Apples Steamed with Sugar

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


I don’t know the name of what I cooked. I steamed small apples with sugar.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There are several apple trees in my garden. One of apple trees “Ourin” has got some apples. My mom is happy with that and she had taken some fruits from the tree. She just wanted to take them, didn’t care about the apples were ripe or not. To eat, or not to eat, that was not a question to her. Although she said she might offer those apples in front of the photograph of Dad who died last year, she just left the apples on the table.

My dad had been a poor boy when he was a kid. His dad, my father’s side grandpa, died of tuberculosis when he was a kid. Also that was when all the Japanese suffered from lack of food after the WWII. So my dad had never wasted food. I feel like I inherited his DNA that does not waste any food. This evening, just before I started cooking supper, I found the apples were still left on the table. They were three. I tasted one, which was hard and sour, too early to harvest. I gave up eating it. There were still two left. I decided to heat those immature apples by steam in the pan.

At first, I tried digging a hole on the top of apple because I wanted to get rid of seeds. But it is small apple. In order to do that, my smallest spoon was still too large. So I did that with the end part of the spoon (haft?). The purpose of the hole on apple is not only for removing seeds. After getting rid of seeds, I filled the hole with sugar. I put two small apples with sugar in a bowl and covered the bowl with aluminum foil. And then l poured water a half inch depth into a deep pan, put the bowl in the pan, heated the pan 15 minutes.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This is what I got. I put this in refrigerator tonight. I will eat the sweet and chilled apple as a desert for a breakfast tomorrow morning.

I ate it this morning. It was hard. 15 minutes boiling could not make it soft. Taste was so-so. And there’s one thing I forgot to write yesterday. I don’t have a microwave. If I had a microwave, heating time could have been shortened.

Now the Time for Harvesting and Eating OKURA

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Now the season is turning because the rainy season has ended. One type of vegetable is growing fast in my garden. Well, don’t talk about weeds around, please.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


And its flowers are actually beautiful.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


But the flowers are not the purpose of this plant. It’s OKRA.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


I boiled OKRA just a few minutes, cooled down with ice, and put mayonnaise on them. The slices of Tomato also came from my garden. This was one plate of tonight’s supper.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


It’s Difficult to Take Bones off from Sardines

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


This afternoon I bought one package of sardines in the nearby supermarket. There were three sardines in the package that was 265JPY (2.4USD).

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


I try to cook many kinds of fishes these days. In order to be good at cooking fish, it is important to cook them many times and to figure out what is the best way to cut the fish. There is one fish that I think is very difficult to cook well. It is sardine. It is said that the back bone of a sardine can be removed by fingers. Some web sites show how to take the bone off from the sardine. But I would say it is impossible for a beginner to take the bone off by fingers. It is simply because the body, or I would call meat, is too soft to work with fingers. It is interesting that it is the same reason that many web sites are saying that the bone can be removed by fingers. Again, it is impossible. You will just waste many portion of the sardine’s meat if you try it by your fingers.
So I had tried my best to remove the bone today, but I have to admit my defeat. Three sardines had just turned to be a kind of “torn-out-pieces” by my poor cooking skill.

Anyway I fried those pieces for the dinner. Their taste was so-so.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

What to do about Damage to a Fig Tree by Long-horn Beetles.

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)



A fig tree is vulnerable to damage by long-horn beetles. Since the trunk of a fig tree is relatively soft, the insects make holes and go into the inside. In that case, the trunk of the tree becomes houses and also food. And then there will be so many holes on the surface and the trunk will have void inside. It quite often results in the death of the fig tree.

If it is in early stage with a little number of holes, injecting insecticide would be one of solutions. However, it means that the injected chemical could go up in the tree and reach to the fruits. So I don’t think injecting insecticide could be a solution as a countermeasure against long-horn beetles in a fig tree.

A practical solution is as follows. You need to accept the damage caused by long-horn beetles on a fig tree. In other words, you admit that a fig tree is short-lived. But it does not mean you need to give up the fruits. What you need to do is renewing your “main” fig tree in relatively short term. You make young trees using a branch and/or shoot that are taken from the existing fig tree. By keeping several young trees as the spares, and planting them every three or four years, you will get the fruits, even though some times the damage happens.

So, this year, I made three young fig trees using the existing fig tree’s shoot.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


They were taken from a native Japanese fig tree. So those fruits are not so sweet because the species has not been improved like some western fig trees. But this kind is hardy and can stands for winter cold. Although its sweetness is not perfect, eating fresh is actually good. And a good thing is that I can make a lot of jam (jelly) and compote in autumn.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Metalhead is a Fish’s Name “Kanagashira”

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Nothing has to do with a fan of heavy metal music. “Kana-” means metal and “Gashira” a head. So the fishes’ heads looked very hard and strong.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I bought them in a supermarket. They were local fishes so they were not expensive, even I would say they were cheap.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

All three were placed in a pan, and then they were boiled. Actually it took time for me to remove their scales on the surface. Although I just threw most of the inside, I kept egg and boiled it together.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I usually use soy sauce for the taste when boiling a fish, but this time I used the salty soy-beans paste “Miso”.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

They were on the dish. That means it’s ready to eat.

Cutting One Whole Sea Bream

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Bones of a sea bream are sharp and hard. Sometimes people lose their lives by accidentally swallowing those bones. But it is sure that the sea bream is one of the best fishes to eat. The fish is always served in meals of any celebration in Japan.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The taste is good, but cutting the sea bream for cooking is not that easy. That is another problem with sea breams. These days I am just trying to learn how to cut many kinds of fishes that are available in the supermarket where I always buy food.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

So this is what I have done with a small size sea bream. Please do not point out that thick meat remains on the back bone. Anyway, bones and the head were so hard that it needed some forces in my hand when cutting them. But that hardness could helped me a little when I was making two slices of right and left half bodies from the back bone. Yes, the bones can be a guide for the blade of knife.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I boiled the head, bones, and tails with salty water so that could be a nice soup of fish taste.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I grilled the half body slice. Salt was the only thing that I used for seasoning. I used no pepper, no spices of any kind, other than salt.
It was so nice for me to eat this with boiled rice, although I still had to be careful about bones.

Cutting and Slicing a Whole Salmon (Photos may be Graphic)

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

So this is the end of the year 2020. Every year at this time a lady in Hokkaido sends us a one whole salmon as a year-end gift. That lady’s husband and my dad had worked together forty some years ago. Her husband died young, but she continues to send the year-end gifts to her husband’s old colleagues. Actually my dad had long been ill and was unable to deal with salmon by himself. But I couldn’t say her to stop sending. Because I thought that sending year-end gifts to her husband’s co-workers makes her feel the connection to her dead husband.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

But this year, a change had happened on our family side. My dad died in February. We should have told her soon, but we haven’t done that yet. This morning, my mom wrote a letter, although she hasn’t brought it to post office yet. Anyway, I had to cut and slice the salmon. I have done that yesterday.
The first thing I have to do was to sharpen a knife. I honed a thick blade knife with a whetstone. By the way, I want you to know that Japanese do not rubbing two knives together with clicking-clacking sounds when we sharpen a knife. We do that one by one with whetstone as in the photograph.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

He is bigger than the cutting board. I use the word “He” because I guess the salmon is male. The reason is simple; his nose is sharp. A female salmons have round nose. Anyway I have to cut the salmon neatly, but I think that, for this kind of techniques, how many times one has done it before matters to do it well. I mean if I had cut salmons one hundred times, I could do it well. But this was just the third times for me to cut and slice a one whole salmon. So please do not expect much.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

At first I cut the head and fins. Of course they can be eaten. There is no part that can be wasted as to salmon.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

OK, this is the most difficult part of the process. You need to cut a half body on one side. At the center of the body, there is a line of bones from the backbone to the top. It is important to cut as close as you can to those vertical bones at the center. But I should admit that I am not good at it. You can see that meat remains on bone side thick.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The next process is to cut the backbone out from the other side of body.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I slice the half body so that they can be easily grilled.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Then I wrapped each slice with cling film. Anyway I have almost done the work.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

A good thing about salmon is that you can eat even the head, bones, and fins by boiling them for several hours. Those parts will eventually become soft and edible. If you have a pressure cooker, boiling hours can be shortened to the less than an hour. Since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I just boil every time I stand in the kitchen. And then the head and bone can be soft in two days.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The slices of salmon were a lot. So I just put them in the freezer. But they were still a lot. So my mom wanted to give part of them to her friend. This morning my mom went out to the lady’s house to give her some slices of the salmon. The lady is taking a care of her mother alone in her house. I have to tell ya that her mother is one hundred and six years old. I hope that the salmon that I sliced will be on the table of the centenarian as part of New Year celebration.