Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Green Solution

Shiso (Perilla) Dishes

_DSC0606What would you do with an abundance of shiso leaves? Too many certainly create a little headache here. I try to use often though, our activity filled Summer has left them hanging in the intense sun. Shiso (紫蘇)refers to red perilla and this green type is called Ao Jiso (blue shiso) or OVER, not really but Ooba(大葉) meaning big leaves. That is an over-the-top fragrant herb!_DSC0651

Going through the cook book section of Kinokuniya (Japanese Book Store) the other day, I found a recipe that was an answer! Rolled Wasabi Shiso Beef Appetizer looked so cool! I read it three times to memorize so that I don’t have to buy the book just for one recipe…was I wrong?

I simply added lots of shiso leaves to the gyoza recipe I already posted in the past. Well not entirely true…I used minced daikon (white radish) in place of cabbage which delivered a nice texture and shiso generated a refreshing herby flavor. I still have plenty growing in the back so I need to do more research for sure. If you see me browsing (stand there and read,/立読み) in the book store then that’s what I’m doing –looking for the solution._DSC0676

Rolled Shiso Beef Appetizer

  • Thinly sliced sukiyaki beef –1 family size package,about 1lb.
  • Wasabi paste (in tube)
  • Green shiso leaves about 20 Wash and pat dry with paper towel
  • Olive oil 1-2 teaspoons
  1. On a flat surface, lay plastic wrap about 11x15. Place the sukiyaki beef horizontally about 10 inches long (have to fit into a 12 inch non-stick skillet), next row overlapping slightly to create approximately 10x 8 rectangle.
  2. Dab the wasabi in several places on the beef (don’t let the tube touch the meat). Spread with butter knife or the back of a spoon. Use less or more depending on your taste._DSC0586
  3. Place shiso leaves on top. Use the edge of the plastic wrap as a guide to start rolling as tightly as possible. When you finish rolling then twist both ends of the plastic to seal. Rest for 10 minutes  to half an hour in the refrigerator._DSC0590_DSC0592_DSC0595
  4. Heat oil in skillet at medium heat. Remove plastic wrap and place the rolled beef in. Turn periodically to brown evenly all over._DSC0598
  5. Put lid on then steam for 1-2 minutes to cook through but do not over cook.
  6. When it’s done cool for a few minutes before slicing. Insert tooth pick and serve with ponzu dipping sauce (optional).

Shiso gyoza - original recipe here. Add 10 or more chopped shiso leaves. _DSC0653_DSC0664

Here is one way of keeping Shiso leaves fresh in the refrigerator. Put shiso in a jar head first then pour about 1/2 inch of water in the bottle. Change the water once a week. They keep for about 3 weeks or longer this way. I am not sure why you do it upside down…whatever; it works._DSC0703 


Edible Gifts are always welcomed in our household.

A friend brought plums from her back yard. Juicy little red things are an appetite controlling healthy snack…that was so good I will have one more._DSC0620And another friend dropped off a summer squash and zucchini for me. The sizes are just right!_DSC0609

Experimenting recipes…Here we go. This is Giada De Laurentiis’ Thyme infused blueberry drink without gin. I happened to catch her Giada at Home show on my afternoon break. I don’t think she is real, the amount of food she cooks and eats, yet she is so thin. Not fair!


I sensed the strawberry season is fleeting so I made a few strawberry desserts before they are gone. This recipe I challenged was Amy’s Strawberry Tiramisu. I couldn’t cut it cleanly but tasted wonderful!_DSC0530Then Sissi’s Strawberry Yogurt mousse. I tried to mimic her photo technique but was not very successful. Fabulous bloggers I admire._DSC0687

My husband and I were wedding-reception hopping last Saturday. Each reception was held in the bride’s gorgeous property.
Reception #1

IMG_0551The little shed house is so charming, I want one!IMG_0554Reception #2 IMG_0565IMG_0562All dressed up, and no place to go.IMG_0560IMG_0557

I was truly delighted to receive bracelets made by Jalna in the mail yesterday. Her blog is so fun, funny and awesome! She is also a skilled photographer._DSC0694It was awkward to hold bracelet and shoot the photos. Where is the remote control, for heaven’s sake?!_DSC0699I can’t wait to go shopping to buy coordinating new outfits. I feel so lucky! I exclaimed. My husband goes ‘Don’t you go OOBABOARD’ with a sigh. Yes sir captain K.






Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Keema Curry


_DSC0513To say that curry (curry rice) is a national Japanese food is not an over statement. The British Empire once colonized India, and developed Indian curry stew into their own flavor. England’s C&B curry powder landed in Japan in early Meiji Era but some elitists already knew of ‘curry’ existence as early as the Edo Shogunate Era. Japanese curryosity (just kidding) transformed curry to appeal to the Japanese taste.._DSC0510  

Since House Foods Inc. developed home friendly curry roux in 1926,  made ‘Rice Curry’ a household name. Many other solid curry roux are available now days yet I still favor the revolutionized, not spicy - until then we had mind set of curry equal spicy - House Vermont Curry (1963) and remember the old commercial song – apple and honey, House Vermont Curry! Appearing in a curry commercial is a barometer of a star’s popularity. In1997 baseball phenomenon Ichiro did his gig here

Keema is Indian word for minced meat and keema curry is happening in Japan! I once served this dish at a luncheon and it was well received. This recipe also adapted and Japan-nized . I highly recommend of adding diced fresh tomatoes. They add terrific zing to the dish…I wish tomatoes in our garden are ripe already. Anyhow, I believe Japanese curryousity going strong?_DSC0512

Ingredients and how to for 5-6 servings_DSC0468

  • 1 large onion minced
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic minced
  • Ginger roots minced about 3 Tablespoons
  • 3-4 fresh shiitake mushrooms caps only minced_DSC0472
  • Olive oil 2 Tablespoons
  • Ground beef 1 pound
  • Ground pork 1 pound
  • Curry powder 4-5 Tablespoons_DSC0482
  • Red wine 50cc
  • Tomato Juice 2 cups
  • Chicken broth 150cc
  • Curry roux (solid type) 1-2 square
  • Soy sauce 1-2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan, sauté onion, garlic, ginger until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add shiitake and sauté for additional 5 minutes._DSC0485
  3. Add both ground meats and sauté for 3-4 minutes._DSC0490
  4. Sprinkle in curry powder, add the red wine, tomato juice and chicken broth. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on low heat – most of liquid is gone at this stage
  5. Turn off heat and add soy sauce and  curry roux then stir to dissolve.
  6. Put the pan on the burner again to cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt if desired. Serve over rice or have it as dip._DSC0564The left over keema curry was made into fried curry rolls. What was I thinking? That was clearly a stupid move on my part, now I must run an extra 5 miles…Not!_DSC0577

In our back yard…

Figs are ripe at last!_DSC0534And roses are releasing its fragrance._DSC0519_DSC0515_DSC0522Chelsea is frequent visitor in our back yard too. My heart stops sometimes; she resembles our late cat._DSC0547

Happy birthday to our grandson who had his 3rd birthday yesterday._DSC0580This painting was done in 2011.








Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Rosemary Focaccia

_DSC0294OK, the word ‘Rosematic’ is currently not in the dictionary. Of course not, I made it up. My neighbor friend has a rosemary plant and I sent my husband to collect some for focaccia. You see the dramatic aroma and flavor enhancing power that rosemary plants add? _DSC0372 I don’t want to brag but I am hardly able to do multitasking yet I desired to have bread for last week’s watermelon soup at the same time. I saw hundreds of focaccia recipes on other food blogger sites, but simultaneously taking the process pictures of two dishes creates chaos. Easing the confusion by making in the bread maker is way to go.._DSC0375


Equipment: bread maker, rimmed cooking sheet 12-1/4 in by 8-3/4 in, or two 9 inch round cake pans, parchment paper to fit bottom of pan(s), pastry brush

  • Bread flour or all-purpose flour 4 and 1/4 cup
  • Yeast 1 Tablespoon
  • Sugar 2 Tablespoons
  • Salt 2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil 1/4 cup plus more for brushing later, 2-3Tablespoons 
  • Cold water 350ml (approx. 1-1/2 cup)
  • Fresh rosemary 2-3 stems, snip, roughly chopped leaf parts only_DSC0377
  • Coarse sea salt (sea salt flakes if you have it) about 1 teaspoon
  1. Put flour in the bread maker pan. Make well in the center of flour and bury the yeast there.
  2. Add rest of ingredients except coarse sea salt. Select ‘dough’(raise once) menu then start
  3. Place dough on the prepared cooking sheet. Punch down the dough then cover with plastic paper and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Stretch the dough to fit in the pan. Make depressions with your finger. Brush all over the top with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Scatter some rosemary leaves on top if desired.
  5. Cover with plastic paper or moist towel. Raise for 40 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 380F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Buon Appetito!

_DSC0288I took some focaccia to neighbor as a way to say “thank you”. She liked it but told me that she prefers more robust Rosematic, I mean rosemary flavor. _DSC0266

Around the neighborhood… Our neighborhood gets high ‘walkability’ scores. A stroll through the neighborhood on a pleasant evening is a blessing._DSC0339Here birdy, here birdy!. _DSC0340Here kitty, here kitty…This cat is not overly friendly but stayed put until we took the picture – this is the cat’s good side._DSC0353In our old house we had this mysterious plant. It grew taller than this. Aren’t the leaves huge?_DSC0348_DSC0341_DSC0345_DSC0363Molly, Molly? She was pre-occupied with other dog._DSC0366Simply gorgeous dahlia in bloom!_DSC0370

Fellow food bloggers are often inspiring and far- reaching too because of their greatness. I tried this recipe from uTry it, her photos are way better…so awestruck._DSC0336Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade from Gourmand in the Kitchen._DSC0398

It was so nice of my friend to stop by with the berry- jello-mousse she made. I dressed it up for a photo shoot. Abundance of fruits in season, one of many reasons I like Summer. _DSC0383

We helped with our 16 year-old neighbor’s Eagle Scout project –making three picnic tables - last Saturday. Nice looking finished projects if only I hadn’t forgot to take pictures.IMG_0542IMG_0543

My husband is still playing with new camera feature- minatureing (this is not a word either. I’m so not good with the game of Scrabble). Hey those cars look like toys!_DSC0332_DSC0331