Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sneak Preview From Germany

Hello from Germany. I have been eating quite a lot in Germany and taking lots of delicious pictures but I dont have much time to write about it. I will write all about what I ate here when I go back to NY but I just wanted to give you a sneak preview.

First, I have to eat Pretzel when I come to Germany. It is totally different from the Pretzel you get in NY. I love Pretzel in Germany. I normally don't eat too much bread but I like eating bread in Germany. They have really good quality bread here.

I heard that one of the things which Germans love to eat in Spring is White asparagus. It is a bit early for the season but we started to see some white asparaguses on market and my mother-in-law bought them for us and made this wonderful white asparagus. It was really good! I loved them!

We also went for a brunch with one of the family friend's house. The table setting was absolutly beautiful and we had a great brunch with a great people. It was really nice of them to invite us for this wonderful brunch.

These are just a few of the pictures from what I ate this past few days. I will be uploading more pictures and write about them when I come back to NY. Food here is great and I can not wait to show you guys everything I ate!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Broiled Salmon and Germany, here I come, again!! :-)

We make this salmon quite often. We buy big piece of salmon from Costco and just broil it under broiler then sprinkle green onion or scallion and pour soy sauce and oil on top at the end.

I love salmon and it is very easy to find. Every supermarket has salmon. Simple dish like this depends on the quality of the fish so make sure to use good looking fish :-)

We like eating this with some Japanese rice.

Simple, yet good and you don't feel guilty about eating this :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to Germany for about two weeks departing today. I am so excited to see my family, friends and some new people.

I will not bring my computer so I might not be able to update my blog during my stay in Germany. If I have a chance, I will try to post a few times but I can not promise.

What I can promise is that I will be eating lots of good food and taking pictures of those and post them when I come back.

I hope it will be warm in Germany. It is super warm here in NY right now. I will bring this weather to Germany with me :-)

I hope you will not forget about me when I am gone. I will be back very soon!

See you soon!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cherry tomato and Onion pasta

I had a pack of cherry tomato in my fridge and was thinking about how I should use all of it at once. I thought the easiest way was to use it for pasta so I decided to make pasta with cherry tomatoes.

This is a super easy dish. All you need is cherry tomato, onion, bacon, basil and pasta. Here is how I made it.

Cherry Tomato & Onion Pasta (for 3 people)
Cherry Tomato  1 pack
Onion                2 (big)
Bacon                4 slices
Basil                  1 cup (leave a few leaves for garnish)
Spaghetti                 350g
Olive Oil          2 table spoon

1. Chop onion into small pieces.

2. In a pan, add olive oil and heat up. Add chopped onion and saute until it is soft and little bit brown.

3. Start boiling spaghetti.

4. Add bacon and saute until bacon is cooked, then add cherry tomatoes. When tomato start to split up, crush them with the wooden spoon. (You can leave some of them as it is if you would prefer)

5. When it started to look like sauce, add basil and cook through.

6. Add boiled spaghetti into the pan with 2 ladle of pasta water from the pot and mix them well.

7. When it is all combined, serve on a plate with sprinkle of sliced basil leaves.

It was super easy but was very tasty. Sweetness from the onions, sweetness and tanginess from the cherry tomatoes and great flavor from bacon were perfect combination for this pasta. I think cherry tomato is much sweeter than regular tomato so I like using cherry tomato for pasta sauce because often time when I use regular tomato, it seems too tangy for me.

By the way, I realized that there are so many 3D movies lately. There is one more 3D movie which I would love to see. It is called "How to train your dragon". I think this movie is for kids but I am sure that I will enjoy it also and it seems like this will be a great movie in 3D.

   I also heard that there is a 3D TV. I don't know how it works. Do I need to wear that glasses at home if I have 3D TV at home?

The TV comes with the glasses?

Will it be 3D only when you watch 3D DVDs? or is there 3D TV shows?

I have no idea but I read in Japanese news that this will be a next new thing.
 I am not sure....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Patak's Rogan Josh Curry with Chicken & Awards

Yes, it is Patak's again. I know this is not really cooking because I just need to sautee some meat and heat them up with the cooking sauce from Patak's. I its convenient and fast so this is my to go meal when I don't really have time or energy to cook.

This time, I tried what is called "Rogan Josh". I have never tried this curry and I never heard of this before so I wanted to give it a try.

This is how it looks with chicken cubes.

I am not sure what defines Rogan Josh but on the package it says "spicy tomato and cardamon". However it was not spicy at all. I can taste spices but it was not spicy. I wish it was spicier. The taste was good. I think it was bit similar to Chicken Jalfrezi curry from Patak's. Maybe they make everything less spicy so people who can not tolerate spicy food can eat also.

If you are interested in this Patak's product, you can purchase them from Amazon.


Do you remember I talked about my parents in law finding this beautiful seashells on a beach near by during the Christmas holiday?  I have been looking for this kind of seashell ever time I go for a walk at the beach since then. The other day, I finally found one!

This one is such a great shape. There is not too much damage to it and it looks beautiful.

It might be difficult to see the size on its own so here is the picture of the seashell with my hand next to it. Isn't it pretty big?

This will be a great home and table decoration for summer. I can not wait for the summer to come!!

I think it is wonderful to live close to the nature (though I need to live close enough to the big city..) Since I grow up in Tokyo, these things such as finding a wild harp seal (this does not happens often) or finding these beautiful seashells during a walk is unbelievable experience.

Now, award time. Deepa from Hamaree Rasoi  gave me two awards! Thank you so much. Her blog is full of REAL indian cooking. They are mouth-watering. Her dishes are not like my out of jar curry. They are real and impressive. Please visit her blog for great indian recipes :-)

I am very honored to receive these awards! Thank you so much!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura dinner & Alice in Wonderland 3D

It has been a while since I made Tempura last time. I don't make this too often because it is quite a lot of work but sometimes I crave for it so I made this over the weekend. I can fry them quite a lot and make Tempura bowl or Tempura soba next day also :-) 

This time I made Shrimp tempura (it is quite small shrimp but this is what I had in my freezer) and Onion & carrots tempura and shiitake tempura. 

For Onion and Carrots tempura, you shred them and mix them with tempura batter. Scoop it with a wooden spoon and slowly drop it in the hot oil. 

It was not easy but somehow it kind of stuck together and I was able to create what we call "Kakiage". 
My mom loves onion tempura. When I was a little, I did not like onion hence I did not like onion tempura but now I like onion and understand why my mom liked it. It is sweet and so good! 

These are shrimps and shiitake mushroom. 

It seems like I made too much but we had them with special tempura dipping sauce with some grated daikon radish in it. 
It is a very simple dish but very tasty. 

This weekend was very stormy in NY area. We did not have TV and Internet connection for a while. We had a movie which we wanted to see so we went to the movie theater. The movie is called "Alice in Wonderland". It was 3D. It seems like there are so many 3D movies lately. 

Anyway, I always loved Alice in wonderland since I was a little. I remember going to some kind of exhibition for Alice in Wonderland in Japan when I was a little. 

This movie was made by Tim Burton who is famous for "Nightmare before Christmas" 
I love Tim Burton. His movie is always little dark and creepy but characters are great and you can not help but love those interesting creepy characters. 

Since I love both Alice in Wonderland and Tim Barton. This was a movie which I decided to watch when I first saw a preview. 

I thought this movie will not be a big blockbuster hit but I found out that it was pretty popular. Almost all the seats were taken by the time movie started. I guess it is something to do with Johnny Depp also :-) 

The movie was great. I was expecting little bit more creepy but all the characters were great and the acting was great also. 

There is a character called fat boys in the movie and I realized that this actor was from my favorite British Comedy "Little Britain" This comedy show is very silly but I can not help laughing every time I see it. 

Anyway, if you like Alice in Wonderland or if you like Tim Burton, I recommend this movie. I am not sure how little children will feel watching this movie. I don't think it will be scary for them. 

On the way back from the movie, we saw trees fallen down on the freeway and there was a lot of traffic. Fortunately, it seems like there were no accident from this tree fall but it is scary to think about a big tree falling on to you on a free way. Police and firefighter and tree choppers were working really hard this weekend. I really appreciate their hard work! 

I think it is better for us to stay home when it is too windy. You never know what will fly into your way.... 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Strawberry Roll Cake!

When I went back to Japan last year, I realized that roll cake was getting quite popular. Every pastry shop had roll cake and seems like everybody was buying them everywhere. You can find many different kind of roll cakes with different fillings and flavors.

A few years ago, I tried to bake this roll cake myself. I did not succeed. The sponge cake was breaking up when I tried to roll. After that experience, I felt like roll cake is too difficult for me to bake so I didn't even try for a few years.

I visit many Japanese blogs and many people are baking those beautiful roll cakes. I decided to give it a another try. And this is what came out.

This is a sponge I baked.
Spread whipped cream all over the cake

Make lines with some strawberries on top.

Then roll it away!

I was able to roll it this time without breaking the cake! Though I baked the cake too long and it was a bit hard cake but I am pretty happy with how it looks!

Well, it is still far away from all those roll cakes I see at the pastry shop or on Japanese blogs but I just need more practice :-) I need to make fluffier sponge cake next time and it will be perfect!

I love how the strawberries look like jewels in it. This strawberry roll cake reminds me of spring. It is so cute and I love it!

Our house is quite springy with this cute roll cake but outside the window it is raining really hard. Where did my spring go? Come back!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Delicious! Mapo Tofu Recipe

Mapo tofu is a dish originally from China but this is quite popular in Japan. It normally with tofu, ground pork and green onions in spicy sauce. This is often ate at home and you can buy already made sauce for this dish in any Japanese super market. I myself never made this dish from a scratch. Since I don't have a Japanese super market close by, I decided to make it from scratch.

The result was spectacular! I was very proud of myself to recreate the taste I wanted to. This is something I can easily make from now on without any ready made sauce. This dish is great with white rice. Many people have it as Mapo tofu bowl.

I think many people use "Tian Mian Jiang"which is Chinese sweet bean paste but I didn't have this at home so I used "Miso" (soy bean paste) with sugar and Mirin. (I added Mirin but I think you can just use Miso and sugar if you don't have Mirin at home)

Ma-po Tofu (for 2~3people)
Tofu       1 (I used silken tofu but you can use firm tofu if you prefer) (cut into pieces)
Green onion 1 cup (chopped)
Ground pork  0.5lb
Garlic        2 table spoon (finely chopped)
Ginger      3 table spoon (finely chopped)
Doubanjiang (Chinese broad bean paste, spicy) 2 tea spoon
Oyster sacue   2 tea spoon
Soy Sauce   1 table spoon
Miso paste  1 table spoon
Sugar          1 tea spoon
Mirin           1 tea spoon
Sake           2 table spoon
Chicken Stock   1 1/2 cups
Oil            2 table spoon
Corn starch   2 tea spoon
Water        1/4 cup
Sesame oil    1 table spoon

1. First, mix Doubanjian, Oyster sauce, soy sauce, miso paste, sugar, mirin and sake in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat a pan and add 2 table spoon of oil. Then add chopped garlic and ginger.

3. When you start to smell ginger and garlic, add ground pork and saute well. Add one table spoon of sake and saute.

4. When pork is cooked and started to be crispy, add the mixture you made in 1. Mix well. Then, add chicken stock and bring to boil. Add tofu and green onions.

5. When green onions are cooked, add mixture of cornstarch and water to make it thick. Cook for a few minuites. At the end, add sesame oil.

Serve it with white rice. I added chopped chives for color.

This might be little bit different from the one you eat at the restaurant but I liked my version. It tasted home made and was really good. My husband said that it is quite spicy but I thought I can make it little bit spicier :-)

I have a feeling that this dish will be a regular on our table.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Japanese Pork Ginger recipe and sad news about Corey Haim

This pork ginger is very popular dish in Japan. I love this dish because I love ginger. It is great with white rice and I always eat too much rice with this :-) This is one of the dish which reminds me of Japan.

I would like to share this recipe because it is really good and easy. One thing it might be a challenge is to find really thin sliced pork.

Pork Ginger  for 2 poeple
Thinly sliced pork   250g
Ginger (grated)      2 table spoon
Garlic  (grated)      1 table spoon
Onion  (sliced)       2 small ones
Soy Sauce             5 table spoon
Sake                      5 table spoon
Mirin                     2 table spoon (if you can not find Mirin, you can substitute this with sugar)
Vegetable Oil       1 table spoon

1. Marinade pork and onion in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sake and mirin mixture. (I marinated for about 3 hours but I think it is good enough if you marinade for 1 hour or so)

2. Add oil in a pan and saute this mixture.

3. Saute until everything is cooked and liquid is almost all gone.

4. Serve it with rice and shredded cabbage. I sprinkled some chopped scallion for color and also sprinkled some crashed black sesame on top of rice.

This was so amazing. My husband also loved it and we couldn't stop eating. The meat was so soft. Maybe it was good that I marinated for a long time. It is sweet and salty and go great with rice.


When I went back to Japan last year, I bought this Japanese Mandoline back. This is something which every household in Japan has and I have seen my mom used this all the time.

This is a great tool to make shredded cabbage or to shred some vegetables. It is super easy and fast. I just need to be careful not to cut myself because it is really really sharp. I used this tool for the cabbage and shredding cabbage was so quick! I love this tool! Lately, I have seen some of the celebrity chefs using this tool also.

By the way, last night I found out on TV that Corey Haim passed away. I am not sure if everybody knows about him but he was in lots of movies when I was a Teenager and I really liked him back them. He was a big Teenage idol. I used to watch "The Lost Boys" movie over and over at home which annoyed my family big time because they were forced to watch it with me  :-)

It is sad to see such a young talented person pass away. All I can wish for him now is RIP... I feel like watching "The Lost Boys" again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Green Goddess Rice and Sauteed Cauliflower

Normally, I eat Salmon with soy sauce but I wanted to try something little different this time. I used different kinds of spice which I had at home and made spice mix for salmon.

You can basically use any kind of spices of your choice but here is what I used.

Spice mix for salmon

Curry Powder  1 Tablespoon
Cumin Powder  1 Tablespoon
Paprika              1 Tablespoon
Salt                    1 TeaSpoon
Pepper               1 Tea Spoon
Gram Masala     1 Tea Spoon
Oregano             1 Tea Spoon
Garlic Powder    1 Tea Spoon

1. Sprinkle Olive Oil over Salmon Filet and rub above spice mix in.

2. In a oven safe frying pan with olive oil over middle heat, sauté salmon each side until it looks crispy.

3. Put the frying pan under broiler for about 5mins until it cooked all the way.

I served it with Green Goddess Rice and Sauteed Cauliflower.

I got Green Goddess rice recipe from Food Network website. If you are interested in this recipe, please click here to go to Food Network website. 

The rice is with Avocado & Basil. It is very refreshing rice.

I just sauteed cauliflower and did nothing special and it does not look too great but it tasted good so I post recipe here. It is super easy!

Sauteed Cauliflower
Cauliflower   1/2 head (cut into bite sizes)
Onion           1  (chopped)
Homemade Chicken Stock    1~2 cups
Salt              for taste
Oil               1 Table spoon

1. Add oil in a frying pan and sauté chopped onion until golden brown.

2. Add Cauliflower, chicken stock, salt and boil until chicken stock is reduced and cauliflower is soft.

This is it and you will have a tasty and healthy side dish. This way, I can eat quite a lot of cauliflower.

This has nothing to do with cooking but do you remember the TV show called "Twin Peaks"? It was popular when I was in Japan and it was quite a long time ago. The story is a murder mystery in a small town and it is very strange and creepy show. I don't know why I though about this show but I thought about it the other day and started renting DVDs. So now my husband and I are into this show and waiting for the DVD to arrive every day. My husband hasn't seen this show so this is first time watching it and he likes it so far so I am happy to watch it with him.

It is a David Lynch show and I have seen his other films but all of them are quite eccentric and kind of creepy. But I like his character development. All these characters in Twin Peaks are weird but quite interesting. I think I have seen all the shows and I even watched the movie but I don't think I really understand the show. Well, I will watch it again and hopefully I will understand this time :-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring has come! First BBQ of this year!!

I have been waiting for this! After a long cold winter, it seems like spring is finally here! The weather was so nice on Sunday and also yesterday, it made me feel so happy! I can smell the spring in the air. Everybody looked so happy and walking around everywhere. It was like "Where were all there people during the winter? " On such a wonderful day, I really appreciate that I am alive and healthy.

I think there is a strong correlation between the weather ( also temperature) and people's mood. At least, it affect me a lot. Just smelling the spring in the air makes my body and soul jumpy :-)

When the weather is nice and warm, what would you do? Yes, you guessed it. "BBQ!!!" Since we bought a new propane the other day, we decided to enjoy the first BBQ of the year.

BBQ is something very luxurious for me because I did not get to do BBQ much when I was in Japan. In Japan, many people lives in a tiny apartment (especially Tokyo) so many people don't have back yard or BBQ set. If you want to BBQ, you have to go the rivers or mountains which has space. As much as it is nice to have BBQ by the river or in the mountain, it is also great to have the convenience of doing BBQ right at your home. I think many people take BBQ for granted because they grew up with it but for me, this is great luxury to have.

Anyway, so BBQ make me very happy. Normally, we BBQ hotdog and hamburger and stuff like that but this time we had Chicken Kebab and Ground Beef Kebab since I am into Middle Eastern Food lately. I made Chicken Kebab using this recipe book which I borrowed from a library.

It seems like Chicken Kebab is called Shish Taouk. It was simple marinade with lemon, garlic and olive oil but it was really delicious!

I think this will be a regular for our BBQ from now on.

For Ground Beef Kebab, I used this Kabab mix which I had at home.

It got lots of different kind of spices in this mix. As directed, I added some chopped onion and green chilies.
Then I shaped small meat balls.

The other day, I have purchased this kebab skewers so I gave it a try. These are huge skewers and it looks almost like a sword. It is flat so that makes easy to stick meat around.
Put the meat around the skewers like this and ready to BBQ!
The photo is a big blur but it looks very good with flames and all.
BBQ completed.
I sprinkled something called "smack" on half of the chicken. This is something I bought in a Middle Eastern grocery store. It has some lemony flavor and it goes great with chicken. I am not sure what kind of plant this was made of...

I also made Basmati rice. I added some saffron but I think it was too little so the color did not come out well.
Pita bread is store bought.
My husband made his favorite cilantro sauce. This time, it tasted a bit too green but it was good. We make it differently every time so you never know how it will come out.

Our Arabian night was a success. I love making these flavorful BBQ. Well, the ground beef kebab kind of fall off the grill (some of them) and it was a bit dry so I need to improve this. Probably because I forgot to add Ghee and did not rest it for three hours as directions suggested. I will make it right next time. The weather will be better and better from now on and I have a whole spring and summer to make it right!

I think it will be nice to invite some friends over and have this kind of BBQ again. I would love to try making some Falafel and Hummus when we have get together :-) Oh, I love summer! (/spring)