Yoshizen's Blog

陸水母 (おかくらげ) A way to eat Cucumber

Cucumba-A09A7598

Again, this is the same old question of being natural or to be in the artful sophistication, which IS Zen.  (People having a misunderstanding, that’s so-called deep Zen philosophy is creating such sophistication, but the truth was, simply, as the person has been doing the same work many years, naturally the skill got better and the work became such high level of refinement = it was a quite natural but unintended consequence —– if it was intended, having such intention  was not Zen.)

Of course, to have a question itself WAS already out of Zen though, this is the Yoshizen Blog where dog shit was the main subject not a serious religious issue. = So, here the matter IS how to eat a Cucumber —– like a photo on top, put a bit of Miso (Soybean paste) and give a good bite or two.     Otherwise, how about the other choice ——–

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Cucumber (half of it) was skinned and sliced to the thin tapes using a vegetable peeler (Photo left)  And those cucumber tapes were piled up one by one and they were cut into the 1 mm thin thread. (Knife has to be very sharp) (Photo right)

Cucumber(3)-003

Then hot chili oil was added to the shredded Cucumber (Photo left)    Just before eating, some Soy-source was added and eat immediately.  (otherwise, it get soggy) (Photo right) —– How hot may depend on your chili oil.   Still, the texture and the feeling to eat is quite like a real Jerry fish (I mean Jerry fish in the Chinese dish — not the one you might find in the sea.  😀 )    Like a cooked Jerry fish but as it came from the land, I named this cooking (?) Oka-Kurage — Oka mean Land, Kurage is a Jerry fish.  Of course, it’s a joke.    I eat my cucumber in this way if not put it in a vegetable soup. (I wonder why I don’t make a Q-ri momi.  😀 )   I wouldn’t pretend this is Zen or anything sophisticated but just call it Oka-Kurage. It’s to eat. (When you eat, just eat = don’t think or talk.)      M m m, yummy !

So the question was, do you take this journey to eat mere Cucumber ?  (Of course, I wouldn’t call it a journey but the way to cook an Oka-Kurage = only a way to make an Oka-Kurage = its mean this choice IS natural to me. = No other choice.)  So, the others may mistake this single-mindedness as a Mindfulness or Kakugo  and such concentration of the work seemed quite like a Dog Shit for them.  😀  (For me, it’s a Cucumber. —– What else ? )

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Tsukudani 佃煮 or Tsukemono 漬物? (Japanese Taste)

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(Photo left, the sliced gherkins mixed with seasning has been heated for 5 min’ in a Microwave —– when it’s cooled down, keep in a jar in a fridge = ready to eat.)

Instead to have a Cooky or Chocolate kind, I often make and keep some boiled vegetable for a small snack.   But when its run-out, —– Isn’t there something a bit more convenient to pick ?   For western people, it might be a Marmite on cracker or piece of bread = and, you may say  “Japanese can do it with Miso (Soybean paste) on Cracker” —- M m m ?   Sound dreadful = I don’t think so. = So, what Japanese would pick ?  — Rice Cracker (O-senbei) ?    

Then gave a thought “What is THE easiest pick to eat with boiled rice ? ” —– may be for a Japanese, it would be a Tsukudani or Tsukemono kind which we can regularly keep in a fridge.  (There are hundred kind of Tsukudani in Japan = cooked small sea food, sea weed, vegetable, even a long boiled larvae of Hornet wasp or Grasshopper etc etc)  (I found some of those in a Japanese food shop but sold in an extortionate price in small plastic package or in a jar.)   So, I got an idea, why not make it myself ? —– Make it but as usual, with a cheated quickest way. 

One of the easiest approach is, to use the readily available pickled gherkin. (There is or was a packed pickles / Tsukudani called Kyuri no Kyu-chan = cooked cucumber and one of the easiest accompaniment for the boiled rice.)

Tsukudani(1)-A09A7527In order to make Kyu-chan like cooking, pickled gherkin was thinly sliced and excess juice were squeezed out.  Then, Dashi-no-moto (mostly powdered fish), soy-source, a squeeze of wasabi paste, a bit of Mirin (Japanese cooking spirits — in stead, sherry or rum can be used) and a bit of sugar then all of them should well be mixed —– in this stage, if you like crunchy bite, this is the all, — but if you like well infused taste, with a bit soft cucumber, you can micro-wave them (Mid~High 5 min’) then put them into a jar (kept in a fridge, I found no problem for 2 weeks) = ready to eat any time — also good on a bread.   いただきます。 Bon appetite !   🙂

PS :  What I found in this extremely minimalist cooking was that because there wasn’t any complication of taste, we can taste the taste of the rice itself. —– strangely, we can’t just taste the rice, because the mouth just fed-up.   😀

Boiled Cucumber !

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These days, the stall on the open market was filled with good flesh fruits.

So, my mouth was occupied by the Cherry, Strawberry, etc etc —– then

I realized that a cucumber has been in my fridge uneaten.  It was intended

for salad kind with tomato though, as the position of flesh food has been

taken over by those seasonal fruits, it has been forgotten and got old

more than a week and the skin was getting yellowish.   It is no longer suite

for flesh eating though it is a crime to throw the food away. 

So, I decided to cook it boiled !  

I don’t think I ever seen a cucumber was cooked boiled or fried still,

a sister of cucumber = bitter melon (bitter gourd) has been cooked in many 

different way and could even be in a Miso soup  —– why not cucumber.  

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I just peel the skin and cut to one-mouth size and boiled in a half depth of

water with added Dashi (mostly fish powder),  some  Soy-source and

few drip of West Indian hot chilly source, for about half an hour slow cook.  

This kind of cooking isn’t  far from boiled Daikon = I would say “Not too bad”.

—– Adding to this story, once before when I got hugely disappointing 

Honeydew melon (that yellow thing) which was not ripe nor sweet at all, 

instead to throw it to a bin, I peeled the hard skin and cut to 2″ size and

boiled it in the same way as above.  

Eating those as a snack or with boiled rice as a side-dish, the taste is

unmistakably Japanese, especially served with shaved Katsuo-bushi

(dried Bonito fish) like the photo above —– I would say, yummy.  🙂

We have rather hard programmed eating habit though, it could be easily

broken and try different way.  Why not !

(And it might save the planet in long run —– not mention the pocket.)  🙂

[]

PS : In a Blog like this, if I said something like “Know thanks (Kansha) to

the Dharma who provided us to keep living”,   “Be humble” or

“Feel compassion to the Cucumber who died for us to survive” it will

NOT be a Buddhist’s Blog.  It’s a sham =  nothing but a Marketing ploy,

same to a spin doctor who is telling the sweet words to sell dubious medicine.

When “So-called Buddhist” got a notion such as Buddhism, Charity, Compassion

etc etc, it is a brake down of Mushin, Ichijo, existence to be the Void.

(if it WAS there at all before)

Zen Buddhism is not for talking about but just DO and just BE.

= Just cook and eat.

 

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Lemon Zen

To start the Zen practice, you have to forget all the blah blah— so called Zen talk.

Such as the question of whether Self is exist or not.

The question only arise when you reach the state of the mind which you can

do the task without thinking or able to do it unconsciously.

——– Before this stage, you haven’t seen the situation neither need

to make this question.

——– And when you reached this stage, you must be aware it is no point

to make this question because you are already in this selfless state.

A person, who couldn’t get this stage keep messing around those questions.

As those people had to do the guess work, they have to keep asking what

is Zen. Though, as long as talking continues, the Brain is fully occupied to

process the logics and the words, there is no chance to vacate the Brain

and attain selfless, subconscious state.

The more struggle in the puzzle, the farther stray away.

——————–

Zen practice can be anything, say cutting a lemon or cucumber into thin slices.

If you find your knife is too dull, start sharpening it with a good oil stone.

( Few pounds Chinese stone is not good—– you can use one good stone all your life)

Knife has to be as sharp as cut through a news paper held in air in ease, without

making any tear.)

Then slice a lemon to somewhat 1mm thin.

(You may start from 3mm thick, then improve it )

While doing this you have to repeatedly or continuously think ” I’m doing the Zen ”

( You don’t need to know what is the Zen theory—– what you are doing is the Zen )

——-When you finished slicing, you may make a cup of Hot Honey Drink.

Enjoy it and do this every day.

( In fact you may end up drinking a lots of cups—- with lots of Vitamin C)

——-After a while, you may achieved to make perfect 50 slices or so from

one lemon.

Its mean, your hand holding a knife has gained the absolute steadiness

which mean you have gained the absolute calmness and concentration

of the mind.

—— Here you are in the crucial point.

Once you managed to make 50 slices you might think, you have achieved

and reached to the goal, though you have to keep doing farther, like a

dairy routine. When it became routine your hand is accustomed to do

the work almost automatic and able to do all the preparation and after

clean up as one flow of the process.

—————-

In the same time, you must be noticed, your observation and attentions are

so refined and goes into the minute details, such as the position of cutting

board is exactly the same every day or found the way to move the knife to

avoiding the juice drips. etc etc.

——And you might be noticed you can hear the faint sound of the wind

out side or even a flower in the garden, which one is the one opened today.

Now you are in the Selfless state of the mind.

( Some may says, even the mind is not there and only sight and sound

surrounding you )

——————-

On the beginning, you might feel something strange in your sight.

Everything looks somewhat foreign and distanced, and looks fresh as if

it was the first time you see it. And it looks so clear.

And strangely, it spread the corner to corner of your eyes 140 degree wide

and still able to see the details all in the same time.

You can see even the small things move in the 140 degree view and still able

to respond instantly if it is necessary, like when you are on the road, you

almost see a coming car behind on the corner of your eyes.

( This is the way how Martial artist see the attack from behind )

——————

In the Brain term , now your brain is scanning all the visual signals from the

corner of peripheral vision to other corner without weighing the information.

Just see as it was seen.

Because of your mind is detached from even your SELF , what you see is

also looks like foreign land scape.

But it shouldn’t cause any trouble, since if it is necessary you can go into a

subject at once even deeper than before.

——- Though some of your associate might feel, you lost a passion and got

quieter, as you no longer have obsession.

———————-

I agree with the view, blood and thunder excitement of the obsession is also

very exciting on the life, though it comes with quite high cost.

And obsessive approach doesn’t have high success rate, as it is prone to

brake down. Dramatic success looks grate and exciting though, step by

step improvement and refinement would produce more reliable result.

——Quiet, tenacious Zen approach seems to achieve more in the end.

As a humble man, I took the way of the Zen Buddhist.

You also have the choice.

————————–

PS: We only see the world as we wanted to see.

Anything we don’t know already, we don’t notice. ( as its visual pattern has

not been registered in our data bank.) Such as, if you are not familiar with

plant, all of them looks same, and foreign language is just a noise.

And anything we don’t want to see or want to know , we refuse to take its

signal in. We just filter them out.

——

In the same time, we see a preferred subject with photoshoped image.

In the dark, all the women looks beautiful since the visual information

is not complete, we fill the gap with ideal image.

——

So that, when your mind is clear and open, without your wishful selective

view, world looks different as its shows true image.

And you may first ever see a lots of things you haven’t noticed before.

That is why, the world looks foreign and fresh.

——- Able to see the world as it is, with selfless eyes is the one thing,

and what to do with this, is the another matter.

——-( I’ll talk about this later in the other post )

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