Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Side Effect

Steamed Lotus root and greens

_DSC9285‘It’s not easy being green’. Kermit the Frog is right. I know I will never be a vegetarian. However, my inner thoughts are telling me I should be more sparing on meats and stay away from sweets or was that my waist line talking? When I feel heavy (literally) I must go for a green (er) dish.

This dish’s crunchy lotus roots were satisfying and require only one skillet plus it is low-fat. The only thing I would do differently next time is omit the vinegar and use lemon juice instead. Vinegar gives this dish some tanginess but discolors the greens. Over all this is a simple dish yet the variations could be endless. Although we had it as a main dish, it would be a great side dish.

Ingredients for 2 servings

_DSC9236Equipment: non-stick skillet with lid

  • Lotus root 2 tubes (see picture) Scrub skin well under running water. Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Leafy greens – Swiss chard, collard greens or bok choy roughly chopped.
  • Olive oil 3 Tablespoons
  • Vinegar or lemon juice 2 Tablespoons
  • Whole grain mustard 1 Tablespoon
  • Water 1-2 Tablespoons
  1. Soak sliced lotus roots in a bowl full of water for 2-3 minutes._DSC9257
  2. Meanwhile, prepare sauce by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar(or lemon juice) and mustard in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Pat dry lotus roots with paper towel. Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet at medium high heat. Lay lotus roots in the skillet and slightly brown both sides.
  4. Pour water in the skillet then immediately cover with lid. Steam for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Coat greens with prepared sauce then place over the lotus roots, cover with lid again and steam for additional 1-2 minutes. _DSC9267_DSC9275
  6. Serve as is or with a little bit of soy sauce or ponzu sauce._DSC9281

My husband had a business conference to attend and give a presentation at Emerald City. 4 days of movie madness on Netflix at home or 4 days of exploring the city (and some shopping), it was a hard choice but I chose the latter and went with him. This patch of land is near our hotel.DSCN2251It rained practically every day in the Seattle area. I was forced to be inside of the mall…not really. The weather was dry enough one afternoon, I strolled through Bellevue City Park next to Bellevue Square Mall. DSCN2229 DSCN2237Still quite chilly, blossom of double cherry could still be seen here.DSCN2243Tiny Japanese cake shop Fumie’s Gold was at the edge of the park. I bought a Mount Blanc cake.DSCN2227

DSCN2235I ate at a section of the park called Belvedere.DSCN2233One single red rose I spotted stood out against the green back ground.DSCN2232

We had pretty good ramen at Kukai (空海) restaurant in Bellevue.DSCN2244DSCN2246

2nd visit to Lynn's Bistro in downtown Kirkland was again a pleasure. We tried three course dinner for $30 per person (They also offer three course for $40). Marvelous dinner rolls were welcomingly warm.DSCN2265DSCN2266DSCN2267DSCN2268DSCN2270DSCN2276DSCN2278DSCN2279

Before heading home, we stopped at KiKi’s delivery service. Just kidding. It’s a Taiwanese bakery. DSCN2284DSCN2282Most breads are $1.75. $5 if you buy three.DSCN2286The vanilla pudding we ate in the car. I don’t want to brag but mine are a notch silkier.DSCN2288The side effect of good eating is already happening. More green diet have to be enforced.

These calla lilies are gift from neighbor. She kindly pointed out that I spelled calla lily wrong in the last post. I like her and her mom!_DSC9231Too much light maybe? Taking good photos is difficult but correcting photos using computer program is even harder. _DSC9232




Monday, May 20, 2013


Chocolate Pudding with Raspberry Caramel Sauce

_DSC9215A friend whose husband works for a food distribution company shared some Guittard tablet chocolate with me. It seems like there are endless possibilities available for what to do with this fortune.

Chocolate pudding doesn’t excite me as much as regular pudding for some reason. I love chocolate anything…wait I take it back, chocolate covered sea weed was pretty nasty. They are not meant to be together. Anyhow, chocolate pudding just isn’t clicking. We just need a fresh start (recipe) maybe?  Raspberry caramel sauce perhaps a great assist?

Ingredients and instruction to make four 4 ounce ramekins

Equipment: food scale, food thermometer, ramekins (I used smaller oven safe dishes), sieve and foil

Raspberry caramel sauce

  • Sugar 60g
  • Water 2 teaspoons
  • Raspberry puree (I used seedless raspberry jam) 2 Tablespoons. Combine with 2 Tablespoons hot water in a small bowl. Set aside._DSC9195

In a small sauce pan, melt sugar and water at medium heat. Tilt the pan sometimes to make even coloring. Add raspberry puree mixture and stir with wooden spoon. Stop the cooking process when it reaches a dark amber color. Pour into the ramekins.
_DSC9159 _DSC9161

Chocolate pudding_DSC9146

  • Milk 200ml
  • Heavy cream 100ml
  • Milk chocolate 100g If you are not using tablet, chopped small
  • Egg Yolk 2 Beat in medium bowl.
  1. Heat oven to 302F Start boiling 1-2 cups of water.
  2. Heat milk and heavy cream in a sauce pan to reach the 50-60 C temperature. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir well to melt chocolate.
  3. Pour melted chocolate into the bowl containing the beaten egg. Mix well._DSC9167
  4. Sieve over an another clean bowl and strain the chocolate mixture #2_DSC9177
  5. Put a paper towel over the chocolate mixture to remove foamy bubbles._DSC9179
  6. Pour into the ramekins leaving 1/4 inch head room and prick larger bubbles with tooth pick.
  7. Cover each ramekin with foil. Place them in a deep casserole dish with a paper towel on the bottom. Pour boiling water 1/3 of way up to ramekins._DSC9190
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. Leave on counter to cool then refrigerate.

_DSC9199I put on some melted ice cream to conceal the imperfect top surface then decorated with gold leaf. However, it clung to my fingers badly. I was about start singing ‘Gold finger~’. You’re supposed to use tweezers to handle gold leaf.

_DSC9208Gold digger’s spoon… so greedy!

If you’re going to Tokyo, make sure to stop by Lindt Chocolat Café in Ginza, They offer very nice chocolate pudding in a cute little jar.

My neighbor friend called me to ask if I would like to see her callow lilys. Yes, yes! It was cold and raining, so I sent my husband over to take some pictures.

_DSC9219_DSC9229What is that? A captain Hook?_DSC9224Iris were so grand!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Baked Sweet Potato

_DSC9118Strolling up the hilly Gerbera Street in Jiyuugaoka (自由が丘) for 10 minutes, a pastry shop Mont St. Clair was in our view. It was a tad smaller than I imagined but that in no way squashed my anticipation of what I was sure would be an amazing array of pastries to see. That was June of 2009. My voracious appetite to discover pastry shops drove me to this store. My husband was a willing partner in this search.  IMGP2143

Hironobu Tsujiguchi (辻口博啓) operates this store and twelve others. He was born in Ishikawa prefecture, the son of the owner of a Japanese pastry shop Beniya (紅屋). He could have followed in his father’s foot steps if not for a strawberry shortcake he had for the first time at his friend’s birthday party. His training  to become a pastry chef started right after graduating from high school. He won numerous and prestigious awards. He appeared on many variety/talk television shows – he beat iron chef Masahiko Kobe in Iron Chef in February of 1999, secret ingredient – Banana! He teaches Super Sweet cooking School on line as well as on-site in Jiyuugaoka. I’m short on space to list all his accomplishments though, I have to mention that in 2004, he opened a Japanese pastry shop ‘Waraku Beniya’ (和楽紅屋) to revive his father’s store which folded in 1985.

Sweet Potato is a familiar sweet to Japanese. I have not yet seen it in the US market. I followed his method almost entirely from his cook book ‘Sweets Done Right’ (ちゃんと作れるスイーツ). The only difference is that I mashed sweet potato all the way then strained it through the mesh to make it ultra creamy. Anyway, that’s how I dealt with the sweet potato that was getting new shoots.

Ingredients and instruction. Make approximately 8-2inch cups._DSC9079

Equipment: food scale, sieve, 8-2inch diameter (Wilton) party cups or 4, 2-1/2inch cups (available in craft store). Pastry brush

  • Sweet potato 400g cook and peel skin. I wrapped in foil and put in the oven for about 1-1/2 hour. You could also steam whole then peel the skin. Roughly mash it while it’s hot.
  • Butter 80g softened
  • Granulated sugar 50g
  • Honey 20g
  • A pinch of salt
  • Egg yolk 30g about 2 eggs. Beat well
  • Rum flavoring 1/2 teaspoon or if you are using real rum 6g
  1. Put butter and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk well until color gets light and creamy.
  2. Add honey and continue to whisk
  3. Add salt and mix well.
  4. Add egg in three parts and continue to whisk.
  5. Add rum and mix. Heat oven to 340F at this point.
  6. Mash sweet potato with potato masher until it is like paste. Do not over mash if you like some texture. If you prefer smoother texture strain through a sieve.
  7. Combine mashed sweet potato and butter/egg mixture using a spatula. Do this with a quick and light motion.
  8. Fill potato batter into a piping bag with large star tip. Pipe out into each cup - this is optional process - Simply spoon out and use butter knife to make a mount.
  9. Brush with mixture of 1egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water for shine._DSC9107
  10. Place filled cups on cookie sheet and bake for 25minutes._DSC9125Plain looking sweet potato needs some dressing up to do. Here I topped with whipped cream, chopped chestnuts and sprinkled with cinnamon._DSC9144


We participate in beautification of our city park last Saturday. WERK Day is in it’s 13th run. Volunteers were treated to a pancake and omelet breakfast then divided into 5-6 groups for bark dusting, gravel paving in the dog run section or poison ivy and other noxious species removal.IMG_0451Memorial Park is the largest park in our city.

IMG_0439Here is my husband shoveling gravel into the wheel barrow.

IMG_0444IMG_0445IMG_0446City gave each of us the lovely orange t-shirts…IMG_0453and free coupon to Wendy’s.

On the home front, we have our own beautification task to do also. Honey, can I volunteer to take a nap? The golden chain tree in our back yard is in full bloom. The vibrant yellow color lasts only for a week._DSC9053_DSC9049The enjoyment was shared with bees too._DSC9056The fig tree looks promising._DSC9050I’m sure I didn’t plant the strawberry there. Over thriving strawberries delight my husband._DSC9066

That evening my husband took me to Urban Farmer Steak House in downtown Portland for early Mother’s Day treat. We split the wagyu rib eye steak yet it was still too much! The food was great and  the décor sooo urban chic!IMG_0463

Super moist petit cakes arrived just in time for Mother’s Day from Japan. The gift is from my son and daughter-in-law._DSC9075

And bouquets from my husband and my daughter._DSC9048 _DSC9130

Striking peony like multi-layered petal roses. Ahhh..nice to be pampered._DSC9045Thought about my late mother all day… filled with gratitude.