Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Grilled AsparagusDSC_4156

“We just picked these this morning” said the seller, pointing at the long stemmed asparagus. Some had a purple hue…good looking bunch indeed. Another round of Lake Oswego Farmer’s Market opened on the 17th of May.IMG_1169These are our catches of the day.

My husband and I always enjoy such an outing, and seldom decline offerings from vendors. Would you like to taste? Would I ever! It’s a ‘line’ I know…they are casting a line to lure in the customer. However, my purchase is helping the economy…the seller’s economy at least.

Unlike the previous week, this asparagus dish doesn’t look that pretty when cooked yet it tastes great. I like having this with warm cooked pasta. Add some chill powder in the herb mix if you like some kick.

Ingredients and Instructions (Print Recipe here)

Necessary Equipment: Gas or charcoal grill

  • 4 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • *Herb mix -  parsley, dill, chives, mint and basil 1 Tablespoon each. *Use minced fresh herb if you have it.
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons of white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons stone ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt  and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-10 asparagus, hard stem trimmed and peeled 2/3rd way up. Use whole or cut in 3 inch long pieces for easier consumption. You need a grilling basket or foil in that case. DSC_4134
  • 1/2 purple onion (optional)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  1. Put cream cheese, herbs, milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, lemon zest and salt and pepper (perhaps 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt & pepper; more or less) in a bowl and blend with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat gas or charcoal grill over medium high heat.
  3. Toss the asparagus and purple onion wedge with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay asparagus on the grill perpendicular so that asparagus won’t fall through the grill gate. Put the purple onion on the side. Put cut asparagus on the grilling basket or top of foil. We used this handy grilling mat.DSC_4082 DSC_4141
  4. Grill the asparagus for 1-2 minutes then brush with the cream cheese mixture* Grill for 1-2 minutes longer until the asparagus is tender but still crunchy. Do the same for onion (if using – it takes longer).
  5. Chop or slice grilled onion and put it on the asparagus (optional). Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.DSC_4144

*Option #1: Instead of brushing asparagus with cream cheese mixture, Mix gently AFTER asparagus was grilled. This method is better for cut asparagus.

*Option #2: Forget brushing cream cheese mixture during grilling or mixing it after, instead use as dipping sauce.

Sweet! This vender gave me several spoonful's of sugar, I mean honey and jam to taste.

The peach blossom honey.IMG_1158

Aloha! He was from Hawaii, surprise, surprise! He went to Kahuku High School. Really? That’s where my daughter teaches. He now resides in Washington State. IMG_1160

Stopped by the nursery on the way home for a few veggie starts. The red Adirondack chairs are adorable, over $500 each…not that cute!.IMG_1166

We had  a few days of hot weather last week that helped ripen the strawberries in our back yard.DSC_4047DSC_4048DSC_4051We topped them on the sour dough waffles.Darling, this is great!DSC_4059In the mille-feuille.like dessert.  Thumbs up from my husband.DSC_4043

I’m responsible to do various activities with my church girls (8 to 11 years old) twice a month. I helped them make Angie’s flourless peanut butter cookies last week.IMG_1132IMG_1134It was fun! A bit messy but fun!

Just let you know….I’m leaving for Hawaii today…unplanned rather emergency trip though grateful to see my grand daughter. Thankful she is doing well.

My husband promised me he will post Kimchee-blue cheese croissant from Momofuku’s Milk Bar cook book next week… I have some reservations but it will be fine, right? See you in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken Wing Sequel

9 Spices Fried Chicken Wings

DSC_3899After I finished the chicken wing rice bowl last week, I had more tasks to do with the remaining wings. No way am I going to let them go to waste.DSC_3887

First I gathered all the bones from middle parts and wing tips in a pot and simmered to make soup stock. While it’s simmering I prepared the chicken wing base – looks like mini drum stick - to be fried. I get that frying can be fattening but they are very teeny, I’m not afraid…should I be?

Modified version of Masahiro Kasahara’s boiled then fried chicken wing recipe is tender and flavorful with nine spices. Adjust spices according to your own taste buds.

Ingredients and Instruction for 8 fried chicken wings (Print Recipe here)

  • 8 chicken wing base/tebamoto (手羽元)
    Chicken wings: as whole shown in the top of the picture, chicken wing base is on the bottom left. Followed by middle/tebachu (手羽中) and tip/tebasaki (手羽先) on right…now you know all about chicken wings, right? Excellent!
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1 Tablespoon salt


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch


  • 1-1/2 cup low viscosity flour (薄力粉)
  • 3 Tablespoons bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of sage, thyme,  nutmeg, oregano and basilDSC_4013Not showing white pepper


  • Oil for frying
  1. Put chicken wing base, water, sake and salt in a pot to boil. When it starts to boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes then *leave in pot to cool to room temperature. *Do not skip this process.
    Note: I strip the meat from bone and flipped over so that skin is inside and shaped like a lollipop.
  2. While the chicken wings are cooling, combine milk, egg and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk flours, salt, white pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, ginger, sage, thyme, nutmeg, oregano and basil in a bowl to combine. Set aside.DSC_3875
  4. Heat oil to 338F in heavy deep pan. Pat the chicken wings base dry with paper towels.
  5. Wet chicken wing base with milk mixture #2. Dredge with flour/spice mixture #3. Fry them until golden brown; about 3 minutes. Receive in a layered paper towel to remove excess oil. Note: Chicken wings base is already fully cooked in process #1 so not to worry about its doneness.DSC_3879 DSC_4029 I didn’t do lollipop style with these. DSC_4039

Making homemade chicken brothDSC_3917

Put scrap of bones and chicken wing tips (see previous post) in a pan. Pour 1000 ml water, 1/2 cup sake, 1 teaspoon salt and add 2x4 inch sheet of kelp. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Skim off any white foamy scum that appears on top with spoon. Strain through sieve. This will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

I used this broth in Okonomi yaki (Japanese savory pancake) batter in place of dashi stock.

The Okonomi yaki recipe was better than  I expected. I think I will write about it in the future.

Other food blogger’s recipe – I recovered asparagus buried  in the refrigerator the other day, oh goody, it is still good! I asked my husband to challenge this dish, Delizioso! DSC_4021

My son and his wife in Japan sent me a fancy gâteau (cookie) set. So light that it may not have contained any calories at all? You wish! DSC_4016

Have a wonderful rest of the week!



Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Chicken wings rice bowl

DSC_3859I believe that properly cooked chicken skin is loaded with umami flavor. I particularly like it cooked till crisp. But for some, they simply don’t care enough so they remove skin from the meat and transfer it to my plate…Oh, thanks hon. My husband does the same for salmon skin.

It will be difficult to separate skin and meat with this recipe however, a measly amount of meat is all that is on the chicken wings and the rest is epidermis. This is technically teriyaki chicken in a donburi (bowl) style, don for short – rice and whatever dish in one bowl. For me having a meal this way, always stimulates my appetite. And less dishes to wash.

When the donburi style was started is not clear. Some say that a restaurant in Asakusa,Tokyo served Unagi (eel) don in 1837. As the popularity grew, other ‘don’ dish like oyako (chicken and egg ) don was created in 1891, and my fav, katsudon (fried pork cutlet) was introduced in 1913…genius!DSC_3905

Note: Preparing chicken wings is rather tricky and bothersome though, it’s all worth it in the end. You're using just middle part of the wing (tebachu/手羽中)keep the rest for other dishes. The chicken wings shrink as it cooks so make plenty. I will show you the recipes using the rest of chicken wings at next post.

Ingredients and Instruction for two servings  (Print recipe here) 
Modified recipe of Masahiro
Kasahara – see his other recipe here

  • 8 Chicken wings – 4 chicken wings per donburi
  • For sauce (the amount is for 8 chicken wings)
          Soy sauce, sake and  Mirin 2 Tablespoons each
          Sugar 1 Tablespoon Whisk to combine well.DSC_3853
  • Cooked rice 1 cup per donburi. Keep warm
  • Seaweed (optional)
  • Powdered sansho pepper (Japanese pepper)DSC_3915
  • White toasted sesame seeds
  • White radish sprout or long onion julienned for garnish.
  1. Prepare wings  - wash chicken wings in large bowl full of water to inspect for any dirt or feathers and clean. Dry with a paper towel.
    A. Cut off the pointy part of the chicken wing.DSC_3836
    B. Slit skin in the between the middle section and rest. Grab both
         ends and bend to break the bone joint then cut off with a knife.
    . Hold the flabby skin and slide knife above and along side of  bones to butterfly.

    D. Cut connecting tip of two bones. Scrape off the bones from meat. Remove any cartilage left on skin. After I was done with this I found an easier way to remove bones on YouTube. I definitely will try that method next time…just butterfly after you pulled off both bones…so much for the futile effort.

  2. Heat non-stick pan at medium heat. Lay the prepared chicken wings in the pan skin side down and brown. Turn over to brown the other side. Be careful, chicken releases a lot of fat, it may splash. Turn off heat and wipe the excess oil up with a paper towel. Note: grill them until charred instead of pan fry if you like.
  3. Turn the heat back on and pour the prepared sauce and cook until well coated.DSC_3857
  4. Assembly – put rice in donburi, scatter torn seaweed on top of rice (if using), Place 4 pieces of chicken wings with some sauce over the rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds and Japanese pepper. Garnish with radish sprout or long onion. Serve warm.

We finally tackled the procrastinated attic clean up. Guess what I found? Japanese currency. Lucky!IMG_1097

And a Disney dollar!

….from when we went to Disneyland for Christmas time many years ago… forgotten photos are destructing when you have more boxes to go through. kegs1Kegs2Stand with Minnie quick! I demanded. No? My daughter was way too cool to pose for a photo with Disney characters.


Wow! How neat to find a photo of my brother-in-law. He is much older than my husband but they are close…super nice guy. I bet he is not happy that the San Antonio Spurs did not sweep the Portland Trail Blazers team in the playoffs last night. Scan

Old records…collector items? Yeah, that’s us said my husband. ‘Junk collector’DSC_3882My very first ‘don’ that I made…this was in a mystery box #7, so many boxes so little time…DSC_3913

Always happy to receive flowers on Mother’s Day or any other day.DSC_3826And dinner at Masu was fantastic! From left – rip city rolls, fried tofu mousse, lamb curry rice and orange chocolate ice cream with edible flower.

So good that we finished it all up!IMG_1117