Cook with Yuri Vaughn


    She’s the person behind the mochi at Teance. She pounds the cooked sticky rice instead of using mochiko, chops up whole yomogi for the actual grassy freshness, grow her own wild blueberries because they’re denser in flavor than the bigger highbush cultivars at the stores, and makes fancy mochi fillings with seldom fewer than 4 ingredients. Every time I nibble one of her soft little piece of art, each costs a whopping 4 dollars, I wonder what she doesn’t make at home from scratch and how much more work it takes.

    Turns out, Yuri doesn’t make katsuobushi from scratch, that is, she doesn’t behead, gut, fillet, smoke and sun-dry the bonito fish herself, instead she buys the wood-block-looking karebushi and shaves it to top her okomiyaki, which goes without saying is made with grated nagaimo and dashi instead of premixed flour like when I did it.


    We made Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, which doesn’t have egg in the batter, but we later added egg to brown the pancake more. Yuri told me to choose the fluffier cabbage instead of those with the leaves tightly packed together, and she added a squeeze of lemon juice on the finished pancake to brighten it up, exactly the little things that I can learn only from a home kitchen.


    After two okonomiyaki, we had genmaicha with pickle cucumber and shiromiso, both homemade of course. Then a plain koshihikari senbei (rice cracker), as the sun set generous rays from the window.

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