Monday, December 27, 2010

Stew in Bread Cup

When I want to make a quick dinner, I sometimes use a can of cream of mushroom and make a stew with chicken, a lot of vegetables, and short pasta in it. This dish helps me a lot especially when I don't have much time to cook.

For a chenge, I put puff pastry on each bowl with the stew in it and make a pot pie, sometimes put whole stew in a caselol and sprinkle some cheese and bake it. With one can, I can make a pretty good amount of stew for two of us, so it appeares on our table on the next day, too.
The other day, I made cup with bread and put some left over stew in it.

It turned out very pretty :)

I used some sliced bread that I bought from the local grocery store, lay it in a muffin tin with little butter. The size was perfect, and the soft crum easily fitted in the tin and the top of the bread set like flower petal around nicely.

Left over stew turned out nice brunch next day!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kanten Jelly With Kinako (Roasted Soy Flour) and Maple Syrup


Time really flies!  It's the end of the year now, and there are only a couple of weeks left for 2010!

I was happy that I could get the opportunity to be able to teach some cooking classes this year.

I still need to learn and improve more and I'd love to continue to challenge next year too.

Lately, my favorite OYATSU (おやつ) is Kanten jelly with KINAKO powder and maple syrup or honey.

Kanten is made without any sweetness or flavor just as it is, and I sprinkled KINAKO powder and drizzled maple syrup from the top, that's it. And it's made in 30 min.(easy!)

KINAKO (黄粉) is a Japanese soy flour. It is very yellowish flour, but it gets brownish color once it gets wet. I have once bought soy flour in the market, I meant to buy KINAKO, but that was totally different. KINAKO is flour of roasted Japanese soy beans.

You should try once, the smell is SO different, it has very roastie flavor.

KINAKO also have a great nutrient, Fiber.

By the way, I used GOLDMINE brand Kanten flakes a few times in the past, including the dish in the photos above. Their directions says to use, 1 tbsp. of Kanten flakes with 1 cup (240cc) of water, but 300cc is OK for me, because it takes about 5 min. or so to melt all the flakes in simmering water. Still, the flakes don't melt completely, but it molds nicely and properly. There are some flakes left in the bottom of jello, which looks like little patterns (can you see the milky color spot from the image?) and gives a little texture :)

I have no idea how many people have read my blog this year, but Thank You So Much for reading, and I hope you have a happy and delicious holiday season!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunomono - 3 ways to enjoy


Sunomono (Marinated Vegetable-Cucumber is mainly used in this sweetened vinegar dish) makes a nice side dish not a main course, but it is a great dish which gives a pleasant, wonderful accent to a meal.

Also it's always been said that vinegar is good for you with a lot of great effects to your body.
And acidity=sourness is one of the basic taste that human tongue can detect.

For me, a little dish with a vinegar-ish taste is great side dish, I prefer along with a rice dish.

Rice, Miso soup, a couple of nice Okazu (side dishes) , and little Sunomono, this is what i would consider to be a perfect meal.

And the greatest thing is you can make everything very easily with any vegetable you like, vinegar, sugar, and little bit of salt.

I will introduce to you - 3 different ideas to flavor up your Sumomono.

This is Japanese eggplant, daikon radish, Persian cucumber, and shiso leaves.
Shiso leaves are very popular here now, they can give a great flavor and a clean taste to any dish. I would say this is the most used and favored herb among Japanese people.

I love to add Shiso leaves to Sumomono, but at the very end, right before you eat. If you want to use Shiso leaves for vinegared and hot (temperature) dish,
please add at the end in order to keep their nice green and purple color.

For this one, Kohlrabi, Zucchini, and carrots, sliced with peeler.
I used a unfamiliar ingredient for Japanese Sunomono - Kohlrabi and Zucchini.
But both have a great taste as Sunomono. It's sliced very thin with a peeler so you can eat it fresh and the vinegar is soaked up and marinated quickly.

To use these unfamiliar ingredients this dish worked out pretty good.

This one, cucumber, wakame seaweed, tomato, sakura-ebi (dried-shrimp), and shio-kombu (salted, shredded-kelp).

Shio-kombu contains enough salt and UMAMI (tastiness), so I prepared each ingredient and tossed together with little rice vinegar and then chilled in the fridge for an hour. Dried-shrimp has a great UMAMI flavor too, so it gets tastier when marinated in the fridge. There is no sugar or salt added.

AMAZU (sweetened vinegar)

Rice Vinegar                     1/3 cup
Cane Sugar                       5 tbsp.

Vegetables(sliced or cut)    about 2 cups
Salt                                1/2 tsp.

1) Mix vinegar and sugar well until sugar is dissolved.(you can heat the vinegar, but just a little, never boiled!)
2) Slice or cut vegetables and sprinkle salt and toss. Let it sit for 30 min.
3) Squeeze water from the vegetables and add the vinegar mixture to marinate.
4) Keep marinated it inside of the fridge at least 2-3 hours.
*You can keep it in an air-tight container for few days. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strawberry and Peach Crumbles


I don't write about baking so often, but I love baking. However, I am not good at it as much as I love it, even though I do know my oven's habits pretty good by now. As often as I have baked and used not just this oven, but other ovens as well, I am still not as happy with my level of baking compared to what I think it should be.

I always try to create my own version with a healthier twist; using canola oil instead of butter, wheat flour or other milled-grains instead of breached all-purpose flour...It comes out great sometimes, but not all the time. Some ingredients are supposed to be prepared a certain way, but I try to omit or add those steps and this causes a huge mess sometimes.

Anyway, I made a strawberry and peach crumbles as my husband's request the other day. I made from scratch; panko, brown sugar, Cinnamon, graham cracker, and butter. All ingredients are left-over or always in the pantry as staples. This is a typical pattern of failure, making things like this...

But, it came out pretty well this time!

The sweetness was not too heavy, lighter crumbles, and juicy tender strawberries and yellow peaches were cooked just right.

BUT, I didn't save the memo on how much of each ingredient I used, and I can't remember the recipe of it! I sometimes do that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ratatouille - Part 3

At the end of a big pot of ratatouille, I finished with omelet for lunch.

There is nothing need to be added, and just crusty bread made the meal perfect.

By the way, have you watched movie "Ratatouille"? I don't want to think the story in a realistic way, but it's a heart warming story, simply the love for food. I like the detail of the ratatouille coming up at the end of the movie; the mean food critic gets flash back of his mother's ratatouille once he puts Ratatouille's ratatouille in his mouth :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ratatouille - Part 2

Ratatouille again.

When I make ratatouille, I always make curry using from the same big pot.

I just add some sweet curry powder (I got this from Penzeys Spices store), and if I feel like more it more meat, vegetables, or beans, I saute it all and mix together.

This time I added boiled lentil to increase the volume.
This ratatouille and beans curry appeared in my lunch at work many times this summer.
The only thing that I need to be careful not to do and that is not to eat too much rice.
I've always eaten too much rice with curry, but rice rules!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


All summer long, (well, I didn't feel like we had a real summer this year though...) I bought Japanese eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes..., at the farmers market and I've been making pot-full of ratatouille almost every week.

In my version, I use KONBU (Kelp) under beneath of those vegetables. I think it doesn't bother vegetable's flavor, and UMAMI flavor is soaked up into the vegetables.
The next day, I toss with spaghetti and it makes a quick lunch.

Dinner for my husband, I mix with turkey meat sauce and volumed up.

This gets along with anything; rice, bread, pasta, etc. I love to make ratatouille, because I can make a lot at one time in a big pot, I can use any vegetables and cleanse fridge, it's so versatile, and I can make a few different dishes from it. (This helps a lot to make sure my husband gets his right amount of veggies!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vegetable Sushi w/ Kohlrabi and Zucchini


Last month, my co-worker gave me a couple of kohlrabi. I have never used that vegetable before, but the texture was so familiar. I first made some pickles, sliced thin with a peeler and marinaded in rice vinegar based marinade.

That taste and texture remind me of a Japanese turnip and daikon radish, and I really liked it. It is such a fun thing to try a new food, both cooking and tasting it.

Next thing I did was...

I added a thinly sliced zucchini too, and made two types of vegetable sushi with those pickled vegetables.
A refreshing taste; both kohlrabi and zucchini sushi have nice crunchy texture, and this is also a great vegetarian dish.
My husband said the zucchini sushi looks like a caterpillar. What do you think about that!?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kanten Jelly #5


When I was working for re-sizing this picture with my lap-top, my husband was sitting right next to me and said,

"Wow! Is that TUNA? That's nice, babes!"
"No, No-!"

"That's strawberry kanten jelly cut in cubes!"

I used fresh strawberry puree 1/2 cup and water 1/2 cup (1:1), and 1 package kanten powder
(2 grams), that's it. It only took 30-40 min. to mold.

There were a lots of strawberry seeds you can taste and that's very comfortable crunch!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

kanten #4


Making Kanten Jelly is still going on...This time, I used pureed kiwi fruits and some diced strawberry with it.

The idea was pretty good I guess, but I have made a big mistake while I was making the jelly...

The package of Kanten powder which I have been using contains 2 grams. And you can use 1 cup of water per package. So, I could've measure the kiwi puree and add some water until 1 cup, and use the kanten powder.

But, I use a whole cup water and add the kiwi puree to the water, which makes jelly more softer and watery.

Here the Kanten Jelly looks nice in a glass cup, but it got way too watery for it's texture. But I liked the crunchy texture of the seeds and the taste combination of kiwi and strawberry.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ni-Mame (Cooked Beans)


Do you like beans?

I love to eat beans especially the sweet type!

Eating beans in salad, curry, soup... I love them anyway, but sweet simmered Japanese style beans, that's my best of best! That is Ni-Mame, which means "cooked beans" in English.

Cooking beans takes little longer time, but it's worth the wait.

Some people may consider eating beans as a comfort food, but for myself I also enjoy the time preparing the beans just as much as eating them.

You need to be careful with the heat so you do not burn the flavor of the distinct beans while it's cooking,

All those cooking elements are part of healing process, if I may say.

The first bite of the sweet taste...including all the prep time is comforting to me, every time I cook beans.

I got about 1 lb. of mixed beans at Whole Foods Market the other day, and cooked everything at one time. After I cooked the beans without any extra ingredients, I divided in 3 parts, 1 for Ni-Mame and other 2 Parts for freezing.

Then, I made a thin syrup with brown sugar and water, and pinch of sea salt. After it's started to boil in a pan I add all the beans and turn the heat down very, very, low and cooked for 30min. Turn the heat off and let the taste all come together as it's cooling down.

In my home back in Japan, Ni-Mame is one of the best Ocha-Uke (お茶受け/ little snack or condiment for break with green tea. And I believe my mother and grand mother are having it right now.

Monday, August 9, 2010



I love to eat rice, as well as my husband. Since, I started to want to shift more to a whole grain or brown rice more often for our diet, I do sometimes use as a side dish or salad for us both. But still we love to eat white rice. I just realized I can not eliminate white rice from our diet completely, but we can eat a bit less.

Instead of just a simple steamed (cooked) rice, I often make this rice. It's so easy to make because I can put any veggie, meat...aay ingredients I wish to use into the rice cooker together and press the start button. That's it. After 40min, it's all done and ready to eat.

This is called "Takikomi-Gohan". Soy sauce, sake,(yes, sake!) and salt are usually used to make this dish and added to one's taste. And for the ingredients, Gobo(burdock root), carrots, shiitake mushroom, Abura-age(fried tofu), chicken, those are commonly used, but can vary at each house with a variety of ingredients which is used. It's like a Japanese style paella.

For my version, I always add Hijiki Seaweed and Kiriboshi Daikon(Dried Shredded Daikon). Both great source for fiber and calcium.

I would like to create a good alternative recipe with more of these great Japanese ingredients and introduce it western kitchens. Finally my cooking class is coming up in September, and I definitely will use these ingredients in the class, too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kanten Jelly #3


Now, I think I've finally made the perfect Kanten Jelly that I wanted!

I laid soft wax paper inside a small cup, and tied top of the paper after I poured Kanten liquid and placed a strawberry in the center. It was a small bite size, so it finished molding in the fridge within 3o min.

Doesn't it look nice? .It still isn't as clear as I wanted it to be, but it turned out OK, for Kanten Jelly.
My husband describes this as " Strawberry Crystals"

I used 1 Cup of water per 1 package's Kanten Powder (2 grams), and I could make almost 10 little pieces (little smaller than ping pong boll) of this little Kanten jelly with small strawberry in it.

Kanten jelly does not melted soon in a room temperature like gelatin jelly, so it's very easy to handle and make it. Like this shinny little dessert, I hope to see more summer like sunshine in here too!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kanten Jelly #2


Here, I made another Kanten Jelly, since I wanted to make it a more transparent looking jelly with a nice texture like I was trying to do in my last post, but...

I used dark brown sugar in this recipe(!) and the final result was this : (

It turned out looking like a jelly made with red tea. (Red tea might be a good idea, good thought. with a herbal flavor?)

I kind a felt some taste of red tea strangely, is it because of that color!?

Texture was all right, I even might be able to increase the amount of Kanten Powder.

I also added a few slices of peach. Peaches are so delicious when in season, and this worked out pretty good in jelly!

Still to be continued.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kanten Jelly


I've been trying to change my blog's template, color and font etc...
but I can't decide which one I really really like. So, I have been changing it around, trying to find a new one that i like :)

The other day, I was making Kanten Jelly with flaked Kanten for my next cooking class, coming end of this month. (whoo whoo) I found these flakes at Whole Foods Market. I have never used the flaked type before, so I just wanted to try it out.

It took a little longer than I expected to melt all those flakes into the hot water, so it is difficult to put on my recipe because it's going to vary for the amount of evaporated water until all flakes melt. And also you don't want to keep boiling Kanten liquid for a long time. (This makes the Kanten jelly a more unclear color) In order to make easier and clear recipe, I am going to decide to use powdered Kanten.

I added brown sugar to taste, and put strawberries in it. I put plastic wrap inside of small bowl and pour the Kanten liquid and twisted the top of plastic and tied.

One of the great things about using Kanten is it's fast and the time it takes to turn to gel and be able to mold within 40-45min. You can use any kind of fresh fruits, (some can't be used in gelatin jelly because of the enzyme they contain) and they are almost non calories, (because it's seaweed) but it's great source of fiber!

But the texture is totally different from gelatin jelly. I love the texture, but people who never had this texture might not like it at all. So, I need to try making Kanten jelly's texture little closer to gelatin more westernized. At the same time, I need to test again and make more clear.

Good thing I have my husband who never had Kanten jelly before, right? :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kurumi-Miso (Walnuts Miso Sauce)

Here I made a Walnut-Miso Paste, just like I made that Sesame Sauce the other day. It turned out with a miso like paste. And I created a few different ways to use it.

This is the paste, doesn't it look like miso paste? I mixed in a little miso paste in order to give the sauce more flavor and richness. I also used a food processor to mix it all together, and it turned pasty like this quickly. I touched the paste and felt all the fat from the nuts. (a lot, but good fat! if you take with proper portion)

And, the ways I created to use were.....

Sauce for Noodles:
I added some dashi (soup stock) and made a cold noodle's dipping sauce. After I added the dashi, the color turned a whiter beige color. It didn't look like miso paste anymore!
I used a egg noodle, but I believe that Soba or Udon noodle also go along with this sauce, too.
Creamy dressing:
I also added dashi and little salt to make a dressing for leafy salad.

Another dressing:
I tossed with peeled carrots.

I wrapped this paste in a plastic wrap and kept in the freezer. (results To Be Announced)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yakisoba - Pleasant Memories Of The Summers Past


Lately, I've seen a Yakisoba commercial on TV a few times.
I can say... Yakisoba is one of my favorite dishes to eat, and I always remember the summer time when I was a kid when I eat Yakisoba.....

(imagine if you will)

..... Our family used to go to the beach often during our summer vacation when my sister and I were in grade school. In Japan, there are always some beach house by the ocean, it's called "Umi-No-Ie"( 海の家 ), they have a rest room, shower, changing room, souvenir shop, and cafe and restaurant. In the restaurant, they sell grilled squid or clam, curry and rice, saved ice, corn dog...etc., and there is always Yakisoba in the menu. I don't think I never missed a day when i would ask my parents to have Yakisoba.

When I ate Yakisoba right after getting out from the ocean, I always could taste the sea water with the noodle, because of the sea water dripped from my hair to face and mixed together in my mouth. I still can remember that exact taste :)

It's usually added with a little bit of cabbage, carrots, and onion, that's it. So nutritionally Yakisoba is not a great dish by itself to get a lot of nutrients.
So, I added a lot of spinach, chard, carrots, and cabbage, almost same amount with noodle. I topped with dried shrimp, too.

I wish I had some Beni-Shoga! ( pickled ginger/ you will be surprised by it's bright red color )

Monday, May 17, 2010

Goma-Ae Recipe


I am now placing Goma-Ae's sauce recipe up online today.


Toasted Sesame Seed (white or black) 1/3 cup
Soy Sauce 1 tbsp.
Brown Sugar 1 tbsp.
Mirin 1 tbsp.
Salt 1/4 tsp.
Dashi 3~4 tbsp.


1) In a Suribachi (Japanese mortar), put sesame seeds and grind untill their oil comes out.

2) Add all the other ingredients and mix well untill sugar is disolved and looks pasty.

* You can make the sauce with a food processor too. When you use a food processor, put sesame seeds in and pulse a few times and then add all other ingredients and blend it till pasty.

You can use this sauce with vegetables, but you also can dress up some noodles and seaweed with some veggies like this...

I tossed the sauce with Soba noodle, carrots, spinach, and Hijiki Seaweed. Make sure the creamy sesame sauce covered all ingredients evenly to be able to enjoy the full flavor in every bite.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kohya-Tofu with ground turkey stuffing


Have you ever eaten any KOHYA-TOFU before?

This is a tofu product which is first frozen then dried. When you prepare the tofu, you can soak it in warm water first to rehydrate it before you use or cook it. It will also get softer and absorb a lot of dashi / soup and umami during cooking.

I put some ground turkey and a green onion mixture with a lot of fresh ginger in the middle. Then simmered it in a soy sauce based-dashi soup stock. After it's cooked, I tied it with boiled Mitsuba twig around it like a ribbon for a little better looking presentation.

As same as other soy products, KOHYA-TOFU is also very high in nutrition, especially calcium, and iron. There is also an effect which lowers cholesterol in your system.

However, I don't think too many Japanese people eat this nowadays, especially young people. I would love to re-introduce this great food here in the U.S., too. But I also hope that more Japanese people will start cooking and eating KOHYA-TOFU more often as one of our great food.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Goma - Ae


I have a chance to teach a cooking class at a local cooking school in June!

Now, I am preparing for that class.

One of the dishes I plan on teaching in the class is, GOMA-AE. This is a boiled vegetable dish usually made with spinach and tossed with a pasty Sesame dressing. It's a pretty popular Japanese dish in the U.S. now that I think about it. I plan on adding my own touch to make it a more tastier and healthier dish and give some useful tips on preparing this type of dish.

Nowadays, you can check out various types of recipes, pictures, videos. Everything you need to know about cooking on the Internet. But I still believe that the most important part of cooking is to see, touch, smell, feel, and to taste the food while cooking the dish.

I used spinach and carrots this time, but you can try other vegetable like; green beans, snack peas, snow peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower...any type of vegetable is healthy. Gives a great new way and flavor to some of you and your loved ones favorite vegetables.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Soy sauce and Miso For Kakushi - Aji ( Hidden Taste )

Today, I will introduce to you a little trick for tasting.
I made a Spring Roll the other day, (it's called HARUMAKI in Japanese), with chicken, mung bean thread, garlic chives, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and fresh ground ginger. These Harumaki are wrapped with Harumaki Wrap Paper, it's much thinner than won ton wrappers and will get more lighter and crispier after it's cooked.

To add saltiness, I chose not to use salt. I used Soy Sauce and Miso paste.

Soy Sauce contains about 1/5 sodium compared to the sodium content in salt and regular Miso paste has about 1/6-1/7 of sodium content. So, if you wish to use here is the percentage of equal parts:
1 tea spoon salt = about 1.5 table spoons of soy sauce or about 2 - 2.5 tablespoons of Miso paste.

You will taste the saltiness, but the Soy Sauce and the Miso paste flavor will hidden / masked with a natural flavor that most people will not even notice. This cooking effect is called KAKUSHI-AJI (English: Hidden Taste) And soy sauce and miso are often used to that technique. I believe that this works for B.B.Q. sauce or marinade in American cooking too.

Also, Soy Sauce and Miso, both are fermented foods which give the dish an extra UMAMI taste.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Buckwheat Recipe - Corn Soup


I have used buckwheat grout for oatmeal, tomato sauce, vegetable soup in the past few months.
The other day, I decided to make corn soup for dinner and got an idea to put some buckwheat into the soup.
I boiled the buckwheat grout for 15 min. and then added it to the soup at the same time when I put the corn, (one whole can and cream style one). Then, I used some flour to add some thickness to the soup, at the same time, the buckwheat gave a nice consistency at the end. I prefer to put some consistency to soup with flour instead of using corn starch.

Corn Cream Soup: 4-5 servings


Canned Corn・・・・・・・・・ 1 lb. each of whole and cream style.

Sweet Onion・・・・・・・・・ 1 cup

Bacon・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・ 4 oz.

Buckwheat (boiled)・・・ 1 cup

Soup Stock・・・・・・・・・・ 4 cups

All Purpose Flour・・・・ 5 tbsp.

Milk or Half & Half ・・・1 cup

*Canora oil・・・・・・・・・・ 4 tbsp.

Salt and Pepper for taste


1.) Cook bacon until it gets crispy, add onion and saute for 5 min. with medium-low heat.

* If you don't want to use all the bacon oil, you can take it out and add 4 tbsp. of Canola Oil instead.

2.) Add some flour and cook for 5min. Add soup stock, corn, and buckwheat. If you like, you can add some dried herb at this point.

3.) Simmer for 15 min., and add milk or half & half.

4.) Taste with Salt and Pepper.

If you want to add some vegetables to this soup, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, Brussel sprouts, etc...
With nice crusty bread, mmmm.............yummy!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cabbage


There are lot of cabbages out there lately, those spring cabbages are tender and yummy especially when in season. I use cabbage often, for soups, salads, to saute and steam, to make a Japanese style pan cake ( Okonomi-Yaki ), rolled cabbage...etc.

I created a strawberry dressing and tossed with steamed cabbage. The dressing was so delicious it gives you that fresh spring feeling.

I have tried this dressing with broccoli, celery, and carrots and it was good, too. The consistency of the sauce is pretty thick, so it's good as a dipping sauce also.

Spring Strawberry Dressing:

Makes about 1/3 - 1/2 cup

Strawberry 3 medium

Red Onion 1.5 oz

Red Wine Vinegar 1 tbsp.

Olive Oil 2 tbsp.

Salt and Pepper for taste

Pinch of Sugar

Direction: Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix until combined well, that's it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oroshi - Soba (Cold Soba Noodle)

I usually go to work in the afternoon, so I make lunch for my husband and myself before I go. Sometimes I make a different lunch menu for each other - like pancakes and eggs, salad for my husband, for me soba or udon noodle or rice bowl something like that.

The other day, I made Oroshi-Soba. Oroshi is grated Daikon Radish. I enjoy the flavor the tangy sauce makes on the cold soba noodle. I also use watercress, thin sliced lunch meat, and a lot of shredded seaweed on it. This Soba noodle is the one that my mother sent me from Japan the other day, and also is known as one of the local favorite soba restaurant's! Oh, I hadn't eaten that for a while! Thank you mother!!

This salad looks like the cold noodle is very refreshing, clean taste. It is nice to have a dish / meal like this in the spring or summer time. (And YES! summer time has begun)

I was a little hesitated to put lunch meat on the top of soba, but it worked out very well and tasted fairly good!

I used a ready to use Soba-Tsuyu (sauce), grated Daikon radish and mixed into the sauce, then poured over the noodle.

If you would prefer a more heavier dish, try putting some Tempura or Kaki-age is a good idea, it's just a little tasty idea :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kobu-Maki ( Rolled Kelp )


I'd love to sit and blog more, but I haven't been able to manage my time very well. :(
But, little by little, and bit by bit.

The other day, my mother sent me a package with a lot of Japanese ingredients, including various types of seaweed. Yeah! I love to eat seaweed, we have many different types of seaweed and seaweed products in Japan- Nori, Wakame, Kombu, Hijiki, Tororo-Kombu, Ao-Nori...

When I saw the big kelp package in the box, I was inspired to make Kobu-Maki right away.
I soaked the kelp in the water and made until tender, then rolled carrots and shiitake mushroom in a piece of seaweed, and put Kanpyo (Dried Gourd) strip and tied the roll.
Then I simmered the rolls in Dashi (Japanese broth), Soy sauce, Sugar mixture for 30min.

This is a popular New Year's dish. Because Kom-Bu, it is the same pronunciation as "Yo-Ro-Ko-Bu" = to be glad in Japanese (English translation), it is said that kom-bu is considered to be a good luck type of food ingredients in Japan. That's why this dish is recognized as a New Years Dish.
Inside ingredients are vary including the following; burdock root, carrots, other root vegetables, cured or smoked fish...

I only had carrots and mushroom that day, but I wish I had Gobo and Nishin ( Herring ) or so.
I love to make it again soon, and next time I will offer to my husband...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TOFU Recipe 2 - Tofu & Chicken Nugget


Here, I made TOFU and Chicken nuggets the other day. This is a dish that I often make, because it's so easy. I just put all ingredients in the food processor and mix about less than a minute, and then pan fry. I like this lean taste, but for my husband, it tastes little blunt and boring, so I add some B.B.Q. sauce for him and make a sandwich with lunch meat sometimes :)

For this one above, I made smaller size like chicken nugget. I usually make this one with very little salt and use some sauce (B.B.Q., mustard, etc...)
This is good for snack and my lunch for work too.

For this one above, I added some parsley and Mrs.Dash, and less salt ( 0.5% amount of the tofu and chicken's weight ) for taste. Thanks for all the herb's great effects, you don't need any sauce. It's a little technique for less salt in your dish. Here's some tricks I usually use for dish like this:

1) Using some herbs ( dry, or fresh)

2) Using soy sauce for 1/3 or 1/4 of salt usage

3) Adding chopped roasted bell pepper (this is GOOOOOD!)
If you like to serve with something on the side, fresh crisp salad goes well, like spinich, arugula, watercress, carrots mix, with roasted sunflower seed sprincled. That's my favorite combination :)
OK, that's it for today,
See Ya!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TOFU Recipe - "SHIRA-AE"


It's been a while I posted the last one, and it's already February!
Unfortunately, I still haven't had much time to try some new recipes as much as I would like too. :(

I just got my favorite magazine ( Clean Eating Magazine ), so I want to try some recipe from that.

Well, this morning, I made a SHIRA-AE, meaning "tossed in white ( TOFU ) sauce" in Japanese. This is a pretty popular dish in Japan, compared to here in the U.S. where a "Sesame Sauce" ( GOMA-AE ) is a more common flavor.
I would like to develop this recipe for cooking class.

For a more rich flavor and creaminess, I add a white sesame paste ( Tahini ) to mashed tofu, and mixed it together so it would blend nicely with a savory sesame flavor. For the vegetables to mix with, I used sliced carrots, shiitake-mushroom, daikon leaf, and I added some walnuts for accent.

Traditionally, the tofu sauce is made in a Japanese Mortar ( SURIBACHI ) to achieve a creamier sauce, but, I don't have a Mortar, I really want to get one though. So, I improvised and made a similar version using the utensils that I have in my kitchen. It turned out, OK, and I was pleased with it and it's flavor. :)

This is a very healthy side dish you can try.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Buckwheat - it's all good

I have been using buckwheat groats a lot lately.
For me, I am making a soup, and for my husband, it's oatmeal.

These are the photos for the soup I made the other day, first one is curry flavored vegetable ( onion, cabbage, carrots ) soup with buckwheat groats.

Secand one is chichen, lentils, buckwheat groats and vegetable ( napa cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, potatos ) soup.

This is my husband's favorite oatmeal bowl lately. Cook buckwheat and rolled oats in the water first, and then add some milk, fruits, and brown suger. This is great easy breakfast.

But! I love to eat oatmeal little Japanese style :) I cooked rolled oats and buckwheat in Japanese "DASHI" broth, and add cooked salmon, little salt, bonito flakes, and sesame seeds. Here you go! "Japanese style oatmeal"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scalloped Potato Gratin


When I was talking with my husband about my cooking and various recipes and so on..., he said, "Why don't you try to make other people's recipe and add a little twist and write about it in your blog?"
"Hum... That's interesting, sounds like the movie "Julie & Julia" huh?"

So, I decided to take my husband's idea, by making some dishes using any recipe from whatever magazine, TV, supermarket recipe card, or book. Then add my little healthy twist to it and make it healthy, so my husband will eat it and like it.
Then, I cooked this scalloped potato from Food Network's chef Mr. Tylor Florence's "Scalloped Potato Gratin".
I changed two things from the original recipe, the amount of heavy cream, and cheese. The amount of heavy cream was too much for both of us, so I substituted a less fat milk and half the amount of the heavy cream for a lighter dish. Also, I used 1/2 Gruyere cheese and 1/2 Parmesan cheese.  
Still, it finished very creamy, and rich in taste. And we both loved it! I especially liked the fresh thyme flavor, it was great with the cheese and gave it a nice accent.
It was so easy, and a great side dish. You should try it, too :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brown Rice with Buckwheat


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that I can come up with a few great recipes and cook some delicious and healthy food this year. Oh, I also would love to try a lot of new recipes.

When I cooked brown rice the other day, I remembered that I had some buckwheat and added it to the brown rice. Cooking brown rice needs more soaking time than white rice does, so I usually soak in over night, or soak in warm to hot water before I cook it.

This time I soaked the buckwheat in hot water about one hour and added two(2) table spoons of buckwheat per 1 GO ( Japanese measurement unit = about 180cc = 6 ounces) and started cooking.

It comes out really nice, I even thought that I can add more Buckwheat. Both, the brown rice and Buckwheat texture mixed very good and the colors blended nicely together. When I cooked white rice with Buckwheat Tea (SOBA-CHA) before, there was that typical SOBA-CYA flavor I could smell, but this time the aroma was very subtle and mild. I believe that it is because SOBA-CHA was roasted and that made the rice have a more strong flavor.

This rice would be perfect for OCHA-ZUKE Rice!