The combination of everyday busyness with a disinclination to cook anything exciting has led to a lack of entries here lately. I did try two Japanese dishes about a week ago, vegetarian spring rolls (from Hiroko Shimbo's A Japanese Kitchen) and beef and potato hot pot (from Victoria Abbott Riccardi's Untangling My Chopsticks, which is really a travel book with recipes). The spring rolls weren't too bad; the filling consisted of shiitake mushrooms, bean-thread noodles, garlic, bamboo shoots and scallions, with a beaten egg for binder. I had some of them piping hot from the oven and froze the rest. Although the rolls are supposed to look cylindrical when done, mine turned out more like little bite-sized envelopes.
My lack of success with potatoes continued with the hot pot. Ideally, meat and potatoes are simered in a sweet shoyu broth until the meat is tender and the potatoes are more or less melting into the thick sauce. I guess I needed to cook it longer to reach that level of consistency. Oh, well, edible but not exciting (though the broth turned out well).
I'll try to cook something this weekend. It's high time I got back into the swing of things.