Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Chinese Sour Soup


We’re officially in autumn, I see some leaves are turning colors. The cooler temperature calls for warm soup that should not be complicated.  I made this mostly from what’s in the refrigerator.


Ingredients and Instruction for two servings (Print Recipe Here)DSC_7180

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 pounds pork cut into small pieces  You may substitute with chicken
  • 1 stalk green onion minced
  • 2 inch ginger root, skinned and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons sake
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • 1 bok choy separate green and white parts then sliced thinly
  • 1 small bag enoki mushrooms, discard bottom dark ends, cut in 2 inches lengthDSC_7184
  • salt, white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  1. Heat sesame oil in skillet at low heat. Add pork and cook until the meat just turns white.
  2. Add green onions and ginger to the skillet. Sauté for 1 minute.DSC_7188
  3. Turn the heat up to medium. Pour sake, water and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper when the liquids boil,  turn heat to low, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add bok choy’s white parts and enoki mushroom, put the lid back on and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add green parts of sliced bok choy, sugar and vinegar. Stir few times and it’s done! Take taste test, if you like more zing then add more vinegar

We drove to a hill to see the Super Moon last Sunday…wondered what it is like to see the moon form the airplane. DSC_7243

Still we had quite good spot to observed beautiful blood moon. DSC_7251

Goodnight Moon

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Follower of good foodIMG_5234

While waiting for our ride at the airport, I turned up my shirt collar to shield me from the cool air. Returning from the midst of volatile weather in Japan, Portland seemed very calm and already showing the face of Autumn. IMG_5366
This is a PDX tradition photo

Since then I haven’t been cooking much…the first day back I fixed the instant ramen noodle below. I like the texture of the noodle and love salt ramen. I had to ask my son to order it on-line (10 packages for 1800 yen). The proceeds goes to the Maruyama Zoo of Sapporo, Japan. Neat, right?IMG_5423

The following day, I cooked the pricey ‘Yumepirika’(ゆめぴりか) rice. I could buy more but it weighed a ton. I recommend it to people who love white rice.IMG_5370Topped with ready made Strawberry Curry…Tochigi prefecture is famous for ‘Tochiotome’(とちおとめ) brand strawberry…I love strawberry but perhaps not in curry…too sweet for my liking but interesting.IMG_5367

We overindulged in sweets and baked goods…velvety smooth vanilla pudding for instance. IMG_5275

Everybody loves strawberry shortcake!?

This idea is cute though… I don’t really care for the combination – croissant taiyaki with sweet azuki bean filling (the custard filling is better I think).IMG_5295

We had a three course lunch at iconic NIkko Kanaya Hotel (日光金谷ホテル)  elegantly presented, mango ice cream for dessert…amazing!IMG_5320

Typhoon #18 brought so much rain and it caused flooding in many places. This is Nikko Station before the major rain fell…we feel sorry for those lost lives…IMG_5296We rode a bus north of Nikko to Kinugawa Hot Spring Resort (鬼怒川温泉) as the trains were not running because of the typhoon.001Kinugawa means Angry Ogre River..it’s just like it’s name. The usually clear Kinu River turned into a muddy stream because of the excessive rain. Our hotel was just downstream and we were safe but this neighboring hotel’s structure was partially destroyed, fortunately no one got hurt. D51EE52E-017C-422D-A8D1-3A94E793BFC0


My husband took this video of Kegon Waterfall/華厳の滝 in Nikko. The winds were so strong that it blew the water clear away from the usual course.

Soft serve ice cream cost nearly $5 each at Payard in Ikebukuro, before heading to the airport.IMG_5357

The highlight of our trip…Our grandchildren are all beautiful (biased? just a little) including the latest one. My husband and I instantly fell in love with him. IMG_0051

My husband in particular melted under his spell.IMG_5248

We had a hard time saying goodbye.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Frozen Tomato Pasta

Fast, Easy and Vegan


Sun-ripe tomatoes are flavorful and are great for snacking almost daily…I wish I could say that we grew them but these beautiful tomatoes are from a friend’s backyard…I’m a bit envious!DSC_7139

I had a planned to make Angie’s ‘Oven Baked Chicken with Italian Seasoned Tomato Sauce’ (looks fabulous, right?)…wait, no chicken?  We’re planning a trip very soon so we are limiting the number of grocery shopping trips lately…just buy the bare necessities…
Look for the bare necessities…
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities…
Old mother Nature’s recipes that brings the bare necessities of life!

What?…no song necessary?… I was about to dance….Anyway, I would like to introduce you to this very minimalistic dish so let’s put the candle…I mean tomato in the freezer!

Ingredients and Instruction for two servings (Print Recipe Here) Modified recipe from cookpad.com (recipe #3328313)

  • 1 large ripe frozen tomato (put in the freezer overnight)DSC_7144
  • 2 –3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Spaghetti noodle or angel hair pasta (I used about 200g/8oz)
  • 5-6 basil leaves tear by hand plus 3-4 whole leaves for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Put the minced garlic in a microwave proof bowl along with the olive oil. Microwave for 2 minutes at 60% power. Let it cool. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta 2 minutes longer than the package direction. Drain and soak in icy cold water until pasta is cold. This is my way of cooking pasta – put pasta in a skillet, cover with water then cook at medium heat. DSC_7149DSC_7154
  3. Grate the tomato, skin and all ( I advise to wrap the tomato with paper towel… it is very cold).
  4. Mix the cooled garlic with olive oil, grated tomato and basil well in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.DSC_7162
  5. Drain the noodles and shake off the excess water. Combine well with tomato sauce (#4). Garnish with basil. Add more salt and pepper if you like.DSC_7169

A not-vegan arrangement: Add cooked bacon and grated cheese

My favorite way to eat tomato is actually oven-baked tomato…yum!IMG_5162-1

We have seedless grape vines in our back yard which wild birds love…Hey, leave some for us!DSC_7172I made grape clafoutis and posted the pic on Instagram (#todaystapas). It’s French but resembles Dutch Baby pancake.

I saw a Watermelon Shark on the internet and I wanted re-create but my watermelon was round not oblong…I had to improvise…right? IMG_5174

The haze (from the wildfires) is gone for now… we’re grateful that we had some rain in the last few days.
This photo was taken two weeks ago when it was still hazy. !cid_A2B40585-2D19-430F-B812-C1ED55C4C1E9My husband and I are leaving for Japan to see our newest grandchild. I hope I’m able to resume my blog when I get back though I just would like to say to all my readers ‘Thank you’ You’re truly my inspiration.