Mean Cuisine Recipes and Review

A fellow foodie, Leah, has started to offer her chef skills to the peeps of Okinawa: Mean Cuisine!  I took advantage of the October special and booked a “Mix it Up” Class.  After a few emails back and forth and a small deposit, my reservation was made!

We met at Awase Fish Market at a designated time plus the 10 minutes it took me to do a u-turn and map study.  We started at the veggie stand.  Leah explained where specific veggies came from with details on taste, texture and recipe ideas.  We picked out some good looking veggies and headed into the actual market.  Inside we notice it was slim picking on the fish front.  3 o’clock was a bit late for a good selection.  We were still able to pick out a few whole fish and turned them into the super quick fish-cleaner-guy fishmonger while we made our way to the sashimi section.

"Yes, Id like the keep the heads"... wait... what?

“Yes, Id like the keep the heads”… wait… what?

When all was said and done, I spent  around ¥6,000 in fresh vegetables and fish- planning to serving 12.

Back at my house we unloaded the groceries and started the first side: Garlic- Chipotle KabochaKabocha is a Japanese pumpkin and available everywhere!!!  I have never cooked with this little guy… this is what I learned: 1.) you’re supposed to eat the peel and 2.) in some cultures it’s an aphrodisiac!!



Galic-Chipotle Kabocha

  • 1 kabocha; stem and bottom removed, deseeded, and sliced into wedges
  • 4 T EVOO
  • 3 T garlic granules
  • 2 t Chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Smother kabocha wedges with EVOO, sprinkle with garlic and chipotle and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 20 more.

Smokey, sweet and spicy... Kabocha!

Smokey, sweet and spicy… Kabocha!

My guests arrived willing and eager to learn and cook– Leah put them to work washing the lettuce for the sashimi salad.  While one side of the kitchen prepped the salad, Leah and I started the Fish Head Soup.  This soup looks complicated… it’s not- promise!!

Fish Head Soup

  • 1 pot of water
  • 3 fish heads
  • 1 yellow onion;  ends cut off and chopped in half (leave the skin)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t marjoram, dried
  • 1 t thyme, dried
  • 1/2 t Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 T coconut four
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
  • 3″ lemon grass, bruised
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and then down to a simmer.
  2. When the fish’s eyes “pop” it’s time to start adding salt, pepper, more salt.
  3. Boil until the soup reduces to half the volume.
  4. Strain everything out so you’re left with only broth.
  5. Mix curry powder, coconut flour and arrowroot in a small dish then add to fish broth and mix with a hand blender
  6. Add fish balls, lemon grass, salt and pepper- soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish heads, water and veggies!

Fish heads, water and veggies!

Volume is down to 1/2

Volume is down to 1/2

Fish Balls

  • 1 raw fish, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ t black salt
  • ¼ t wasabi powder
  1. Mix all ingredients with fingertips in a small bowl.
  2. Form small balls about the size of paintballs.
  3. Drop into fish broth.
  4. Soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Yes, I’m saving the best for last:

Butter-Fried Fish

  • Whole fish: innards, head and scaled removed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • EVOO
  • (optional: garlic granules, herb, etc. of your choice).
  1. Melt butter in pan at med-high heat.
  2. Make paste of oil, salt and herbs or spices that you      choose.
  3. Massage into skin of fish.
  4. Fry fish until it moves easily in the pan.
  5. Flip.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Enjoy.
    Fish and butter, baby!

    Fish and butter, baby!

    Crispy fish!

    Crispy fish!

    Mean Cuisine Review:

Overview: I met Leah at Awase fish market and purchased ingredients to serve 12 for a “fish dinner”.  In my kitchen, we made: fish ball soup, sashimi salad, garlic-chipotle kabocha, three butter-fried fish and 1 oven baked fish.  It took 2 hours from unloading groceries to saying grace.

Pros: Leah’s Mean Cuisine was a great opportunity and I plan on doing it again (Kokasai Street next time!!!)!  She was informative, creative and a pleasure to learn from.  My favorite part was having her in my kitchen.  For example, I have more spices than you can shake a stick at yet I rarely use them.  Leah went through all my spices and gave me some awesome suggestions and pairings.  The laughter that helped build dinner will not be soon forgotten!!!

Cons:  We bought waaaaaay too much sashimi.  Also, I had originally shopped for 12 dinner guests.  Luckily, a couple of husbands didn’t make it and we had just enough for every one.

Prices: Book a cooking lesson before October 31 and pay only ¥1,000 per student per hour (minimum 2 hours) plus materials fee.

Details: Find Leah on facebook or visit her blog!

The dinner party!

The dinner party!



Triple S & Asian Shrimp-Slaw

At the Awase Fish Market, I picked up a beautiful fillet of salmon… check out the double recipe that came of this perfect source of Omega-3!!!

  • fillet of salmon
  • 1/2 bag o shrimp (defrosted)
  • spaghetti squash
  • artichoke hearts
  • capers
  • garlic
  • evoo

ahhh, shrimpies!

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and de-seed.  Place it flesh side down on a baking sheet with the bottom covered in water.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, season salmon with evoo, salt, pepper and seafood seasoning of your choice.  Wrap it up in tin foil.  When the squash is done, remove it from the baking sheet.  Place the tin foiled salmon on the baking sheet and bake it for 15 minutes. While the salmon is baking, saute the shrimp in the evoo and garlic.  When the little guys start turning pink, put in the artichoke hearts, capers and the spaghetti “noodles” (I also had some rogue leaves of spinach that I threw in there).  After the salmon has baked for 15 minutes, open the tin foil blanket and put the broiler on and broil for about 3 minutes.  The salmon should be “flakey”.  Plate the shrimpy spaghetti and place the salmon ontop… Triple S.

While the broiler is still on, dry the other 1/2 of shrimp and remove their tails.  Cover the shrimpies with EVOO and cayenne pepper.  Place them on a baking sheet and cook for about 4 minutes (just until they turn pink).  Throw these in the fridge overnight.

Asian Shrimp Slaw

  • purple cabbage, shredded
  • green cabbage, shredded
  • cucumber, sliced
  • red onion, diced super tiny

Mix the ingredients above and place in a bowl.  Cut the cold spicy shrimps in half and place toss in the cabbage bowl. In a separate bowl mix: 1/2t garlic, 1/2t ginger, 2T sesame oil, 2T Tarmari sauce (not available at the commissary), 2T of rice vinegar & 1T sesame seeds.  Whisk together and pour into cabbage/shrimp bowl… Asian Shrimp Slaw!



Crossfit Field Trip

An amazing advantage about having the opportunity to be stationed on Okinawa is being awarded the opportunity to embrace the international community.  As most of you know, the Okinawans are considered one of the most healthy and long living people in the world.  Personally, I believe it has a lot to do with diet.  Some locals will say it’s the goya, some say it’s the papaya and theres some that say its in the coral.  Whatever it is I dont think they sell it at the commissary.

We are vey lucky to have the commissary as an option and Im very thankful for being able to scare away my monthly visitor by devouring Reece’s peanut butter cups, however, there are so many more options off base.  I have always been intimidated by shopping off base.  Im always afraid I will offend the locals and I’d rather be the politest person at the commissary than the worst patron at a local grocery store.  So, when I had the opportunity to do a field trip with Crossfit Asia- I jumped!  If I offend someone at least my tour guides could tell me!!

We visited three places. First was the Awase Fish Market.  Super easy to get to: go out gate two, take a left at the AU, take a right at the next light.  Walk in the building that is bubbling with locals!  When we first walked in there was an area of local fruits and vegetables.

This is a type of squash. It can be peeled, seeded, cubed and put into soups to add a starch without being too starchy.

Speaking of starch, here’s a sweet potato (these are actually white on the inside)

One of my FAVORITE things to do with these yummy things is to peel it, cube it, and boil it for about 7 minutes. Then wrap them in bacon, and bake them for about 20 minutes at 375 until they are golden brown. This makes a great dish at a pot luck!!!

sweet potato bacon goodness

Once inside the market we strolled around looking at all of the options.  There were two large fridges that had a lot of different type of fish and the best thing was above the fish was a picture of all of the fish with an English translation of what the fish is called.  Apparently you can pick out a fish, take it to the counter and have the guys cut it up to your liking!  You can also have them cook it there too!!!!

fishies with pictures!

Past this area, there is a glass covered display with an assortment of fish already cut up.  I spied a good strip of salmon and Kaiko helped me call a fish lady over, the fish lady asked me a question (in Japanese) and then Kaiko asked if I wanted it cut up (like shashimi), I shook my head no and threw in an “ah-di-kat-toe” and a smile and made my way to the register.

The next stop was to the Gate 3 Farmers Market… again, easy to get to: exit gate three, go over a bridge, take a left before you run into 329.

veggie galore!

The prices were very reasonable and the selection was pretty awesome!  The first thing that caught my eye was strawberries!!!!  Everything was well displayed and the prices were easy to find.

The last stop was San A.  Theres a lot of these stores around the island.  Their logo is a red and yellow “A’s” in a triangle.  The first thing I really wanted to talk about was the meat section.  I learned quite a few new things!

This is local Okinawan Pig

This is local Okinawan Black Pig

***This is the Holy Grail of Paleo meats… Grass Fed beef from New Zealand!!!****

When it comes to ground meat, Chiaki said it best: white is chicken, pink is pork, red is beef and the large ones are a combination of beef and pork!

ground beef, ground pork & ground beef/pork

this is an iced coffee with no sugar added (the Kanji means “without sugar”)

This is a cheat sheet that Kaiko made to help us read the nutritional facts on packaged goods. The main thing Kaiko pointed out was that all labels are in this same order, so if cant remember the exact Kanji, you can remember that the 6th one is sugar!

This yellow and pink stamp means that it is from Okinawa.

This picture on these eggs make it look like they are something special, but what it actually means is that Marigold has been “added”… Im not sure if the chicken made out with a marigold of if the chicken ate it?!?!

Lastly I wanted to show you what Chiaki had for lunch.  This seems like a great “on-the-go” meal.  Its yakitori and a seaweed salad.  She said the yakitori she chose was without (soy) sauce… looks good to me!

Paleo lunch for bad asses!

Id like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Crossfit Asia for putting this field trip together.  A HUGE thank you to Kaiko and Chiaki for patiently explaining everything, you two are amazing!  I really appreciate Katie, Heather and Kit for putting up with me, my picture taking and my rambunctious princess!!!