Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Green Pepper stuffed with Lotus Roots and Squid

DSCN0909It was a dismay to find squid in the freezer while I was getting out my oil paint case (which I store in the freezer to keep the paint fresh). How old is this thing? I can’t even read the date on the package. Why I didn’t see you when I was making oknomi-yaki? What a shame if I throw it away, right? Even though it’s color has turned yellowish?

I reasoned that squid was protected from the elements for who knows how long,  therefore it is perfectly safe, the discoloration is a totally natural occurrence. Besides, just because I can’t see the expiration date that doesn’t mean I bought it a long time ago. I might have purchased it last week, me not squid getting old, I forgotten all about it, not likely but possible. Anyhow, I have to come up with a dish where the squid is not a show piece but behind scenes…perhaps a suspicious…I mean mysterious presence.

The Japanese recipe site COOKPAD gave me inspiration and aha! It worked.  With a sign of relief, I’m reporting to you that no one in my family got hurt. My husband even gave me a huge compliment for the unique dish. Well, ahhh.. yes I’m glad we all have strong stomachs, ha ha ha. Memo to myself-our family’s health comes first, organize the freezer and don’t be stupid-not necessary in that order.

Ingredients and direction for 8 stuffed green peppersDSCN0883

  • 4 medium size Green pepper-cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds and white parts.
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Cornstarch or potato starch plus more for dusting.
  • Lotus roots 250g-peeled, slice eight 1/4 inch thick slices from it. Soak all the lotus roots in water with 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar for 5-7 minutes.
  • Squid about 200g- I used body only, no cartilage, no eyes and no intestines but legs are optional. Chopped in small pieces.DSCN0901
  • 1 green onion minced
  • Ginger roots 1-1/2 inch length grated
  • 1 Tablespoon white or black sesame seeds pan roasted*
  • Salt 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil  1 Tablespoon
  • Rice wine or water 3 Tablespoons
  1. Dust inside of green pepper with some cornstarch. Set aside.DSCN0898
  2. Pat water soaked lotus roots dry with paper towels. Grate what is left of the lotus roots after you’ve cut the 8 slices.DSCN0893DSCN0895
  3. Mix grated lotus roots, squid, green onion, grated ginger root, roasted sesame seeds, salt and cornstarch in a large bowl.
  4. Stuff the green peppers with the lotus root mixture.DSCN0903
  5. Dust sliced lotus roots with cornstarch then put on top of stuffed green pepper. Push lotus root into the stuffing so that it adheres. Dust lightly on top with more cornstarch.DSCN0905
  6. Heat sesame oil in a non-stick skillet at medium high heat. Put in the stuffed pepper, lotus side. Cook until the it turns into a golden color.DSCN0907
  7. Flip and cook the other side till it is a nice brown.
  8. Pour sake or water in the skillet, cover and steam over low heat for 4-5 minutes until all the liquid evaporates.DSCN0910 
  9. Serve with ponzu, soy sauce or mayonnaise. A few drops of lemon juice added is also a nice touch.DSCN0911

* Roasting sesame seed is very simple but gives the dish a nice aroma and flavor. Put seeds in a non-stick pan and shake the pan constantly an inch above the cook top to cook seeds at medium heat until aromatic.

Tomato season is finally over. We enjoyed the blessings.DSC_6023DSCN0988

Here are some of tomato dishes. Pasta with Tomato and Almond pestoDSCN0859Pasta alla Norma-roasted eggplants was surprisingly delightful.DSC_6696I froze tomatoes overnight, grated and mixed with honey and lemon. Refreshing slushy drink!DSCN0976DSCN0977DSCN0978DSCN0981Autumn scapeDSCN0966DSCN0964DSCN0996DSCN0995Watermelon that didn’t. Feeed me~! Just kidding.DSCN0989My husband brought home 6 crème brûlée beignets from a food cart near his work. I don’t eat anything after 9 PM…oh, all alright maybe just one.DSC_6721DSC_6719DSC_6714My oil painting teacher shared some roses from her garden.DSC_6711DSC_6708

Our pumpkins are ready for Jack-o-lantern-Cinderella, White pumpkin and Howden known as Halloween pumpkin. Have a Happy Halloween tomorrow!DSCN0991

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Tarte Tatin/タルト・タタン

IMG_0203IMG_0204Sometimes, on a carefree Saturday afternoon, my husband and I drive 20 minutes to New Seasons Market for the tasting table. One Saturday we stopped by featured apples. Arlet, Cortland, King David, Pinova, Spartan etc. It would be awesome to have the task of giving apples names. DSC_6594

As we suspected,our expectation on some apples were not met and we were delighted by some varieties. I tend to give high marks for crisp flesh or sweet, tart flavor because I like to eat as a snack. We bought a few apples just for their names sake. Not available in the store that day but I love Lady Alice apple.DSC_6597

The history of Tarte Tatin is quite interesting. Stephanie and her younger sister Caroline made the hotel they inherited from their father, Hotel Tatin, famous by an accidental apple tart. The hotel has changed owners since then yet it still exists in Lamotte-Beuvron, about 100 miles south of Paris. This recipe is a slight improvement on Tatin sisters' original by Maritial Caille, current owner of the Hotel Tatin.

We did not have right equipment nor did we have right kind of apples. Can you believe it? But my husband did his best to make this tart for my blog. Though I’m not huge fan of this humble looking ‘French apple pie’, the taste is simply homey C’est bon!  However, I believe there is a room for improvement…I know, we should visit the place and try Mr.Caille’s Tarte Tatin, it’s a great idea isn’t it?  Merci beaucoup darling! in advance.


  • Butter 125g Keep cold in refrigerator.
  • Weak power flour 250g
  • Sugar 20g
  • Salt 3g
  • Egg 37g Beat well in a small bowl
  • Cold water about 1 Tablespoon
  1. Cut chilled butter into small cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt
  3. Put cut butter in flour mixture bowl. Incorporate butter and flour mixture by hand until it resembles large corn meal.DSC_6643DSC_6650
  4. Add egg and mix lightly. Do not knead.
  5. Add cold water a little at time. Dough will eventfully stick together. Make a ball.
  6. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.DSC_6651


  • Apple 3kg-tart, firm apple such as Royal Gala, Golden Delicious.The photo below is Granny Smith however.DSC_6659DSC_6671
  • Butter 200g Slice into 1/4 inch pieces.
  • Sugar 150g
  • Butter and sugar for coating pan* You need a large, 12 inch diameter, thick, tall pan which could go in the oven (he used Dutch Oven).
  1. Peel the skin of apple, cut in 6ths, remove core and cut in half. Take out dough from refrigerator at this point to make easier to handle.DSC_6675
  2. Use butter and sugar to generously coat the bottom and side of the pan.DSC_6677
  3. Put butter and sugar first in the pan then apples.DSC_6678DSC_6681
  4. Dust the area with little flour where you’re stretching the crust dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 426 F. Roll the dough with pin always away from your body to make it slightly bigger than the pan, about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cover the apple and tuck in excess. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.DSC_6682
  7. Carefully transfer to cook top and cook until most of of moisture is gone but not entirely 20-30 minutes* on medium heat, shaking periodically. Turn off heat and wait 1 hour.DSC_6686
  8. Just before serving, cook on high heat to caramelize the juice on the bottom.DSCN0936
  9. Turn onto a large plate. Voila! I like to have it plain but have with vanilla ice cream is not bad.DSCN0942DSCN0943

* This process is very difficult because you can’t see. He just guessed.

Shabu Shabu party at friend’s house.DSCN0930I made the same cake for the party. Making 2nd time is a piece of cake!DSC_6692Fall is definitely here.DSCN0947DSCN0948Wait! A relic of Summer!DSCN0952

I made chocolate truffles because I wanted use this dish I bought recently.DSCN0957For our family, two each. Fantastic! Diet? What diet?DSCN0956