Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The Ultimate Sticky buns

DSC_5104DSC_5099Pecans, almonds and dried fruit arrives in early December from my brother-in-law and his wife as part of our Christmas gift. He is 6 years younger than my husband. He and his family have lived in Virgin, Utah, east of St.George, for all his life. He stretches a little bit on some words when he speaks, Goood morning or Hooow are ya doooing? He definitely has some Utah accent that my husband lost long ago. Hard working and resourceful. He grows extensive vegetable gardens and orchards, he made a fish pond in his backyard, not for koi but the consumable kind. They can plenty and dried many. He used to sell ‘thumpers’ he caught to a French restaurant. Here is a nice wabbit! He didn’t say that but he is a good businessman too.DSC_5182

My husband made this sticky buns he spotted in Bon Appetite magazine. The aroma from the warmed pecans brings up my memory of the first time I met the teenage brother-in-law. Cute, skinny and blond, he was always very kind to me without over doing it. My husband is a really good story teller and he tells me as if I was there watching it unfold. The story of my brother-in-law‘s awful farm accident and miraculous recovery was the most memorable so far but I heard many charming, heart warming sibling stories too.

Master sweet doughDSC_5039

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, room temperature. Plus 1/2 Tablespoon melted.
  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110-115 degree.
  2. Transfer milk to a 2 cup measuring cup; stir in 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy about 5 minutes.DSC_5042
  3. Add eggs, whisk until smooth.DSC_5048
  4. Combine remaining 4 Tablespoon sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook.
  5. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup butter, 1 piece at time, blending well between additions.
  6. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.DSC_5053
  7. Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.DSC_5058

The ultimate sticky buns Topping

  • 1-3/4 cups chopped pecans about 8 oz.
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1-1/4 cups nuts aside for buns.
  2. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt and orange zest.
  3. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking pan , tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool. DSC_5070


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Master sweet dough chilled for 2 hours
  • All –purpose flour for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • Corse salt
  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes Set it aside.
  2. Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface.
  3. Roll out the dough 12x16 rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough leaving a 1 inch plain border on the side farthest from you.
  5. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over the cinnamon sugar mixture.DSC_5077
  6. Roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll and patting in ends if they began to taper, pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal.DSC_5079
  7. Using a large knife, cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Lightly flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky. DSC_5081
  8. Turn the buns cut side up and gently pat the top to flatten slightly.
  9. Place the buns in prepared pan; space them evenly apart. Buns should not touch each other.DSC_5087
  10. Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or kitchen towel.
  11. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size.
  12. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350.
  13. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. of water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash.DSC_5090
  14. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown and filling is bubbling.DSC_5102
  15. Let cool for 5 minutes then spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over and let cool in pan on a wire rack.DSC_5110

Another brother-in-law lives in San Antonio Texas. He is 12 years older than my husband. He sometime calls after San Antonio basketball game and brags about how well the team is doing. He will be extra happy that his team won tonight over the Oklahoma team. His easy going personality I like.

Dinner show

My husband and I attend Masashi Sada’s dinner show at Yoshida’s (well known creator of Yoshida’s teriyaki sauce) River View Restaurant last Thursday. The famous singer song writer and author was there for Japan’s earthquake charity event. He sang many of our favorite songs. My husband is a huge fan. He sang along with most of the songs and shed a tear or two. I brought a camera but it was out of batteries! Doh! My husband managed to take photos using his iPhone that was not so great. Here I was right beside him and many others.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Painted Lady

Restaurant reviewP1020760

What time do you want to eat? My husband is checking on the iPhone app ‘Open Table’. Ah…what are my options? ‘5:30 or 5:30’ he shouted back. Good! I will take 5:30! Nestled in the college town of Newberg, the Painted Lady has great reviews. I have called for a year and a half on several occasions to get a reservation but I was not successful. Either it was completely full or the only available time is like 8 in the evening. The restaurant offers course meals so we may well be eating desserts at 10 O’clock? No, that’s not a good time…Are you sure you don’t have anything earlier? P1020766

Mind you, we don’t eat this fancy often but we’re adventurous when it comes to food. I’m a serious reader of restaurant reviews. When I hear rave news I clip the page for the next special occasion. The most interesting food we ever had was probably that worm (wichity grub) in Alice Springs, Australia. White fat worm cooked in heated ash until it pops, then eat like the aborigine do. It tastes like scrambled eggs! is my husband and tour guide’s opinion. The most disgusting food I ever had was definitely vegemite which is also from Australia. ‘It’s great on toast’  our Inn keeper chimed in. You think so huh? I can’t disagree with you more. I know that it is an acquired taste that must take a lifetime to achieve, but we only had two weeks.

We drove past the Painted Lady. The old Victorian house does not look like a restaurant except for the sign board. Cozy and charming inside, with white, crisp linen tablecloth and polished silverware all saying, let the magic begin. P1020765P1020767We don’t drink alcohol so we ordered this fruity soda. It really goes well with meals and not interfering.. P1020764Complementary home made hummus and seasoned walnuts to start.  P1020759Chef’s trioP1020775Curry Oregon shrimp cannoli with avocado, cucumber pearls and pistachios.P1020776The cucumber pearls had great texture and color.P1020780Venison Carpaccio, arugula salad and Espellete aioliP1020779Seared diver scallop over cauliflower puree, capers and Beurre NoisetteP1020782Slow roasted salmon, wild mushrooms and cream parmesan risottoP1020784Braised veal cheek, potato puree, heirloom carrots and herb saladP1020786Pork two ways with mustard scented Brussels sprouts and celeriac pureeP1020787P1020789P1020788palate cleanser- Mint sherbet P1020791Chevre cheesecake topped with strawberry/rhubarb compoteP1020794P1020795Trio of Chocolate decadenceP1020793P1020796P1020798Complimentary after dinner bits were boxed for us to take home. My son was delighted.P1020803The restaurant staff were all very professional. Attentive, knowledgeable and very nice.

I attended herb class taught by a friend.This is rosemary loaf made by my friend’s daughter was fantastic. It goes well with herb butter. I must get the recipe.P1020754P1020753Pecans seasoned with herb (rosemary?-I was eating and not paying attention ). They are absolutely nuts! P1020757Basil is gift from host. Love it!DSC_5095

What’s up with this weather? We had 80-some degrees the other day and today is upper 50’s, confusing.  I have this tree in our back yard. Golden chain tree? Pretty yellow flower only lasts a week.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Chiffon Roll Cake with yogurt cream filling

DSC_4863Chiffon cake is like angel food cake’s cloud. Fluffy and light but not so innocent I tell you. It has over 1/4 cup of oil in it. Love of sweets makes it hard to lose weight in the first place, especially true with this cake. Japanese style cake is not so sweet, melts in your mouth and goes down your throat fast!  Luckily, I have two others in our household to share this cake with so I don’t mistakenly (?) eat the whole plate.

The yogurt cream filling sounds healthier but the main ingredient is heavy cream. I like the slight sour taste that comes from yogurt and lemon. But the filling can be anything. Changing to ice cream is a good choice for a warm day like today to make ice cream cake. When I was little, ice cream meant Snow brand (雪印). Started as butter maker in 1925, the Snow Brand company reigned over Japan not only as milk products but meat products maker for a long time. But in 1955 and again in 2000, their milk products caused mass food poisoning in Japan. Then the company’s dishonesty practice for meat products in 2002 came to light. Now the company is divided and taken over by other companies. A renewed Snow Brand Megu Milk Co.was created in April of last year.

I and millions of children in Japan at times had only choice of vanilla (my husband’s top choice) flavor. I still remember the commercial song and little blue and white paper container with a tiny wooden spoon. Though life was much simpler then,

Yuki Jirushi Ice Cream song

I need to have my number one choice of pistachio ice cream that present day offers for sure…or raspberry chocolate? No, I love rocky road ! You may now sing “I love rocky road” by Al Yancovic’s parody of Joan Jett’s “I love Rock N Roll”.

Ingredients for chiffon roll cake

Use 15 in x 10 in. jelly roll pan that has a least 1 inch rim. Line with parchment paper and make slit at four corners so that it fits better.DSC_4820

  • 6 eggs separated
  • Cake flour 170g sifted
  • Vegetable oil 6 Tablespoons
  • Sugar 140g


  1. Put egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat at low speed.
  2. When the color becomes cloudy then add 1/3 (about 45g) of sugar and beat at high speed till peaks form. Put egg white into another large bowl and set aside.DSC_4828
  3. Put egg yolk in a same stand mixer (you do not need to wash the bowl) and beat for 1 minute at low speed.
  4. Add the rest of the sugar and beat at high speed until egg yolks turn light yellow and creamy.
  5. Add oil and continue to beat at medium speed.
  6. Add flour and mix well until it gets sticky and stretchy. Start heating the oven to 355F (350F for my oven). DSC_4826
  7. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and use a spatula to combine egg whites, 1/3 at time. Scoop from bottom and fold in-try not to disturb the egg white but you need to incorporate it well.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 15 minutes. Check the doneness by inserting a skewer.DSC_4834
  9. When it’s done, remove from pan then peel off paper gently and rest cake on top of the paper to cool.DSC_4843


Yogurt creamDSC_4841

  • Plain yogurt 180g
  • Heavy cream 1-1/2 cups
  • Sugar 4-5 Tablespoons
  • Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
  • Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon
  1. Put strainer on top of a big enough bowl and line with paper towel.DSC_4836
  2. Pour yogurt and wait at least 30 minutes to drain liquid form yogurt. Set it aside.
  3. Pour cream in the bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment (make sure the whisk and bowl is clean and dry completely).
  4. Beat cream until very soft peaks form.
  5. Add sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat at high speed.
  6. Add lemon and yogurt. Beat till near stiff peak.


Spread yogurt cream all over the sheet cake leaving about 1/2 inch at the far end. You may not need all of the cream. Use the paper to roll up to the un-creamed edge. Keep in the paper and chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.DSC_4847DSC_4849DSC_4859DSC_4857

My husband made the same cake for Mother’s day. He added 8 Tablespoons of water after adding oil for much fluffier sponge. Instead of rolling, he cut it in thirds then add chopped fruits in between the slice and simply whipped heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Darling, you rock!DSC_4951DSC_4955

My good husband made us clam spaghetti for dinner for Mother’s Day too.DSC_4949DSC_4950

And he got me a bouquet of flowers. DSC_4938DSC_4937DSC_4939

After only a few days, lilies are in full broom and the fragrance fills the room.DSC_4964

My daughter sent me a box of chocolate dipped strawberries. They are huge and rich.DSC_4892



I attended my friend’s son’s wedding. My friend dressed in full traditional kimono. This photo does not do her justice but she looked great!

I DSC_4914DSC_4925Pikachu cakeDSC_4927Hello Kitty cake topper


DSC_4917Nice looking couple.

Clover field only about a mile from house looked fantastic. DSC_4985DSC_4981DSC_5001