Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Spicy Crab And Coconut SpaghettiDSC_4730

Days are getting short...I wish I could hang on to Summer a bit longer. I miss being in Japan..but the reality of that,  I have to tackle my lengthy ‘to do’ lists …no moping is allowed…one on the list - up the blog post, I must! IMG_1915
Relic of Summer…Spontaneous sun flower still blooming in our back yard.

When I came across this crab and coconut spaghetti recipe which is now a crumpled newspaper clipping, no way they go together. The deciding factor is that this is not a complicated dish, also coincidentally I only have to get coconut milk, everything else is in my p-o-w-e-r! (pantry)! And I love new challenges (recipes).

Ingredients and Instruction for 4-6 servings (Print Recipe Here)DSC_4719

  • 1 pound spaghetti.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes, less or more depending on your heat tolerance.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound crabmeat
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk  Note: I add closer to 1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground back pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook pasta until almost al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water. How to cook pasta fast – break pasta to fit in a large frying pan (see the photo above), add cold water to cover the pasta, cook uncovered. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large frying pan over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft but not browned.
  3. Pour wine in and cook until reduced by half at medium–high heat.
  4. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to sauce, crab, coconut milk and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Simmer gently, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Note: Add more reserved water if you feel pasta is dry.DSC_4723
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in the lemon juice, basil and parsley. Seasoned with pepper and sprinkle with the cheese.DSC_4733

Other good eats -

Food tastes better in bento form…and it’s fun!DSC_4890Today’s menu – chicken and tofu croquets, kimpira gobo, Japanese style omelet. On top of rice balls, I put Midas touch with gold bits I bought at Kanazawa city - 98% of gold production in Japan.

My husband’s B-day last week – I made a strawberry shortcake. DSC_4886

One of his ‘honey-do’ list - harvesting the last of the crop – Asian pears- small but tasty!IMG_1900IMG_1903

This was a very interesting experience (in Karuizawa)…Those tiny fishes exfoliate your legs…ticklish…strange… and a bit gross.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Porcupine Meatballs

Sweet rice Shumai / もち米の焼売DSC_4871

Our plane landed at the tail end of summer. The sun setting in the west is rather spectacular, I let out a sigh of relief… but we also felt somewhat blue.
Getting back into my routine is a bit of a task and slow. I inspect things we purchased during our journey…ahhh…the wappa (輪っぱ) bento box…such a nice find!

What I could fill the box with? I dunno…two thirds of our vegetables were wilted, some liquidized in the refrigerator and the milk had a sour taste…Darling, I think this has gone bad…he grabbed the car keys, and headed off to the store for fresh milk. His supper – the peanut butter sandwich -  would not be complete without it. Anything else you want me to get? he asked…completely jet lagged…thinking is way too hard.

This popular Chinese dim-sum requires no wrapper. Quick and satisfying recipe from Seattle pastry maker Setsuko. Her fabulous looking confections you can order through her website.DSC_4873

Ingredients and Instruction for 10 to 15 Shumais (Print recipe here)

Necessary equipment – Steamer (I used bamboo steamer)

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 of medium size onion finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger finely grated or juice  Note: I like to grate skin and all first then wrap in paper towel to squeeze juice out.DSC_4849
    Here, my husband demonstrating
  • 2 teaspoons each of sake, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Wash sweet rice quickly, perhaps 2-3 rinses changing water each time – sweet rice absorbs water fast so do not soak in water. Leave washed rice in sieve until needed. Get steamer ready with at least 2 inches of water at the bottom of steamer pan.
  2. Put ground pork, finely minced onion, grated ginger (or juice) in a medium bowl and combine well.
  3. Add seasoning – sake, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and mix well.
  4. Add cornstarch and knead until it comes together. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Make balls (approximately 1 and 1/2 inch in size). Roll in sweet rice.DSC_4858
  6. Brush the steamer bottom with vegetable oil to prevent the meat balls from sticking  Lay the meat balls without crowding, put the lid on, steam for 12 to 15 minutes. Watch out for the hot steam when you remove the lid. Serve with gyoza sauce if you like.DSC_4859 DSC_4863

Also great is to put in Chinese soup. I short cut by using Chinese soup granule base, with soy sauce and vinegar to adjust flavor. See, easy does it!DSC_4879

Here are some photos we took in Japan in random order…Amazing Kyoto Tower view from our hotel room. 01a741d1c81a16a7bdf2c1edf121e642c1ed59be90
My  husband loves ‘drinking yogurt’. The bakery in town of Akitsuki (秋月/Autumn Moon), Fukuoka called Pan (Japanese name for bread)…that works.
We indulged in many good eats! Even bad for you foods but tasted so good!
We flew from Narita Airpot to Fukuoka
The first thing we ate in Fukuoka is Hakata ramen – famous for rich, pork based soup at Ippudo (一風堂) for about 10 bucks. On contraire, we had the most expensive 5 course lunch at a French restaurant near Matsumoto Castle.
…by accident. 1st course is red turnip soup...Wow!
Pose with samurai warrior at well preserved Matsumoto Castle. The peek –a-boo view from tiny opening. I think that is the coolest castle ever!
Took over an hour but we made to the top of Happo Peak in Hakuba.   In fact, we walked most everywhere, a little break at Kanazawa’s samurai residence.

Hakuba rice fieldIMG_1771

HairJam..yummy?!              We loved the museum and the artist, this in Azumino, there is a Tokyo museum also.
My son and his wife Joined us to Karuizawa. We love Karaoke!
Sacred Lotus flower in Toji temple in Kyoto.

Kuzu noodle with real gold syrup at Kanazawa.
Blueberry soft serve ice cream, reward for climbing Happo Peak (八方家根) – A Japanese blogger Mnoru posted beautiful photos of the area. It was a pleasure to meet him and his wife in person in Tokyo…honey, where is the photo we took with them?
01c2a773d2ce60c0fae9aa5bbcda7d7accf67edab5IMG_1763Scan_20140922 (2)

Kiso Bridge (木曽の大橋) In Narai and near by Café Miyama for the famous 100 years old curry (not really, just the recipe) for lunch. 

Asakusa, Kaminarimon in Tokyo, the young rickshaw driver who studied at San Jose University for 2 years, speaks fluent English.

World’s 2nd tallest building – Tokyo Skytree 019a88ebf0e77168033e3dd1e5719e6d7f2eab25fd….saw this view.019905dd82b54804c3fb7fbb8c62e5ed020f4587dc

Enjoy the famous fire works at Lake Suwa.