October 17, 2004

autumn sale

Monday, October 11

I wonder if I am the only one who would almost automatically associate mushrooms with autumn.

Well, I know I'm not, at least among Japanese, who by an large call autumn "season of the appetite" and celebrate it with a range of fruits of harvest, and mushrooms seem to be one of them.

Over here I most frequently use regular, white button mushroom, while usually stay out of ones I used to use a lot back in Japan, such as shimeji, enoki, or king oyster mushrooms (shiitake mushrooms are much common here, but I'd do anything to avoid them, although I do use a minimum amount of dried ones to give a complicated flavor in some Japanese dishes), as they are way too overpriced.

So the other day when I was in a nearby supermarket and found those expensive mushrooms were on sale, I couldn't help but grab some packages, thinking, It's (supposedly) autumn and they are on sale! I've got to make some kinoko-gohan.

It was only when I was paying at the casher that I figured those mushrooms were still quite expensive, and the discount was something worth $1 for total - I paid $11 for those mushrooms. Even so, I would not have thought of buying these if it had not been in autumn AND they had not been on sale, so it was a nice opportunity to treat myself with something I can't always afford, I told myself.

As is the case of the most of family cooking, there is no fixed way to make kinoko-gohan, or rice cooked with mushrooms; the bottom line is that you cook rice and mushrooms, together or separately, with or without meat or vegetable. I usually like to make it with a load of assorted mushrooms and vegetable, and a bit of chicken and abura-age, or deep-fried thin-sliced tofu. I also bought boiled bamboo shoots, to make the most of this grand opportunity of making kinoko-gohan.

The making of kinoko-gohan was all about preparation, as the actual cooking it on a rice cooker. I sliced and chopped a bunch of ingredients, and prepared Japanese short-grain rice and put everything in the rice cooker with water and seasonings (soy sauce, chinese chicken stock, white wine, shredded fresh ginger, dried shiitake and maitake mushrooms and their broth, and sesame oil).

Although my crappy rice cooker did a poor job in cooking rice with that much of ingredients and I had to re-cook the rice another couple of time, still being not able to cook the rice evenly (some part got really soggy), my kinoko-gohan turned out fairly good. With a finishing touch of sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and additional shredded ginger (plus salt & pepper), it tasted good and there was a plenty of leftover enough to let me get by for the rest of the season, hopefully...


Anthony said...

Makes me think of Kirin Autumn Beer and that matsutake their cooking.

Anthony said...

that should be "they're" cooking. Off to bed for me.

chika said...

Hi Anthony,
aaah I wonder what they are cooking this year! (matsutake again?)