Japanese Penicillin

I woke up feeling pretty crappy on Sunday. I caught the latest bug that Sadie was toting around and had an extremely sore throat, and no energy. The thing about parenting is that once you sign on, you have to keep on moving. Even if you feel sick, no one is going to take pity on you (okay, well maybe an awesome husband who let me nap half the day on Sunday). Generally speaking though, it’s no rest for the weary.

I was still signed on to cook our Sunday night meal and also wanted a fun afternoon cooking activity for the kids. Good thing I had gone shopping at Monterey Market on Friday and purchased a bunch of exotic ingredients to turn into a big pot of chicken soup. Not your ordinary chicken soup, mind you, but chicken udon soup…Japanese penicillin!

I had been walking around the market looking for inspiration and noticed a hand go into the refrigerator and pull out a package of fresh udon noodles. With no game-plan, my hand went in immediately after and grabbed my own package to take home. With a make-a-game-plan-as-you-go approach, I wandered over to the imported food section and found a bottle of Kikoman soup stock concentrate. Hmmm, what else to put into my udon soup. I grabbed a handful of shitake mushrooms, some snow peas, and knew I could use some chicken that I had at home.

Wanting something else delicious to accompany the soup, I also purchased sushi rice and a can of inari skins, for a fun project with Caleb and Sadie…making our own inarizushi.

The Sunday afternoon inarizushi project was really easy. I made some seasoned sushi rice (add vinegar, sugar, and salt) earlier in the day before my nap. Caleb opened up the can of inari skins (Japanese thin, fried tofu skins in a sweet sauce) and I poured the can into a shallow bowl. We had the bowl of sushi rice placed next to it and a plate to catch our finished inarizushi. Caleb and Sadie each took turns stuffing the rice into the inari with their little hands. I placed their inari pouches carefully on the plate and later arranged them onto a platter.

Around the same time, I filled a pot up with water and added enough chicken stock and soup seasoning until the broth tasted like a classic udon soup stock I had tasted at Japanese restaurants. I added the chicken, cut in small pieces, and the uncooked udon noodles. Once they were done, I threw in the sliced shitakes and snow peas. After a few more minutes of cooking, we were ready to eat.

Caleb sat down for dinner and immediately began sipping his udon soup…chopsticks in right hand, soup spoon in left. I was so pleased to hear him say “This is the best food we ever made!” We were all happily enjoying our Japanese meal – slurping our noodles, sipping our broth, and munching on our sweet pouches of inarizushi. It was pretty delicious…very nurturing and rewarding.

This was a very easy food project for a wiped-out mom to facilitate; truly what the doctor ordered. I can now hear the spirit of my Jewish mother saying “Why are you sitting at the computer when you should be in bed getting some rest!” Okay, Ma…I’m going, I’m going!


8 thoughts on “Japanese Penicillin

  1. Anya,
    You continue to impress me with your love of family and food…..the photos are proof of your success.Thanks again for sharing and keep on keepin’ on…..

  2. What a great story- and a great mom to still do a cooking project when you were sick! The photos indeed make the food look delicious and the family happy! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Awesome photos, bub. Makes me feel like I was there in a whole different way. A nicely told story that really makes one want to pick up these projects and run with them. Love this blog, bubu.

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