Saturday, November 6, 2010

Japanese Breakfast Cooking Together

I hosted Japanese breakfast cooking and eating for Pacific Northwest Cooking Recipe meetups at my new kitchen.
4 members and my husband attended the cooking event. I set the menus, bought ingredients and directed them to cook. Here is the menu
Miso soup.
Baked Halibut
Panfried Tofu with grated daikon and ginger
Sautéed Burdoc and Carrot(Kinpira Gobo)
Boiled Spinach with Bonito flakes and soy sauce
Toasted and seasoned seaweed (Agitsuke Nori)
Pickled vegetables (Tsukemono)
Pickled plum(Umeboshi)
Sesami kelp(Goma Konbu)
In addition to these, because my friend had given me Matsutake mushrooms yesterday, I made Matsutake rice.
All attendants learned bit of Japanese cooking and happy eating delicious Japanese breakfast.I am including recipes of 3 items from this breakfast.
Miso soup(4 Servings)
1. In the bowl add ½ cup of water and 1 tsps of Dried seaweed (Wakame).
2. Cut 1/8th of Tofu into small pieces.Chop green onion.
3. In the pot, add 2 Dashi packs and 4 cups of water and heat to boil. Boil for 5 minutes to make soup stock. (I used all natural Dashi pack which looks like teabag. )
4. Remove the Dashi packs and add Tofu
5. Heat the soup and add Soy bean paste (Miso) 1/8cups and more as needed.
6. Before the soup boils, turn down heat to keep warm.
7. Seaweed will be hydrated by this time. Drain and squeeze the excess water of seaweed.
8. Add the seaweed and green onion into 6 portion to add it in the bowls.
9. When other food is ready, pour the Miso soup into each bowl.

Sautéed Burdock and Carrot (Kinpira Gobo)
1. Peel Burdock (Gobo) and cut into Julienne. Soak the Burdock in bowl of water with 1tsp of rice vinegar to avoid browning.
2. Peel carrots and cut it into Julienne.
3. Heat a frying pan, add 1 TBSp oil.
4. Add Burdock and carrot and fry
5. Add ½ tsp Chili flakes.
6. Add 2TBSP water 1TBSP Sake, 1 TBSP Mirin, and 2SBSP Soy sauce.
7. Cook until all liquid is evaporated.
8. Add 1tsp sesame oil and 2 tsp of Sesame seed.

Boiled spinach with Bonito flakes and soy sauce
1. Wash spinach well.
2. Boil water and add spinach.
3. Cook the spinach until the stem is tender
4. Take spinach out and put it into the iced water
5. Squeeze the excess water and cut it into one inch length wide
6. Dish the spinach and serve with dried bonito flakes and soy sauce(Add Dashi to make less salty).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kabocha Thai curry

My life has been hectic. I haven’t written my blog for while. I will write more what kept me busy later.
I resume my blog and try to write more.
I joined Pacific Northwest cooking and recipe meetup group and attended “Your favorite Recipe Share and Tell Pumpkin and Apples” meetup. I thought Japanese way to cook Kabocha but it may not be popular among the attendants. I thought curry may do well with pumpkin. I decided to select other Asian curry rather than Japanese. I searched my collection of Indian then Thai recipe books. I found one which I could imagine to make tasty curry. I changed quite bit from original “Sweet Pumpkin and Peanut curry” in Thai the essence of Asian cooking by Judy Bastyra.(There are many good recipes and nice photos in this book.)
Kabocha Thai Curry Recipe
Kabocha is Japanese pumpkin. It is dark green. It is smaller and sweeter than large yellow pumpkins.Original version uses peanuts,regular pumpkin, garlic and chicken stock, no meat, no zucchini. I used Kabocha and boiled them before adding them to curry soup.
1 large Fresh ginger cut into julienne
1 Shallots chopped small pieces
½ Kabocha peeled and cut to chunks
Zucchini ¼ inch sliced
Fresh Mushrooms sliced
Chicken ½ inch cube
Oil 1Tbsp
13.5 oz can of coconuts milk
Fish sauce 1-2 TBSP
Yellow Thai curry paste 1-2TBSP
Cooking instruction
1. Boil Kabocha 5 minutes. The Kabocha is halfway cooked
2. In a large stew pan, heat oil and stir ginge and shallots.
3. Add chicken and cook until done.
4. Add the curry paste, mix and stir.
5. Add coconuts milk, fish sauce, Zucchini, mushrooms
6. Cook until the vegetables are well cooked
7. Add pumpkin and cook until pumpkins are tender.
8. Serve with toasted Pumpkin seeds.
(Notes)This curry is very satisfactory itself without rice. Make it vegetarian by eliminating chicken and adding nuts or beans.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Creating interesting looking and tasty food

Please see my blog at

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter eggs

My new blog posted to

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Simple homemade Tempura

Tempura may be sinful. Being Japanese, I eat it at least once a month to satisfy my hunger of crispy tasty deep fries. Good Tempura is crispy outside and vegetables inside are tender. The key to make crispy Tempura is to make cold batter and heat oil hot enough but not too hot.Be careful treating hot oil when you make Tempura as you would make any deep fried food.
I usually make Tempura batter with egg, unbleached flour, ice and water, vegetable oil. The recipe is very simple. Bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, Kabocha pumpkin are good to make Tempura. If you use fish, shrimp, meat or Tofu, dry them with paper towel and coat them with flour before dipping into the batter. I picked Mint and tender dandelion leaves and made Tempura. Mint was good and Dandelion was bit bitter. If you have potatoes, onion, carrot, and green beans or Asparagus, julienne them mix together and put them into the batter. I rolled Scoop the mixture with spoon and drop into the oil to make colorful vegetable Tempura. I usually use thick heavy frying pan with 2 inches depth and fill it with vegetable oil half full. I often eat Tempura with the Tonkatsu sauce such as Bulldog or Ikari brand rather than fancy Tempura sauce served at the restaurant.
Here is Japanese home-style Tempura recipe:
1 cup of flour more or less
1 cup ice and water combined
1 egg
Pinch of Salt (optional)
Vegetable oil (I use soy bean oil or Canola oil)
Cooking instructions:
1. Prepare vegetables by chopping onion, cutting sweet potatoes; take the ends and cut green beans and etc.
2. Pour the half full of the oil to a deep heavy frying pan. Turn on the stove to high and heat the oil.
3. Mix an egg and ice and water and add flour. Mix them together lightly to make batter. Over-mixing will generate too much gluten.
4. Test oil temperature by dropping tempura batter into the oil. If it sinks, the oil is too cool. If the batter goes down the bottom and float in 3 seconds, the oil is ready. If the batter floats on the surface of the oil, it is too hot.
5. When the oil is hot and ready, coat the vegetables with the batter and drop gently into the hot oil to fry. Several vegetables can be cooked at once. However, too many vegetables lower the oil temperature.
6. Take the Tempura out of the oil when the batter is crispy and ready. Place on the plate with paper towel to remove excess oil.
7. Clean the oil by taking the remaining batter out of the oil.
8. Repeat 5 and 6.
9. Dish the Tempura and dip into Tonkatsu sauce and eat it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Introducing Japanese Hot pot or NABE

In my recent class, I realized that Nabe, or Japanese hot-pot, is not well-known Japanese meal.
Hot-pot is similar to other Asian style on pot meals. Hot pot is a light and healthy meal that is great on cold evenings. It is the meal for the family and friends. It is easy to prepare. You make soup stock, cut raw ingredients, and bring them to the table. The soup is cooked in a pot over a portable heater that is placed in the middle of the table. Family and friends sit around the table and put raw ingredients such as fish, thinly cut meats, Napa cabbage, and tofu into the pot to cook. They take the cooked items out of the pot, dip them in sauce, and eat them.
'Tori no Mizutaki' is chicken hot-pot.’ Tori no mizutaki’ consists of words 'Tori' which means Chicken and 'Mizutaki' means cooking in water. As the Japanese words implies, the chicken is cooked from the water to make tasty soup stock for this hot pot. My students had their first 'Tori No Mizutaki' with vegetables, Yam cake and tofu in traditional dipping sauce ‘Ponzu’ with grated Dankon. They loved it. One student was vegetarian who eats fish but doesn’t eat tofu. For her, I made a soup that was fish based stock and vegetables and Udon noodles were added into the soup. She liked the vegetarian version while other students didn't. We made rice soup with the soup left-over from the Nabe. My students told me the hot-pot would be the great meal for tail gate party.
I make my hot-pot at home by pre-cooking most ingredients and placing them on the portable gas stove on the table. So my hungry family can start eating immediately by taking cooked food from the pot while I put new ingredients in the pot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open audition for cooking reality show

One week ago on Jan 10th, I went to the open audition of Master Chef, a reality cooking show. Although I was not selected by the judges, it was very interesting experience. This experiences started when
I received an email from Seattle Food Styling Photography organizer about the FOX open audition on Jan 5th. The email described the event as an inspiring cooking show named “Master Chef”. The producers are looking for candidates who are passionate about cooking and ready to change their life. According to the website, the show’s main character is Gordon Ramsay. I had neither knew his name nor watched his show. I searched You Tube and watched season two of Hell’s Kitchen. Mr. Ramsay is handsome and popular celebrity chef but seems scary to be around.
I decided to participate in the audition the day before the big event. I wanted to use natural and common ingredients to make pretty Sushi rolls. I made the yellow, purple, and white sushi rolls with green, white, and orange inside. They looked good and tasted good. I filled 12 pages application and printed out my photo.
On the day of the audition, I made the Sushi rolls in the morning. My husband drove me to the Sur La Table in Kirkland where the audition was held. It was about 11:00am which was the starting time of the audition. The line was already long and the security person told us that our waiting time was about 2 hours. It was not rainy and not too cold. I talked to the people in the line and realized that my Sushi was not good enough. Most people in the line were gourmet cooks.
Although I was intimidated by other people’s food, I liked talking the people in the line about food, life general, and even the Botox sign on the street corner. I learned how to make borscht from a Ukrainian woman. I learned various food words which could be used to describe the personalities. A woman describing her and her sister as "Granola" and "Saucy". Then I realized that my neighbor who lives 6 blocks from my house was standing by me. She is young, good looking and wore a pretty long green dress. She made three types of stuffed duck with fancy side dishes. She was well prepared and ready. Someone who already finished meeting the judges told us that the judges didn’t taste some food. They simply told contestant that the food looked nice. It was very discouraging. I waited for hours to present my food, and they may not even consider tasting my food. I really wanted to go home. My husband told me to go through and at least to bring my Sushi to the judges. He bought an apron to make me look good. People in the line were speculating why food was untouched. Did the food stay too long out of the refrigerator? Was the food not appetizing enough? Were the judges afraid of food poisoning? I cannot imagine being a judge tasting so many different food, decide whose food was the best, and who has TV personality potential. After 4 hours of waiting, I went into the room of the audition. My number was 139. First, each of us stood by the wall and the picture was taken. In the room the people were dishing up their food for the judges at 6 large tables and waited for their turn. The rest of us were waiting for our turn to go to the table to be ready. My turn came. I took out my chilled and ready to be served Sushi on the plate from bag. I put it on the ice pack to prevent it from being warm. One man was so nervous that his hands were trembling when he was dishing up his food. I was happy when other competitors made positive comments about my Sushi. “I love your Sushi. It looks good.” There were three judges total. Finally I brought my sushi to two of the judges. I described what the ingredients were. They tasted the sushi. Yeah, at least my Sushi met their requirement to taste. One judge liked my purple Sushi roll. It is enough for me to come and wait for four hours to hear that she liked my Sushi.
I was told to wait phone for a phone call at the end of the day in case of they decided to have me back for more interviews. I got out of Sur la Table around 3:30pm. The line outside was still long although some people brought their food but they were told they could not make into the line. The audition was scheduled to end 4:00pm. Since many people came, they extended ending time to 6:00pm. I went home tired and hungry. I rarely receive calls on my cell phone and forgot to carry it around that evening. I went to bed without knowing someone called me around 8:30pm, but I did not hear it ring and didn't know it until the next day. When I called back and the answering machine answered sounded like the judges voice. I left message and she never returned my call. I wonder if the call was from the judge with good news? I can only speculate.
My neighbor Linda Miller Nicholson(Salty Seattle), the woman in line with me, was selected to be the final 4. She deserves be one of the finalists. Her dish was excellent. I also met Seattle Food Geek, Scott Heimandinger at a food blogger’s event. He posts very nice looking food photos in his blog. I have to see “Master Chef” to see who will be from Seattle.