Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Whipped Goat Cheese

_DSC8926The bon appetite magazine is fine reading. I usually put it on my bed side table to read at night to get inspiration for future dishes. The magazine arrives way ahead of the actual month so I mentally prepare for what’s in season in the coming month.  

The whole roasted cauliflower In this May issue looks great, a signature dish from New Orleans restaurant Domenica. It’s a shame to destroy the beautiful color of purple in roasting process, but it was the only cauliflower I had. I was going to use the purple cauliflower for something else but what was that? Can’t remember._DSC8874

The whipped goat cheese as accompaniment for the roasted cauliflower is genius in my opinion. The right amount of saltiness from cheeses is great for vegetables or to spread on toasted French baguette with fresh chives, also for seasoning salmon. Thank goodness for the dry weather we’re having for barbecue. _DSC8891_DSC8902

Ingredients and assembly for Whipped Goat Cheese

  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

Blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream and olive oil in a food processor until smooth, season with sea salt. Put left over in jar and keep in the refrigerator.
_DSC8885_DSC8888_DSC8895_DSC8907I mixed with the juice of one lemon  to give it nice zest. I spread all over the meat side and rubbed some olive oil, salt and pepper on skin side so that it has crispy skin when grilled. _DSC8914_DSC8924_DSC8921With fresh green beans and simply sautéed beets leaves –bon appetit!

More from the Japan trip  – After the wedding and Mt.Fuji, we headed south to Atami Shizuoka, a quite touristy hot spring town. Here we splurged on luxury resort hotel (熱海倶楽部 迎賓館) for one night. The hotel sits on a hilltop surrounded by golf course overlooking the city. This photo was taken from our room.


 Roomy entrance
There is a long hall way to the water closet and bathroom.
DSCN2027 DSCN1971DSCN1972DSCN2040

Hot spring is too hot (duh!) sometimes, there is a neat stick to stir to lower the temperature. I opened the huge sliding door to let cool breeze in, ahhh so relaxing.

Way too cool motion activated toilet lifts the lid, flushes and then closes automatically so you don’t have to touch anything, still there is a sink for washing your hands. What a relief!

At the booking, we chose traditional tatami room but they also have a European style bedroom and combined tatami room and bed room in this 20 room hotel. Each room is very large and has a hot spring bath, balcony and a splendid view.

DSCN1967Waiter was really nice but I think he is not so good at taking pictures. Unbelievable feast we had! Although I was grateful, I was feeling little bit melancholy, I knew that our trip was coming to a close. We went back to Tokyo the next day for a few nights in Shinjuku then headed home. Why time will fly when you’re having a good time and money disappears like magic? DSCN1988DSCN1986It was still moving while we were eating. DSCN1991


Last March, I was asked by a local Japanese newspaper (夕焼け新聞) to write a review on Cary’s Bakeshop www.carysbakeshop.com an online store that sells lemon cake. The shop’s owner Cary Takara wears many hats. Not only does he manage the store, he is a pastry chef and teaches math and Japanese at high school. He kindly sent me a box full of individually wrapped lemon cakes to sample (and for photos). The scent of lemon was delightful and had a gentle sweetness that I love. I steeped the herb tea and truly enjoyed the perks of my job.

I would totally do the same thing at bon appetit magazine too. Any openings?


DSCN2215The April publication of The Yuuyake Newspaper

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Asakusa Silk Pudding 浅草シルクプリン

_DSC8857Because of time restrictions, I was not able to cross off all of my to-do list in Japan. I wanted to see Tokyo Skytree, the new radio tower which is 634 meters high. Honey, what is that in feet? He is not listening, he’s occupied with the NBA Playoffs which began last Sunday. Anyway, Skytree is almost twice the height of Tokyo Tower’s 333 meters. The Asakusa Silk Pudding Shop, which is also on my list to visit, is near the Kaminarimon (雷門) which is famous for big red lantern. It’s a poplar tourist stop and within walking distance from the Skytree. I wish I had one more day in Tokyo.

This Asakusa Silk Pudding sells about 1,000 puddings a day. Although the shop started out to cater puddings to some hotel restaurant as a dessert, as the pudding ‘s popularity grew, also perfecting the taste and texture, they eventually became firmly entrenched in  the business and added more shops in metro area.

My quest of deliciousness has no end. I created the silk pudding despite not knowing the original, using the pudding bottles (puddings we had at other stores) I brought home and reference I got from ‘Delicious Pudding’ cook book. _DSC8828

Ingredients for 5 jars of silk puddings

Equipment: 5- 4ounce glass jars, food scale, strainer, deep pan with lid, thermometer, 2-3 paper towels

First make Caramel sauce

  • Granulated sugar 100g
  • Water 30ml
  • Hot water 1 Tablespoon

Pour sugar and water into a small sauce pan. Cook until dark brown at medium heat without stirring. Add hot water then stir with wooden spoon. Pour in the 5 jars equally. Set aside. Warning: caramel sauce is verrry hot._DSC8833


  • Milk 300ml
  • Heavy cream 200ml
  • Granulated sugar 65g
  • Egg yolk 100g - about 5 eggs
  • Vanilla essence 1/2 teaspoon
  • Rum flavoring 1/2 teaspoon
  1. Pour milk and heavy cream in a medium pan and heat up to 50C. Set aside.
  2. Put sugar and egg yolk in a large bowl, mix well with hand held mixer about 1 minute. Do not make a large circle motion, try not to create air bubbles._DSC8836
  3. Add vanilla and rum to the bowl and mix for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the warmed milk mixture from step #1 into the bowl and mix well. Gradually add rest of the milk mixture.
  5. Strain the mixture twice and lay a piece of paper towel on the surface to remove foamy bubbles (you may use spoon for this task if you’d rather). Repeat as necessary. For bigger bubble, prick with toothpick.
  6. Pour into jars. Cover each jar with foil.
  7. Lay a sheet of paper towel on the bottom of a deep pan. You need enough boiling water to cover half way up to the jar height. Turn the heat off while putting the jars at least inch apart from each other. Put the lid on and steam for 15 to 20 minutes at low heat.
  8. Place in the freezer immediately for 30 minutes then transfer to refrigerator to chill. Warning: the jars are very very hot. _DSC8869Ummmm silky! I need to work on caramel sauce though.

After the wedding, my husband, my daughter and I headed for Yamanashi prefecture to see Mt. Fuji up close. DSCN1863View from our hotel room was amazing!

Five short minutes ride on hotel’s shuttle bus took us to Fujikyu Highland (富士急ハイランド) the next day. I didn’t have the stomach to ride this ‘spectacularly crazy’ I was told, jet coaster.Top-4

Day 3rd. We rode the Kachi Kachi ropeway up to Mt. Tenjyo for an another look of Mt. Fuji. My camera battery is dead at this point so we paid to take our photo for 1000 yen, about 10 bucks. Top-3

We shopped at HARD OFF, a huge second hand store just a half block away from the hotel. They have Louis Vuitton bags to washing machine to bicycle to clothing item to just about everything. I needed a battery charger for my camera and they had it!  I also bought brand new Arita ceramic (有田焼き) bowls for 60 yen (about 70 cent) each –cheap right? A small plate from Tachikichi (たち吉) is an another good brand ceramic maker, there is no name on the black blown bowl but I adore for $2 to $3 range. I could have bought more if we had space in our suitcases…wait a sec, if I bought one of  large Louis Vuitton bag ($500 - $1000) then the problem could have been solved? My husband was relieved – DANGER AVOIDED! I didn’t take any pictures of store because I was dealing with battery issue still. My daughter and I loved the store! My husband, not so much._DSC8825 

DSCN2173DSCN2177Neighbor’s double cherry (八重さくら) was in full swing when we got home. Ahhh…it was a nice trip but it’s good to be home! That’s what I’m saying to myself because I have vacation withdraw symptoms. The only cure I think is to take an another vacation. Right? Honey? He is not responding, I should discuss this during half time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet Story

Tokyo Cake shops

DSCN2154Although there seems to be a good cake shop on every corner in Japan, the basement floor of department stores often have different cake shops competing with each other side by side. The city of Jiyugaoka (自由が丘) in Tokyo has a whole department store called Sweet Forest dedicated to sweet shops. We would have gone there if we would have had  time. Note: a picture above and next five were taken at Takashimaya department.DSCN2147 I almost bought the Lady bug cake.DSCN2146DSCN2152DSCN1855

For those of us who have a hard time deciding, the option of Winner takes it all ABBA approach was available. Oh! Mama Mia! Here we go again. My, my. How can I resist…DSCN2144

We had an accidental encounter with Dominique Saibron in Shinjyuku  (新宿), it was an exceptional cake shop in my opinion. Because of cherry blossom season, almost all the cake shops we visited had a cherry blossom theme. Delicate pink color and design, it tugged at my heart. The taste was divine!DSCN1755DSCN1753

My husband and I headed to Kagurazaka (神楽坂) one day in search of incredible cake. We quickly lost our way and called the store for directions twice then asked a passerby twice more. Tucked in the corner of the Agnes Hotel property, Le Coin Vert was there. Ever since I watched the movie “Patisserie Coin de rue” (洋菓子店コアンドル), it was put on my ‘must go’ list. The charming and often funny story of young female patisserie apprentice with cooperation of the store making the film and a cake (Renard) below actually appeared in the movie too. DSCN2128I detected nuts, chocolate mousse, orange compote and coated with caramel gurasaju? Woooow!DSCN2130An another customer parked red electric bicycle on front and apologized me for distracting the picture taking. No, no that bike makes this picture I assured her. DSCN2133Actor Yosuke Eguchi on the left, I had a crush on him for a while. Cute ya? DSCN2139Hypnos is my husband ‘s choice. Honey, turn the cake around, I think it’s the back side. Taste the same you said? Absolutely but think about the blog.DSCN2129DSCN2131Cream cheese mousse with strawberry filling. Heavenly!DSCN2124

Time was really short on this trip. I had my favorite marron cake only one time at Harajuku’s Sembikiya. It was almost as good as mine, perhaps bit too sweet. See, looks like soba noodle on top, right?DSCN2160We sometimes took cakes home (to the hotel) and ate them. Sugar overloaded for sure, not so good for our health? Certainly! But we don’t know when we come this way (store) again and we don’t want that chance. So so baaaad.IMG_0394I lost 2 pounds before the trip and came home 4 pounds heavier so I gained only 2 pounds. Is this the way math works?


IMG_1291Anyway, my son married a cute Japanese girl. Now that’s a sweet story!