Ricotta Orange Almond Coffee Cake (Gluten Free)

I am happy to say that the holidays are over now and time to move on.  It's been a while since I am alone at home with silence.  I love my family of course, but I neglect to pay attention to my alone time during their school breaks and forget how important it is to take my own time.  

Today I sit and write alone in my office about this cake I made when I was alone at home the very last time, which was about 3 weeks ago.  This is a very easy cake to make and took only for about an hour to make.   I occasionally buy ricotta cheese and it's mostly for baking.  I love its moist texture and slight cheesy flavor in my pancakes or any citrusy cakes.  I often use almond meal and coconut oil together when I bake.  My kids are not big on cakes, but they did love this coffee cake and couldn't get enough of it!  

I haven't eaten anything today and it's almost noon.  I have now very hungry and wish that I could eat a slice right now.  I'll finish up writing a recipe now and get a plate of something quick to eat and probably will make something delicious for the next post.  Hunger truly is the inspiration for making something yummy.  


Japanese Style Cheese Cake

This cheese cake is my favorite of all time.  French or German style cakes I grew up eating are very popular in Japan.  My dad would bring a box full of assorted cakes after he came home from his trips or we would buy them for any special occasions.  This is the one that I always picked.

It's like soufflĂ©e but still has that dense moist feeling of the cheese cake.  I love this one maybe because I'm not a big fun of sweets and especially heavy sweets.  

It's a bit of work to be honest, so I don't make it very often.  But that's also what makes this cake extra special.  My son loves it almost like I do.  

As you can see, I did burn the top a bit, so be careful!  I'll have a piece of aluminum foil ready in case next time.

If you are like me, not a huge fan of heavy cakes, this one will be your favorite too.  If you ever had this kind of cheese cake, give it a try.  It's worth it.


Panna Cotta with Granola and Summer Berries

It's a crazy world.  I start my day like many of you out there by reading the news.  It's too much.  But it's important to be informed about what's going on.  Feeling troubled...  But now I'm turning on the music and writing this post instead! It's a long day ahead.

The summer has left us here in Seattle and it's full on Fall.  It even felt like Fall even left us straight into Winter land yesterday.  I like fall.  It was my favorite season before I had my kids.  Now the summer is my favorite because Vitamin D is important.  I'm not even joking.  If you don't know or care much about Vitamin D, you should look it up. Anyway I DO miss summer VERY MUCH because from now on, we'll be having lots of gray skies and rains and people start acting more depressed and annoyed everywhere around the city.  But we make it through every year somehow.  

I made this Yogurt Mousse in the middle of the summer before I left to Japan.  I want to post here more often but the life gets in the way or I just need to be more disciplined.  

This summer was a good year for currants.  I bought these beauties - red/white/black currants and goose berries - at my usual grocery store.  These berries are mesmerizing and tasty.  I love eating them fresh with something else like yogurt or ice cream.  

I was just going to eat them for my breakfast one day, but I was inspired by the sun and beautiful berries that I made this for dessert for the kids.  Granola looks a bit too simple now that I'm starting at the photos, but it was really tasty. 

Creating something pretty like this is truly my way of relaxation.  Food photography has always been a great way to relax and get high from being creative for me even when I was a small kid.  Forget about troubling things for a moment and look at the bright and beautiful side of the world that we can all create.   


Crunchy Fennel Heirloom Tomato Nectarine Salad with Prawn

It's finally starting to feel like we are actually having the summer now.  My garden isn't producing much yet since the late start of the summer, but I'm coming up with more fun ideas for salad recipes.

I made this one last weekend to bring it to the July 4th BBQ party.  I love BBQ, but it can get heavy at times and it's good to have something fresh and light on the side.  

I love the combination of fennel, unripened heirloom tomatoes, nectarine, grapes with lots of herbs like mint, Italian parsley, fennel leaves.  You can pretty much put anything that aren't too mushy or sweet so that it's crunchy and that's the key to this salad.  

For this salad, I made a simple dressing with lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, dijon mustard with a bit of honey, salt and pepper.  

A perfect summer salad.  


Vongole and Clam Digging at Lopez Island

We go clam digging a few times a year, usually when we go camping.  Camping is truly one of the great things about living in Pacific Northwest.  There are many great sites to choose from and only a couple of hours of driving can get us to pretty amazing places.  

Lopez Island in San Juan Islands is definitely one of our favorite places to camp.  We were there only for one night stay last weekend, but we maximized our time for clam digging and chilling at the beach.  

I'm nostalgic about doing things I enjoyed doing as a kid with my kids.  I grew up in a countryside and I make sure that my kids get enough nature time.  I used to go clamming during the summers as a child back in Japan where I grew up.  It's a great activity with the kids and we get to eat fresh clam! 

I found myself lost in digging and the kids doing something else after about an hour of digging - as usual.  We got about 50 medium-size varnish clams, enough for making a variety of dishes.  

I usually eat clams or any selfish steamed or in miso soup.  I made Vongole this time.  If you are not familiar with Vongole, it is a pasta dish usually made with small clams, garlic, white wine and spaghetti.  Delicious and always look rustic and I just love it. 

Feel free to comment and let me know if you have any recommendation for a dish to make with clams ; )

*Cleaning clam is a bit of work but easy.  It is important to do before consuming for sure. 


Power Snack: Date Chestnut Bar

I was organizing the pantry the other day and found a few Spanish products that I photographed for this company last year including chestnut, Marcona almond and chocolate from Spain.  All the great stuff that I didn't know what to do with yet.  

I've never bought dates before to ne honest.  Date is an unfamiliar food for me.  But for some reason, I happened to buy a pack out of curiosity the other day.   

So... I had dates, chestnuts and almonds that I wasn't sure what to do and then bum! 


I buy those fruity bars and granola bars for kids' snacks.  Not to name any brand, but I often think most of the kids' bars sold are still way too sweet.  Making bars like these are often very easy.  I just have to remind myself to do it more often.  And you can mix and match any ingredient.  Great for cleaning out the clattered pantry.

You just basically have to chop everything up and mix them all together.  Just take out the chocolate if you want to make it vegan or use vegan chocolate.  

I also used egg white but I don't think I needed to do that because dates are so sticky that they stick well together.  I baked it a bit because I had some egg white in it and wanted to have toasty flavor. 

This is one of those things great for the kids to make as well. I'll let my kids make the next batch for sure.  My kids enjoy cooking but lately they are too busy with school and after school activities to get in the kitchen with me.  I'm so looking forward to cooking more together and teach them new things to make during the summer break.  


Pear and Beet Tatin Salad and Happy Valentine's Day

Here is a quick post. Happy Valentine's Day and wish everyone is even more focused on love today than irritating politics.  Speaking for myself here.  

I'm sure there are many posts with more romantic themed food.  I've made two dozens of lemon cupcakes that I was tempted to post.  But I decided to go for something different here.  And I wanted to continue posting things I ate during detoxing and this dish was one of the favorites.  If you need a quick fun dish today for a special meal, this could be a great one for you.

This salad is always well received for any type of gatherings or dinners because it's simple, beautiful and tasty.  Straight forward and anyone can make it.  I roasted beets and pickled them with lemon juice, agave syrup and apple cider vinegar which is great for detoxing.  Beets were pickled in the fridge over night and sliced thinly about 1/4" thick.  I used Asian pears and sliced them thinly.  

To finish just drizzle lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper.  Garnish it with baby greens and pomegranate seeds.  

Enjoy clean food and Have a Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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