1.26.2015

Mizuyoukan - Azuki Bean Jellow




I have had some heavy news lately with people around me and their healths.  It really reminded me that we are fragile creatures at the end of the day and it 

I started to cook much healthier and started this blog in a way to keep records of what I cook for my family.  I don't want to be paranoid about food and worry every time I eat something - and I'm not - but there are times like now that I'm reminded to be cautious and am responsible for keeping my family healthy, as the main shopper and cook of the family.

So I thought to make this dessert called Mizuyokan when I was feeling down from the heavy news.  It's a jellied dessert made with pureed azuki beans (aka. red beans), sugar and agar agar. This was one of my favorite summer desserts when I was small.  I don't almost ever eat this anymore as I don't see them at the shops here and it's not something that people make at home very often.  But it's so simple to make, as simple as making jelly.  

I knew azuki beans are very nutritious and this site explains why.  Also I think agar agar is a much healthier alternative for gelatin.  Agar agar is made from seaweed called algae, where as gelatin is made from animal skins and bones.  Since I am on a health kick a little more than usual, I made this with raw agave syrup instead of cane sugar.  All organic.

I'm not a big fan of heavy red bean desserts.  This dessert is also made of lots of water like jello and very light.  I think that's why I liked it so much when I was a child.  

Mizuyoukan with a cup of maccha green tea  lifted my heavy heart a little and brought a little peace for sure. 






11.27.2014

Happy Thanksgiving! I am truly thankful!

I wish Happy Thanksgiving today to all the people who celebrate it today.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving brunch at a friend's house and we are on our way to another friend's house for the Thanksgiving feast.  I didn't grow up with this tradition, but I do feel like it is a part of my tradition now.  Lately I have been reminded that I am truly thankful for all the good things we have in our lives, sometimes even the bad things because I am old enough to understand that shit can teach me to be wiser and better : )

One of my posts here is featured on takepart.com (Food. Inc,) today as one of the 10 vegetarian dishes that guests won't forget.  I found this on FB and I am truly thankful that they like this recipe.

Here is what I'm bringing to the dinner tonight. Braised green beans with prosciutto and friend onions (this one is not vegetarian, but obviously very good without prosciutto too).  The other one is kale and artichoke dip with raw vegetables. This one is very vegetarian.  I actually crave for raw vegetables around the tables with the winter feats.  )I had to take photos in rush, so they don't the best here.  Sorry!)  They are both super simple to make, but I will write the recipes in a few days and repost this one, so come back if you are interested.

Wishing you all a wonderful day to share with your family, friends, neighbors and strangers!












11.17.2014

Bhutan Red Rice Salad with Poached Egg







It's deep into the fall and I'm feeling a bit dark and starting to crave for simpler and healthier food lately.   I often stop by a grocery store after I drop off my daughter at her school in the morning.  A few day ago I was staring at the grains to try the ones I never had to come up with a new and exciting meal.

I found a few good ones and Bhutan red rice I used for this salad is one of them.  I love love love rice.   I liked the dark reddish color and its name.  It is imported from Bhutan and It's like a wheat berry but slightly sticky like rice.  

I don't think of eating rice in salad because I grew up eating rice - mostly only Japanese sticky kind -  like bread and there are a whole bunch of myth, this and that about rice that you hear and experience in Japan.  It's stereotypical thing to think about Asians but it is very true.  But again, I only mean sticky white rice here...

This red rice, however, is very exotic to me. Perfect for nutty fruity salad like this.  I am very happy with the result and inspired to make something else with it.  Some savory cake or soup... maybe...





10.02.2014

Home Made Country Bread with Junko Mine









A few weeks ago I attended my first barter event at Seattle Harvest Fair hosted by Seattle Tilth with two of my friends.  My friend Junko invited us to join the event.  She brought her amazing homemade artisan bread.  The quality of her bread is so high that it was easily one of the most popular items at the barter.  This is why I keep pushing her to sell her bread! 

Junko is a mighty women with many talents. I am pretty sure it comes from her curious and detail oriented mind.  She is a patissier, photographer, cook and chemist.  She is so brilliant and dedicated at creating products from bread to bath salt by using the natural resources that surround us.  

Recently she has been using natural plants and trees like cedar, pear, apple, peach, rose, etc… to make her bread by adding a natural infusion from the plants. I have been very curious what she was doing lately so she came by my house to show how she makes her leaven loaf!  I love seeing people do what they do so well.  There is so much to learn from her.  

I am often rushy and a bit hectic in my kitchen, but it was a pleasure watching Junko work with her skills and methods in my kitchen.  She has worked in many renowned kitchens and it shows.  

She showed me how to make the bread dough by using her wild starter and brew pear water.  Then I was left to do the rest on my own as the dough had to sit for a couple of hours. I took the task very seriously and followed all the instructions she left for me meticulously.  Everything went so well until I had to move the raised dough from the bowl to the cast iron pan to bake it.  I messed up this stage, which cause the finished bread to look a little sad.  Nevertheless, it was my first time and the bread tasted excellent!

I served the bread with some ginger carrot soup for lunch for the family.  Everyone was very excited for the bread and satisfied with their lunch : )


There's no recipe for the bread, but here's the book that she recommends for making this kind of bread. This is a good site that discusses making your own wild yeast starter and another site for brewing from plants and fruits.  The recipe for ginger carrot soup is found in this post.

9.25.2014

Blueberries!!! Part 2 - Blueberry Banana Almond Muffins





Here's another blueberry dessert.  I made up these muffins impulsively without any plan, ideas or recipes.  I had 4 over ripe bananas and was trying to come up with snack ideas for the kids quickly.  So in my head blueberries + bananas = either muffins or smoothies.  I chose muffins. I don't always measure when I make muffins to be honest.  I think muffins are very forgiving without strict measuring if you know the basic recipe already : )  My not measuring technique doesn't always work obviously.  But this time, it did! and I tell myself better than if I had measured or followed a recipe!

They turned out moist inside, crunchy outside, not too sweet and super delicious.


9.24.2014

Blueberries!!! Part 1 - Blueberry Tart




 


I am super happy that it's been a great season with my blueberries bushes.  I harvested very little last year from the four that we have, so this year I didn't have very high expectations.  But-- they all started to flower, blossom and fruit around late June very nicely, right before our month trip away from home.  When we got back home in August, the berries were just getting started.  I finally harvested the last batch a few days ago.  We had about 2 buckets full total, about 5 kg.  Best ever in the past 6 years.

I'm not sure what contributed to such a great blueberry season this year for us, but sites like this one give some tips on how to grow blueberries. 

I made these tarts for the barter event at Harvest Fair hosted by Seattle Tilth. I went with my friends a few weeks back.  Most people brought canned items. I was happy that I got a few canned goodies in return for my tarts.  (Someone even offered to buy some!)

By the way, one reason my posts here have been so few and far between is that I was taking a ceramic class at college.  It ate up a lot of my time and effort.  So it's sort of nice to use one of the ceramic pieces I made on this post!  It's the bluish plate that the tart is plated on.  Making ceramic pieces was very fun and even therapeutic.

To be continued with Blueberry Part 2.

5.15.2014

Arangini and it's Party TIme!





Arangini is one of my favorite Italian dishes, but sadly I don't make them very often.  I make rice balls regularly, but they are usually done the Japanese way, aka onigiri, which is much easier and quicker to make since they are not deep fried.  But I love deep fried rice balls.  It's a bite of heaven when you pop one into your mouth while they are still hot.

I made these to bring to a party and I was very happy with the results.  Happy enough that I quickly grabbed my camera and took photos before we left. 

These are basically seasoned rice shaped into balls, then coated with flour, egg wash and panko crumbs and deep fried.    Like many deep fried foods, they do take a bit of time to prepare, but they are so worth it.  And I do recommend to make your own marinara sauce if you bother to make these yourself.  Go all home made then eat them while they are hot!



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