12/31/2009

End of 2009 --- House Cleaning to Welcome New Year's God

Year End is always busy. For Japanese, it is big housecleaning season..... to welcome New Year's God to the clean house. I did all the cleaning from bathroom to windows, washed curtains, sold old books ( probably total was over 50 books).

Now it feels much better....cleaner house and ready for new year's celebration. In the apartment complex, they usually do not have the ornament ( I do ) , but if you walk around residential area, you will see pretty new year's ornaments on their entrance doors.

I will try to take some photos tomorrow to upload here.

Was this good year for you? Wishing you prosperous, successful 2010 ! See you in 2010 !!!

12/25/2009

Roasted Chicken Thigh for Christmas


I found this at supermarket today and bought it.
We do not eat Turkey for Christmas...I don't know why, but it is not easy to find turkey at markets here.

This used to be typical Christmas dish when I was small. Nowadays, probably it is not called " feast", but back in 1970's it was.

What I did for Christmas this year ? Secret.

( Somehow in Japan, Christmas Eve is for lovers, couples.... I feel it is more for families.... for Japanese, Eve is something romantic..... how would Jesus think about this phenomenon !??
I was always wondering.)

Due to economy's downturn, it seems this year many people spent their Christmas at home instead of having dinner at expensive restaurants. In a way, I feel it is healthy.



Baked Apple --- Using Mr. T's Apple

As I sometimes write, I have wonderful neighbors.
They often give me fruits, food, teas etc. etc.

The other day, Mr. T living on the same floor gave me apples. ( He has given me so much.... fruits, carrot juice, apple juice, bottled soy sauce.....)

I made this baked apple from those apples.

Simply slice the apple, put some butter on them,
brown sugar as well, then put them into the heated oven and cook them for 15 to 18 min.



Aftertaste was Bitter --- " A Friend from England"

The ending was something unexpected. It was quite bitter and painful. For those of you who are going to read, I will not go into too much details. The protagonist is self-reliant, 32 year-old woman and she has to face her complete solitude at the end, which she probably did not wish to admit. Well, this character is single working woman, but if you compare the deeply isolated feeling of hers with the ones of housewives from " Mori ni Nemuru Sakana" by Mitsuyo Kakuta, this kind of solitude is not only found in women who are living alone. If I start talking about it, it will go to either feminism or psychological analysis....as the critics are saying, the ending is very harsh with ferocity. I think this novel and Anita Brookner is superb since it is scooping out the modern women's way of life, its pain and struggle, fear and courage, unhappiness and happiness, virtue and ugliness.... and ultimate longing for eternal unity. The aftertaste was not pleasant... storywise, yet as book reading, I fully enjoyed since it describes some aspects of human being.... here is it woman, but not limited to this gender.

12/22/2009

Anita Brookner --- A British Novelist

It is almost Christmas.... for many of you, it is already holiday season. I have not prepared or sent any cards this year. Also, new year cards.... I should start working on them soon.

Anyways, today's subject is reading books. It is difficult to find time to read books these days... there are so many things to do and also so many things to read.... news on Internet, business papers etc. etc..... Yet, I always loved reading books, so decided to squeeze out some time to start reading " books" again. This means the real books....books for pleasure, books to think....

There are piles of books in my room. Some were given by my friend who works at publisher.... these are in English. I have read some of them, yet have not completed reading those....stopped before finishing somehow. I would love to go back to them. I have some other Japanese books I have been reading in parallel.

The one I am concentrating at the moment is Anita Brookner's ( A Booker prize winner ) " A Friend from England", which is impressing me with its wise, ingenious expression and exquisite observations. I am reading in English. I should probably read it in Japanese also and compare, yet I feel I should enjoy her beautiful writing in its original language. Unfortunately, it seems only a part of her work have been translated into Japanese, which is understandable in a way since her work is rather introspective and not a kind of glamorous story.

However, her story made me realize again how amusing to read books was.

12/06/2009

Sashimi --- Raw Fish Set Menu



ATE:

TEL: 03-3262-0044
Address: 4-8-34 Kudan Minami, Chiyoda-Ku,
Tokyo 102-0074 Japan

Lunch & Dinner.... There are only 23 seats total ( total of 1st floor and 2nd floor) , so it is better to call and make a reservation in advance.

Dinner Menu , there are various tempting food I would like to try next time. Traditional Japanese food and Sake...

ATE in Ichigaya ... A Restaurant Set in an Old House


This two-story building is a Japanese restaurant. Probably this used to be some body's home....small, traditional....or now almost antique house. At the entrance, you will be asked to remove your shoes....This house was built at the end of 1950's.

I was suggested to have lunch meeting there and we both ordered sashimi set menu. The price was 850 yen.

Good deal for this price, please check the photo above.

ATE:
2 min. from Ichigaya station. ( JR exit.) You will see Bank of Mitsubishi UFJ Tokyo, pass that bank and then next is Risona Bank. When you pass the Risona, turn right. This house will be on your right in 20 secs.








When it is Chilly..... Chicken Ball & Chinese Cabbage Soup


This is another left over found in the fridge.
Chicken ball (pre-made and packaged ) and Chinese cabbage soup. I added rice cakes, ground ginger, miso paste. The top yellow one is ground Yuzu lemon skin.... smells good... typical winter condiment.

Canned Salmon's Hot Salad


You can use any veggie for this. I used hakusai(Chinese cabbage) and green onion.

Handy enough when you don't want to go out for shopping.

Ingredients:
1 canned salmon / 1 tea spoon grape seed oil / 1 table spoon sesame oil / red chili pepper ( cut) / 1 clove garlic ( coarsely chopped) / 1 table spoon soy sauce / green onion ( cut into 5 cm) / chopped Chinese cabbage ( 3 leaves)


1. Set the pan over a medium heat and pour both oils with garlic and chili.
2. Place the canned salmon on the plate. Sprinkle cut green onion over the salmon.
3. When the garlic is turning to brown color, add the Chinese cabbage. Cook well.
4. Add soy sauce just before you turn off the fire.
5. The above is the dressing for salmon. Pour over the salmon and green onion.

12/01/2009

Kakitama Udon --- @ Tamaru An , Shimokitazawa


It was chilly day. I had this Udon noodle at Tamaru An located on 1st avenue ( Ichiban Gai) in Shimokitazawa.

The thick egg soup warmed me up.


11/29/2009

Alice Waters --- Pioneer of Organic Food & Dietary Education

Alice Waters --- I don't remember where I heard of her name first,but I was always curious about her and her restaurant. In the TV program.... I guess it was 60 min. of CBS. ... I saw her face for the first time and learned that she had set up her opinion about organic food and dietary education long time before it became trend. I think it is impressive that one restaurant's movement and statement has been spread this far.... especially from U.S. where the junk, unhealthy food and drink is commonly consumed. She is in mid 60s now and still active and trying to promote her belief in food.

Adaptation from Alice Waters Brunch

There are many restaurants where I would like to visit someday in the future...... Chez Panisse in Berkley, California.... is one of them.

The other day I saw a TV program visiting her and her restaurant. The reporter was invited to her home and she serves brunch.... which was similar to this photo. The bottom is toast, then chopped tomato and some other veggies including nuts were piled up on that... I think. I found some tomatoes and shungiku (garland chrysanthemum) in my stock, so chopped them. For dressing, ground garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and olive oil and some pepper.
In the heated pan, made sunny side up and put on the top of this bread salad.

11/18/2009

Simple Breakfast


Steamed white rice, fresh egg. I drizzled some soy sauce and sesame oil over it and sprinkled chopped chive. Miso soup has sliced potato in it.

Miso soup might take 5 to 10 min. The egg & rice is only 3 min. Perfect for busy morning.


11/16/2009

Ramen at Home


While I always look for good Ramen place, I also cook Ramen using instant package at home.

This is some day's lunch. Green veggie, boiled egg and seaweed.

This kind of Ramen noodle does not have much nutrition, so I always add something healthy.

Afternoon Tea at Ritz-Carlton Tokyo III


Even this teapot and warmer itself was beautiful.

I tend to talk to people working at restaurants or hotels and ask many questions.... I think they thought I am sort of travel journalist or writer.... ( maybe ? maybe not ? )

The manager came out when we were leaving and apologized saying " Sorry, M'am, our PR person is taking off today and could not answer to your questions. " Oh, that is OK ! No problem.

If you visit hotels, let's behave ! I heard that there are some guests who throw away cigarette butt on the carpeted floor.

Afternoon Tea at Ritz-Carlton Tokyo II


I don't remember the names of each....

The pink one was raspberry flavored cake, the center was creamy.... cake or bavarois, chocolate cake, chestnut tart...

Afternoon Tea at Ritz-Carlton Tokyo

A friend of mine won a gift certificate at some event, which invited us to this afternoon tea at Ritz-Carlton Hotel Tokyo.

Beautiful setting and sweets including cucumber sandwiches.

The service was also excellent. I enjoyed talking to them also.

"Lobby Lounge & Bar" located on 45th floor of Ritz Carlton Tokyo.

Lucky me. Thanks to my friend and the event.
They will show you a box of tea variation. It's hard to choose. I ordered Ritz-Carlton Brand...spicy, exotic taste.

Address:
Ritz-Carlton Tokyo in Tokyo Midtown.
9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo




11/11/2009

French Bistro in Kichijoji --- Galette


I was happy to have found this place.
Another GALETTE restaurant, actually bistro.

Did I write about this before ? I don't remember.

Maybe you know already, so if there is any correction needed in my explanation, please let me know.

Galette is from Bretagne, a region of France.
There were Celtic people moved from England in the region. ( That is why the region is called Bretagne meaning Britain in French.)

It was very tough to live there..... It was difficult to make products with its poor land.... but they were able to cultivate buckwheat and that is the origin how Galette--- buckwheat pancake was born.

In this bistro, which is close to Inokashira Park, I tried their Galette with salad.
Nice, cozy bistro, next time, I'd like to try their dinner.

Cafe & Bistrot TOURJOUR:

Open for lunch & dinner, Closed on Tuesdays
B1F, 1-17-1, Minami-cho, Kichijoji, Musashino-Shi, Tokyo1800003
TEL/FAX:0422-24-8738


11/08/2009

Fried Sword Fish with Radish Bedding


OK, I feel I had enough veggie today with this.

Lightly boiled broccoli with ponzu ( soy sauce & lemon juice/ yuzu juice ) is shown above.

The bottom, center plate is Sword fish with Japanese radish bedding.

Ingredients:
1 slice of sword fish.
200 grams of radish ( grated ) with some chopped leaves( lightly boiled).
Some starch. / Ponzu / Olive oil
1. Prepare the bedding first.
2. Cut sword fish into sticks.
3. Dress sword fish with starch.
4. Heat the pan and pour 1 table spoon olive oil.
5. Cook the fish till the surface turns brown.
6. Take the fish out and soak it immediately into ponzu.
7. Place the fish on the radish bedding and pour the ponzu over it.



Persimmon


Did you know that persimmon is rich in Vitamin C ?
Yet, it seems this fruit is not so popular nowadays.

When I was small, I often saw this trees in many Japanese gardens....

This persimmon was too ripe and became like jelly.
( I like this jelly like ones also. )

Lifted the top part ( calyx or hull ? ) and scooped with this spoon. Sweet... just like jello.
Persimmon is in season right now, so quite reasonable.... 50 yen to 70 yen each. ( in my area.)

If you saw it, try one !


Koya-Dofu ( Freeze-Dried Bean Curd )


It is said the origin of this tofu ( bean-curd ) is Mt. Koya.... that is where the name came from.

The monks of Mt. Koya created this.

At supermarket, you can easily find it, if you are in Japan. If you are in cities with Asian market, it should be there.

This is my original recipe.

Ingredients:

1 turnip including its stalk and leaves... cut into bite size.
5, 6 pieces of Koya-Dofu. ( If they are big ones, soak it once into lukewarm water and squeeze.
Then cut into bite size. )
Dashi Powder ( sort of Japanese soup stock powder), Soy sauce

1. Boil 2 or 3 cups of water.
2. Add dashi powder (approximately 1 tea spoon ....to taste)
3. Add sugar ( about 1 tea spoon) and add Koya-Dofu and turnip.
4. Keep cooking and add soy sauce. Cook till the water is almost gone.
5. Add cut stalk part and leaves of the turnip. Cook for another 2, 3 min.
6. Stir well. Taste it and if it is not salty enough, add extra salt or soy sauce to taste.



Sweet Potato and Chinese Cabbage Hot Salad


This is today's breakfast. Not much protein... I just realized.

Ingredients:

1 Sweet Potato ( It was more like Yum potato.... I got from a friend. )---Microwaved till cooked.

A chunk of Chinese Cabbage ---Cooked for 5 min. in boiled water.

soy sauce, mayonnaise, yuzu-kosho ( spicy , flavorful condiment made of yuzu lemon ) ,
sugar..

1. Place cooked Chinese cabbage first, then add cooked potato on it.
2. Mix soy sauce, mayonnaise, yuzu-kosho, sugar ... this is the dressing. ( I put 2 tea spoon each.)
3. While the veggies are still hot, pour the sauce over it and enjoy !

Miso & Mayonnaise Sauce


This sauce could be used for various veggies.... such as cooked potato, broccoli, celery, radish.....

This photo is carrot and the sauce. Check Spelling

Yes, I often eat chocolates, potato chips and nuts when I enjoy beer, brandy, sake.....but this is healthy version.

Just mix 2 table spoons of miso and mayonnaise.

10/31/2009

Beef Bowl with Potato


This was very easy.

I found inexpensive Australian beef package the other day. For 1 kilogram, it was 780 yen.

I made small beef wrap about 100 grams each and put into freezer and have been using it for cooking.

Ingredients:

100 grams of beef. ( Thinly sliced. )
1 potato and Mentsuyu ( bottled sauce for noodle)

1. Cut the beef into bite size.
2. Peel the potato and cut into bite size.
3. Heat the pan and start cooking potato with oil till the potato turns brown. ( Salt and pepper)
4. Then take out the potato. In the same pan, start cooking the beef.
5. When the beef is cooked, add 2 spoonful mentsuyu. Cook 2, 3 minutes.

Prepare steamed rice in the bowl and put the above on it. Enjoy !

I am into Butter Rice Cake


Yomogi mochi. It is mochi ( rice cake ) made from sticky rice and sagebrush... I guess it is a family of sage, that is why the color is green.

The left is Natto mochi ( rice cake with fermented beans seasoned with soy sauce ) and right is sweet ...I put a spoonful butter and sugar ( sometimes I use honey.) .

This butter version is yum !

Baby Sardine --- Another Package Found in Fridge


I found a package of salted baby sardine.... it is slightly salted.
The middle bowl has grated radish as bedding and baby sardine on that. No soy sauce or salt needed. ( For me. Some people use soy sauce though)

Far right up on the corner , miso soup with seaweed and chopped scallion and grated ginger. ( Usually , you wouldn't add grated ginger to miso soup, but I added thinking it could be a help to prevent flu. )

Light, healthy breakfast.

Fridge Cleaning Day --- Prevention of Flu


It it the end of October. I can see bits and pieces of scallion, carrot, shungiku ( garland chrysanthemum) , bacon etc....in the fridge.

I cooked this pasta...the sauce is bacon, garlic and shungiku and grape seed oil. Shungiku has chrysanthemum like flavor... full of
carotene and good for you. It is often used in Winter for Nabe.


The right is left over from breakfast and then I added apple juice. ( I made it )

In Japan, there are over 1 million patients of H1N1 flu and the best prevention is to stay healthy by having healthy life style. I am trying to sleep well, eat well.
So far, it is working. I have not caught cold or flu for the past one year. I have not done anything special,so I guess this " eat well " method is working for me.

According to some CNN program, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin A and zinc are the nutrients which boost your immune system and keep you healthy.

Fruits, leafy greens, lean beef, pork, turkey, beans and yogurt .... these have Vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc.

Let's follow it and block viruses.

Lunch ...A Restaurant located in Mitsui Tower

It is Halloween today. Although it is American event, lately there are lots of shops and restaurants with Halloween decoration. mm.
In my area also, I can see orange pumpkins in front of homes.

I used to buy pumpkin ornaments, but it's been busy and Thanks Giving and Christmas are coming.... so , don't do it anymore. ( maybe next year, I change my mind. :)

The top here is chicken hamburger with rice and the bottom is
mango jelly dessert. It was nice lunch meeting at De Meter
located on 2nd floor of Mitsui Tower. While I enjoyed the conversation and information exchange, I enjoyed the decor also.

Spacious and cozy.

De Meter:

2nd floor, Mitsui Tower
2-1-1 Muromachi, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3241-1630
Open for lunch and dinner.






10/08/2009

Tofu Salad with Garlic Dressing

This is quick and easy.... did I make it before ? I don't remember. Anyways, drain tofu for 5-10 min. Tear it into bite size... It depends what you have in your fridge.
I found lettuce, tomato and tofu, so made salad as shown below.

In the frying pan, add sliced garlic and oil ( I would use olive oil or grape seed oil).
Cook for a while.... then shut off the heat, add some soy sauce and sweet rice wine ( mirin ).
That will be the dressing.


When I don't have time to cook.....

As you may have noticed, lately I have been busy.... I try to cook when I can, but when I cannot... below is some example I buy at convenience stores.

Fried chicken and salad.... bean salad and banana....



10/05/2009

The University of Tokyo --- French Restaurant in the Campus


Sorry, I fell asleep and could not upload during the weekend.
So, the answer is University of Tokyo.

It seems their Hongo campus also has this same restaurant.

I went to their Komaba campus, which is third station from Shibuya by local train on Keio-Inokashira line.

The lunch is.... salad, main ( you can choose one from meat, fish or pasta) and bread for 800 yen.
I think coffee was 200 yen, if you order lunch. Dessert is not included, but it sounded so tempting and we both ordered dessert. In the campus, it is located in Faculty House.

I ordered fish for main. It was good deal. Also, it is nice to walk around in the campus. They have trees and some historical buildings. I found museum also. Since I did not have time, this time I couldn't stop by, but next time, I will check out the museum !





10/02/2009

French Restaurant located in....... ?


I had lunch meeting the other day at this nice restaurant.

Although it looks expensive place, it was reasonable.

Located in nice quiet place and surrounded by green trees....

I will advise you tomorrow where it was..... Look forward to it !


9/28/2009

Lettuce, Lettuce....


Lately, I am ( somehow ) into lettuce.

The top photo is Chili beans with lettuce bedding. ( Topping is chopped onion and Parmesan cheese. ) I heated up the canned chili and added the rest of ingredients.

The bottom is Ramen noodle soup with shredded lettuce and fish sausage topping.

I love the fresh crispy texture of lettuce. It is also good veggie to take Vitamin E.

9/14/2009

Hectic Again....

It's been very hectic again....So much to work on... then this is also a season that many visitors come from overseas. Saturday , I am meeting some friends, but unfortunately, I cannot see a friend who is visiting from US, who is available on Wednesday... due to tight work schedule. Hope that he comes back shortly. Oh, well, that happens once in a while.

I have not forgotten about this blog, so please come back once in a while and check this out !

Am going to back to work again now. Take care !


9/06/2009

Garlic Butter Clam with Parsley


You don't have to use soy sauce, if you don't have it. In that case, just put some salt.

Ingredients:
2 cups of clams
1 cup of chopped parsley
1 to 2 tea spoons of soy sauce ( to taste )
1 tea spoon of butter
1/2 cup of sake or white wine
1 cup of water
1 to 2 tea spoons of ground garlic


1) Thoroughly wash clams and get rid of sand before cooking. ( I usually put clams in a bowl with water and cover the lid. Leave it for 10 to 20 min. )

2) Put the clams in a pan. Add wine or sake , water over them. Put the pan over high heat.

3) Cover the lid. When it started boiling and clams are open, add parsley, garlic and butter.
Stir and cook for 2, 3 min.

4) Pour soy sauce over 3). Done !

Soy Bean Milk


At Starbucks, sometimes I order a latte with soy bean milk.

This morning, I cooked sausage, cabbage, carrot soup with soy bean milk. First, you fry sausage with no oil at medium heat.
Then add carrot and cabbage. Pour two cups of water, add two tea spoons of soup powder, then add soy bean milk.

Easy breakfast.


The Baby Cat Found Nice Foster Family !

I am pleased that the silver gray cat found nice foster family ! I forwarded the photo to the pet shop and they introduced that to the family who was looking for a baby cat. Good news !

9/01/2009

Which Type are You ? Plant-eating or Meat-eating?

Lately in Japan, it has been trendy to see if the boy is plant-eating type or meat-eating type.

As you can imagine, plant-eating type is less aggressive, calm, doesn't approach girls actively.
On the other hand, there are many meat-eating type girls around me including me.
Well, don't get me wrong, I would not approach boys or men aggressively, but love to eat meats and gain power from that ! Also, these girls are strong in both physically and mentally. For my brain or mental power, I am not sure :) ,but I am definitely strong physically. ( I am not muscular , but rarely catch colds, or get sick.... ) Some of my girl friends are meat-eating type..... who would approach and ask boys out before being asked.... ( ! )

So, look around you and enjoy to determine your friends if they are plant-eating type or meat-eating type.

Summer is almost Over ? Saury Season


This is grilled saury-teishoku ( set menu with rice and miso-soup ).

Typical fall food. Yummmmmmm.

Cafe OB in Shin Yurigaoka

The other day, I had a lunch with my aunt.

After the lunch, she took me to a cafe, which serves huge drinks.

This is " Cream Soda" served in Salad Bowl !??

Price is normal, or even more reasonable than other shops.

If You Like Kitty and Live in Japan ......

If you like cats and live in Tokyo especially near Setagaya, would you consider to have these two cats ? They are stray cats, but as you can see, they are beautiful.

This silver gray cat has been captured by a lady who takes care of these cats and waiting for you.

Mother is still on street, but we will catch her soon and she will have doctor's check up.

If you are interested in having either of them, let me know.

8/11/2009

Why Edo Culture ?

As mentioned before, I am so into Edo culture lately. When I had brunch with a friend over the past weekend, we chatted on various things including the career, economic situation, politics, mindset trends etc.... then we came to some speculation....we lost something that we used to have.... people became so materialistic for the past 20 years and Edo era has something warmer... and that is why I feel comfortable to read Edo stories.... Maybe.

Cold Plates for Humid Summer Dinner


mmm, lately, it is quite humid. These are both cold plates.

1) Tofu ( tastes like Mozzarella cheese after 3,4 min. micro wave...please use momen ( hard ) tofu ) and tomato salad. The top green powder is Wasabi salt.
Then, I added vinegar and olive oil. Stir well.

2) The right hand side is Smoked Salmon Salad with chopped onion and cucumber. For dressing, I mixed olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.



Breakfast --- Summer Veggie


This is today's breakfast. Tamagokake-Gohan ( Rice with raw egg and a teaspoonful soy sauce) , Fried egg plant and green pepper.

One egg plant and green pepper --- cut into bit size as the photo shows. Fry them with grape seed oil and season with sauce= mix Japanese dashi soup powder , water, sugar and miso paste.


8/05/2009

Deep Fried Spring Roll --- Pizza Style


There are lot I like to write, but hard to concentrate on this.
mmm, will soon find some time to write more. Lately, I am into Edo Culture and have been reading several books about it or stories set in the era.

Please look forward to it.

In the meantime, this was easy, yet delicious ! You do not have to prepare lots of oil... Just 2, 3 cm of oil in the pan.



Ingredients:

Sliced cheese or shredded cheese ( natural cheese ) 1 slice or to taste
chopped tomato 1 small tomato
shredded green pepper 2 green pepper
shredded ham 2 slices
1 sheet of spring roll sheet
grape seed oil 2 cm in a small pan

1. Place a sheet of spring roll and put all the ingredients.
( If it looks too much , put just right amount .)

2. Wrap the ingredients and close the end. ( If it doesn't sit right, use flour and water as glue.)

3. Prepare oil in the pan.

4. Put the Roll into the oil. Deep fry it till the whole roll browns.

5. Before it gets burned, take it out. Drain off the fat.

Enjoy the crispy , pizza like Roll ! I didn't add any salt, but cheese gives enough flavour.
It is up to you !







7/28/2009

What Are They Eating --- Japan's General Election

General Election is coming up in August. Those politicians are busy with preparation. What are they eating ? Do they ever care about us--- civilians and what we eat ?

Dinner Tonight

Wow. Sorry, somehow, it is upside down. Oh, well, can you enjoy it as it is ? :)

It is fish sausage, carrot and bitter gourd ( summer food) .

Just fry them in sesame oil and season with oyster sauce ( about 1 table spoon). I enjoyed it with brown rice ( healthy ! ) .


It has been over 2 months !

Hi ! Sorry for long long silence. For the past 2 months, I have been extremely busy. Not just for business, for privates as well. I am fine and quite active. Believe or not, I have not used air-conditioning this summer yet... in this humid over 30 degree temperature. I am challenging myself. It reminds me of my high school days when I was playing basketball. Our head coach used to tell us.... " If your body gets used to cool, air-conditioned weather, not good for your body, muscles... " mmm, let's see how much longer my body could bear this !

5/17/2009

Curry a Day --- Morning curry is supposed to be good for your brain


Yes, I always liked curry --- various types---European mild curry, Indian soupy spicy curry, Japanese curry , Thai curry.... the one lately I am making is more like Japanese + Indian type.  

Bit soupy... ,but I do not use Japanese ready-made curry blocks.  Instead, I use curry powder since it has more real turmeric, which is good for liver. 
Also, I heard if you eat curry in the morning, that helps your brain start working !!! Since then, I try to eat curry once a day.... ( I am so into it right now...but you know, I will get tired of the pattern after a while, I think !  For a while, let me do this !!!  Let's see if I get smarter in the morning. ) 

Recipes --- I challenge different ones every time, although basics are same. 

For the one in the photo, the following was the way:
Ingredients:
1 clove of ginger / 1 clove of garlic both chopped. chopped chili pepper ( 1 tea spoon)
1 table spoon of curry powder ( mine has turmeric, coriander etc.)
1 tea spoon of salt/ 1 table soon of grape seed oil / 1/2 chopped onion / 1 green pepper
2 table spoon of chopped carrot/ 100 grams of pork ( small cubes ) 
1 bay leaf/ 1 pinch of dried rosemary / a pinch of dried sage ( herb ) / a pinch of dried thyme
1 pinch of nutmeg/ 1 table spoon of sake or white wine.

1.  Start cooking ginger, garlic and chili pepper with grape seed oil in the pan.
2. Add onion.  Keep cooking till the onion gets clear color.
3. Add carrot.  Add salt, bay leaf, rosemary , sage and thyme.
4. Add pork.  Cook for 5 min. then add Sake.
5. Add 2 cups of water.  Keep cooking and let it boil at the high heat.
6. Check and see how it tastes.  If it needs more salt, add here. 
7. At low heat, keep cooking for another 10 to 15 min. Add green pepper.
8.  At the very end, add curry powder. 

You can eat it as spicy soup with bread or pour over steamed white rice. 
Enjoy !  It is very spicy and makes you awake. 

5/04/2009

Swine Flu or H1N1

It should not be called " Swine Flu " any more ?  I was watching some program on CNN and l earned that pork producers and restaurants who have pork menus complained about it.  Then Mexican Flu ?  No, Mexican Ambasador claimed.  Therefore, H1N1.  

There is no direct effect at the moment around me.  I can see many people wearing masks though. 
Should I get one ?  I heard that you 'd better prepare about 20 masks per person.  ( According to my aunt.) 

Well, I have been eating properly ( very healthy at the moment ) and sleeping well enough, so my immune system should be working OK.  Maybe tomorrow, just in case, I 'd better buy a package.

By the way, this is Golden Week in Japan, ( Not so golden for me ) and it is long holiday ( for some people.) .  I have been working mostly, but no problem !  It has been interesting businesses including making plans for classes I teach.  I went to see a play on Sat, I should write about it. 

Am planning to see a group of friends tomorrow.  Other than that, I will be working till the end of this ( Ha ! ) 

Pancake is more for Weekends

Don't you think ?  I usually have pancakes on Saturdays or Sundays.  

I love the smell when they are cooked in the pan, sweet weekend smell..... 

I have been bit busy lately, probably you have noticed.  

It feels bad though to say " busy".  I still remember my professor's advice.  " In Chinese character we use, busy is written as - losing mind- or - damaging mind- , so not good. "  Well, I don't think I am losing my mind, but busy in good ways ! 

One thing that keeps me busy from this Spring is that classes I started teaching.  I am now adjunct professor at one university and instructor  for 2 classes at one national institute.    Teaching classes are international business and English interpretation. ( !! I still need to study myself, but it is never ending study also. ) 

4/26/2009

TOFU & TOFU Dinner


mmm, Sorry, the photo is not sharp enough.
The right is Tofu & Wakame miso soup.

The left is rice bowl with crushed tofu , chopped green onion and Zha Cai.  

Zha Cai is often sold in a small grass bottle here in Japan, originally from China. 

Ingredients:
Chopped Zha Cai ( 1 table spoon ) 
Chopped Green Onion ( 1/2 table spoon ) 
Tofu ( drained off : 1/2 , crushed ) 
Sesame Oil ( 1 tea spoon ) , Say Sauce ( 1 tea spoon ) 

1.  Mix all the ingredients in a preparation bowl. 
2. Put steamed white rice into a dinner bowl. 
3.  Place the mixed tofu on the rice.  Done !