Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Chicken Curry

Curry powder, one of my fav spices, invokes some fond memories. I made curry rice quite often when my husband and I were young(er). It’s easy and satisfying. And then we always had left over for the next day or two…so budget friendly!

Now we have a little more dough in our wallet than newly weds so curry rice is not on the weekly menu anymore though it reigns over my comfort foods list.

The book ‘MEAT, Naturally (やっぱり肉)’ , another gift that my son and his wife sent me, has unbelievable array of meat recipes. One of the recipes with the photo of Chicken Curry, was so attractive that I jumped into action. I wore goggles and start mincing three onions like a mad scientist, I mean woman. I didn’t realize that I had to sauté onion for 50 minutes. I was stuck in the kitchen for the next 4 hours. My plan of the day – Christmas shopping,  was cancelled. However, there was an upside, we had plenty of left overs and it tasted even better the next day. _DSC2247

Ingredients and instruction for 4-6 servings_DSC2168

  • Vegetable oil 1-1/2 Tablespoons
  • 3 Medium sized onion minced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 (about) ginger roots minced  
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh 4-6
  • Seasoning for chicken –  1 teaspoon of salt, 1Tablespoon each of curry powder and lemon juice; mix in a large bowl.   
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut off stems.
  • Spice mix – 1/2 teaspoon each of Coriander powder, cayenne pepper and cardamom powder plus 3 to 4 tablespoons of curry powder; combine in small bowl.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sliced almonds lightly toasted
  • Hot cooked rice
  1. Heat vegetable oil in large pot at medium heat. Add minced onion, garlic and ginger roots and sauté until onion is wilted and transparent. Set the heat to lowest then cover with lid. Stir every 5 minutes until onion develops a deep brown color –approximately 40 to 50 minutes._DSC2179_DSC2204
  2. Mean while prepare chicken – cut chicken in half if so desired then put in the prepared seasoning bowl, rub to coat entire chicken. Set aside._DSC2192
  3. Prepare ice bath for tomatoes. Boil plenty of water in pan then submerge the  tomatoes in hot water for a minute or so, drop into icy bath. Peel the skin and dice small. Note: if you like to remove seeds – cut peeled tomatoes in half and scoop out seeds with small spoon before dicing the tomatoes.
  4. Heat a large skillet and lay the chicken skin side down and brown. Use a lid one size smaller than skillet to press chicken for even browning. Flip to other side to brown.
  5. Add browned chicken into caramelized onion pan. Add spice mix, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add tomatoes and water then cover and simmer for about 40 minutes. Add salt to taste. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  6. Spoon the curry sauce over hot cooked rice, sprinkle with almonds. Serve hot!_DSC2219Tomatoes make this curry fruity and surprisingly light. Chicken was so tender that it comes off from the bone without any effort. I love this and other curry!


As with many of you, I had a busy week. I made a second visit to a recently acquainted Japanese lady in the nursing home. I plan to visit her again this week but not empty handed. I made a trial run for Japanese pastries with a new mold, a souvenir from friend just returned from Japan. Lucky symbols of red snapper and welcoming cats are rather small, I could eat the whole thing in one sitting…that was not very good move.  IMG_0730

And yet again my painting buddy beat me to Christmas gift exchange this year. Some people are so organized they are done with shopping. I panicked but  I graciously accepted her gift - the beautiful bouquet of roses and hand made necklace. _DSC2220 

Warming up a notch yet still cold. Morning frost and even some light snow.IMG_0728IMG_0725Sheep seem to not be affected. Right, they are made of  pure wool.IMG_0719

Early Christmas cake – chocolate raspberry rolled cake..bûche de Noël style_DSC2228I did good job on the bark, no? I can almost hear the Christmas song…Noel, noel…actually that was my Christmas CD playing…Ho ho ho who wouldn't go…What is your favorite Christmas song?._DSC2239

 What a blessing to have you visit my humble blog and I’m grateful for your kind comments. Although this post is the final chapter of this year, stay tuned for new recipes starting mid January. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Stay warm or stay cool!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Noodle Road

Tan Tan Noodle (坦坦麺)

_DSC2164Have you seen the movie ‘Antarctica Cook (南極料理人)’?  The story of a sou-chef in the Defense Military in Japan who is sent as a cook to the South Pole for a quirky, eccentric sometimes bizarre group of researchers and scientists? I love the scene where the chef had to create ramen noodle for delusional ramen crazed people. The movie line from one in particular, “My body is made of ramen, I can’t survive without ramen”…right, I feel like that sometimes.

I wish to make ramen for a long while yet this is unknown territory. I really don’t know if I want to venture out the far. My daughter even sent me a copy of Ivan Ramen for my birthday. A Journey of Jewish guy pioneered into ramen world in Japan, he earned fame and opened a ramen shop or two in Japan also in New York, it’s part biography and recipe book…. it was interesting and the recipe was desirable._DSC2107

Then I found this recipe from a very old magazine clip which was in  my fancy ‘like it then tear it’ filing system. I would like to try Ivan’s recipe, home made noodle and all someday when I have plenty of time to fail…obliviously not in sprinting December. This is way simplified, approachable and was good.

Ingredients and instructions for two bowls of ramen_DSC2117

  • Green onion - white parts only 3-4 stalks about 2 Tablespoons finely minced
  • Red miso paste 2 Tablespoons
  • Sugar 1Tablespoon
  • Soy sauce #1, 2 Tablespoons
  • Thinly sliced pork belly meat approximately 1/2 pound.
  • Bok Choy 2 bunches, wash well between the leaves without separating.
  • Chinese chicken stock 1 Tablespoon
  • Soy sauce #2, 4 Tablespoons
  • Rice vinegar 2 Teaspoons
  • La-yu 1 Tablespoon
  • Ramen noodle 2 packages. Dry or fresh. I used several kinds of instant ramen noodles.
  • Sesame oil, salt to taste
  1. Minced green onion, divide in half and put in two bowls. Set aside._DSC2137
  2. Make miso sauce by combining red miso paste, sugar and soy sauce #1 in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare pork - chopping and pounding meat with knife till it resembles ground pork.
  4. Heat non-stick pan at medium heat. Put chopped meat in and sauté, break up meat with turner until meat appears dry and start to render juice._DSC2128
  5. Pour miso past mixture, sauté meat until well coated with sauce. Now that meat miso (肉みそ) is done. Set aside._DSC2131
  6. Prepare ice bath in large bowl and set aside. Boil about 2 cups of water. Cook bok choy’s stem by holding leaf top and cook for 1 minute then lay the flat in the pan to cook for 30 second or so. Immediately transfer into icy bath. When it’s completely cooled then receive onto paper towel to dry. Squeeze gently to remove excess water. Set aside. _DSC2142 ._DSC2143
  7. Rinse the same pan and add 3 cups of water and boil. Dissolve Chinese chicken stock and keep simmering until needed.
  8. Make soup seasoning by mixing soy sauce #2, vinegar and la-yu in a small bowl.
  9. Boil plenty of water to cook noodles according to the package.
  10. While noodles are cooking – spoon in equal amount of soup seasoning in each bowl (from process #1). Pour in 1/2 of hot soup, mix well, and then put 1/2 of just cooked, drained noodles. Top with meat miso and bok choy. Sesame oil and salt to taste. Serve hot.


Spicy Sesame VersionMake soup seasoning with 1 teaspoon of doubanjiang (豆板醤 ) and 1 Tablespoon of chi-mar-jan ( 芝麻醤/tahini paste),  2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon of  soy sauce. See step #8 and #10. .

I tried Sissi’s Tomatoes Confites and I quickly used them for a pasta dish which I do not have photo, darn it! Her favorite ramen soup stock could be my  favorite. I definitely will try that next._DSC2081

Spent a whole bunch of time in the kitchen last week…Pumpkin Tart,  just because I didn’t have it at Thanksgiving. _DSC2090

Wild rice, farro and Tangerine Salad recipe I spotted in the November issue of Bon Appetite magazine. We had this as dinner, only this. How refreshing!_DSC2094

Okinawan sweet potato chiffon cupcakes were for Church activity. Light and airy and have lovely lavender color. That’s it! Honey, let’s to go out for supper. No more dishes. Come again? Right, no more dishes for you tonight._DSC2106

My son and his wife sent me a belated birthday present. This is one of them…a bit stale but it is the thought that counts, right? Still tasted like chestnuts._DSC2112

Fine read – Manga (comic) version of Steve Jobs –based on the book by Walter Isaacson._DSC2111

Gift of service…at least I tried. I was praying for the opportunity to serve others this Christmas season. I got a phone call out of blue from a Japanese lady I have never met before. She held onto my phone number that I gave her neighbor to pass on to her more than a decade earlier. I visited her in Nursing/Rehabilitation Home last week. She is perhaps several years younger than my father was. I’m glad that I was able to give her time to chat in Japanese. IMG_0716 

Crescent moon was romantic the other night…made me sing…Fly me to the moon..IMG_0713 Wishing you a peaceful week.






Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cold Front

Chinese Bean Thread Salad

_DSC2055It seems as though Thanksgiving was rushed and now we’re officially allowed to turn on the Christmas Machine! Not that I hate Christmas…just not as thrilling as when we were young parents…wrapping presents late on the night of Christmas Eve, rushing to get one more stocking stuffer or batteries, the giggles or joyous looks of our children on Christmas morning, that is the sort of thing I am nostalgic about. Now that I’m older and wiser I’m telling my husband lately that All I want for Christmas is you in a singing format. However I’m not going to deny him the joy of giving. Ooh ! I love surprises!

I don’t want a lot for Christmas, There is just one thing I need… make my wish come true…

After consuming an alarming volume of rich food last week. I made a refreshing light salad which I can prepare in flash (not really). I love the kick from  doubanjiang, a spicy fermented paste and the nice acidity of the dressing. Omit a few ingredients and this could serve as vegan as well as gluten free._DSC2042

Ingredients and instruction for 4 servings_DSC2010

  • White toasted sesame seeds 1 Tablespoon
  • Black toasted sesame seeds 1 Tablespoon
  • Sesame Oil 1 Tablespoon
  • Soy sauce or tamari soy sauce for gluten free dish 1 Tablespoon
  • Rice vinegar 1 Tablespoon
  • Oyster sauce 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Doubanjiang (豆板醤) 1/2 teaspoon
  • Crown daisy (春菊) 2-3 stems. Wash well. cut off tough ends of stem.
  • Bacon 3 strips.
  • Bean thread 1 bundle or 30g
  • Pine nuts 3-4 Tablespoons lightly toasted.
  1. Make dressing first: Combine both sesame seeds*, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and oyster sauce in large bowl. Taste the dressing and adjust to your taste. Chill in refrigerator until needed. _DSC2027
    * If the sesame seeds are not toasted, toast in a non-stick pan for 1-2 minutes, move the sesame seeds rapidly so as to not burn it._DSC2026
  2. Ready an ice bath in a large bowl. Boil Crown Daisy for 20 seconds and immediately immerse in prepared icy water. Gently squeeze  to remove water then pat dry with a paper towel and roughly chop. Set aside. Note: Fresh crown daisy is quite bitter in my opinion though there is option of not boiling it for a more crunchy bite, just wash well and dry. Cut off hard end.
  3. Place bacon on top of a layer of 2-3 paper towels. Cover with 1 sheet of paper towel and microwave for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes on high till crispy. Cut up in half inch strips.Set aside.
  4. Prepare very hot water in a bowl and soak bean threads for 8 minutes or so to soften. Drain well and cut in a  tic-tock grid. Set aside._DSC2019
  5. Toast pine nuts till golden.
  6. Whisk chilled dressing with fork to mix well. Add Crown Daisy, bacon, toasted pine nuts and bean thread and toss the ingredients until well coated with dressing.

Vegan spinach version – No need to boil spinach.Omit bacon and oyster sauce (I used ketchup in its place).IMG_0704

See isn’t that easy?

Different looks - I had lotus roots. I deep fried it for garnish. Pushed the salad in the round mold then I made a slit for place to lotus roots to go in.
_DSC2059_DSC2060 _DSC2061_DSC2062_DSC2076

We ended up going to ‘Higgins’ for Thanksgiving. Although we did not have a reservation, the host escorted us to the bar/lounge area right away. We had same five course Thanksgiving meal as the main restaurant just at the counter. Well, that was different. We had a nice chat with people sitting next to us. IMG_0672

Pumpkin bisque was excellent.IMG_0668So was everything else. We just couldn’t eat another bite so we took our dessert home. We passed on the traditional pumpkin pie and Apple pie and instead selected Hazelnut cheese cake and double chocolate cake. IMG_0674IMG_0673

We parked our car front of Samurai, I mean Portland Art MuseumSamurai exhibit is on right now. Cool, Right?IMG_0666

Driving a rural road and saw this corn field. Looks like the stalks are bowing down for coming of Winter General (冬将軍). Day’s low temperature in mid 20’s is awfully cold for Portland.IMG_0681

Wishing you a nice cozy, warm, hot chocolate kind of day!