Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kinpira - Gobo


"Kinpira-Gobo" is sauteed and simmered vegetable, usually it's GOBO=Burdock Root. It is also made with carrots, celery root, and other vegetables too. Those are tasted with Soy Sauce, Mirin or Sugar, and Dashi Stock=Japanese Soup Stock, or Broth.

First, saute sliced vegetable in sesame oil. and then add all seasoning and simmered until vegetable get tender and liquid is almost absorbed. 
When you make this dish, sesame oil is a must ingredient I believe. This oil gives a great flavor to those earthy root vegetables, and well combined with all seasoning.

I usually make with Gobo and carrots, but since I got to know one of my friends makes with chicken in it, (and that taste was sooo good!), I really like the idea to add some kind of protein to this dish.

I used ground turkey instead of chicken this time, and also my favorite, Kiriboshi-Daikon (Dried Daikon Radish) with ground sesame on the top.
Another side dish high in fiber right there, and perfect side dish for my lunch box :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gyu-Don (Thin sliced beef with onion) - Revised

It is thin sliced beef and onion cooked with soy sauce, mirin or sugar, and dashi stock.

It's usually poured on over steamed rice, and one of the most famous DONBURI dish in Japan.
DONBURI is a rice dish with some kind of cooked dish over steamed rice in a bowl.

Yoshino-Ya, is one of the most famous Gyu-Don shop back in 80's - 90's when I was in Japan. There might be more chain shop or restaurant by now for this convienient, easy-to-grab rice bowl dish, and a lot of people love to eat this.

My revised version, I added Kiriboshi-Daikon=dried daikon which has high in dietary fiber, and sesame seed for nice crunchy texture with bean sprout at the very end.

I probably can eat 2 bowls (and Big One, too!) of rice with this.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spicy Tuna Bowl


I sometimes feel like eating spicy tuna, my husband as well. When we fell like that, I get nice piece of tuna fillet and chop it and make spicy tuna.

I usually like to eat putting on steamed rice and make a spicy tuna bowl; "Donburi" style.

Fresh chopped tuna with little mayonnaise, green onion, Japanese chili pepper, and chili oil.
Great thing to make this yourself, you can adjust the spiciness as much as, or as less as you want and make perfect spicy tuna every time. I barely order spicy dish from any restaurant until I know the taste, because you never know how spicy that dish is ;)

I added little ground white sesame seed, and matched up with clear soup.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Long Time No See!

It's been 5 months since the last post!

Well, I have been occupied with my health issue, so I wasn't good blogging mood the past few months.
Now, it's clear (I hope, forever!) and the mood is getting back finally.

Since I was little away from blogging, facebook-ing, and hard-core food surfing, there are a lot to maintain and up date in the world (I still don't know well how I can manage sufficiently each of my SN account ;)

Also, I am not good at catching up all these fast technologies, so I've got little confused where to start and how first...

But, at the same time, I can't do much too, so I just post my daily blog day by day and enjoy reading other people's blogs or articles, and photos.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



it's a easy lunch menu for me. It's easy, quick, and anything and you can use whatever you like.
Traditionally, we use flour, tempura flakes, cabbage, eggs, and a protein ingredient, such as sliced pork, shrimp, squid, cheese, etc...

My version is a little far from the traditional... I would say my version includes less white flour with more vegetables, still with a good protein of some sort in it.

And, instead of putting sauce on it, a lot of Aonori (Dried Seaweed flakes) and little Ponzu sauce work perfectly for me :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Potato Pancakes


Potato Pancakes, (sigh), this item I rarely make in my day to day cooking.

But, the other day I saw someone was making them on one of the food network shows and they looked so good! (My husband and I always get inspired by TV Cooking Shows so quickly and easily :)

Before I made potato pancakes myself, I had an image of potato pancakes; used as a appetizer or a side dish on a breakfast menu...

I realized that we have the same type of potato dish in Japan too. It's called Imo-Mochi. ( translated in English as Potato-Rice cake) We don't use butter to cook, or don't mix with grated cheese or jalapeno, but the gooey texture from their starch is exactly same.

It is fun and so interesting when I found out (re-realized) that there were the same types of dishes all over the world, using the local regional ingredients; Dumplings, Pasta or Noodle, Pickles, etc...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

KOGOMI - Fiddelehead ferns


I found fiddlehead ferns at Whole Foods Market the other day, and I just surprisingly took to my hand and put into the basket without any reason. ( I always have a shopping list in my hand and barely buy items not on the list)

I never expected that I can get KOGOMI (in Japanese) in the U.S.. This is one of the vegetables which tells us "spring has come" in Japan. It grows in wild mountain area, so it is sometimes transrated to "mountain vegetables", or "wild vegetables" in Englosh. I don't know they are all wild nowadays, it might be cultivated.

The package I got says it is distributed from Portland, Oregon. I can imagime that there must be from beautiful mountain area.

And then within a couple of days, I found a recipe of fiddleheads from one magazene, too! This is Indian Country Today that my husband recieves every issue. What a coincident, and I found out that fiddleheads sounds like pretty popular among Native American people, that was surprised to me too.

In the recipe, fiddlehead ferns are saute with butter and tossed with mixed greens. That is totaly different from Japanese cooking and that was very interesting to me too.

Oh, I made Tempura and enjoyed spring taste that night with my fiddlehead ferns.

GooGoo Bread


Have you ever heard of "Goo Goo Bread" before?

This bread is called like this among Native American people. ("at least in my tribe", my husband says.) I learned how to make this from my husband a few years ago. It's a almost biscuit made with all purpose flour, shortening (or butter), sugar, baking powder, salt and milk. And it is cooked in a cast iron without using oven.

There is original recipe which my husband found from somewhere and I customized it in my way which is easy to work for me.

This one, I used dark brown sugar, and I used some milled buckwheat tea instead of using all of amount with all purpose flour. I love to use milled buckwheat tea in some baking, it gives great roasty flavor.

I tried to find why this bread is called "Goo Goo Bread", but I could not find it.

Does anyone know?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cream Puffs

As, I wrote here before. I love to bake, but I'm not good at it as much as I would love to be. However, making cream puffs might be the best baking dessert I can manage within my baking skills.

I love cream puffs, and the great thing is my husband likes to eat those cream puffs I make. I usually put a custard cream inside, but last time I mixed with red bean paste (あんこ/餡子) and custard cream together and put in the puffs.

WOW, It worked great!
I mixed 1:1 ratio, and the consistency was almost the same, so it was easy to blend together, too.

Sophisticated French dessert turned into a Japanese dessert; "WA-SWEETS".

In Japan, all types of dessert are called SWEETS(スイーツ), nowadays. I never get to use this saying, though...)

Profiterole a la Japon!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cream Cheese Biscuits


I like to read various cookbooks and cooking magazines, Cook's Country is one of my favorite. ( I love to watch their TV show on public television.)

In the last issue, there was a recipe of biscuits, the photo just caught my eyes. They looked soooo good!
And, I immediately decided to add cream cheese to my shopping list.

Just as I thought, I knew it from first sight that these biscuits would be great! And, they were so easy to make, too!

You mix all ingredients in a food processor and add butter and cream cheese then mix together with butter milk, that's it.

I don't use buttermilk so often, but I soon realized the differences from the other biscuits I have been making, and really tasted what buttermilk can do to the dough, which was so soft, moist, and an excellent taste.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

English Pea


English Pea is one of the ingredients that make me feel and realize that spring has just come.

Earlier years after I moved to the U.S., I didn't know I can get this tasty little jade looking thing. I didn't go to any farmer's markets that often. I did keep looking for at them at grocery stores, but was disappointed every time when I only found snow pea, green beans, or snap peas. So I missed those little peas every spring.

So, I was so happy when I can buy at local farmer's market.

Yesterday, I went and bought some!

I picked up each one as I looked for as many plumply ones as possible, and as I shelled and saw the little green jewel like peas...

I cooked goulash and added some of these little green gems into my goulash and it made the whole dish much better. I really can taste the difference between the fresh and the frozen ones. I love to enjoy as many as possible while it's in season.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SUMASHI - JIRU (Japanese Clear Soup)

My Parents and Grandmother live near Tokyo, and they had to live with limited electricity last month. Tokyo and the surrounding areas have had a mandatory black out, which they take turns shutting off their electricity for 2-4 hours a day. It seems there is no plan going on right now, but since it's getting warmer and spring and summer time, I believe that a lot of people are continuously trying to save their energy usage, here and there in their life's.

When I cook and use water, stove or oven, and electricity, I can't stop think of my family and friends in Japan. Fortunately I can use these basic necessities as much as I want and anytime, but now I am really aware of using energy smarter than before. Trying not to keep running water, turn the light off, etc...

And when I make miso soup, which uses Dashi stock, I put kelp and dried Shiitake mushroom in a pitcher with water and keep inside a fridge over night. Here, instant soup stock is made without heat next day when you make.

Miso soup is too popular as Japanese soup, but we have other different kind of soups, too. For example, Sumashi-Jiru is a Japanese clear soup, with a taste of soy sauce and salt, instead of miso paste, and sometimes sake can also be added.

The other day, I made my favorite type of soup - Sumashi-Jiru with bean sprouts and egg. This is the soup my mother used to make a lot when I was growing up until I graduate from high school. I believe that she still makes this soup a lot for my Father and Grandmother :)

You can put Dashi stock in a pan, and flavor with soy sauce and salt, then add bean sprouts, and add an egg at the end. It can be finished in 10 minutes. If you have Dashi already, it will be in 5 minutes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shiro MIso (White Miso)

This is SHIRO MISO, a white miso paste. This white miso paste has a very sweet and creamy taste and less Sodium (about 5%/vol.) content than other miso pastes. Most other miso contain around 12-13% Sodium.

It's also called SAIKYO MISO, which this miso originally came from Kyoto area and used a lot for delicate, artistic, and traditional food dish - KYO-KAISEKI(京懐石).

I love this sweet tasting miso. When I make miso soup, I usually mix this miso with another miso to make more flavorful miso soup, and shiro miso gives a pleasant sweetness, and using this white miso for miso soup in the winter time is very comforting.

Since this miso has less sodium content and is a smooth paste unlike other types of miso paste, it is also useful and easy to use for a marinade or dressing.

There are hundreds of miso companies in Japan, their taste and flavors all very with each company and the region they are located in, which gives each miso their own unique flavor due to the ingredients and the way they are processed for fermentation.

So, I love to try different types and brand of miso every time when I buy a new one.

It's still cold in northern Japan, so I hope that all the local people who are living in the evacuation area have some nice hot miso soup...

Monday, March 28, 2011

after three weeks...

It's been almost three weeks since Tohoku Kanto Daishinsai hit Japan.

My heart still harts and tears come out sometimes without no reason when I think of Japan and people living there. I can't stop thinking what I can do for my home country more than ever...

Last week, I finally got in contact with one of my friends who happens to live in Sendai with her husband and two sons. Until then, we haven't talked much with each other for a long time, I don't even remember when was the last time we talked. Still, we were so happy to hear from each other, we had a lot to talk what was going on each other's life, too many things needed too be updated, but just heard she was OK and I was so happy and relieved, that was it in our first email.

In her second email, she said, "There is still no water, no gas, and our house is still a mess, but still feel very lucky and happy. To many people lost, to many things lost." I didn't know what can I say, how can I encourage her. In her third email, she said, "It was sunny today, so it's easy for 2 hours wait for grocery shopping. There's still no water, but we'll hang in there."

In the next one, "I feel weak since it's started snowing for the passed couple of days, I hope that I didn't catch a cold. But, all your encouragement has made me energized, thank you! As long as you all care about us, we will be fine."

I realized that she is giving me strength and courage. All those people who lost many things show us, patients, dignity, to think who you are, what you stand for, and how you can be stronger no matter what.

I still search what I can do, but I am getting an answer about it. Because a lot of people show me and make me realize again where I am from and how I am going to live.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kiriboshi - Daikon (Dried Shredded Daikon)


Today, I found walnuts and miso paste in the freezer. I totally forgot about them! (There is a post about this walnut miso paste on June 14th, 2010 in this blog, thanks!)

Well, I found the sauce, but what should I make? I started to think and look around at the kitchen what I have inside of refrigerator, in the shelf and pantry...
Here I found some vegetables, soba noodles and package of KIRIBOSHI-DAIKON.

KIRIBOSHI-DAIKON is a dried shredded daikon radish. I would say that is probably one of my most favorites among Japanese dried ingredients. I use this for everything; various types of soup, salads, noodles, and simmering dishes...Preparation is so easy, you can soak it in water / luke warm water before use. But I always put directly into the pot when I cook soup or simmering dish. That way I always use their nutrients from the water.
They have very strong and unfamiliar flavor for people have never tried, so some(maybe many) people might think it's not so pleasant.
But! this is a great source of potassium, calcium, fiber, and iron. These are all very important nutrients for our diet, and you can take all those nutrients from one great ingredient.
Is it wonderful, or what
That's of the reasons that I want to introduce this ingredients at my cooking class. And I actually used last month's class putting into Japanese style pilaf with other dried ingredients.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gyoza Origami


Earlier this month, I had taught a cooking class...
There was a Japanese style dumplings called GYOZA on the menu.

And before the class, I was thinking about how I can teach and explain to all the students on how to wrap the dumpling with the GYOZA skin and make it look presentable.

I believe it's important to create a fun atmosphere and with easy directions for hands-on recreational cooking class, it encourages students and guests to try making the dish at home too.
And this GYOZA wrapping process, there are some pleats making which is needed, a little tricky finger work for people making GYOZA the very first time, but you can do it.

And then the idea I got was...

To show some sample with paper crafted "GYOZA" !! The Big sized one is for showing everyone how to put ingredients and wrap, and then to make those pleats, and small one for actual size which people can take a look at as an example while they are making their own.

I don't know that this worked well, but everybody seemed to have made a great GYOZA in the class.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inari Zushi ( Cooked Fried Tofu Stuffed With Sushi Rice)

Do you like INARI sushi?

We have various types of sushi or rolls in Japan, thick with seaweed outside roll is called FUTO-MAKI, square shaped using cured mackerel is called HAKO-ZUSHI, all different fish and other ingredients on the bed of sushi rice is called CHIRASHI-ZUSHI.

This sweet simmered tofu pocket sushi is a popular picnic dish and lunch box favorite. It is cooked with sugar or mirin, dashi, and soy sauce.

There are cooked packages available in Japanese markets, and I sometimes buy and keep in the freezer.

Inside is sushi rice, you can mix with sesame seeds, shiso leaf, pickled ginger... any thing you think is good.

The other day, I put shiso leaves and cheese in it. Some Japanese people might think that I am crazy, but when I first eat it, ( that was over 20 years ago!) that wasn't too bad.

That was one of the classes when I was taking in my junior collage year. I think that the cheese was called "processed cheese"( which two or more different kind of cheeses are mixed and reshaped into a semi hard type cheese, this is the most popular cheese in Japan back then and the only one I knew.) That idea blew my mind, I thought that it is weird combination, but the taste wasn't as bad as I imagined.

What do you think? Would you like to try it?

Talking about cheese, I have never tried any other kind of natural cheeses until I learned in one of the classes I was taking. Gouda, Cheddar, Brie, Emmenthar...That was my first encounter with the world of cheese for me.

Anyway, I cut a nice Cheddar into tiny cubes and mixed with sushi rice. The rich Cheddar and stickier short grain rice both have kind a similar texture and shiso gives a fresh accent.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shiso Leaf


This are SHISO-LEAVES, a wonderfully fragrant, clean minty flavored Japanese herb.

I purchased a little plant last summer. However, some Caterpillars have munched all the leaves within a couple of weeks and left only a few leaves and stems :( However, I left the pot on our porch and totally forgot about it for a long time...

Last December, after it had stormed continuously for a week, I noticed the leaves were growing again and they really looked nice and healthy, like it supposed to the past summer the way I wanted them to be.

So, during all of January I was able to enjoy the Shiso, using a fresh summer herb in the middle of winter time was great.

In the U.S., SHISO is called "Japanese mint leaf", or "Beefsteak Leaf", but correctly it is "Perilla" in English and it has nothing to do with plants of any mint family.

In a sushi restaurant, this is always placed along with shredded daikon raddish for sashimi dish. These leaves are also great with white fish, tuna. I like tuna rolls with chopped shiso with a lot a wasabi in it, gives the roll a very refreshing taste.

Now it's February and they are still alive, I don't know how long I can enjoy this unexpected wonderful moment and what's going to happen to them, but it's lovely to see these leaves at this time of year, freshly picked.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gyoza (Japanese Dumpling)

Happy New Year!

How are you?

I have been trying to develop a Gyoza recipe since late November, for next cooking class coming in February at local cooking school.

I'd love to have all students make Gyoza skin too, but it wouldn't allow to finish with other dishes during the class time if we make the Gyoza skin :(
That would be great if I can do a class like, "all about Gyoza class", with a lots of different kind of ingredients and hand made skin.

And this class's main theme is "UMAMI", so I want to introduce a lot of umami ingredients while in the class too.

For Gyoza recipe that I am trying to develop, I want to use ground pork, dried shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoot, mung beans thread, and a lot of fresh ginger and garlic. This is the photo I made the other day with those ingredients.

Gyoza is one of Japanese favorite, and great with rice, ramen noodle, and beer (my father loves to have Gyoza with his favorite beer!)

I am going to talk and teach about how to wrap it, and how to cook Gyoza for nice crispy looking and some tasty tips.

I hope people are excited as I am and like it.