Friday, March 6, 2009

BLT in Okinawa, with extras

This is the first time I've been in a rush to cook dinner. This is also the first time I realized it may be possible to make my favorite American home foods in my Okinawan kitchen. I'd just picked up some lovely produce from JA, and I decided I needed to eat some uncooked vegetables. They're harder to chew, and they're not as mellow, but they're (supposedly) better for you because the cellulose walls, vitamins, and nutrients haven't been broken down by cooking heat. I disguised them with the clever ruse of bacon, cheese, and eggs. Not that I don't love these

Micro Cherry Tomatoes (see chopstick for size comparison), a big bag of cuteness of

One of my schools gave me fresh butter lettuce from their garden!

Here's my version of a BLT in about ten minutes:

  • cheese
  • tomato
  • 1 slice bread
  • bacon
  • lettuce
  • egg
  • salt, pepper, basil flakes
First, to sate my appetite (or maybe stimulate it--tangy things will do that!) I ate a lilikoi. As one Kauai adventure tour guide once said to a ten-year-old me, a lilikoi is nature's juice box! Also known as passion fruit (ポッション フルツ), lilikoi is one of those extraordinary flavors you usually don't find in a grocery store. Fresh ones are hard to come by, and ones as big as my hand for 100yen each were too good to pass up! I cut off the top and eat the lilikoi out of the "cup" with a spoon:

Meanwhile, fry bacon on low heat to make it extra crispy. If you use high, or even medium heat, the bacon will curl up and the fat won't dissolve. It'll just get soft and burn quickly. Bacon = low heat! It's worth the extra time. Bacon in Japan does exist. It comes packaged in 250g packages of neatly arranged half-slices. This is about half a pack:

About 10 minutes later, when brown and crisp, remove from pan and set aside.

Prepare your cheese! I love the taste of smoked cheese. Heck, I just love cheese. Cheese in Japan is very expensive, and comes in bite-sized morsels wrapped to resemble candy. And, all of it, no matter what, is simply called "cheese." There are no varieties of cheese. I am very disappointed in this. However, this cheese is a close approximation to smoked gouda, in miniature. Mini cheese:I sliced a few pieces to melt onto my bread:

Then I popped the bread into the "fish grill" part of my stove. This is a wire rack with flames that broil from the top perimeter. It's very useful (and FAST) for toasting bread. My cheese didn't appreciably melt, but what the heck, it's Japanese cheese, right? I halved some micro cherry tomatoes and added those: (notice how MINI everything is! Oh, Japan)

In the unwashed bacon pan, crack an egg. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper, and basil flakes. By the time you're done, so is the egg!
Slide the egg on top of the bread cheese tomato bacon layers:
Add lettuce as the top layer. I like open-face sandwiches, because I don't especially like the dryness of bread. This one required a knife and fork. I ate it with some fresh pineapple, a very good choice. Whoever invented the ham and pineapple pizza had the right idea!

After I'd mangled half of it:

Of note: this brand of preserves labels their stuff "Blueberry Jam," but actually puts blueberry JELLY inside the jar!
jelly, not jam (but I'm not complaining too much)

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