Thursday, April 20, 2017

sakura gohan

Untitled If you've ever wanted to bring home Japan with you and like the flavor of sakura (cherry blossoms), I would suggest getting some sakura hanazuke.

It is also called sakura shiozuke.

It is hard to describe the flavor, but I can tell you it isn't like sour cherries nor American cherry flavors.

Depending on which brand you buy...the size varies and I would assume the price too.

This one cost me about 400 yen (tax included) is about 40 grams and is from Kanagawa.

Untitled The sakura is packed in salt.

Be sure to wash off the salt before using.

IMG_5479 This is one I received from a friend a couple years back and is from Nara and was about 50 grams.

broccoli goma-ae, tako avo poke & sakura gohan❤︎  #broccoli #tako #avocado #poke #sakura #rice #gomaae #osaka #japan #ブロッコリー #胡麻和え #タコ #アボカド #ポケ #桜ごはん #大阪 To make sakura gohan...2 servings.

1 cup rice
4-5 sakura flowers

Soak your flowers for about ten minutes to remove some of the salt.
Cook your rice according to your rice cooker.
Drain and chop up the flowers.
After the rice is cooked, add most of the chopped flowers and mix with your shamoji (rice paddle).
With the remaining chopped flowers, garnish when serving.

NOTES: The only thing about this type of sakura is that it can only be found during Spring. Most stores do not carry it year round. This recipe is super easy and a nice way to enjoy a taste of Japan's Spring.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

prepping for summer

mixed berry compote❤︎  #strawberry #raspberry #blackberry #sourcherry #osaka #japan #苺 #木苺 #ブラックべりー #サワチェリー #大阪 #コンポート #compote Yesterday, I picked up a frozen bag of mixed berries...

After bringing the bag back home, I read the back, it said that you need to cook the berries, not to use as is.

Boo! I had intended to use it as is in smoothies...

So, I rinsed the berries, then cooked it, with a little sugar and some vinegar (didn't have lemon juice)...

I'm going to freeze most of this, but at least now I can use this in smoothies whenever I want to.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

krazy

Untitled Sunday, the weather was beautiful...sunny & HOT!

Seriously feeling like summer...gah!

Yesterday, it started to rain at about lunchtime and didn't stop until early this morning.

I think the weather dude mentioned that we got a month's rainfall in one day...eep!

It is still quite overcast today.

Wanted to share with you the last of the sakura...

Love this season, it is just way too short and the weather just too krazy these days..

Monday, April 17, 2017

shin-tamanegi gohan

Untitled I enjoy the television shows that visit farms.

Most times, the farmer's wife has great ideas for using the veggies that they grow.

Like this one...Shin-tamanegi gohan.

In Japan, Spring veggies are tender and sweet.

Shin-tamanegi (literally "new onion") are super tender.

If you are not careful, they will bruise and rot quickly.

Anyway, the show I was watching visited a farm that grows these onions.

The wife made a rice recipe in her rice cooker and put a whole onion in before cooking.

There wasn't a recipe online to try so I ad-libbed, basing what I did for the shoyu butter corn yakionigiri recipe that I use.

Untitled When I made this, I used 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of water and 1 softball sized shintamanegi.

After cooking, the onion is so soft that you can break it up with the shamoji (rice paddle)!

NOTES: If you use a softball sized onion, cook it with 2 cups rice & 2 cups water. If you use a fist sized onion, then 1 cup rice & 1 cup water will do.

The rice gets a little softer than normal because I think the liquid from the onion adds to the cooking water.

This was nice served with steak and also with an oozy egg the next morning.

I didn't season the rice because we enjoy the flavor of the onion as is, but feel free to put salt and pepper to taste when serving.

I know you may not be able to get this type of onion where you are, but if you happen to be in Japan when shin-tamanegi are in season, I hope you will give this a try.

I'm making this again.

Friday, April 14, 2017

lunch with a view

Untitled Today, I went to Square for lunch because someone posted on social media that the cherry blossoms were in bloom in their area. (click on the photo to view the video)

Untitled From the second floor (their cafe space), you can see this.

Untitled I had their taco rice & iced coffee...1300 yen (tax included).

It was quite filling but I liked how they put the cheese under the broiler and the egg was nice and oozy.

Untitled At the mall too, everything was in full bloom.

Untitled I forgot to share this video of Sakuranomiya with you yesterday... (click on the photo)

Hopefully the weather will hold up over the weekend, so we can check out more blooms.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

sakura walks

Untitled Today was sunny...if you were in the shade it was a bit nippy, but if you were out in the sun, it was quite...hot!

I walked from Umeda to Sakuranomiya.

I've been here several times...it is an area that has cherry trees along the river.

Here is another picture from years before...

Untitled (click on this photo and I hope it will take you to Flickr to view the video)

Untitled From Sakuranomiya, I walked back towards Umeda and through Ogimachi Park.

It was a nice day to be out and about.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

sakura walks

Untitled Monday, the weather was really cloudy and since I ran some errands, I didn't really get to check out any cherry blossoms.

Tuesday, the winds were krazy (like a typhoon) and rainy. AND we had a cold snap...brr!

Today, I went to check out my "usual" spots...(If you click on the photo, it should take you to Flickr, where I hope you'll be able to view the short video.)

Most of the cherry blossoms were still intact, but there were quite a bit of petals on the ground.

Tomorrow is supposed to be better weather, so I hope to check out more cherry blossoms...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

matcha pudding

matcha pudding❤︎  #matcha #pudding #osaka #japan #icedcoffee #スタバ #抹茶プリン #メープルナッツ #アイスコーヒー #大阪 Starbucks recently came out with a matcha pudding...kind of like their custard pudding, but with a matcha sauce at the bottom and matcha mixed into the pudding itself.

I liked how this wasn't too sweet.

The maple covered nuts were nice too (pictured on the side).

The weather has been flip-flopping between warm and cool, making it hard to figure out how to dress...

hope your week is going well.

Monday, April 10, 2017

sunday

quiet sunday❤︎  #minoo #sakura #japan #箕面桜通り #箕面 #大阪 Sunday after the rains on Saturday, it was still grey and drizzly.

We woke up early and checked out our favorite street lined with cherry trees.

There were a lot of petals on the ground but the bulk of the blooms were still on the tree.

Untitled Then, we zipped over to Kyoto to visit MIL.

The area near the Botanical Garden was quite soggy, but there were a couple of weeping cherry trees that were in full bloom.

Untitled Along Kamo River, more trees were in full bloom.

Untitled Despite the drizzles and grey, I was surprised there were a lot of people out and about.

Untitled We picked up some Kamo Donuts. And had them after lunch. (coconut chocolate for me, cream filled cruller for Satoshi and chocolate covered custard filled "monster" for MIL)

After lunch, MIL let us clean a little bit, though we did not even making a dent in what needs to get done...sigh.

Still, I'm glad we got to visit with her and see some sakura.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

sakura walks

Untitled Thursday, the weather was forecast for rain in the afternoon, so I got out and about just before lunch.

Asahigaoka...each house has a cherry tree planted in front, making for a great neighborhood to walk during this time of year. (I cropped out the dude who was crouching down on the road to take his shot...he got tooted at several times by several cars!!)

Untitled A little up the road is this area...I want to be the houses facing these group of trees...beautiful, yeah?!

Untitled I saw someone's photo somewhere on social media and copied the idea using the traffic mirror and the trees...

Untitled This walkway in front of a school has many cherry trees and makes a pretty "tunnel".

Untitled I went back to take a photo of this weeping cherry which I had seen the other day but was too chicken to ask to take a photo of it then because it looked like they were having some kind of dignitary type event there...

Untitled Sonpachiyakujin's weeping cherry looked more white than pink.

Untitled Then I went through Suigetsu Park.

Kinda grey but at least I was able to check them out before the rains.

Friday, April 07, 2017

sakura walks

Untitled Wednesday was forecast for clouds and the weather dude was spot on..

I had to use some filters to "pretty" these photos up...

On a street that is near the Hankyu Minoo Station, they have replaced some of the older tree with new ones, so the cherry blossom tunnel is a bit smaller, but it was nice to see these new trees blooming.

Unfortunately, most of the trees have only started to bloom, so the "tunnel" wasn't quite ready.

Untitled On the other hand, a weeping cherry tree in front of a school was in full bloom, so pretty despite the skies.

Untitled Looking up at all the blooms.

Hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

green tea pork belly rolls

green tea pork belly rolls, drizzle ponzu & lots of cabbage❤︎  #greentea #porkbelly #ponzu #springcabbage #osaka #japan #お茶 #豚バラ #春キャベツ #大阪 #ポン酢 I saw these pork belly rolls filled with used green tea on a tv show, but could not find a recipe, so I adlibbed.

Using several leaves from that huge cabbage, I wilted it in a hot non-stick pan, then set it aside.

Then I made the rolls.

With about a gram of green tea (brewed and ready to throw out), I divvied it up between 6 pieces of pork belly slices.

Put the flap of each pork roll side down onto a heated pan to seal.

Cook for several minutes then turn until all sides are cooked.

Cover with a lid and cook for several minutes so that the inside will cook too.

Not sure how long I cooked everything for, but it was fast (we use gas to cook with, so that might be why also).

Drizzle with ponzu (citrus soy sauce) before eating.

Dinner is served.

NOTES: I know, not really a recipe, sorry.

Still, I think this would be a nice pupu (appetizer) or something for bento.

I didn't season the cabbage (because Satoshi should be watching his salt), but you could definitely use salt, pepper, or your favorite dressing.

Though the television did not specify, I would try to use organic tea especially since you will be eating it.

It is a great way to use up tea that you have brewed and would normally just throw out or put into your compost.

I'm making this again.



Wednesday, April 05, 2017

bambucha

lugged this baby home❤︎only 2 or so kilos but still 💪  #springcabbage #osaka #japan #春キャベツ #大阪 Bambucha (huge) Spring cabbage at the market...298 yen (plus tax).

2 or so kilos (about 4 pounds).

Thinking about all the dishes I can make with this...

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

sakura walks

Untitled It's that time of year again...the cherry blossoms have started blooming and I've started to get out and about more.

I'm glad I got a glimpse of this weeping cherry.

Untitled And this one.

Untitled And this one.

The temps should hit 20C (68F) over the next couple of days so it should help the blossoms bloom a bit more, BUT there is rain forecast from Thursday through the weekend, so hopefully winds won't blow everything away...

Hope to show you more...

Monday, April 03, 2017

tokuya & kenninji

Untitled Saturday, we went to Kyoto. There was an exhibit that Satoshi wanted to see at the Museum of Kyoto.

So while he did that, I walked around Sanjo.

Afterwards we met up and headed towards Gion.

While we were waiting to cross, we were standing right next to a geisha...not 5 seconds later, bazillions of foreigners across the street pointed their smartphones & cameras at us.

When the light changed, boy, could she walk really fast and boy, did we photobomb everyone's pictures...

As we walked down Hanamikoji-dori, I remembered a sweet shop that I wanted to try...Gion Tokuya.

So, we stood in line.

They have warabi mochi & kuzumochi on their menu as well as shave ice.

It was a little to cool for shave ice, so we had warabi mochi & matcha kuzumochi.

Untitled This warabi mochi is served on ice and was silky...delicious with kinako (soy bean powder) and a little kuromitsu (molasses/black honey).

But be careful..if you try to "slurp" it, the kinako will hit you first, you will choke/cough and the mochi will go projectile...trust me, I am now forever traumatized by this...thank goodness no one was sitting right next to our table to see...eep!

Untitled The matcha kuzumochi was also served on ice and delicious, but really slippery.

With my chopstick skills this was also embarrassing...lucky for that wooden spoon...

Untitled We loved the chunky sweet bean paste as well as a mound of matcha to sprinkle onto the kuzumochi.

Untitled Down the street is Kenninji, the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto.

For 500 yen, you can walk around their property AND take pictures...most places don't allow you take photos.

The highlight of this temple, in my opinion, is the twin dragons which is on the ceiling of a separate building and is 11.4 meters (37.4 feet) by 15.7 meters (51.5 feet) (the size of 108 tatami mats, which I think is a symbol for Buddhism/Zen)

Untitled If the weather is nice you can also sit on their wooden decks and reflect.

Despite my earlier traumas...it was nice to get out and about.

Gion Tokuya
510-217 Gionmachi-Minami-gawa
Higashiyama-ku,Kyoto
Phone: 075.561.5554
Hours:12:00-18:00 but closes early if they run out.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

daily stuff

Untitled The one on the left...my mom bought for me years ago...if you look at it, it is missing part of the spatula..eep!

I love this spatula, it has the right amount of flex and gets in all the crevices (plus it's from my mom).

I didn't want to throw it out until I found the exact same thing...

When I was in Hawaii in December, I tried to look for it at Longs, where (I think) she bought it from...no luck.

The other day, I finally found the same one at Tokyu Hands!

And what was cool was that they let me use some points from my point card to pay for it...whoo!

So even though I don't want to throw out the one on the left, I think it is time to.

Thanks Mom!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

thank you!

It might be an April's Fool thingy but apparently we were chosen as one of the top 40 Japanese food blogs in the blogosphere...thank you!

Check out the others here.

Friday, March 31, 2017

jiro's pickles

sukiyabashi jiro's pickles Have you watched the documentary, "Jiro : Dreams of Sushi"? We have.

Recently my cousin asked us to call to make reservations at Sukiyabashi Jiro's for his BIL.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to make reservations for them, they ask that the people dining make their own reservations, or the hotel you are staying at make the reservations for you.

Afterwards, I asked my cousin what had happened and he said that his BIL and family were able to dine there...whew!

Anyway, while I was looking at Sukiyabashi Jiro's website, there was a recipe for pickles, so I scribbled it down.

Jiro's Pickles

3.5 tablespoons sugar
300 milliliters water
300 milliliters rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons salt
2 chili
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic (optional)

Heat liquid until salt & sugar melt and pour over your favorite veggies.
After it is cooled, refrigerate.

sukiyabashi jiro's pickles NOTES: actually the recipe is so that you can use the vinegar on his online shop to make the pickles.

I left out the chili & garlic, and made only half the liquid.

This was puckery but we enjoyed it.

He suggests pickling myoga (Japanese ginger), so I might give that a try when it is in season.

I am glad I tried this and would make it again.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

kochujang "sausage"

kochujang  "sausage"❤︎  #kochujang #sanchu #kimchee #osaka #japan #コチュジャン #サンチュ #キムチ #大阪 After seeing Jalna's post on Kochujang "sausage", I had to try.

It was a nice way to use the surplus of kochujang I have in my fridge.

Don't you hate it when you think you don't have something (like kochujang)...buy some, only to find out you already have some in your fridge...grr!

Here's the recipe:
Korean Kochujang Sausage : Courtesy Glenn Shinsato

2 pounds ground pork
1/2 cup kochujang sauce
6 tablespoons garlic powder
1 ounce honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large egg
1/4 cup fruit jam
Won bok kim chee, chopped (optional)

Combine ingredients and mix until sticky.
Shape into 4-inch patties about 3/4-inch thick.
Heat oil in pan and fry patties.


NOTES: this is super easy and got a thumbs up from Satoshi.

Anyway, I cut this recipe to 1/4 and left out the egg since I was gonna stir-fry it.

Cook on medium-low heat or it will burn because of the honey in there.

The mixture turns red, so it is also hard to tell when everything is cooked.

The recipe calls for fruit jam, Jalna said that her husband used an ume jam, since I didn't have any, I used some ume paste.

Also, instead of mixing in the kim chee, I served the kim chee on the side.

Next time I cook this I am gonna put everything on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

This was delicious, Jalna, thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

snackage

Untitled When we first moved to Japan back in 2001, the "trendy" food items in the US would usually take several years before catching on here.

These days though, it seems that a lot of "trendy" food items can be found more easily.

I recently found these snacks at Lawson under their "Natural Lawson" brand.

Untitled Coconut & Amaranth cookies...the cookies remind me of anzac biscuits.

Untitled Manuka Honey glazed almonds, crunchy and doesn't stick to your teeth.

Untitled Coconut sugar chocolate.

Untitled 72% cacao & bits of coconut has a slight crunch to it...delicious!

What are you enjoying these days?