Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Nagoya Style Chicken Wings

_DSC2477My desire to go to Japan was heightened while I was making these chicken wings. When my husband and I travel to Japan, we usually stay in Nagoya the first night. As we age, our coping mechanism for jet lag will diminish and all we want is to sleep in a horizontal position. The city of Nagoya is between places and we know a great hotel to crash at. We did this same travel pattern often enough that we feel know Nagoya Station well. No matter how late we get there, we drop off our luggage in the room then hurriedly go down to a convenience store to buy puddings or musubi (rice ball)….that is the sort of things I long for…

This recipe is from Masahiro Kasahara (笠原将弘)’s cookbook ‘Let me handle the chicken wings too’ (手羽も俺に任せろ). He is owner of ‘Pros and Cons Arguments(賛否両論) ‘ restaurant in Tokyo. The place has far more favorable than negative reviews of course and it’s very hard to get a reservation. He has studied cooking since he graduated from high school and his late father was also a cook. It’s in his DNA to be in this field I bet. He practices Christianity and despite devastating loss of his wife last year, he makes best efforts as a chef and as a single dad for his three young daughters. Last September he opened the 2nd same name restaurant in Nagoya. I hope we could find this dig next time there. You see, we are only familiar with inside the perimeter of the station.  

Ingredients and instruction for 8 to 10 chicken wings (Print Recipe)

  • 8 to 10 chicken wings

  • For Marinatesake 2 Tablespoons, salt 1 teaspoon

  • Potato starch 3-4 Tablespoons

  • Glaze Mix all in small sauce pan - sake, soy sauce, mirin 4 Tablespoons each, rice vinegar 2 Tablespoons, sugar 1 Tablespoon, grated ginger 1 teaspoon and grated garlic 1 teaspoonIMG_0835

  •  Oil for frying

  • White toasted sesame seeds

  1. Cut off chicken wing ends and keep the middle part. Save two other parts for chicken stock (see pic) etc..

  2. Prick the chicken with fork

  3. Rub chicken with sake and salt and let rest for 1-2 minutes. Wipe lightly with paper towel.

  4. Coat wings generously with potato starch. _DSC2454

  5. Heat oil to 356 F. Fry wings until golden color; approximately 4-5 minutes

  6. While the wings are frying, boil glaze until it thickens some._DSC2468

  7. Brush the liquids over the just-fried wing on the skin side only and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Serve with lots of napkins!

Crispy, Sweet and Salty chicken wings are sure hit with the Super Bowl crowd! Go Seahawk!_DSC2473

Last week…I noticed the tree had some buds coming in and tulips start shooting up… Why on earth I could complain about slightly below 40 degree weather since other parts of the country are freezing? IMG_0828IMG_0829

Large piece of cherry pie shared from a neighbor. I looked for ice cream in our freezer but there was none. I whipped up cream by hand. Mmmm, life is grand! Or cherry on top?IMG_0841

Thank you for reading thus far. Wishing you a wonderful week!

Oh one more thing…my husband is tweaking my blog and he designed that ‘nippon nin’ logo. Whada ya think?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Dill Flavored Gnocchi With Bagna Cauda Sauce


Gnocchi recipe was found in Harumi Kurihara’s ‘Summer’ 2010 seasonal issue that I borrowed from a friend. This homey Italian dish hit my tender spot yet was not a home run with my husband. The ball went too far to the right, I guess.

IMG_0819This is the photo from her book.

I actually threw this recipe past him twice to make sure he did not care for it. First pitch  I thought he was sick or something therefore he couldn’t taste…second time around he just walked. Wait a sec, can you just bunt it?

I improvised her recipe just a little bit to create a gluten free version. There was a slight texture change but not too shabby in my opinion. Although gnocchi taste very bland, salty bagna cauda sauce and parmesan cheese made a great team. I used my blue plate to mimic the style in the book, awesome, ya?

Ingredients and Nippon nin style Instruction for 4-6 servings Print recipe here_DSC2282

For Bagna Cauda Sauce/ バーニャカウダソース

  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 6 fillet of anchovy. I used oil packed, finely minced and pounded _DSC2411
  • Olive oil 1 Tablespoon
  • Heavy cream 1 cup Note: substitute whole milk if you prefer
  • Cornstarch 1 teaspoon
  • Water 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For Gnocchi

  • 2 medium sized potato about 250g. Peeled and quartered
  • Butter 3 Tablespoons
  • Corn starch 100g Note: her original recipe calls for 50g of bread flour and 50g of low protein flour(薄力粉)
  • Salt
  • Fresh dill minced 1-2 Tablespoons_DSC2293
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Make Bagna Cauda Sauce

  1. Heat oil in a non- stick frying pan at low heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant without burning it.
  2. Add anchovy and sauté for 1 minute or so._DSC2289
  3. Add cream and cook until it starts boiling._DSC2290
  4. Mix corn starch and water in a small bowl then pour in the pan and sauté till the liquid gets thick. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Make Gnocchi

  1. Put peeled and quartered potato in the bowl and cover with water. Soak for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Line with paper towel in a large microwave proof bowl. Put well drained potato then loosely cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until soft
  3. Remove paper towel, mash potato while it’s hot. Add butter and mash until smooth.
  4. Add cornstarch or flours. Mix well.
  5. Add dill. Knead with your hands if necessary to make the potato mixture come together.
  6. Divide the dough in half and make two snakes about 1 inch in diameter. Slice in about 1/2 inch pieces. Press surface gently with fork to make lattice design.
  7. Boil plenty of water in a large pot. Drop the gnocchi in. When the gnocchi floats to the top, scoop up with slotted spoon._DSC2308
  8. Serve with hot bagna cauda sauce. Shave some cheese on top._DSC2323


Experimenting by deep frying Gnocchi – This made them taste like potato buds though I like the crunchiness, a great appetizer. I like this with ketchup._DSC2423_DSC2433

By the way – It’s hard to fathom that Clayton Kershaw got a $215 million contract from the Dodgers. You know what that means?  It’s over 10,000 dollars each time he pitches at a game! Amazing deal isn’t it?

I had a lunch with my girl friend on Friday then my husband and I dined at Maki Restaurant last Saturday with friend couple. How blessed we are to have a nice meal with great company. IMG_0817Their Spicy Tuna Salad is my favorite at Maki.

I am just surprised that Tuesday came so fast…I’m not good with time management…phew!  I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Yuzu Flavored Spare Ribs_DSC2383

I’m baaaack! I hope you all had wonderful holidays. I took such a long break from blogging that returning to the routine is .. like getting out of warm, cozy bed in a still dark, chilly winter morning…wishing to go back in…wait, that was this morning! And the fear that no one missed me is such a depressing thought, right?

The blogging is to me self-discovery with every post. As if I’m hiking up on a winding trail. The end of the journey seems to be around the corner yet I can’t see the finish line because of the curvature of the road… obstructed by bushes and trees. 

Often I am so caught up on making Tuesday’s deadline that I forget how to enjoy the journey itself, the wind in my face, the scent of pine and wild flowers, the sunlight shining through the tall trees…. and sound of music in my head… when I’m feeling sadsnowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into spring. These are a few of my favorite things…ok enough Maria. Anyway, I must stay on course until I find the cure I mean whatever makes me smile and then I don’t feel so bad.

Spare ribs have big bones but not much meat. Meat tends to be tough and chewy..no wonder cheaper than other type of ribs however this recipe is diet friendly. Low fat and also sugar free. I decidedly need to un-found my extra pounds acquired over the holiday. Uniquely flavored with Yuzu the Japanese original citron fruits infused pepper, these spare ribs are interestingly addicting._DSC2354


Ingredients and instructions for 4 to 6 servings (Print recipe here)

Equipment: pressure cooker if you have, not necessary but meat will be much tenderer. For stove top method- large skillet with fitting lid.

  • Ribs with bone in – 3-4 pounds ask butcher to separate and cut in half to fit in your large skillet
  • Vegetable oil 1Tablespoon
  • White cooking wine or sake  3-4 Tablespoons
  • 1 Ginger root about size of your thumb; peel and slice thin
  • Yuzu (citron) Pepper paste 2-3 Tablespoons or more_DSC2375
  • Bay leaf 2-3
  • Soy sauce or ponzu sauce (optional)
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a pressure cooker pan or large skillet at medium heat. Brown the meat about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour in the wine, add ginger, bay leaves then put lid on. Cook for 20 to 40 minutes on low pressure. If you’re using skillet, cover with lid, steam cook on lowest heat setting for about 40 minutes
  3. Cool down the meat until it is safe to touch. Rub entire rib with Yuzu Pepper paste.
  4. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and place wire rack on top. Lay the ribs meat side up. Broil in oven for 1-2 minutes or directly on barbeque, grill for 1-2 minutes until nicely charred on the edges. Serve with soy sauce or ponzu sauce as dipping if you like. You may sprinkle some salt to taste, and lots of napkins._DSC2377

Skiing on Christmas Day at Mt. Hood.It has been a long time last we skied. It still fit…my ski pants that is.IMG_0698IMG_0693

Historical Timberline LodgeIMG_0773Inside of Timberline Lodge. IMG_0775

Contrail…neat huh? Looks like Spiderman flinging a web.IMG_0790I think this is Mt. Bachelor – an another great ski resort - but not sure. IMG_0788

We passed this truck in our neighborhood. How neat is that!IMG_0739

Rush to deliver two sheet cakes I made in a rain storm for a simple church wedding last Saturday. Raspberry Almond cake and Chocolate Mousse cake.


Bride and Groom are from Hawaii’s big island. They are lovely and tall! Quick! bring me a stool to stand on!IMG_0810

Natto lover’s dream(?) Christmas gift. Sooo Hamlet…y! _DSC2398

And this amazing looking wooden bowl was created by my son in law. Sorry the pic is not so great but believe me it is beautiful! Many other stunning pieces available for purchase through his web site._DSC2401