Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Kara-Age Sleet Nabe/ から揚げみぞれ鍋

DSC_5745It does not make sense, when you fry chicken nuggets until crispy then put them in the dashi soup, right? No, not a whole lot. but this is our favorite hot-pot dish. Although I don’t mind having this dish every week in cold months, it’s not so fun to fry the chicken pieces before hand every time.


According to the original recipe from ‘NHK Today’s Cooking magazine, it’s a speedy nabe/鍋 (earthenware pot) dish because you are supposed to use store purchased ‘ever so popular’ kara-age/ seasoned Japanese style fried chicken nuggets which are readily available in any convenience store or grocery store… if you live.in Japan. I get that the nice umami flavor rendered from kara-age thus the cooking time is short. The grated daikon (in nabe term, this is called mizore/みぞれ, means sleet) tames the otherwise oily soup.

Gazillions of kara-age recipes are floating around on-line and I have my own recipe too…the freshly fried piece is most desirable…just be careful..it’s very hot! Warning: too much test munching while frying results in fewer pieces to go into the pot.

Marc’s kara-age recipe is one of my favorite. It’s a little sweeter. While you are at his site, check out his Orange Chicken; read the charming story and be awed by great photos. This recipe also requires kara-age…why not shoot two birds with one oil… oops, one rock?

Nipponnin’s Basic Kara-Age recipe- (Print Recipe Here)

  • Boneless chicken thigh about 450g cut in 2 inch chunks.
  • Marinating sauce – 2 Tablespoons of sake, mirin , soy sauce. 1 tablespoon each (or more/less) of grated ginger ( you may use grated ginger in tube for convenience) and grated garlic.
  • Potato starch (I recommend this) or corn starch approximately 1/3 cup
  • Oil for frying

Put all marinating sauce ingredients in a zip-lock bag, add chicken pieces. Massage well over the tightly closed bag. Rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Drain any juice in the bag and add 1/3 starch, close the bag and shake well to coat chicken with starch. Add a little more starch if it’s too wet or if you want to have more body. Heat oil in thick bottom pan to 320F. Fry 2-3 pieces at time to avoid crowding until crispy and golden brown about 3 minutes. Receive in paper towel to absorb oil.

Basic with twist – Add 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably kewpie mayonnaise) in marinate sauce for rich creamy flavor or 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar for tanginess.

Option #1– For crispier chicken, Fry them twice, I recommend this if you just making kara-age. (Fry for 2-3 minutes first in 320 F. Rest chicken pieces on paper towel. Heat oil up to 390F and put the chicken back in oil and fry for 40 seconds)..

Option #2 – Mix potato starch and 2Tablespoons of jyoshinnko (上新粉/type of rice flour) for extra crispy texture.

Ingredients and Instruction for Kara-age Hot Pot for 4 servings

  • 10 to 14 pieces chicken kara-age
  • 4 to 8 pieces ganmodoki (がんもどき/ tofu fritters)
  • 1 bundle mizuna,(水菜/Japanese mustard leaves)DSC_5724
  • 4 cups dashi stock, I used NO-MSG granule dashi dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sake
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated daikon /white radish with juice 
  • Yuzu pepper or yuzu paste, optional
  1. Prepare the ingredients and set aside followings – 
    Put tofu fritters in very hot water to remove some of oilDSC_5731.
    Cut off stem from mizuna then cut in 3 inch lengths.DSC_5728
    Mix dashi stock, sake, soy sauce, mirin and salt in a bowl.
  2. Pour dashi stock mixture in the stone pot and boil.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium, add tofu fritters and kara-age pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add mizuna then grated daikon and it’s juice. Cook for 1 minute and it is done!
  5. Serve with yuzu pepper (optional)DSC_5741

Following night’s supperKara-age Udon  All your hard work is done the night before, just put quickly rinsed frozen udon noodle in the hot-pot left over (add more dashi stock if needed and adjust seasonings) and voila!DSC_5749

Flavorful Korean seaweeds sheets are always welcome – my husband received it from a co-worker. Isn’t that nice? DSC_5786Wisely made into Kara-age rolls!IMG_2255

I was doing really good last week…eating right/light until my husband made shokupan, Japanese style loaf of bread. Thank you Bake for Happy Kids! Nostalgia set in….Nous sommes contents (we are happy)!DSC_5835






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Les Oranges

Orange Gratin with yogurt and marmalade sauce

DSC_5804January is nearly at the half-way point. One of my resolutions – try to eat more right stuff (to lose weight) is waylaid some already…what happened? (rhetorical question)  I need to put the goal back on track. This ginger accented broiled citrus dish is unique and the hint of sweetness counteracts the bitterness of grapefruits and charred citruses well.


This recipe was found in the 2014 Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light Magazine. It was introduced as dessert, we consumed it as a light salad however - if you eat as dessert, get uses to disappointment - I think it is supposed to be served warm? Yet we like it chilled thus defying the meaning of gratin…oh, well…it’s like a pallet cleanser?, detox of some sort? I mean refreshing!
Orange variety is a suggestion, just use whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients and Instruction for 4 servings (Print Recipe here)

  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 small ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 large Minneola orange
  • 3 clementines
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (may substitute with stevia sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup plan 2% Greek yogurt  I used my husband’s homemade Greek yogurt which is not the reduced fat kind.
  • 1 Tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  1. Peel oranges, grapefruit, and Minneola oranges: cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Peel clementine and cut in half cross wise.
  2. Preheat broiler to high. Arrange citrus in a single layer on a cookie sheet with at least 1 inch rim pan. Sprinkle with sugar and minced candied ginger.DSC_5764
  3. Broil citrus 15 minutes or until lightly charred., rotating pan occasionally. DSC_5775
  4. While it is broiling, combine yogurt and marmalade in a small bowl.IMG_2224IMG_2225
  5. Divide citrus evenly among 4 dishes. Drizzle with pan juice. Top with yogurt mixture and toasted almonds.DSC_5783

If I stop here then I could reach my ideal weight in no time but my husband tried a new bread recipe…Brioche…Oooo so buttery! Délicieux!DSC_5826

I met with some long-time-no-see Japanese friends for lunch last week. I really enjoyed making Japanese style cake for them – mine and their favorite, chestnuts cake with sweet potato Chantilly cream.DSC_5755

OK no more fattening foods from now on…I shall Cook Light…Right?

Ce était une grande tristesse pour le perd apporté par l'attaque terroriste sur Charlie Hebdo et le marché casher. Ma plus profonde sympathie et nos prières sont avec les familles de cette tragédie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nouvelle Année!

New Year!

IMG_2183Excusez moi for my French, I’m studying French on line…for hope that I could travel to Paris this year and so that I won’t starve there. Un hamburger, sil vous plait (hamburger please)…avec des frites (with fries). Combien ça coûte? (How much is it?). OK…I have to learn how to count in French too.

Wow! ‘Holiday’ days were gone in a rush weren’t they? I was way too relaxed (in other words, lazy) in those short weeks and I’m so not ready for new post though, I was cooking and experimenting with new recipes not for my blog sake but for my enjoyment. So I must say my New Year is going well so far (no kidding, just 6 days in but hey, I’m talking about positive attitude here)…I hope you’re doing well also. And thanks again for your kind comments. You are much too generous. 

Conversation of last December - Kids are not coming home for the holidays this year again?…we should go somewhere…Disneyland the happiest place on earth? My husband frowned, we went there two Christmases ago!  He can’t take crowds very well…How about Seattle? Plea, please?
Here are some iPhotos I took during holidays including the first photo of sunset view from our hotel room, Paramount Hotel has lots of charm. clean and roomy, a stylish bathroom with deep soaking tub,a separate shower and water closet. The staff were nice especially Tom the concierge. The valet parking was free if you brought three non-perishable foods to donate during holiday season.

IMG_2155We dined at authentic French restaurant Maximilien Christmas Eve. I over heard waiters talking in French…my chance to practice French…ahhhh, Oui, Merci…Je ne sais pas…ha ha ha…Au revoir!…pathetic…I know. Picture below is escargot.IMG_2163The view from the restaurant…such a bad photo!  So sad.

Almost everything was closed in downtown Seattle on Christmas Day except movie theaters. We got in the line for 30 minutes and enjoyed “The Imitation Game”  We like Sherlock…I mean Benedict Cumberbatch the actor.IMG_2168

4 hours to go till the dinner reservation on Christmas Day. Japanese operated Food Truck ’Gourmet Hotdog” We shared the Yakisoba hotdog to tie us over.IMG_2173A day after Christmas, phew! stores are back in business! I bought “Hiyoko’ knock-off Japanese pastry at Asian Market. Check my ‘Chick’ recipe here.IMG_2189We had a lunch at popular ramen shop, Samurai Noodle. Awesome!IMG_2192

Back Home, my husband baked Pittsburg Pretzel Bread for New Years Day. It tasted more like brioche than pretzel though we liked it all the same.IMG_2196I used the bread in an appetizerIMG_2194For the first cake of 2015, I made a Strawberry Shortcake using a new recipe I spied on Cookpad.com. IMG_2198 IMG_2202

I would like to post something next Tuesday…wishful thinking of course.

DSC_5651_edited-1My last year’s painting project…was on the back burner, I simply couldn’t finish it so this will be this year’s project…goody, I have a head start! Life is good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pleasure to know you

With gratitude

IMG_2144Although I’m on holiday break, I popped back on to say thank you to all my readers and followers. I’m letting you know that I will probably be back sometime in January (?)… maybe…perhaps…not sure. I’m ashamed to say and some of you already knew that I’m not really an organized person so to discover that, in an oh-my-word moment … I’ve been blogging for 4 years?

That’s lots of foods! Right? If not for my love of food, I probably would have starved…I mean I’m thinner! I adore things associated with food, like seeing someone grinning over whatever I fixed or getting a praise of ‘wow! or someone describing me as a great cook…who? me? why thank you!  I am blessed to have my husband who shares my emphasis of cooking, he is my sues chef…very patient sues chef and often a wish granter…
Oo-la- la, look at this! Don’t you wish to have this for breakfast tomorrow? As you wish, he might would say.DSC_5660
Gift of holiday sweets and snacks we received. And the left over orange and chocolate pound cake (on the plate) I made for someone…they liked it!

Anyway, my blogger friends, you’re marvelous! You inspired me tremendously over the years with your photographs or your stories..oh yeah, and your foods!  I may not cook like Dentist for example, your foods are a feast for my eyes! Your stories are compelling, full of laughter and even in sadness, I saw hope, that’s I think beautiful!

So Thank You again from the bottom of my heart… and know that I’m wishing you the best.

 DSC_5662My husband made two loaves of Challah bread. One to give away as Christmas gift and the other we had it for supper.

Highlight of last week!

caryMy husband and I went to saw ‘Westley’. He was so charmingly funny! IMG_2136
Here is a inconceivably bad picture I took…as if I was star – stricken.
……Anybody want a chicken? just kidding!

I hate for people to die embarrassed…right.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Christmas Cake

Raspberry Chocolate Cake With Caramelized Almonds

DSC_5628Technically this is not a Christmas Cake…obviously, we did not have this for Christmas…  Fujiya (不二家) the huge bakery chain in Japan had a genius idea in 1922. Let’s sell Christmas cakes to a non-Christian nation!

Sounds fishy but it worked! Just having a beautifully decorated cake on Christmas day brings happiness to all of the children of Japan (?)…our home included.  Anticipation of waiting for the cake to arrive, lighting up the candles, taking pictures with cheap camera (in the dark ) - none of them turned out good naturally, rock, paper and scissors with siblings to see who gets the sugar Santa…all good memories. To see this year’s selection click here…hurry, today is the last day to order.DSC_5641

We were puzzled one year over our finally-arrived Christmas cake, 
‘Is this what we ordered?” 
“I dunno…. “

Back then the order was made by using the ‘pointing system’ from the poster hung in the store front, we’d like that one, no not that one, the one on the right… then the store clerk would write down on the piece of paper.
It was era of no cell-phones…who do you call? Ghost busters?..just kidding. The delivery boy was long gone ….we started worry that the fresh cream would melt and it was too big to fit in the tiny refrigerator. Examining the cake for 10, 15 minutes, hoping someone to say, let’s eat but initiating the first move felt wrong somehow.
We were saved by the bell finally… the door bell. ‘My bad” said delivery boy (not so much as the words of course). He gave us the right one and took the not–our–cake which I saw my brother licked the conspicuous area while examining it…. what a rascal.

Phew! I shouldn’t make the cake between errands and obligations. Rush to decorate, rush to take pictures… lost bit of joy of baking…just a tad.

Ingredients and Instruction for one 8 inch cake (Print Recipe Here)

Necessary equipment – 8 inch removable bottom round pan, food scale, parchment paper,  food thermometer, pastry brush, electric mixer

For caramelized almond

  • 50g sugar
  • 20g water
  • 60g sliced almond

For cake

  • 4 egg whites
  • 80g and 60g sugar
  • 70g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g of 60% cacao chocolate shaved Note: no shaving is necessary for chocolate tablets. Save your time by shave all your chocolate at once and label it.DSC_5576DSC_5607
  • 80g low viscosity flour (薄力粉)
  • 4g baking powder

For Grenache

  • 280g cream
  • 185g dark chocolate (I used 60% cacao chocolate) shaved

For syrup

  • 45g sugar
  • 50g water
  • 2-3 drops of rum flavoring or orange extract

For Chocolate coating

  • 180g cream
  • 60g dark chocolate, shaved
  • 80g milk chocolate, shaved

Fruits – Any berries for filling and garnish (optional)

  1. Make almond caramel  – Put water and sugar into small sauce pan, boil for few minutes to thicken at medium heat, turn off heat and add almonds and stir well until it gest dry, color gets white and crystalize. Back on the burner and stir frequently until the almonds turn deep brown at medium heat. Spread onto parchment paper to cool. Chop. Set aside
    .DSC_5567DSC_5569 DSC_5571DSC_5574
  2. Prepare and set aside following - cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan, and side (cut so that it is a little bit taller than the pan, mine showed that it’s unnecessary tall).
    Sift flour and baking powder together.
    Melt 70g of shaved chocolate in small  microwave proof bowl and microwave for1-2 minutes with 50% power stir well.DSC_5583 DSC_5584
  3. Beat the egg white and 80g sugar In large bowl on high till stiff peak but not dry Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 356F. In another bowl, cream butter with whisk or hand held mixer until light then add 60g of sugar and egg yolk,  mix well with each addition. Check the temperature of melted chocolate, ideal temperature is 113F/45C, (if it’s too low then put back in the microwave for 5 to 10 second at 50% power to warm it up, cold chocolate will result in heavy batter) add chocolate to egg yolk mixture and stir well DSC_5579.DSC_5580DSC_5585DSC_5586
  5. Add half of meringue into the egg yolk mixture and whisk lightly together. Switch to spatula, fold it in the sifted flour and baking powder mixture until you no longer see the flour. Add rest of meringue and combine without over mixing. Bake for 30 minutes, turn the oven off after 30 minutes, perhaps the cake is still wet though, leave the pan in the oven will cook through. Leave there until it’s cool.
    DSC_5590 DSC_5601DSC_5608
  6. Make syrup – Boil water and sugar until the sugar resolve, add rum flavoring or orange extract after it cools down..DSC_5612
  7. Make ganache and coating  – Put shaved chocolate in the bowl. Cook cream at medium heat in a small sauce pan until the bubbles start appearing, turn off heat. Add 1/3 of cream into bowl, gently stir first then beat with wooden spatula, add rest of cream in two steps. stir well until smooth. chill in the refrigerator to thicken ( in assembly process, use room temperature ganache). *Make coating chocolate same way but no need to chill. Set aside.
  8. Assembly - Slice cake in three. Brush syrup on top side of one sliced cake. Spread ganache (mix well before so that it is easy to spread) on top, raspberries is next, spread more ganache. Brush the one side of another sliced cake, place onto the first layer syrup side down, brush syrup on top and repeat ganache-raspberries ganache process. Brush the syrup on the last piece of cake and place on top of 2nd layer syrup side down. Brush syrup on very top then spread ganache. Sprinkle some chopped caramelized almond (no need to use all).
  9. Coating – make sure that coating chocolate is loose- may need to warm in the microwave for 10 second or so (50% power). Pour over the cake at once and spread with pallet knife to smooth out top and side. Decorate with fruits if you like.
    DSC_5618DSC_5624 DSC_5627

Variation – Skip caramelized almonds and fruits for sleek look and short cut…then call it simply ‘Chocolate Cake’.

Spreading joy! (and calories) - I sent my husband to deliver pieces of this cake to neighbors.

IMG_2112The nativity display at Portland Oregon Temple

I’m sincerely grateful for your visit to my blog.

May your world be filled with peace and happiness this holiday season.