27 April 2009

More Dinners Made by Others

April 21st:
Hiroko-san made us some Japanese style fried chicken with a vegetable sauce to pour over the top and a really great green salad with strawberries, tomatoes and grapefruit. I haven't had grapefruit in ages, probably because I'm too lazy to cut it, so this was really special!

April 22nd:
Asami-san made the fanciest looking meal we've had so far, chirashi zushi. This is "scattered sushi," or sushi rice with other ingredients mixed in/sprinkled on. The pictured dish included shrimp, green beans, egg and seaweed, and was delicious. I also threw some tofu into wakame (seaweed) soup, which was a surprisingly big hit with the kids.

April 23rd:
Mio-san brought us garlic chicken and asparagus with dressing, to which we added white rice.

April 24th:TGIF, I guess...or do I even know what day of the week it is? Whether I was tired because it was Friday, or for whatever reason, I didn't take a picture of the mabodofu and takikomi gohan that Ai-san made for us. I wish I had though, because they were both delicious. The takikomi gohan had hijiki in it, which made it an automatic hit with me.

April 25th:Japanese style curry with white rice, which I had to make yesterday after Jenny told me that she's been making it for their family lately. I'm so proud to have converted them, though sorry it took a move away from us to North Carolina to get them to enjoy it on their own...guess up until now they didn't need to make it with me around to do it for them?!

April 26th:
Tonight we began to enjoy the Costco ham that Nadia brought yesterday. I say began to because that thing is huge and we have lots left. Starting tomorrow, it'll be time to start getting creative with ham! But for tonight, sliced ham with glaze, chirashi zushi, takikomi gohan, ceasar salad, green beans, ice cream and a bit of the World's Finest Chocolate bar that I bought from a kid at church this morning.

April 27th:
Eriko-san brought a Malaysian chicken curry, which her husband made for us. It was delicious, so much so that we ate most of it before I remembered to snap this photo. I was afraid that it might be too spicy for my parents, so we also had some chili that I had stuck in the freezer a few weeks ago for just such an occasion as this. We also had white rice, spinach and banana white chocolate muffins for dessert.

20 April 2009

Koji's Official Birthday

April 18th:
no one brought dinner tonight, but that was fine...I LOVE that people are helping and support us by making us food, yet I actually don't mind cooking, so I enjoyed taking a turn. I made:
*hashed beef and onions
*white rice
*salad of romaine, green peppers, carrots and ranch dressing

April 19th:
Sam and Erika brought dinner tonight and stayed with us to eat, which was extra fun. Erika made a broccoli and cheese casserole with breadsticks and of course we contributed some white rice. Then she busted out a super fancy cake, two layers of chocolate with an Oreo creme filling. She was so kind as to let us commandeer the cake for an early celebration of Koji's birthday...thanks!!

April 20th:
on Koji's actual birthday, Tomoe-san made us
*buta no kakuni (a stew of pork belly, daikon and hard boiled eggs
*burdock root and carrot salad in a mayonnaise dressing (which is one of my favorite things!)
*white rice and of course we had to help ourselves to another round of the
*"birthday cake" that Erika brought yesterday...

17 April 2009

Four Meals in Two Days, But We Ate It All

April 16th:
Tomo-chan, who should be packing for her move back to Japan that is coming up sadly and soon, took a break from that to make us a fine dinner.

*takikomi gohan -- rice with other ingredients steamed in; this one had little bits of meat, sesame seeds and maybe some ginger? I didn't quite know what it was other than delicious.
*shumai and something else, I don't know what it's called but it looked like a CA roll but instead it had carrot in the middle, egg where the rice would have been, and aburaage instead of seaweed. Tasty!
*a kind of cold stew with okra, taro, burdock root, konnyaku in a meat sauce
*um. there was one other dish but since I neglected to take a picture I can't remember what it was...I will edit if it comes to me.

Furthermore, for lunch today I baked up the enchilada casserole that Jessica brought over yesterday. I hardly need to tell you that Aogu and I ate it with white rice... it was so generously sized that I froze half of it for later and kept the rest for forthcoming lunches. It's really good with a bit of guacamole on the side!

April 17th:
we were really spoiled today, three ways~
1. Jen brought us Thai coconut chicken soup, chicken satay, a fabulous green salad with cheese, cranberries and nuts and "adult" chocolate (as in, no need to share with kids!)
2. Yuko-san made us stewed hamburger steak (which doesn't sound good but was!), chickpea avocado salad, green beans in soy sauce and carrots. And of course to these we added white rice.

3. We also added Ross & Rebecca who came over to share the above abundance with us, to keep us company and to help with the laundry. Their presence even inspired me to bust out the Mukka Express cappuccino maker Rich & Jenny gave me a few months ago. I had been afraid to try it on my own, but our joint effort yielded success on the second try!

15 April 2009

More Dinner by Friends

April 14th:
*nimono"--a kind of Japanese stew, this one featuring chicken drumsticks and hard boiled eggs
*harusame salad with cucumbers, egg and ham, courtesy of Miwa-san!
*that Indian style cauliflower which is likely too spicy for Misaki, but which I can't stop myself from making and then eating for every subsequent meal until it's gone...
*white rice

April 15th:
*Chinese-style spareribs
*green beans and shrimp in some kind of Chinese style sauce (delicious!)
*potatoes and arugula
*daikon pickles, all thanks to Izumi-san!

*white rice

13 April 2009

Turkey Sandwich and Misaki

My New Year's Resolution for this blog was to post every day regarding either what I made for dinner, or if I didn't make dinner, at least what I ate. The point of doing so is primarily to inspire myself on days when my mind is blank regarding dinner. But I also have the secondary hope that maybe you'll be inspired, if not to make something that I've made, then at least to try cooking!

In any case, I'll have to give myself on a break on posting every single day, and I think I have a pretty good reason: last week on Sunday, our baby girl Misaki was born! I will still tell you what we had for dinner since then, though! I didn't make the majority of it, and for that I thank God, the moms from Koji's school and various friends from church. If the reports I hear are true, for some reason people are lining up to make us dinner, so I may not have to cook for awhile!

April 5th: Misaki was born at 6:40. At around 8 pm, I realized I hadn't eaten all day and I was getting hungry. So I had:
*turkey sandwich of bread and turkey, onto which I squeezed a mustard packet
*shortbread cookies
*cranberry juice

Fine dining!

April 6th: the rest of the family came to join Misaki and me in our hospital room. They had
*takeout from Pita Inn which frankly looked more delicious than my "celebration meal" of
*shrimp scampi? I've never had shrimp scampi anywhere else, but I'm not sure that's what people usually mean when they say "shrimp scampi"
*brown rice
*ceasar salad

*raspberry cheesecake--this last was for the fam, since I don't care for cheesecake
I was disappointed that my asparagus was forgotten, and that I didn't have any milk to go with the cupcakes Cheryl Lynn's kind friend Becky made for me.

April 7th: while my head was still spinning around from checking out of the hospital and trying to get settled in at home, our first dinner, made by Miwa-san, arrived:
*roast beef with carmelized onions
*white rice
*salad of greens and tofu

April 8th:
though it was her birthday, and though she has graciously volunteered to cart Koji to and from school for the next couple of weeks, Miho brought us
*steamed asparagus
*white rice

Meanwhile, Jennifer also brought us dinner! So we supplemented the above with
*fruit salad and
*pear and apple pie
, saving the ribs, broccoli and rolls for later

April 9th: Maki-san made us
*nimono, which is a generic name for all kinds of "stewed" food--this one included chicken drumsticks, hardboiled eggs, carrots, and burdock root
*eggplant in a dressing of soy sauce, sesame seed oil? and ??
*white rice

April 10th: Jenny and Rich supplied us with a delicious dinner all the way from Charlotte, with the help of Pita Inn. Did we mind having Pita Inn for the second time this week? Not at all! Thanks very much for dinner, the only thing that could have made it better would have been eating it with you!
*beef shwarma
*chicken shwarma
*saffron rice?
*lettuce and tomato salad
*tabouleh salad

April 11th: we were so spoiled for the last several days, when it was time for dinner and we didn't have anyone knocking the door down to give us food, I hardly knew what to do! I had already used Jennifer's ribs for lunch, so in the end I went with the easy and quick
*macaroni and cheese with broccoli and ham
I also (foolishly) thought I had enought energy for baking a bit, so I made some lemon bars and a pear cranberry cobbler. By that evening, I could barely walk for the pain in my back! I don't remember feeling this way after the other two kids were born, so I don't know what's going on this time.

April 12th:
Happy Easter! He is Risen!
With all these kids being born around this time of year, we haven't had a chance to form any family Easter traditions other than going to church. Maybe we can remedy that starting next year. In any case, for today, the kids were invited to an Easter Egg hunt. After the Hunt, they were offered dinner, but no surprise, they didn't eat enough, so though it was time for bed when they got home, they started claiming they were hungry. I had NO dinner plan, so I finally offered them a conciliatory piece of cheese and put them to bed. Then Aogu and I needed to eat, but my back was hurting and I was incapacitated, so he came up with:
*roast beef and onions (left over from Wednesday)
*pear and cranberry cobbler

tonight: Phew. The start of another week means dinner made by someone else, thank you God! Junko-san made us:
*meatballs in diced red pepper and onion sauce
*german potato salad with asparagus and bacon
*salad of smashed tofu? and konnyaku and ?...
OK, I didn't quite know what it was, but it was good and it got me to eat konnyaku, which is saying something. I always think I should eat more of that stuff, it's supposed to be SO healthy but it's also SO tasteless.
*white rice
*sweet potato yokan,
not pictured
And, full disclosure, I ate some of the chocolate bunny that Izumi got at the Easter Egg Hunt yesterday. She's too young to appreciate Dove chocolate, don't you think?

04 April 2009

What's the Real Spice Story?

Supposedly eating spicy food gets labor going, right? Now that I'm 12 days from my due date and pretty uncomfortable, I'm all about getting my labor going.

That's why I was looking forward to going out to dinner with Cheryl Lynn tonight before my baby shower. We were going to go to Wholly Frijoles so that I could drink some salsa or something.

Then I started having contractions, not enough to send me to the hospital yet, but enough to make me stop and take note every 10 minutes or so. Since I hadn't packed my hospital bag, we decided to do that before going to dinner, which meant that we ran out of time and couldn't make it to our original destination.

Our second choice was El Tipico but when we pulled up, they were closed because they are in the middle of changing owners. Or something.

We were reduced to Panino's. The calamari was pretty good and came out very quickly. I decided that I like calamari with legs better than rings.

The beef and barley soup tasted like it was from a can, but I ate most of it anyway to try and stay hydrated, since I was having some steady contractions. CL and I shared the rigatoni boscaiola and the spinach salad. Neither met my usual resturant ordering criteria of "item I can't/won't make at home" but I did appreciate the company and the opportunity to skip cooking for tonight.

Skip I did! I made a pot of rice for Aogu and the kids but other than that, I have no idea if/what they ate. So this is what that phrase "ignorance is bliss" means. Hmm.

The baby shower my friends put together for me was really fun and special. Thank you ladies! The mini cupcakes, cookies with fruit on them, coffee cheesecake, delicious blackberries...everything was great. Too bad I forgot my camera....

Maybe I'll have baby news soon?!

03 April 2009

Miso-Bean Sprout Stir Fry

*white rice
*the ubiquitous Indian cauliflower in tomato sauce
(and no, I'm not sick of it; I'm seriously considering making another round tomorrow!)
*wakame (seaweed) soup from a package with extra wakame and green onions added
*stirfry of bean sprouts, pork belly, leeks, ginger and miso
which also contained sugar and sake and therefore was a little too sweet for us. Next time, reduce the sugar and add a bit of salt and pepper, would you? (talking to myself, please don't be offended)

02 April 2009

No Fooling, Jess' Birthday

As often happens around here, the best thing I made today wasn't dinner.

Rather, it was this cake for Jess' birthday (which was technically yesterday), and yes, it HAD TO BE ORANGE. And yes, I just happened to have this orange party tablecloth in the closet which went perfectly with the occasion and made even cheerier the gathering of friends to celebrate Jess.

Megan contributed the perfectly orangily (is that a word? it should be!) frosted graham cracker cookies. I was too embarrassed to admit to her that I had just been helping myself to a treat of graham-cracker-as-shovel-for-frosting earlier today. Her cookies were infinitely better, and neater, than that.

Michelle kicked in the blood orange sorbet from Ciao Bella and it was delectable. We thought it must have been procured at a hoity toity market, but no, it was from the grocery down the street (which shall remain nameless because I don't actually like or frequent that place).

In other words, people, as you see clearly, this was a well-deserved dessert feast in honor of Jess. Um, or we were using Jess as an excuse to make what we might have done anyway a little fancier and a lot more ORANGE. Either way, it was a delightful evening!

Back to my contribution: I wanted to make a chocolate orange marble cake but couldn't find a recipe that appealed to me after the success of the chocolate matcha cake from a couple of weeks ago. Finally, I decided I was determined to use the same recipe and just tweak it to be orange instead of matcha. I even emailed Bakerella to solicit her advice, and was impressed that she was willing and able to get back to me, and quickly! Thanks, Bakerella!

In the end, the changes I made were to:
*omit matcha
*add 3 heaping tablespoons of orange zest to the non-chocolate flour mixture
*after adding the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, put in 1/8 tsp. of orange oil, 2 tablespoons of Cointreau and a whole lot of food coloring paste

For the top of the cake, I made a butter frosting. Then, without thinking at all that orange and butter might curdle, I added 3 or 4 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate. Phew. No curdling, though I can't tell you why it didn't happen, or why I was so cautious as to not add milk though I didn't hestitate to mix the OJ and butter....the frosting was much orangier than the cake but I don't know what I could have done differently to the cake. A bit more orange oil?

By the way, even with all this cake and cookie and sorbet induced excitement, I still managed to make dinner.

*white rice
*yesterday's Indian tomato sauce cauliflower
*stirfry of ground turkey, eggs, ginger, leeks and kikurage

01 April 2009

Released from Prison into Subway

When we went to the pediatrician last Saturday and got our official verdict of "influenza," we were also told that said sickness is highly contagious and we shouldn't try to resume regular life until observing at least 24 hours without fevers.

So today, EIGHT DAYS after the fever and etc. came on and left us huddled here in the house, we finally marked that milestone.

Therefore, I decided that Koji was probably up for his karate class this afternoon. Once we finished the karate class--he's a yellow stripe belt right now, I know that's relevant to this post--I also decided to treat us to dinner at Subway.

Still can't decide if that was really a treat or not. I enjoyed taking a break from making dinner. The kids enjoyed being out. But I didn't enjoy spending fifteen dollars on a couple of sandwiches. Should there be a next time, note to self: if, make that when, the kids "have to have" the toys, just get two kids' meals and eat their scraps. Though that makes me sound like the Prodigal Son in the pigpen, I prefer that idea to spending too much money, taking half of my sandwich home and eating the kids' scraps anyway because it seems like a waste not to.

Two redeeming points for today: one, obviously, is that the kids and I actually left the house together. I'll have to rebuild my stamina for doing that though likely not till after Baby Spice appears; what should have been a simple karate lesson and dinner left me pretty wiped out...but it was worth it!!

Two: for my lunch, I made Gobi Jhalfrezie or "Cauliflower in a Piquant Tomato Sauce" or, as I've been calling it, "Indian Cauliflower". Out of kindness, I left the kids out: it was too spicy for them, and they preferred hot dogs anyway. Surprise. Last time I made something with cauliflower, it was an Indian-inspired dish which must have subconsciously convinced me that cauliflower is better cooked with Indian flavors? Or something. This recipe is slightly modified from the-fast-becoming-beloved Indian Home Cooking.

Serves 4
2 T canola oil
1 T chile powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T white vinegar

Combine the first three ingredients in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the cumin begins to brown, about 1 minute.
Add the ginger, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower and cook until it begins to brown, 2-3 minutes.
Add the salt and pepper and mix well. Turn the heat down to medium; cover the pan and cook until the cauliflower is almost tender, 7-8 minutes, while stirring three or four times and checking to be sure the spices aren't burning and the cauliflower is browning. Adjust the heat accordingly.
Add the tomato sauce and vinegar and stir well; cover again and cook for 2-3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Serve with rice!!


サラダオイル 大さじ2
チリーパウダー 大さじ1
クミンの種  小さじ1.5
カリフラワー 1キロ、食べやすい大きさに切る
塩 小さじ1
コショウ 小さじ1
トマトソースの缶 225g 
酢 大さじ1