Be Prepared – I think those Boy Scouts are on to something…
In the late ’90s I had a job that took me all around the world. I spent so much time on airplanes that I seriously thought I could be losing bone mass. See there was a study released at the time about the astronauts who spent long periods in space losing bone mass due to the lack of gravity or something. I was pretty sure that was happening to me.
Even though I often traveled alone, when I went to Tokyo for nine days back then I was traveling with a colleague. We were on a mission to gain more distribution for our brand. For nine days we traveled around Tokyo meeting with retailers and securing positioning for our products. For nine nights, we checked out the hotspots and mixed with the ex-pats.
On the last night there, we were at Geronimo! Shot Bar (ex-pat hotspot in Roppongi) spending our remaining Yen. At about 11pm, we called it a night and walked out to grab a taxi to the hotel. Then the strangest thing happened…In my pocket I found 40,000 Yen. 40,000! 40,000! Such a big number, but was really only equal to about $10. Still,Yen are useless in the States and I wasn’t about to take any home.
So back to the bar and when we exhausted our 40k, we managed to locate some lovely bad boy ex-pat bankers who hadn’t yet spent their per diem…bar led to bar..Roppongi never closes…And, I think I may have stumbled back to the hotel around 4am.
The next morning – really later that morning – I was scheduled to take a 7:30am bus to the airport to get the only direct flight back to New York. So, I set my alarm and called for a wake up call.
I’m sure both of those things happened.
But I woke instead to a pounding on my door and someone screaming my name…Furious that someone was interrupting my much needed sleep, I tried at first to ignore it. But it wouldn’t stop. It just kept pounding and pounding on the door. I got out of bed, opened the door and saw a hotel employee…He was screaming:
‘Your bus is here! Your bus is here!”
I was so confused and grabbed in disbelief at his wrist…Indeed, he was correct. His watch read 7:30am.
I looked at him and started to cry. I hadn’t packed and my life was strewn all over the hotel room. I couldn’t miss the one direct flight back to NYC. Tears. Panic. Gasping.
One thing about fancy hotels in Tokyo…Amazing service. And the guy at my door took about one second to assess the situation, put his fingers to his mouth and blew out a loud shrill whistle. Suddenly, three other hotel employees appeared as if out of no where. My guy, let’s call him ‘The General’ went into action:
‘We pack for you! We pack for you!’
‘You brush teeth! You brush teeth!’ – not too subtle hint from The General.
‘We pack for you!’
And they did. In no more than :40 seconds the room was packed, my teeth were brushed, I was dressed and they were carrying me downstairs. They poured me onto the bus and I was off.
Be prepared. Might have been a better idea to pack before going bad-boy-banker-bar-hopping in Roppongi. Yep. That might have been better.
One of the reasons certain foods are so intimidating to cook is that they’re just too delicious and you can’t believe yourself capable of mimicking such mastery. One of these such dishes is what I call the ‘magic cod’ that they serve at Nobu. The magic cod – officially known as the Miso Glazed Black Cod – is A-mazing…
It’s all about being prepared – but, it’s so easy to make! And when preparing in a small kitchen, there are some useful tips…
Miso Glazed Black Cod (Or Sea Bass), (serves 4-6)
1. In a small saucepan over medium/high heat combine 3 tbsp of Mirin (looks like soy sauce and in the same section of the grocery store) with 3 tbsp Sake and bring to a boil.
2. Add in 1/2 cup of White Miso Paste – kept in the refrigerator section. Whisk until the miso is dissolved
Mirin and Miso Paste may not be in your regular grocery store. I’ve found them at Fairway, Whole Foods and Japanese specialty food shops (even in the midwest).
3. Add in 1/3 cup Sugar continuing to whisk over medium heat until just dissolved
NOTE: If you have a whisk with a longer handle, use it. It’s a lot of whisking over the heat and you can burn your wrist….
4. Remove the mixture from heat, transfer to a baking dish and allow to cool
5. Put 4-6 7ish OZ Black Cod fillets into the marinade and spoon the marinade over the tops of each…The recipe calls for Black Cod…but, right now Black Cod is crazy expensive – like $40/lb – so the stores aren’t carrying it. You can use Sea Bass or Halibut. That’s Sea Bass in the pic.
Refrigerate for 24 – 48 hours – see what I mean about being prepared…
NOTE: The recipe also calls for the skin to be removed..But I leave it on and all is AOK
6. To cook…preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat and veggie oil a grill pan over high heat
7. Scrape the excess marinade off of the fish – it’s more like a grainy pasty cover – and place skin side up on the grill pan. Cook until the fish is browned – about 2-3 minutes.
NOTE: The fish is covered in sugar. Sugar burns -OK. Sugar pops spewing burnt sugar beads all over your small kitchen – Not OK. I loosely cover the grill pan with tin foil to avoid having to pick charred sugar off of my ceiling.
8. Once browned, flip the fish onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 10 minutes
9. Transfer to a plate and serve.
I’m so grateful to ‘The General’ who called in the troops to Pack for Me! and instruct me to Brush Teeth! But, the tears, gasps and panic could have been avoided if I had only been prepared. The Nobu Miso Glazed Cod/Sea Bass is perfectly simple to make…if you have some time to Be Prepared.