Root Donburi

I wish I could pat myself on the back at the end of each day for accomplishing the major task of having semi-successfully taken care of my baby all day long, but sadly that never really feels like an accomplishment. Probably because taking care of a baby/child is one of those things you never actually cross off your to-do list.

And as a person who enjoys cooking as well as the feeling of accomplishment, I realized that making something new for dinner, even if it often exhausts me (and Matt) also makes me feel good.

That’s where this recipe comes in. I made it on a weeknight and instead of dinner at 6:30 and Teddy’s bath at seven, everyone’s schedule got pushed into dangerous, near-hangry territory. 
I was interested in this recipe for a few reasons.

1. I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier (read: fit comfortably into my pre-pregnancy clothing).
2. Because I was planning to go to one of the Japanese markets downtown anyway in order to get some masago for a different recipe.
3. I had some tofu I needed to use.
4. I like rice bowls.
5. I like eating rice-bowl leftovers for lunch.

Point being, this recipe delivered. I loved the combination of the vinegar, shoyu, and honey mixed into the warm rice. I also loved the simple idea of sautéing the sweet potatoes and tofu in sesame oil. It’s nothing too special on its own, but works really well with all of the other elements.

The problem with cooking all of these new dinners within this highly-draining life phase is that I’m pretty behind on reporting them back to you. Not to mention I’ve been wanting to write another gymnastics post. The Olympics are less than six months away! (I gotta start training again.)
Root Donburi adapted (mostly the quantities) from Heidi Swanson’s Near and Far
Serves 4

¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon shoyu
4 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 medium carrots
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
3-4 Persian cucumbers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon umeboshi plum paste or a few umeboshi plums chopped/minced
1 avocado (optional)
1 lime (optional)
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
8 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 sheets toasted nori, crumbled [this didn't make it on for the above photos, but we did add it afterward]
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, honey, and shoyu. Pour half of this mixture over the rice while it’s still warm. Mix well. Cover and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, carrots, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and the remaining ½ teaspoon shoyu. Stir to combine and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the cucumber with the umeboshi paste and massage with your hands to combine.

In another small bowl, (if using) toss the diced avocado with the lime juice. Season with a few pinches of salt.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the remaining tablespoon (or two) of oil. (I needed a little more oil because I was probably using more sweet potatoes than originally called for.) Toss to coat, cover, and sauté for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the potatoes are golden and tender throughout. Push the potatoes to the side and addd the tofu to the pan. Cook until the tofu takes on a bit of color and is heated through, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To serve, add a generous portion of rice to each bowl. Arrange neighborhoods of carrots, cucumber, and sweet potato tofu over the rice. Top each bowl with crumbled nori and green onions. Serve with the remaining sauce, allowing each person to season to their liking.
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Matthew said...

Taking care of Isaac and making this rice bowl is A LOT of accomplishment for one day. xoxo

Sara said...

This looks amazing.

The reason it doesn't feel like you accomplished anything taking your baby is because (women's) affective labor is not valued. So I agree with Matt, it IS an accomplishment. If you are interested, there is a really brilliant book by an Italian feminist, Silvia Federici, called Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle. Sorry to get all academic.

Sarah said...

I find it hard to cook these days, and I don't have two children. So, you're already winning. Also, thank you for a great idea for tonight's dinner. I have about 1/3 of these ingredients, but enough to make it seem like a dish. Yay!

Amelia Morris said...

@Sara dude, of course I'm interested! I wanted to add a few lines about this very thing but felt I didn't have time to properly get into it. Point being, thanks for the recommendation!!

Dani Elis said...

I think you should feel accomplished everyday with two precious boys. I don't have any babies to look after, just a cat and his hanger is pretty easily fixed with a scoop of dry food and dinner can still be a mission so I think your doing amazing!

And you're posting here and filming videos... SuperMum!!

Mary Anne said...

That's some clean eating!

Kara said...

I live in a constant state of dangerous, near-hangry territory! Sara's recommendation sounds amazing. Also: Karen Maezen Miller discusses the same arena from a spiritual standpoint in Hand Wash Cold, a book that resonates strongly for me now as a mom and new laundry devotee. Point being: you (we all) deserve a medal! Xx

HAILEY said...

This looks so yummy! Yay for feeling accomplished too! I've been wanting to ask you for forever where that teal skillet is from? It looks like le cruset but the color doesn't match what they offer.

Unrelated, but I started following Bon Appetite on Bloglovin yesterday and so far I've clicked on their links twice thinking it was you, always left feeling disappointed! I might have to stop following them! They post way too often and it never is as entertaining as the appetempt version ;)

Abby said...

We're riding the same wavelength at the moment. I'm currently on maternity leave with my 9 week old and am at the point where I want to start doing something with my day other than care for my lovely son, just so I can start feeling like a real human adult again. In the past week, I've made your carrot ginger grain bowl and the blood orange polenta cake. This recipe is next! It feels like SUCH an accomplish and so refreshing to make something new, even though it took about 3 tries before I could really get cracking at the cake (let's just say the butter was definitely softened by the time I got around to it).

So many feelings around new motherhood! I'm irritated that I'm considered "disabled" and "on vacation" during my leave and sad and guilty about my child's impending enrollment in daycare and fearful of being seen as "leaning out" at work. Oh well. At least there's a beautiful, sweet smelling, chubby baby and cake!

Congrats on your newest addition and keep up the good work!

jjk84 said...

Agree with the above, you're AMAZING!!!!! Hard to feel like it without the affirmation of the benchmarks you might use at another time in your life, but we are all rooting for and inspired by you! Keep going! xx

Amelia Morris said...

Thanks, guys! I swear I didn't write the above for encouragement/cheerleading, but it feels really nice to get some. xoxx

sevim askanasi said...

I love, thank you for the recipe