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Everything posted by SuzySushi

  1. Helen -- Glad to hear you're okay (even if most of your china didn't make it). I haven't been on eG recently, but checked in to see how everyone in Japan is doing. (I am in touch with Kris via Facebook.) Anyone hear from Hiroyuki? His home is up north... Gloves and large garbage bags. Those are excellent suggestions for my own disaster survival kit. We're not prone to major earthquakes here, and my home is in central Oahu far from the threat of tsunamis, but we're always prepared for hurricanes. Until now, however, my disaster supplies have been scattered throughout the house, with the thought that we'd have plenty of warning for any evacuation. I need to gather a kit together in a small rolling suitcase to keep near the front door. There's a case of bottled water in the car, and one of those buckets of instant "survival food" from Costco behind the TV. Plenty of canned and dry foods in the cupboards. Emergency lanterns and flashlights, extra batteries, small butane cooktop (and the recreation area at my condo complex has gas BBQs, which we've used during power outages). Friends in California keep a stash of vital medicines and emergency cash in a thermos buried in their backyard, where it would be accessible if their house collapses.
  2. I counted 250 cookbooks more-or-less. Of these, I've used 56 more than once. That's 22%, a higher percentage than I would have guessed.
  3. I counted 250 cookbooks more-or-less. Of these, I've used 56 more than once. That's 22%, a higher percentage than I would have guessed.
  4. There's also Quick & Easy Small Cakes by Kazuko Kawachi, translated by Yukiko Moriyama (Joie, Inc., 1983, 3rd printing 1994). I don't know if it's still available in bookstores; I bought mine in Hawaii several years ago.
  5. My kitchen only has room for a normal size refrigerator with a top freezer. At present, what I have in it is: (Door) Frozen veggies--chopped spinach, petite peas, corn kernels, edamame, Brussels sprouts Coffee 72% chocolate chips Butter Bag of kaffir lime leaves (oops--make that two bags??) Costco's shredded Parmesan cheese Large bag of frozen blueberries Half a bag of leftover fresh cranberries that I froze (Top shelf of main compartment) Icemaker Bread--far too much!--loaf of whole wheat, loaf of sliced French pan bread (i.e. it looks like toast bread but the texture is that of French bread) from a good local bakery, leftover ends of oat bread from ditto, half a dozen bagels, naan Another large bag of frozen blueberries Half gallon of no-sugar-added ice cream for my daughter (who has diabetes) Pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey for me There's also usually a large bag of Dole frozen mango chunks, but we ran out (Bottom shelf of main compartment) Package of chicken breast fillets bought on sale 2-pound bag of shelled IQF shrimp Small package (maybe 1/2 pound) with the last of a leg of lamb that I portioned and froze Smoked salmon in 1/2 pound portions Edited to add: Package of Trident frozen salmon burgers form Costco--they're tasty and take only minutes to grill for a quick meal Leftover beet risotto, enough for 2 Homemade pesto, enough for 2 (it's the last I have left of the batch) Large Ziploc bag of red seedless grapes that I washed and froze (to eat frozen--they taste like sorbet) Soon to be a couple of bags of peeled fresh papaya pieces (they were all ripe at the same time--will use for smoothies)
  6. Move to Hawaii. Seriously. And invite me! I don't know about the Philly 'burbs, but all of those foods would have been gobbled up here, and people would have sought you out to ask for the recipes. And that's even with a potluck culture that's still heavy on macaroni-potato salad and brownies. Some thoughts: -> Could it have just been that there was an overload of food altogether? With 65 guests, if even half of them bring dishes, that's more than 30 items to try. -> Did you arrive at the party after most of the guests had already filled their plates? I've found from potlucks that food that gets set out late is less likely to be eaten, unless it's dessert.
  7. In Hawaii, it's definitely "shave ice" -- similar to a mainland snow cone, but the ice is finely shaved, not crushed. On Oahu, the most famous place for shave ice is Matsumoto Shave Ice, a 60-year-old former general store in Haleiwa, a town on the North Shore. There's also Aoki's Shave Ice, a mom & pop store next door (and the only place I know that offers sugar-free flavors). In Honolulu, some people swear by Waiola Shave ice, on Kapahulu Avenue just outside Waikiki (personally, I don't think they pour enough syrup on their ice). But my secret favorite is the unnamed shave ice cart run by a nice Korean lady in front of the Sports Authority store at Waikele Shopping Center!
  8. I am sooooooooo jealous! (Could you please come over and declutter my house?)
  9. 1) sucre glace = powdered sugar or confectioners' sugar 2) beurre fin = butter made from pasteurized milk You might want to use European-style butter with a higher butterfat content. 3) couverture de chocolat amer = bittersweet chocolate Depending on the brand, it can be anywhere from 60% to 72% cocoa
  10. Well, if you're looking for balut (fertilized eggs, a specialty from the Philippines), you occasionally can find them at the People's Open Market in Wahiawa (and maybe at some other local greenmarkets). Or were you looking for foods a little less exotic?
  11. We don't have a "kitchen table" but we do have an L-shaped koa wood counter with four leather bar stools. The counter is currently graced by four serving trays depicting vintage Hawaii-themed art done by Eugene Savage as menu covers for the Matson line in the 1930s. Island Feast It also holds a Japanese doll in a glass case (standing on one tray -- no room for it anywhere else); a large glass bowl holding an overripe banana and an unripe papaya (on another tray); a set of about 70 colored markers, a bottle of SPF 70 sunblock and a spray bottle of Solarcaine along with the remote control for the living room air conditioner (on the third tray); a kitchen scale, a pencil with a broken point, and a stuffed toy dog (on the fourth tray); a spray can of Rustoleum on the counter behind the Japanese doll; and a grape-patterned melamine trivet, topped by a bottle of glucose tablets and a Hello Kitty water bottle at the end of the counter. That is why we eat at our computer desks or in bed.
  12. I'd lose the cumin. Cayenne and/or black pepper should be used very lightly, if at all. You can add some cardamom (which is popular in Scandinavian recipes) and allspice.
  13. Crepes! I'd better go buy me some buckwheat flour!
  14. Yes, I don't have quite as many, but I've saved all the ones I picked up while traveling in France. I especially like the hors series issues on seasonal and regional cooking. Wish I had a source for more!
  15. My Japan Blog -- Part 2 The next day, we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto with my American friend and her Aussie friend. I was a bit disappointed to learn that eki-bentos no longer are sold on the train but need to be purchased before boarding. That used to be half the fun of a train ride in Japan! After checking in at the Zen temple where we would be staying overnight, we had dinner at Da Maeda Italian restaurant. Their seafood pasta (seen here) was extraordinary, and Wendy’s pizza was the real thing on a crisp, thin crust. But skip their desserts, which are macrobiotic and made of tofu; the “ice cream” had a peculiar texture like ricotta cheese, and their “whipped cream” wasn’t! The next morning, we had a lesson in Zen meditation, followed by a tour of the temple and ceremonial bitter green tea (minus the ceremony itself) and cookies. In keeping with the Zen spirit of Kyoto, we lunched at one of the city's famed tofu restaurants. Izusen, a historic restaurant near Daitokuji temple complex, specializes in serving shojin-ryori, the tofu-based vegetarian cuisine that originated in the diet of Buddhist monks. The path outside Izusen. Interior of Izusen. This was the first course. The second course. When one completes the meal, one has a nested stack of red lacquer dishes of various sizes. The dishes are shaped to represent monks' traditional begging bowls. That afternoon, we did the usual sightseeing (Kinkakuji, Ryoanji) and checked into the New Hankyu hotel near Kyoto Station for the rest of our Kyoto stay. We were pretty exhausted by then, so dinner was the surprisingly good “Viking buffet” at the hotel. Also surprisingly, we were the only Westerners in the dining room: all the other diners were Chinese tourists or Japanese out for bonenkai (end-of-year) parties. The next morning, we stopped for coffee at Kobe Cappuccino Club across the street in Isetan department store. My cappuccino featured a delightful cat swirled into the milk. Then we headed out by train to Saga Arashiyama, a Kyoto suburb noted for its traditional craft stores. Wendy fell in love with washi (handmade paper) and chirimen (silk crepe), and the stores there gave us charms for good luck in the New Year. We also shopped at the unique craft store Chocomoo mentioned where all the figurines and mobiles are made from silk cocoons. One food specialty from Saga Arashiyama is sweet pickled turnips. The red or white turnips are sliced paper-thin (you can see through the slices!) and pickled in a mixture of vinegar and sugar. Sometimes yuzu is added as well. Alas, we couldn't bring any home as they don't keep without refrigeration. Dinner was at another famed tofu restaurant, Yudofu Sagano. The restaurant's owners have collected antique Japanese tableware and kitchenware from buildings that were being torn down. The food is more "country style" and less refined than that of Izusen. At the lower right, my first taste of onsen tamago, a chilled, lightly poached egg "bathing" in broth. On Monday we made a pilgrimage to a famous Kyoto Shinto shrine: Kiyomizu-dera. The shrine is at the top of a winding road filled with pottery shops (and snack shops, like this one specializing in cookies and soft ice cream made from kurogoma, black sesame seeds). Another stop on the hill was Shichimi-ya, an Edo-era store that specializes in shichimi seven-spice powder, the popular chile-based seasoning that is sprinkled over foods like noodles to taste. It also sells collectible miniature pottery containers to hold the ground spices and I bought the third one for my collection. I also picked up a packet of powdered yuzu to take home. Its flavor is faint, but it has the fragrance of the real thing. From Kyoto, our friends went back to Tokyo while Wendy and I took the Shinkansen to Fuji City to spend the New Year’s holidays at the home of a Japanese friend I’ve known for more than 30 years. Everyone said it would be hard to get an invitation to spend New Year’s with Japanese friends because it’s traditionally a family-only holiday reunion, similar to Thanksgiving in the USA. But I merely had to mention that I’d like to experience traditional Japanese New Year’s celebrations for my friend to say “Come stay with us!” On the last day of the year, my friend drove us to view Mount Fuji from two of her favorite “secret” spots. One was from the middle of a ricefield. The other “secret spot” with an unparalleled view of Mount Fuji was from a terraced tea plantation. Shizuoka, the Japanese department (province) around Fuji City, is famous for its green tea. A tea leaf and tea seeds. No tea for us! We stopped for coffee at a local kissaten called Academic Coffee. The old-fashioned pre-Starbucks café brews its coffee in glass vacuum pots, seen at the lower right. Wendy just HAD to order the Blue Hawaii, a luridly blue vanilla-flavored ice cream float. Another photo opportunity was Potato Supermarket, a local chain boasting the unforgettable slogan, “Welcome friends! I am Potato!” The house was overflowing with visitors. Besides my friend’s immediate live-in family -- her husband and parents-in-law -- her younger daughter was there when we arrived. On New Year’s Day, her older daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren joined us, so all together there were 11 of us in the house. All meals took place family-style around the kitchen table, probably because it was the only warm room in the house (Japanese houses are not centrally heated and can be quite drafty in the winter). Here, cooking sukiyaki. New Year’s Eve, we spent relaxing in the kitchen/family room. The TV was tuned to the Kōhaku Uta Gassen (“Red and White Song Battle”), the traditional New Year’s Eve musical entertainment. My friend was sewing a cat ear headband (which you’ll see in a later photo) for Wendy. Her daughter was knitting. I was writing postcards. Her husband headed out to the neighborhood shrine to get things ready for New Year’s. Around 11 or so, we ate our final meal of 2008, toshikoshi soba (literally, “year crossing” noodles), meant to ensure long life. Then a few minutes before midnight, we put on our coats (no handbags or cameras) and strolled two blocks over to the shrine. I could hear bells from Buddhist temples tolling 108 times in the distance to drive out mankind’s 108 sins -- but we paid our New Year’s observances Shinto style. The shrine was small and drew fewer than 100 people. We were introduced to a few neighbors (naturally, we were the only Westerners there, but I think my friend must have prepped the neighbors because nobody seemed surprised), then made our way to the altar where we did the ritual claps and bows in prayer. Outside again, we stopped at the folding tables to drink small cups of amazake (sweet, mildly alcoholic sake) and oshiruko (sweet red bean soup) and snack on broiled squid cooked over fires in old oil drums. It was like a scene from an old Japanese movie. Brunch New Year's morning (we all slept late and came to the table in our pajamas) was traditional New Year's foods: an assortment of delicacies called osechi, which housewives used to spend days in advance preparing. Like most women, my friend no longer spends days on end in the kitchen preparing these foods: they're bought from a caterer or department store food hall. She did cook some vegetable side dishes, however, as well as a meat loaf rolled in kelp (delicious!) in the foreground of the photo. Ozoni is a soup traditionally eaten in Japan as the first meal of the New Year. Its key ingredient is mochi ricecakes; other recipes vary by family. My friend’s version contained chicken, daikon, bits of carrot, and leafy green vegetables. Vegetables including (clockwise from top) shiitake mushrooms, konnyaku, carrots (note the flower shapes!), gobo (burdock), snow peas, bamboo shoots, daikon topped with more snow peas, satoimo (taro-potatoes), and in the center lotus root. (I’m not sure what the green sprig is.) The kelp-rolled meatloaf was "good stuff"! I'll have to get her recipe. My friend also made homemade apple and kiwi jams for western breakfasts. Osechi foods traditionally are arranged in a set of tiered boxes called a jubako and served during the first few days of the year. As with Chinese New Year dishes, many of the foods are chosen because their names or appearances portend good luck -- herring roe because the many eggs represent fertility, shrimp or lobster in their shells because the bent backs suggest an old person (and thus long life), kelp because the Japanese word is a pun for "happiness." This layer contained scallops, salmon, fish-based rolls, and vegetables. This layer contained crab claws, kazunoko (herring roe, symbolic of fertility), kuromame (sweetened black beans, for good luck), sweetened chestnuts (their gold color represents wealth), and other symbolic foods for the New Year. A “modern” tier of osechi foods, containing various patés, smoked salmon, and the like. Another view of the New Year's spread. Besides the foods previously described, the two patterned dishes in the foreground hold kohaku namasu (a mixture of shredded daikon and carrots) and homemade pickles. Well-fortified from New Year's brunch, we made our hatsu-mode New Year's Day excursion to a Shinto shrine to Fujinomiya Sengen Jingu, a large regional shrine that is the headquarters for more than 1,300 other shrines in Japan. The shrine is known for its pure water. People stopped at this small building to fill plastic bottles with water to take home to brew good-luck tea for the New Year. No shrine festival would be complete without food vendors (the Japanese are nothing if not practical!). These vendors are cooking yakitori. One could also buy yakisoba, grilled whole squid, and cotton candy. Fujinomiya is famous for yakisoba, so we had a snack at the shrine before heading back to my friend’s house. (Here's Wendy in her cat ears.) Along the way home, we also got some great shots of Mount Fuji from the balcony of Guest House Forest Hills, a catering hall where we stopped for coffee. Back in Tokyo, we met our American friend for dinner at En, a Shibuya restaurant that is part of a chain of trendy “Japanese brasseries” where the food is a fusion of traditional recipes, seasonal ingredients, and new recipes, all presented on rustic pottery dishes. (There's also a branch in New York City -- www.enjb.com) One of the many dishes we had was pork shabu-shabu cooked in soymilk broth. I honestly don’t remember what this dish is! Something delicious with yamaimo. My choice for dessert was sweet potato cheesecake, served with wedges of candied sweet potatoes. Another afternoon, we had tea at Mariage Frères, the Ginza branch of the French tea emporium. The interior looks like something from colonial French or British times, with waiters dressed in white tuxedos. Tea is served in fine white china, from teapots in distinctive metal cozies. We also made an excursion to Yokohama, where we met Torakris and her family. Kris and her kids met us for lunch at the train station, and we walked over to Yokohama’s famed Chinatown, one of the largest in the world. We had lunch at Daska, which promotes itself as a food theme park. The food court is designed to resemble Shanghai in the 1920s, with individual stalls selling various Chinese foods. We thought this panda dumpling would be filled with red bean paste as a dessert, but instead it contained ground pork. Kris in her kitchen. Kris prepared a lovely dinner of temaki-zushi. On this platter, clockwise from the top surrounding the raw tuna, are sliced okra, squid, red onions and shiso leaves, scallops, some white fish (maybe sea bream), broccoli sprouts, and avocado. A second platter of ingredients held slices of smoked salmon, cooked shrimp, radish sprouts, pickles, and cucumbers. We could wrap our choice of ingredients in rice-topped nori, or for a lower-carb choice, lettuce leaves. Our final dinner was at the home of my elderly Japanese friend, whose husband had been in the diplomatic corps. She cooked a very cosmopolitan meal of oeufs en gelée, Pakistani chicken curry, Chinese barbecued spareribs, garlicky steak and vegetables, and Japanese shredded daikon and cucumber salad, followed by fresh strawberries and Godiva chocolate cookies for dessert. Despite spending three weeks to travel in Japan, we didn’t have time to see everything on our “must do” list and certainly didn’t have time to see all our friends. Wendy is already badgering me for us to go back next vacation!
  16. My Japan Blog -- better late than never! My 12 year old daughter Wendy and I went to Japan in mid-December 2008 to spend the Christmas and New Year’s holidays there with friends. (My husband passed away in July and we didn’t want to spend the holidays at home, where there are too many memories.) It was the best decision we could possibly have made. Surrounded by the warmth of old friendships, we felt very, very comforted and loved. Wendy, who is into anime, was thrilled at her first visit to Japan, and even a broken ankle couldn't stop her from wanting to see and do everything. (She fell about a week before our trip and went through Japan with her leg in a neon-green cast – onsen and all!) And I of course love Japan and was excited to be back for the first time in 17 years. During our three weeks there, we stayed with an American friend who lives in Tokyo, visited a “secret” ryokan in Chichibu, traveled to Kyoto for several days (including an overnight stay at a Zen temple), spent the New Year's holidays at the home of a Japanese friend who lives near Mount Fuji, and met Torakris and her family in Yokahama. Naturally, food was a major highlight of our travels. Our eating adventures began as soon as we reached Tokyo. Instead of going directly to my friend’s home, she met us at the train station and took us to Hanukkah party at the Tokyo branch of the Chabad, luggage and all! About 30 people were crowded into a tiny room, eating latkes (the potato pancakes traditionally served for that holiday) and drinking Coca-Cola, while two Israeli women performed a comedy skit in Hebrew. Then it was out to my friend’s house in the suburbs to meet the rest of the family -- two dachshunds -- and eat a comforting bowl of homemade Chinese hot 'n' sour soup. Can we say a melting pot of cultures? The next day, after sleeping reasonably late, we met a Japanese friend in Harajuku, stopping for a quick lunch at a ramen shop called Mensaika Hokuto just across the street from the Takeshita-dori exit of the JR Yamanote station. Sorry to say, we were so hungry that I didn’t take any pictures of the food! However, I was impressed that the cooks behind the counter wore snowy chefs’ whites and toques á la Tampopo, rather than the T-shirts and headbands they typically wear in Hawaii. It was then over to stroll along Takeshita-dori, window-shopping, buying wild socks, and keeping a keen eye out for Harajuku fashions. Wendy was eager to see Cos-Play (short for "costume play"), where young people dress up as their favorite manga or anime characters and re-enact scenes from the stories. Most Cos-Play takes place in Harajuku on Sunday. But Wendy was delighted to come across this young woman in full “Gothic Lolita” regalia on Monday. (Note the coordinated hair bow and knee socks, printed with cupcakes and teacups, part of the Lolita style.) It started raining steadily, and we decided we shouldn’t continue walking around because Wendy needed to keep her cast dry, so we taxied over to Shinjuku where we dinnered at Champa Thai restaurant in Isetan department store. One of our dishes was this seafood hotpot. The next day, my American friend took us to one of her favorite hideaways for an overnight stay: a ryokan in Chichibu, the countryside about an hour by train out of Tokyo. Also along for the pajama party were an Aussie friend of hers, two elderly Japanese women (one an old friend of mine, one a friend of my American friend), and one well-behaved dachshund. Our group ranged in age from 12 to 80+, and I haven't had that much fun or laughed that much in a loooooooong time! Based on our dinner feast at the ryokan and other culinary excursions, we decided we would name our group "Six Hungry Women"! The train station in Chichibu was filled with craft stores and food stalls. Dango at the station. Enormous cabbages for sale. My place setting at dinner at the ryokan. Can you believe it? All this food for one person!! (And think of the dishwashing!) From left to right Top row: (In the iron pot covered by the wooden lid) wild boar stew (a specialty of the country area -- personally, I thought the boar was tough), fresh strawberries for dessert, vegetable tempura, grilled ayu (sweetfish, a freshwater fish – now I know why it’s so revered!). [The dish in the top right corner belongs to the diner across from me who didn't want the fish.] Middle row: Chicken teriyaki, (in the bowl with the orange lid) clear soup, (in the smaller covered pink bowl) chawanmushi (custard soup), sashimi (hamachi, maguro, and ika, garnished with a shiso leaf, shredded daikon, and sansho sprig), rice (in the aluminum pot covered by a wooden lid). Bottom row: empty plate and porcelain spoon for eating the stew, dish of pickles, chopsticks, lacquer spoon, oshibori (wet towelette), small dish of mixed vegetables, soy sauce for the sashimi, upside down bowl for the rice (atop a rice paddle for scooping it out of its container), glass of water. Japanese breakfast the next morning. Again, this set is one person's meal! Top row from the left: Salad of green vegetables, tomato and ham; (in the orange dish) hijiki salad, grilled salmon, pan with simmering broth for cooking an egg. Middle row: paper cup of natto (which I loathe so I didn't eat), assorted pickles, packet of nori to crumble over the rice, a raw egg meant to be cooked as desired. Bottom row: upside-down rice bowl, oshibori, spoon, and chopsticks. Not seen: container of cooked rice; teapot. The teacups are between the two trays. These are the rotenburo (outdoor baths) at our ryokan (bathing is divided by sex), in a roofless cedar room with picture windows open to the sky, the cold air, the sound of birds, and a view of camellias. The tub in the rear is made of dark blue pottery; the tub in the foreground is made of cedar. Each comfortably seats 4 or more people. Each bath had a muslin bag filled with fragrant fresh yuzu tied to the faucet. That's steam you see rising from the baths. Several restaurants in town are noted for their handmade soba. This is the entry of the sobaya where we had lunch. We all ordered the vegetarian lunch sets: vegetable tempura, a huge bowl of soba, and a small dish of pickles. The soba, topped with vegetables. So much tempura I couldn’t finish my portion! Our Christmas dinner was traditionally American: the buffet at the Hotel Sanno, the U.S. military hotel in Tokyo. Friends had assembled a group of about 30 people, including expats and Japanese, and a good time was had by all. It was quite a spread, complete with ice carvings and Santa Claus. After the Christmas buffet, some of our group took taxis downtown to view the Illuminations set up for Christmas. This shot was taken looking up into an archway. We also caught a free gospel concert and had coffee in Tokyo Midtown, a relatively new shopping center.
  17. Marvelous report -- and makes me natsukashii for Japan already!!!
  18. Like Domestic Goddess, I can't believe how much eating you've crammed into a few days in Japan! And the pastries....
  19. Now you're putting me to shame because I haven't yet blogged my 3 week trip to Japan over Christmas and New Year's... Okay... to work I go! (Wonderful photos and experiences, BTW. I'm surprised we haven't officially "met" yet!) P.S. I'll wait until you finish yours before posting mine, so as not to compete and confuse the readership!
  20. But there is Baconnaise -- from the same guys who developed Bacon Salt. It's apparently selling pretty well, too, especially after it was panned on TV! http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ente...syndication=rss
  21. And, according to the website, "Each serving is as healthy as real bacon"... I dunno... I'm less perturbed by the concept of bacon-in-a-bottle than I am by the 12-year shelf life!
  22. I agree about the agar-agar, which a vegetarian restaurant most likely would have used instead of gelatin.
  23. Great uses for it but it really makes it sort of a half spherical electric frypan rather than a wok. ← That's true.
  24. I have an electric wok. I never use it to make stir-fries (that's what my wok on the rangetop is for). But I do use it to make & serve paella at the table (it's large enough) and to make & serve fondue! I don't like the one I have, however. I used to have one that was fully immersible in water once the electric cord was detached. When that kicked the bucket (due to falling from the top of the kitchen cabinet and getting bent completely out of shape), I bought the only one I could find locally. It can't be detached from its base and is a b**ch to clean.
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