Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Buckwheat Here I Go Again...


How are you doing?
Did you finish your Christmas shopping?

I found some Buckwheat Groats ( Whole Buckwheat Grain ) the other day at the store where I usually go. I was so happy and grabed right away :)

I still have Buckwheat Tea ( SOBA-CHA ), and using it to mix with some rice. Now I can use this whole one in some soup, salads, hot cereal, etc... for a more grain intake in our diet.

This is Eden Food brand. ( By the way, they have a lot of various type of seaweed products, plum paste, dried daikon, ponzu...etc.)

And I boiled some of the Buckwheat Groat and mixed with tomato sauce which I made the other day.

The grain got tender and absorbed the flavor of the tomato sauce, and the good thing is that the grain doesn't have a strong Buckwheat taste that I thought.
So, I can use with various types of dishes, replacing pasta or rice.

My husband wants to try mixing it with oatmeal, so let's see how it comes out.

It is getting chilly here in California, but a lot of places are in heavy snow I guess. Please keep warm, and I hope you have a Happy Holiday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home Made Pizza


I am taking a little break from MISO project now :)
Still, I'm making miso soup often though.
Well, I make a pizza at home often. The reasons I like to make at home are...

1) I can use any ingredients I want. My husband and I sometimes can't agree about what we put on our pizza, so I can make 2 small different ones :)

2) I can adjust the amount of cheese and sauce, so I can make much lower calorie and sodium pizza than delivery or store bought ones.

3) I can try and make different types of dough each time, like; Thin crust dough, Dough with yeast or baking powder, Dough made with wheat flour, Dough with flaxseed or corn meal...

I sometimes use a ready to bake dough too, my husband's and my favorite is BOBOLI's, that is crispy, good size for two, and affordable.

Here's few pics of pizza I lately made...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MISO Project - Failure or what?

Lately I have been trying to create a few new MISO dishes, but sometimes things don't turn out the way you want them to...

The other day, I made a turkey meatloaf, and I thought that it might be a good chance to create a new sauce with MISO paste.
I know there's some juice from the meat that I can use, so I started to think what else I can add to these mixture to make a delicious sauce.
...And, the ingredient I decided was...
Worcestershire sauce.

The consistency was pretty good, the color wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and the taste didn't quit go along with the turkey the way I thought :'-(
Maybe I should add some soy sauce or some kind of fruits (that's what I thought later.)

Oh well, s--t happens...I will keep trying to find a better flavor which matches with turkey.

However, my husband kind of liked the sauce, but still he agreed that the color didn't match with the meatloaf. He said that the sauce blended with the flavor of the turkey. Hmm, interesting.
Here's the picture of the meatloaf. Does anyone have a idea?

Friday, December 4, 2009

MISO Project Part 2


Hmm.. Just curious if I am the only one who does this, but when I buy MISO Paste I usually get a different type of MISO paste than what I already have on hand. I like to keep 2 different types of MISO in our fridge at all times. Making MISO soup with 2 different types of MISO paste gives your MISO soup a more UMAMI flavor.

Currently, I have sweet White Miso and a mixed MISO.

Sweet white MISO is also called "SAIKYO-MISO" in Japanese, it's the preferred flavor in the KYOTO area. This type of MISO is a much sweeter taste than most other types of MISO ( Various types of MISO contain about 12-14% of sodium. However, this WHITE MISO contains only about 5-6% sodium ).

So, this type of MISO is very easy to use for dressing or dipping sauce.

Below is a photo of a dish I made, which is a "Japanese Style Ceaser Salad Dressing"

With the dressing I mixed sweet WHITE MISO, White Sesame paste, and soup stock, grated fresh garlic, and grated Parmesan Cheese together. And I tossed with some fresh Lomain Lettuce, Arugula, and grilled Cornish Hen from last nights dinner.

A fresh simple salad ready in just a few minutes!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

MISO Project Part-1


Soy beans is the main ingredient for MISO Paste. It's also made from Rice, Wheat, or other whole grains nowadays. They are called AKA-MISO( Red MISO ), SHIRO-MISO ( White MISO ), or AWASE-MISO ( Red and White mixed MISO, or MISO with DASHI/Broth ). It's made everywhere in Japan, also some people make your own MISO paste,too. The colors vary from dark brown, reddish brown, yellow, whitish yellow...The difference of colors depends mostly on the duration of the farmentation process, and the ingredients used.

I sometimes use MISO for marinade mixing various ratios consisting of these four (4) ingredients; MISO, maple syrup, honey and soy souce, and few others now and then. Today's dish is a very simple and tasty miso marinade. I marinated in 1:1:1 ratio of white miso : maple syrup : soy souce for 2hours.

I used for some chicken this time, but seafood like shrimp, white fish, and shell fish, are good with it, too.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the last time, when I wrote about MISO Soup.
When you make your miso soup, please try to use 2 or more different types of miso when you have a chance that gives your miso soup more "UMAMI".

And you never want to boil the soup once you put MISO paste into the broth!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MISO Project


"MISO" this is my next project as a Recipe Developer. Well, if you say MISO, the first thing that comes to mind is MISO Soup which is the most popular dish here in the U.S. I think.

Do you like MISO Soup?
How Often do you eat MISO Soup?
Have you ever made MISO Soup at your home before?
What kind of ingredients do you like into your MISO Soup?

My husband and I love miso soup, ( I told him so many times how good miso (soup) is and now he eats more often than before :)

MISO contains an antioxidant, so there are a lot of good effects for your health, helps lower cholesterol, helps to prevent cancer, anti-aging, helps good digestion...

BUT, have you considered how much sodium is in MISO? Here's a little tip, Please try to use ingredients with a high potassium into your MISO Soup, such as Sweet Potato, Spinach, Kidney Beans, Lentils ...etc. These ingredients also helps to control and eliminates excess sodium from your body.

Did you just think that "Beans into my MISO Soup?!", I thought the same thing at first. "Celery?! lettuce? Whew!" But, MISO Soup is like a buffer solution, the soup blend very well with many different ingredients and helps keep the same P.H. Balance. So, you can use various different types of vegetables, meats, and fish, too! I learned this in cooking class during my first year in junior college. Now I use celery, broccoli, beets.. any kind of vegetables, and now I understand that all vegetables have different types of vitamins, iron, and other essential minerals that your body needs to function at it's highest potential. Keeping you healthy, fighting colds, and other germs / viruses from harming your body.

See you soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 6


This is a picture of the Miso Soup that I made the other day which I added a lot of ingredients, such as; Carrots, Onions, Cabbage, Yams, Green Onions, Garlic Chives, Hijiki Seaweed, Kiriboshi Daikon (Dried Daikon), Fu(dried wheat gluten), and SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Tea).

I believe that eating Miso soup with a lot of vegetables (including sea-vegetables) is one of the best ways to get all the various nutrients your body needs. All the minerals and vitamins are incorporated into the soup, and that's the reason it makes the miso soup more delicious. Also eating Miso Soup is very good for your health. Such effects as lowering your cholesterol, prevents cancer, to keeping the brain active...etc. As one of many soy beans products, Miso soup is one of the best comfort food among Japanese people, I believe.

As a Japanese person (woman) who lives outside of Japan, it is very important to keep miso paste in my fridge, and make some miso soup so often!

And I would like to try and incorporate the miso paste into some American type of dish as my next Recipe Developing project. Hopefully, I can come up with a delicious recipe this way. Never know until you try, right!

Friday, November 13, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 5


Here I have made a delicious cake using Buckwheat Tea, and now I will introduce this simple recipe so you can enjoy this your family and friends.

This cake is made with milled Buckwheat, Wheat Flour, Butter, Brown Suger, Trailmix, and Walnuts. I didn't add much sugar to this recipe, so it turned out more like bread. The combination of these ingredients will give this bread like cake a very wholesome and natural flavor. This is a very delicious type of coffee cake or great as an afternoon snack.

I also made some muffins again with some milled SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Tea). This time I used a popular pancake mix (Bisquick), it was much easier and faster. I also added some melted butter to make the muffin more softer. My husband liked this very much, especially the blueberry one. By the way, did you know that blueberries are high in antioxidents?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 4

Today, I would like to introduce one of my latest ideas using Buckwheat Tea. ( I thought it's a great idea myself, and I really want to share this idea with someone!)

My husband and I are big fans of Alaskan Halibut Steak. I usually sautee it with just salt, pepper, and little bit of dry herbs. Sometimes I prepare it by putting a bread crumble outside before I cook it. The last time I put Buckwheat Tea into the bread crumble and sauteed the fish.
That was a big hit!!
It turned out great because of the crispy, crunchy breading with a subtle taste of Buckwheat which blends perfectly with the delicious Halibut Steaks.

I liked this idea very much, because I am able to create a Western dish like this sauteed fish using SOBA-CHA ( Buckwheat Tea ), which is normally a Japanese ingredient. I would like to create more dishes like this combining Japanese and Western ingredients together.

And, I wish that we could eat this delicious Breaded Halibut Steak more often :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 3


I would like to introduce a couple of desserts that I have made with SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain). At first, it was little difficult for me to get an idea of a sweet dish using SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain), because I have never heard of a sweet dessert made from SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain). That was going to be a challenge for me, especially since American's taste in desserts is a bit different than the Japanese taste, and the aroma and flavor is quite strong for most American's, my husband believes.

So, first I milled the Buckwheat to a very fine grain like flour, which I thought can be mixed with regular flour for baking desserts. You may want to be careful with the proportion of Buckwheat to Flour mixture, using two(2) tablespoons of Buckwheat per one(1) cup of Flour will allow for a nice sweet dessert with a nice pleasant Buckwheat flavor. Adding more Buckwheat will enhance the flavor and texture of the dessert depending on how much you enjoy the flavor of Buckwheat.

At first I made some muffins, which I think is a very popular dessert type of snack in the U.S.... Am I right?

Some ingredients that I put in the muffin mixture are apples, bananas, and a yam in it. I cooked the apples and yam until they were nice and tender, then I added the bananas. I chose these three(3) ingredients because these are what I usually have handy at home most of the time, but I think it turned out pretty good!

And, this biscuit is made with milled Buckwheat Tea (SOBA-CHA), and sliced banana inside. This was so easy to make and took just a few ingredients. The aroma that filled the kitchen while I made this dessert was wonderful and I loved it.

It was fun to make those sweets, and I was happy to be able to make a couple of desserts with the Buckwheat. I do plan on baking more desserts incorporating Buckwheat into the recipe, and hoping to find that special mixture of fruits and spices when combined will make an tasty dessert.

Monday, November 2, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 2

Today, I would like to show you another rice dish with SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain), mixed with Sushi Rice!

I prepared some steamed Rice (Short Grain White Rice) with SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain), and then mixed in a little Vinegar mixture with some White Sesame Seed to make a more flavorful Sushi Rice.

Then I added some tuna with some vegetables into this roll. The fragrance the rice gave the roll, along with all the different textures made this new roll a re-freshing flavor from regular Sushi Rice or Brown Rice.

I've introduced a few dishes using some SOBA-CHA (Buckwheat Grain) dishes, now let's talk about the nutritional value of this tasty grain.

Buckwheat is the best known grain of it's source for a high protein score. And this nutritious grain can help lower your cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, while keeping your blood flowing smooth. Personally, I believe that eating Buckwheat often can help to prevent cancer and heart disease.

At the end, here's a great tip when you eat Sushi or Rolls...
Please do not try to use too much Soy Sauce, you can enjoy your Sushi much better, while at the same time eating more healther!

See You Next Time...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SOBA-CHA Recipe-Part 1

As I wrote the other day, I now started to create a few dishes with SOBA-CHA(Roasted Buckwheat Grain). Today, I will show you some of rice dishes I have made.

First one(picture above):
A short grain white rice with Buckwheat Tea, I cooked about three quarters(3/4) cup of rice and two(2) tablespoons of Buckwheat Tea together with my rice cooker. This made a wonderful soba flavored rice, very fragrant. My husband and I really liked it. And I think that this rice suits a lot of dishes. (We tried with Curry and Stir-fry, both very good!)

This one is a mix of short grain brown and white rice, oats, wild rice, pearl barley, flaxseed meal, and SOBA-CHA(Roasted Buckwheat Grain). This gave it a little crunchy texture, and everytime you bite it the grains you can taste the sweetness of grains which combined together made a tasty complexed flavor.

This dish I added some ingredients with Rice and SOBA-CHA when I cooked the rice in the rice cooker. Carrot, Dried Daikon(kiriboshi-daikon), Dried Seaweed(hijiki), Shiitake-mushroom are added with little soy sauce and salt, along with some lightly seasoned ground turkey on the top of the rice.
Turned out to be better than I expected...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Buckwheat Tea (SOBA-CHA)

Have you ever tasted "Buckwheat Tea" before? It is roasted Buckwheat Grain which is cracked open into smaller pieces. In Japan, you can pour hot water over this and make some tea. It is called "soba-cha" in Japanese, but there is no tea leaf in it, it is just Buckwheat Grain itself. Also, we can use this grain to make various dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Oh, and I recently found out this nutritious grain is called "kasha" (Russian).

Currently, I had the chance to experiment with Buckwheat Grain. I was introduced to this product by a friend who I worked with in the past. He currently works as a distributer / salesman working with various Japanese food ingredients and other restaurant items. I approached him one day explaining that I was interested in working as a Recipe Developer, working with both Japanese and Western ingredients. I am trying to create a healthy and nutritious menu which can be made daily. He thought it was a great idea and suggested that I try and create a few dishes using the Buchwheat Grain.

In the next few posts, I am going to introduce a few of my creations using this flavorful and nutritious grain, see ya!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chef M's Here!

Hello everyone, this is Chef M,

I love cooking and creating various dishes, using exotic ingredients in my cooking. With over 20 years of cooking experience, I would like to upgrade some old school Japanese and Western style recipes and make them more healthier and delicious by substituting certian ingredients with others that I find more fragreant, tasteful, and interesting!
My goal is to create some new delicious alternative dishes for my husband and myself, to enjoy eating. We both like to eat various types of foods and find ways to create healthy versions. My husband likes to stay active playing basketball and riding bike, so eating healthy helps keep him fit and gives him enough energy to get his work out and stay healthy. For myself, I am getting back into shape, so creating all these healthy dishes helps with my nutrition and keeps me going and going and going, so that's it for now.