Everything you ever wanted to know about namako-kabe

I'm currently traveling in Japan, and since I've subjected you to seven Armchair Field Trips in the last two weeks, I think instead I'll let you see for yourselves what I've been seeing, via pictures (mine) and links (from elsewhere).

We've already talked about wasabi; next up: namako-kabe, an architectural style indigenous to Izu. "Namako" features slate overlaid with plaster cross-hatching, which was originally developed to keep wooden houses from burning down.

* It's not to be confused with the sea cucumber of the same name!

* "Though namako-kabe translates unappealingly as 'sea-slug walls,' these walls are in fact rather handsome affairs."

* Here's a quick history of namako-kabe, which "developed among the warrior elite," along with a few striking examples of the style.

* If you can read Japanese, this appears to be a site entirely devoted to the style.

And here are much better pictures than mine.

namakokabe.jpgnamakokabe2.jpgniigata03.jpg

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The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess
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Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

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Bone Collector
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