Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Hotel Kitano’s breakfast brioche

DSC_5341It took my breath away when we put our foot inside the hotel room in 2010. The European style Kitano Hotel in Kobe Japan - one of my fave cities -  is absolutely gorgeous!  It is a rare occasion that we stay in that caliber of hotel when we travel around Japan. Most of hotels and inns charge by person not by room so calculate by whatever set room charge times the number of guests. It’s ridiculous old system if you ask me but they are not asking my opinion!P1000074

Though it was way over our price point, I really ‘Really’ wanted to stay there. I called the hotel directly because they were not on Cheap-hotel.com obviously. When I negotiated the price from nearly $500 to about $270 per person with breakfast, I had an another dilemma-how am I going to tell my husband about this extravaganza? P1000069P1000068P1000071Yep! There is TV in the bathroom.P1000070P1000072P1000073

Well, I didn’t. The hotel delivered him a statement in the morning after breakfast. My husband did a  double-take on it then handed over his credit card without uttering a word. Honey, do you know that their breakfast is the world’s best?  I’m not kidding! Critics (who are they anyway?) call their breakfast the ‘number one breakfast in the world’ yet my husband was not saying anything still. I know I know, who can claim that their breakfast is the world’s best,right? Unless they tried every breakfast in the world? Ha ha…..Mmmmm, his silence is killing me. DSCN0026I took home this souvenir.

This brioche is one of many delectables served on delicate, fine china plates. Impeccable mannered waitress explained every course with finesse. Spread flavored butter on it to enhance the experience. It was magical!  You could have the same breakfast without staying the hotel for $60 per person too, then you can honestly say that you had  ‘the best in the world breakfast’.

Ingredients for brioche. Makes 1, 8-1/2 X 4-1/4 or 2, 3-1/4 X 5-1/2 loaf pans

Special Equipment-Bread makerDSCN0019

  • Bread flour 210g
  • Cake flour 50g
  • Dry yeast 3g
  • Eggs 150g about 2 and 1/2 egg-I recommend to weigh it. Set aside the unused egg. Beat well.
  • Unsalted butter 120g cut in cubes
  • Heavy cream 25g
  • Sugar 18g
  • Sanonto 18g *
  • Salt 5g
  1. In the bread maker pan, put bread flour in first then yeast, cover the yeast with cake flour. Add sugars, salt and butter. Pour in egg and cream from edge of pan. Note; Yeast should not touch salt or liquid at this stage.
  2. Choose dough/1st raise setting.
  3. When it’s done, put dough in ungreased loaf pan(s). Store in warm place for 2nd raise about 50 minutes. DSC_5328
  4. Heat oven to 355 F Brush top of dough with unused egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water.DSC_5329
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. DSCN0022

* Sanonto “Three warm sugar” is a specialty Japanese sugar. It’s type of brown sugar but the process is different. The sugar gives depth to dish.  Although it is available in Japanese market, you may want to substitute light brown sugar?DSCN0014

The brioche turned out to be gift worthy. It is the perfect size to take to someone nice without overwhelming them. I hope they like it. DSC_5342


Other blogger’s recipe

Fellow food blogger and Japanese, Nami has a splendid blog. Her blog attracts thousands of people every day. Her great photos and easy to follow instructions well explain why she is such a successful blogger that I want to be someday…wait! no actually I don’t. I’m so lazy and not detail oriented. I just enjoy leaning by visiting other blogger’s and trying their foods! I made her dish one night and it was great with one hitch. When it’s time to grill, rain started falling. My husband  broiled the ribs instead. Still it was delish!DSC_5292

Care for tea?  A friend stopped by for tea. She brought lemony madeleines she made from scratch. I love it! Our whole family loves it. DSC_5268DSC_5285DSC_5284Our garden is looking good. Fig twins?DSC_5296Gumi tree.DSC_5301DSC_5314Cute, very cute Honey.DSC_5312

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grilling Lesson

Everything BarbequeDSC_5230

My husband doesn’t know why but he was asked to teach a barbeque class to group of women in our church. Heck, I don’t know either because he barely barbeques. I suspect it is partially something to do with unpredictable Oregon weather? As though he doesn’t like to cook in rain?  Whatever, I have no time to wonder – get ready for the event-like mow the lawn. Shoot I should have told my son to mow it while we were in Florida. On Saturday, instead of unpacking the suitcase, we started watering garden and nightmarish weeding!  4 hours and 7 minutes later I retired from weeding. Our yard still looked shabby but…Oh look at the clock! It’s almost supper time on the East Cost!

We washed up and propped up in the sofa after dinner and watched DVR’d ‘American Ninja Warrior’ This show is adapted from popular Japanese TV competition show called ‘Sasuke’. We love to see inhuman performances and wowed by their commitment and grueling effort, often don’t-try-this-at-home dangerous training is shown in their profile video. So how about our grilling? What are we going to make? I asked my husband. I dunno, what are you going to make?  He answers back in question form (how irritating!) Well, you better come up with a plan fast or it’s going to be last minute chaos.

Copies of Orange and soy sauce glazed baby back ribs and Apricot glazed chicken kabobs found in my recipe file which probably from Bon Appetite magazine. Though both have fruity soy flavor, use different kind of meats so I say go with it. Plus I wanted to try these recipes for a long time, this would be perfect opportunity I thought.

Orange and soy sauce glazed ribs

  • 3-4 lb. Ribs, cut into individual ribs.
  • 1 cup Soy sauce divided
  • 9 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 5 teaspoons Cumin seeds, divided
  • 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like it quite so spicy), divided.
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 Scallions, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  1. Put ribs in a large pot. add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  2. Add water till it just covers the ribs. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Cover with lid ajar and cook until ribs are tender, about 2 hours. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat and add remaining red pepper flakes and cumin seeds. Toast lightly about 30 seconds.
  5. Add remaining garlic, scallions.Sauté till just soft,
  6. Add remaining soy sauce, orange juice and honey. Bring to boil and cook till sauce is thick-about 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat BBQ to hot. Brush ribs with sauce and cook until sauce bubbles. Turn and brush with sauce.
  8. Transfer to a plate and drizzle sauce over if desired. Sprinkle citrus zest and enjoy.

Apricot glazed kabobs

  • 1 jar Apricot preserves (10oz)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Chicken thighs-2-3 pounds or 1 thigh per person
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Put preserve in a 2 cup glass bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.  Stir in soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic. Put 3/4 cup of sauce in a large zip-top-bag.
  2. Cut chicken thighs (pork tenderloins are also a good choice) into bite size pieces. Add chicken to bag and marinate for 30 minutes or more at room temperature.
  3. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Spray the skewer with non-stick spray.Skewer chicken. Preheat BBQ to medium–high heat.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Put on BBQ and baste with 1/2 of the reserved mixture. Grill 3-4 minutes.
  6. Turn and baste again with mixture. Grill another 3-4 minutes.DSC_5222

We barbequed water melon wedges, nectarine, and zucchini also. Someone brought chips and awesome homemade salsa. With kale salad, macaroni and cheese, and fruits tart I made, BBQ class turn to little get together party. It was hectic but we had lots of help too. My neighbor friend came early to give us a hand, she also went back to her house to get an ingredient we forgot to buy. Some ladies even stay behind to wash dishes. We appreciate you all very much.DSC_5214He is the only guy besides my husband. Trying to take the skins off of garlic. I swear he is 7 foot tall. His daughter on right is also very lean. Lovely girl.DSC_5210DSC_5218DSC_5223DSC_5219This little girl is so sweet. DSC_5226Kale salad

DSC_5224Fruit tart


Father’s Day

The morning was spent in church service. Not whole lot of time for an elaborate meal for Father’s Day dinner. We simply barbequed salmon and some vegetables. I made Dreamy Dessert with fresh picked strawberries from back yard for dessert. I don’t tell him enough but he is a great guy-often funny, always smart, usually kind and he has impeccable taste in women. He is not perfect but he is perfect in a sense and cute. Happy Father’s Day! Love you.DSC_5256DSC_5260Grilled beans and eringiDSC_5245Potato saladDSC_5258Grilled salmon with lemon kewpie sauce.DSC_5261Dreamy Russian cream

Strawberries in our back yard are flavorful .DSC_5237DSC_5231DSC_5247My husband loves chocolate.DSC_5252

Our neighbor friend brought bouquet of calla lilies growing in her yard. Striking looking!DSC_5193Too bad it is out of focus.DSC_5197I’m grateful for her kindness.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Travel, Foods and People

Cramped in the seats for more than 7 hours, my husband and I had travel to Florida, the Sunshine State. Last time we were here in Orlando was when our children were in grade school. I remember intense heat, afternoon pouring rain followed by uncomfortable humidity and nearly an hour wait on every ride at Disney World, all strong indications that we went at the wrong time of year. Weather related cancelled flight on the way back forced us to stay in Chicago without our luggage. Luckily the ticketing agent gave us taxi and hotel vouchers so we don’t have to sleep in the airport. Next day, we came home as is- rugged, messy hair, same clothing. For me especially embarrassing-no make up and wrinkled shirt. I hope our children remember only the good times.P1020849Near Orlando Airport

I just went along with my husband’s business trip to Kissimmee Florida this time. A good excuse to have a break from the norm. By the time we finally reached the Gaylord Palms Resort past 8 in the evening, the hotel was illuminated in lights and my heart beamed with excitement. The check-in clerk Kevin gave us a spacious suite room of over 1000 square feet. Suite (Sweet)!P1020998I don’t have night shot of the exterior of the hotel. It looks like king Kamehameha’s palace rather than a hotel.

P1020854Living room

P1020855Vanity area

P1020862No bath tub but has a roomy shower and toilet in here.

.P1020856Hall way to the bedroom and closet on the left.

P1020858Bed room

P1020859Bed room

P1020973Desk area

Hotel lobby is enormous.P1020864P1020931P1020899P1020930

Ship restaurant ‘’Sunset Sam’s” inside the hotel.


Family pool with slides

P1020946P1020948P1020943Adult only pool.This is not me swimming but I did swim from one end to the other-it was exhausting!

P1020988This is used for wedding receptions or whatever…Romantic setting.


The week we stayed was a Shrek theme.P1020978P1020876P1020882P1020880P1020938

We took a walk outside the hotel and saw these two kinds of mushrooms. Looks delicious.P1020906P1020908

I went to Downtown Disney with a couple of ladies that I met at the conference center while our husbands were taking classes. A fellow Oregonian (standing) and Utahan. They are lovely! I enjoyed their company. At the Rainforest Café.P1020917P1020920

To infinity and beyond!P1020926P1020915P1020939My husband was delighted to have a conversation with Japanese businessmen during 2nd day of conference reception at hotel’s court yard. More than 1000 people attended Information Builders Summit.

Universal Studio’s newest attraction – Harry Potter.P1020952P1020951P1020949P1020966P1020958

We dined at a small Japanese restaurant, Sushi En
P1020986Vinegared baby octopus is the size of a quarter. Too cute to eat? No, I ate all. I give high points for super nice and friendly servers.P1020981P1020982P1020984

Two airports

Newark, New Jersey


                                                              I think they were in cupcake wars?

P1020841P1020842P1020843Is James Dean from New Jersey?P1020847Cool looking monorail.

Charlotte, North Carolina

P1020999P1030011P1030007P1030004It wasn’t the most comfortable chair, but it was a cute idea.

P1030013P1030016P1030014The gelato was not bad and 93% fat free! That make me feel less guilty…just a little bit.

I took 11 DVDs of a Korean Drama. During the stay I watched it twice. So on the way home I started read “The Hunger Games”. As an English-as-a-second language person it required quite bit of concentration to read it and gave me slight headache. But it was a good read.