Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Honey Ginger Cashew Pork

DSC_6307I read somewhere that honey and pork have great combative power for fatigue. I am finally off from the vertigo roller coaster ride but I still feel lethargic. I must eat something to help me get my energy back. Good thing that my appetite has also returned. I bet that in no time I will find those few pounds I lost during my sickness, even though I don’t want it back.

The superb combination of sweet honey and the saltiness of soy sauce plus cashew and celery’s crunchy texture definitely gives this dish a satisfying up-notch kick. The ingredients below are approximates, add more honey, ginger or soy sauce to suit your taste buds.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 1 pound thick cut pork meat such as pork loin. For vegetarian dish- use 1 block firm tofu. Remove bone if it comes with it. Cut in 1x2 inch pieces. Desired thickness is about half inch.

  • 3 stalks of celery-Wash well and cut off the white end then cut on the  diagonal.DSC_6296

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts (optional)

  • Honey 4 Tablespoons

  • Ginger roots-peel off skin and grate about 1/4 cupDSC_6275

  • Soy sauce 4 Tablespoons

  • Sake 4 Tablespoons

  • Sesame oil 1 Tablespoon

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Corn starch or potato starch 1 teaspoon

  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Put honey in a microwave proof bowl and microwave for 10 seconds or so to liquefy. Add ginger, soy sauce and sake. Combine well.
  2. Put pork in a casserole dish, large bowl or a gallon zip lock bag and pour in HALF of honey mixture. Rub the mixture all over the meat and marinate for 30 minutes. Do not marinate for more than 1 hour – the meat will get tough.DSC_6278
  3. Heat sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan at medium heat, add pork and stir fry the meat till brown. 2-3 minutes. If you’re using tofu, stir gently.
  4. Add celery and cashews, cook at high heat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Lower the heat to medium then add the rest of honey mixture to the pan. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper at this point.
  6. Dissolve cornstarch and water in small bowl then pour the mixture from the side of pan and combine to thicken. Adjust taste to your liking by adding soy sauce , salt and pepper. Serve with cooked rice.DSC_6339

For my husband’s birthday last Sunday, my son made cinnamon roll for breakfast with my husband’s help. It was so fantastic that I took many pictures! DSC_6255DSC_6254DSC_6252DSC_6258

I made him a mini Monte Blonc cake. The umbrella I found accidently in a drawer. Where did it come from? For what?DSC_6338

A neighbor brought him walnut chocolate cookies and dahlias from her garden.  Love the cookies, flower and her kind gesture.DSC_6346DSC_6348DSC_6352DSC_6350

My friends shared some organic Yakima, Washington greens beans and apples which she purchased from an internet site. DSC_6282

I made green beans tempura…so good!DSC_6305


A concerned friend brought a plateful of homemade cookies late last week. I was feeling much better by then so I ate a few right away. See, I told you I have a way to find lost pounds…Why couldn’t they stay lost forever?DSC_6233

This artificially tinted daisy was an interesting photo subject. I feel lucky to do things I love. DSC_6249

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Out to Sea

Seared Scallops with Almond Vinaigrette

DSC_6213Sorry Mr. Hitchcock, I was not thrilled with Vertigo (the sensation)…at all! I don’t know how but suddenly it is as if  I was taken to a small boat on rough seas and forced to stay there to experience endless seasickness. Any sudden movement of my head brought spinning of the room and dizziness that freaked me out. I desperately wish to get off the boat this instant.

My day was spent mostly lying on the bed with high volume of HGTV viewing and movie watching. The House Hunter is one of my favorites on HGTV. I will get upset if the buyer didn’t choose a house that I thought would be the best choice. What? I thought you wanted a house in the city, 40 minute drive to your work place on a good day is not short commute. Some couples rejected a house because the garage is upfront or they dislike the carpet but they choose the house near busy street. Hmmm…the carpet thing you could change easily but location isn’t.  You know that, right? A near retirement couple chose a luxurious condo over a house for amenities and view, but that condo fee is $1200 a month! Seriously? But seriously it’s your money, do whatever you want. I wish I have an extra $1200 a month to spend.

Movie watching is getting very easy – just by a push of remote button. The Japanese movie ‘Killer Bride’s Perfect Crime’ is a comedy with little bit of a musical - ok the musical part was too silly but strangely funny. ‘Castaway on the Moon’ is Korean movie. It’s a comedy version of ‘Castaway’. When the Wilson like object he talks with was hilarious. I fall asleep in other movies. The medicine the doctor prescribed for me makes me drowsy. Oh good, I’m already in bed!

My husband made this the other night. It was featured in Bon Appetite magazine. A few ingredients are missing from our pantry but he made some substitutions or just omitted it. It was quite simple,clean and delicious! Wow! It almost looks like in the magazine.


  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds preferably Marcona
  • 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 8 Large sea scallops
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon peach preserves*
  • Fresh herbs, baby arugula or micro greensDSC_6202

*He knows that we don’t have peach preserves but only needs 2 Tablespoon so he peeled a peach (gift from friend, larger than Utah peaches probably from Hood River,Oregon) cut it small and with 4 Tablespoons of sugar and start cooking. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice simmer to reduce to half the volume. Puree in food processer for smooth texture. He thinks apricot preserve would be good alternate. DSC_6151DSC_6182

  1. Finley chop almonds into small pieces but not into a powder. Mix almonds and 4 Tablespoon oil in a medium bowl.DSC_6204
  2. Wisk in 1 Tablespoon vinegar and chives. Season with salt and pepper,set it aside.DSC_6205
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Season scallop with salt and pepper then add to the skillet. Cook until golden on one side.DSC_6208
  5. Add butter to the pan and turn over. Cook, frequently tilting skillet and spooning butter over, until deep golden color and caramelized.DSC_6211
  6. Stir preserves and 1/2 Tablespoon water in a small bowl to loosen.
  7. Plate by smearing 1 Tablespoon of preserve mixture. Top with scallops. Drizzle some vinaigrette over, garnish with arugula or other greens.DSC_6216


Friends brought me a meal yesterday because my husband was at a dinner meeting. It was wonderful. I am grateful for their kindness. DSC_6229

Another friend dropped off cookies and crackers. DSC_6157

2 weeks ago- before I got sick, my husband and I were weeding in our garden when I came across this huge dandelion. DSCN0679


We visited a nursery the same afternoon. All roses were 60% off!  I loved this rose. It is called ‘Fiesta’. Ole! DSCN0689

Thank you for your phone calls, emails and visits. I think that my ocean voyage is drawing to an end. I hope so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Melon roll/メロンパン by guest post

DSC_6147Nippon nin is under the weather. So, my duty as a husband is to take over her regular Tuesday post to help out (and to ease her craving for Japanese style bread). The name perhaps came from the the texture created in Japanese panya (bread stores) where the cookie-style topping is scored so that it resembles the rind of a muscat melon skin but who knows for sure. I modified the recipe featured in the June issue of Lettuce Club magazine.

To make 8 Melon Pan

Ingredients – Special equipment: a scale to weigh the ingredients

DSC_6107Who knew my white balance card weighed 21 grams?


  • Egg yolks – 60 grams
  • Bread flour – 250 grams
  • Instant dry yeast – 4 grams
  • Unsalted butter – 50 grams
  • Sugar – 70 grams
  • Salt – 5 grams
  • Cold water – 90 ml


  • Beaten eggs – 20 grams
  • Weak power flour – 50 grams
  • Butter – 20 grams at room temperature
  • Sugar – 20 grams
  • Almond flour – 20 grams

DSC_6109Make the bread by putting all the ingredients into a bread maker set on the “dough” setting. I usually put the flour in first, then make a well for the yeast, which I then cover up with the flour. Then put the rest of the ingredients in and push start.DSC_6112

When the dough is done, take out of the bread maker and cover with plastic wrap while you are making the topping.

 Place the butter in a small bowl and cream it by stirring. DSC_6115

Then add the sugar and mix well.

Then add the weak power flour and mix well again

Finally add in the almond flour and beaten egg. DSC_6120

Stir just until it forms a ball.DSC_6121

Put the topping dough between a couple of sheets of plastic wrap and roll out to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Let it rest for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.DSC_6126

While this is resting, divide up the bread dough into 8 equal pieces and form into a ball. DSC_6124

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and cut the topping into 8 pieces. Put one square of the wrapping on each ball and form a cap on each one. DSC_6128


Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper and place the completed  rolls on the parchment paper. Leave enough space between them so they have room to expand as they rise.DSC_6129

Let rise for about 50 minutes in a warm place. DSC_6136

Cook for 13 minutes in a preheated 374 degree oven for 13 minutes. Remove, let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!


I think these turned out OK. Neither my son nor my wife sent any back to the kitchen… Next time I’ll try to get more artistic and score the topping to see if I can make it look more like the ones we get in Japan. See how good they make their bread look? 

Melon pan is in the second row, second tray from the right.IMGP2128


I’m positive that Nippon nin will be back on the job next week to deliver her usual wonderful recipe, story and pictures. In the meantime, thanks for reading this far and if you have any questions or comments, I’m sure she would love to read them.