Monday, July 19, 2010

On the 12th Week of Pregnancy: Okonomiyaki

Well, it appears that I have a healthy baby tucked away inside of my body.  We saw the profile of a little head today, and ten fingers (attached to a hand that waved at us), and ten toes (attached to little feet that crossed and uncrossed and kicked at the probe), and a beautiful spine.  Heart beating away at 156bpm.  Everything seemed to be measuring well.  Turns out I lost a pound, which is amazing, considering what I ate last week (including stuffed cupcakes from this place, which I think may just be the best cupcakes I have eaten in my life ... sorry, Butterlane!), and that I'm feeling porky. It's all good news.  But for some reason, even though the ultrasound was definitely rolling across my abdomen, it was like I was peering into someone else's body.  When I wrote to a friend earlier tonight, I wondered, when am I going to believe that I'm really pregnant?  To talk in the definite future rather than in dependent clauses? 

I am finding, though, that I'm paying a little bit more attention to my protein intake this week.  If I were a good vegetarian, I'd be eating lots of beans and lentils and tofu.  But I'm not a good almost-vegetarian, and my protein intake lately, on the days I'm not eating meat (which is most days, now), has been mostly from dairy (milk, cheese, etc.), and whole grains.  I planned a few more egg and bean-centered meals this week, though, and was trying to figure out what to do with the third weekly installment of cabbage sent by our CSA this week (I couldn't imagine another curry, and S. doesn't like slaw) when I happened across some recipes for okonomiyaki.  Mmm, cabbage turned into an egg-and-flour pancake, with smoky meat-like substance on top.  Now here was something I could get behind.

The problem is, beyond the base of cabbage, and the addition of flour and eggs, no one seems to agree on exactly how to make okonomiyaki, and the people who seem to have the most expertise also have access to Asian grocery stores (sadly, our closest Asian market is about 45 minutes away).  So I went for a slightly less "authentic" version, figuring that it was bound to taste good anyway, given the ingredients.

It goes something like this:

Okonomiyaki, Osaka style

cabbage, 1 head.  shredded into oblivion with the magic Cuisinart.
onion, 1 small. shredded into the cabbage as above.
other random finely chopped or shredded veggies (corn, bell pepper, etc.)
random small bits of non-veggies (optional: shrimp, etc.)
random small bits of bacon (vegetarian or non, your choice ... also optional, but it makes a BIG difference)
flour, about 1/2 c. for every 1 cup of shredded veggies and non-veggies
baking powder, a scant 1/2 t. or so, depending on how much flour you have
salt, just a bit
eggs, about 1 for every 1 c. of shredded veggies and non-veggies

Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle on medium heat (add some oil if you need to, so that things don't stick).

Mix together veggies and non-veggies (that is, everything except the bacon).  Stir in flour and baking powder to coat well.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs; when thoroughly mixed, stir them into the vegetable-flour mixture.  You should have a dough/batter that is fairly stiff, made up mostly of vegetables.

Pour some batter onto your griddle.  Add bacon-like substance (if using) to the top of the pancake, and let the whole thing cook for about five minutes.  Flip over so that the bacon side cooks next, another five minutes or so.  Serve with any condiments you like; we used mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce, which seem to be the most traditional.  The sauce tastes a bit like barbecue, which goes well with the smoky "bacon" flavor.

Okonomiyaki sauce

1/4 c. ketchup
1 1/2 T. worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. dijon mustard
2 T. rice wine
1 t. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until bubbly. Simmer about 30 seconds more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Alternatively, you could eat them with ketchup, which is a lot less trouble, and which is what our three year old did.

Now, before you start asking about that bottle in the background, let me set the record straight: no, I am not drinking.  It's my husband's beer ... he tells me that beer is the ideal accompaniment to okonomiyaki.  This doesn't surprise me, given that most Japanese meals seem to go well with beer.  This particular label describes our little family well, don't you think?  It's a specialty of the Magic Hat Brewing Company in Burlington, Vermont, where S. grew up.

Those of you who are not pregnant, please go have a round, with your okonomiyaki, for us who cannot indulge.  Banzai!
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  1. Yeah second trimester. Congrats lovely lady!

  2. What wonderful news!!!! SUPER CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  3. Here early from ICLW... congrats on your pregnancy! I hope you start soaking it in... and on the cabbage, good luck with that. I remember being at a loss last year with our CSA when the cabbage came. That and the beets! :)

  4. ICLW visitor! I look forward to coming back and checking out your recipes. We joined a CSA to help me eat better for TTCing and I let a lot of stuff go bad because I don't have a plan for it. Glad I found you. And congrats on the wonderful ultrasound!!!!

  5. ICLW here also!
    Those look yummy!!!!I need to translate the receipe in italian... !!

  6. I am here from ICLW.. and I love your blog!! I scrolled down and so you cook such diverse food as Tabbouleh and Spanakopita .. I am so impressed! I will keep reading.. and I better get cooking!!

  7. Here from ICLW! I'll be twelve weeks tomorrow! All your food sounds amazing but I'm not quite ready to stomach it yet!

  8. Congrats on reaching 12 weeks.


  9. Yum!! Looks delish! And start believing it lady, YOU'RE PREGNANT!! Congratulations!

  10. Congratulations on your pregnancy!


  11. Congratulations on your little one. I'm 19 weeks pregnant and I still wonder when it is going to feel real for me!

    I've been trying to eat better and have been thinking about the vegetarian route. I had spaghetti squash for the first time this week and it was awesome! I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes you have featured. What I've seen so far look delicious!



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