Today I will introduce two other recipes. One is my daughter's favorite with meatballs and the other is carrot, snow pea, and dried kelp rice - hang in there for a sec on that one.
Now before I write down my recipe, let me say this, "I love you Trader Joe's." Trader Joe's has a lof of great things I can use for my cooking and one of them is the meatballs. Even I love them!
Of course I would prefer to make my own meatballs because I could mix in a lot of vegetables, yes I'm a sneaky mom, but I haven't had a chance to make them in bulk so for this recipe I use meatballs from TJ's (aka. Trader Joe's). Their meatballs are simple (not an italian kind) without any herbs which is key. I know you probably think I am cheating by using meatballs from TJs. I will promise you next time I will make my own meatballs with a lot of vegetables and post the recipe.
You could just microwave these TJ's meatballs and serve them as is, but you know I like to add touch of love to my cooking so I made my own sauce and here is the recipe.
Sauce for my daughter's favorite meatballs (for 12 meatballs)
- 3 tbs tomato ketchup
- 2 tbs mayo
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
How to make:
- Put all the ingredients in the sauce pan and cook until the sugar disolves.
- Microwave 12 frozen meatballs for 2 minutes on high and then put them in the sauce (all the fat too).
- Cook them together until sauce starts to become more like a glaze. Serve and enjoy.
You can make this in less than 10 minutes! (Even better than Torisoboro!)
My daughter could just eat these meatballs for lunch, but you know I am a mom and I feel I should feed my daughter at least some vegetables. I had snow peas and shredded carrot from TJ's as well so I decided to make this rice dish (pictured below).
I know I lost some of you at dried kelp so let me take a moment to explain. First, kelp is a seaweed and it is healthy source of food. Second, you don't need to fetch your diving gear and jump into the nearest sea bed looking for kelp growing in the wild. It's available in any Japanese grocery store. If you live in Seattle that would be Uwajimaya. To help you out, here is a photo of one such package.
This is a seasoned dried kelp called Fujikko. You can likely find it around seaweed section. In this recipe, I need a seasoned one.
Here is the recipe:
Carrot, snow pea, and dried kelp rice
- rice (2 rice bowl servings)
- 1/2 tbs vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/3 cup sliced snow pea
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp soysauce
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed seasoned dried kelp)
How to make:
- Heat a pan at medium heat with 1/2 tbs vegetable oil and cook carrots for 3 minutes.
- Add snow peas and pinch of salt. Cook everything together a couple more minutes.
- Add sugar, soy sauce and cook until all the liquid evaporates.
- Mix warm rice, 1/4 cup of loosely packed seasoned dried kelp, and the carrot mix you just cooked. Serve and enjoy.
From the rice mix we just cooked I made onigiri (rice balls). These are easier to eat for my daughter and lead to less mess overall.
What's in a middle of the photo? It is called Tamagoyaki (fried egg). The ingredients are very simple but making it can be a little tricky. I will introduce its recipe some other time and hopefully include a how-to video (my blog and computer knowledge needs to improve first).
Before I had my daughter, I never bought pre-shredded, diced, or cut vegetables. They are usually $1 or so more expensive and I felt it was a waste to spend the extra money. Now I have to cook three times a day for my child (at least!) and when children want to eat, they need to eat right away! I refuesed to buy prepared vegetables for a long time but my husband has told me many times that time is money and finally I agree with him. I subsequently caved and now buy already shredded, diced, and cut vegetables. I usually go to TJ's to get them.
My experiences with my daughter have convinced me that how you are raised continues to influence you for a long time. When I was a child, I suggested to my mother that already prepared vegetables might make her life easier because it was just a $1 extra. My mother always told me, $1 here and there adds up and can be expensive over time, I can just go home and cut them by myself. This is why I refused to buy them initially and this mindset has stuck with me for a long time.
Even though there is a concept of time is money in Japan, it is not well executed. For example, washing dishes and drying laundry. Most Japanese will hand wash everything and hang laundry outside. My mom used to wake up early so that she could hang her laundry before she went to work. She still does this today.
Japan is a developed nation but I feel that modern conveniences in the home that would make a women's life easier are just not a priority for anyone. I think it is because there are certain expectaions for women to live like their own mothers and this expectation comes especially from husbands. It is great to keep traditions alive but I think it is time for Japan to adopt a more pragmatic American lifestyle.
Vive la dishwasher!