer sharp, and then throw it away and buy a new one.

last, there are people who have one knife that they keep so ridiculously sharp it is at risk of cutting through the food, the cutting board, and the counter beneath.

while this categorization is a little bit cut and dry (no pun intended), there is some truth to it.  i admit, i used to be the second type of person.  but i can confidently say that now, i am the third type through and through.  in my opinion, one knife is all you need as long as you care for it and know how to use it properly.

and when it comes to using a knife properly, japan takes the cake.  not only are their knives incredible, the people who wield them command incredible respect and admiration.  i have been to a few sushi restaurants that consist of nothing more than a counter and chairs, but left with the feeling that i had been to a five-star restaurant.  the flavor of sashimi, maybe more than any other food in the world, is determined entirely by freshness and the knife used to prepare it.

so i thought, why not make sashimi at home?  and then i thought, “i’m not a 85-year-old japanese man who can slice perfect sashimi in his sleepo, that’s why.”  and then i thought, “even those guys had to start somewhere.”

and then i went and bought some fish.  my knife did not disappoint.

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appetizer, salad, and a pasta.

there is something about eating meals in courses that i just can’t explain.  obviously, part of the fun is that you get to cook more than you ever would just making one dish, but the ability to combine a variety of flavors over a period of time instead of in a single dish is really what draws me to it i think.

today’s dinner was exquisite.  torigara tofu, reishabu, and kimchi karashi-mentaiko spaghetti were exactly what i needed tonight, and i really spared no time or effort in making the presentation great.  especially my reishabu.  man, i’m getting good at that.

the greatest part of my meal tonight was that, all in all, none of the food was really that hard to cook.  the assembly was a little tricky, but more than anything all three of the dishes were an exercise in combining flavors that go well together in the appropriate amounts.  for instance, torigara tofu can’t be too salty, and if there is too much ginger the flavor of the garlic sprouts just don’t come through like they should.

needless to say, all three of these dishes will be waiting for you in the recipe section by the end of this week should you feel like trying your luck.

happy feasting!