27 May 2009

Week in Long Overdue Review

May 19th:Michelle brought this Thai style curry last Saturday. I had a friend over; we tasted it and agreed that it had the potential to be really good but somehow something was missing. Though I felt a bit guilty, we put it in a pot and started tinkering. In no particular order, and in random quantities, we added jalapenos, turmeric, chili oil, and salt and pepper. Delicious! I wouldn't be repeating this story for fear of hurting Michelle's feelings, but when I thanked her for the curry later, she said, "It wasn't as great as I expected, I thought it would be more flavorful" which liberated me to admit to her that I had tinkered! Enjoyed with white rice and a romaine/cucumber/ranch salad.

May 20th...our 8th anniversary...here's hoping we get to celebrate it sometime, ever...This was my first foray into artichokes at home. I steamed them in the microwave and we dipped them in liberal amounts of butter, which is I think the prime reason Koji liked them very much! Now that I've tried fresh, I think I'll go right back to the ones in the glass jars. Not that fresh wasn't good, but it wasn't so good as to be worth all that effort. We also had rice and chili.

May 22nd: curry and rice

May 23rd: taco rice...I must have mentioned it here before? It's the Japanese incarnation of tacos, which means, take the stuff you might put in a tortilla and throw it on some rice. Delicious!

May 24th: Happy Birthday to my great friend Cheryl Lynn; she chose to outsource her birthday and have a celebration at On The Border in Naperville. Don't get the mahi mahi tacos, they are not good! The fish is too dry and so are the corn tortillas. Nevertheless, it was great to be with CLC and meet some of her friends.

May 26 Nara and her kids are in town to visit her parents and they came by to spend the afternoon/dinner with us. Not only did Nara teach me how to use my camera better (new skill not particulary reflected in this photo), she also practically got dinner on the table plus my kids and her kids all ready for bed, right down to teeth brushing, all by herself. Nara, you are amazing!
misoshiru with tofu and wakame
chicken drumsticks, broiled
grape tomatoes
Choco Pie

May 27
split pea soup

17 May 2009

Cake, and Oh, A Little Bit of Cooking Too

May 13
Izumi's actual birthday was today, though as far as she knew, she already turned three a couple of weeks ago at the kids' birthday party. Since I'm a stickler for some kind of celebration "on the day" though, I had to make cupcakes. I was out of cake flour, which meant I couldn't use The Cake Bible, so I went to the good old red and white cookbook. I was actually pretty disappointed with the finished chocolate cupcakes. Perhaps the fact that I didn't have unsweetened chocolate and subbed in random (sweetened) chocolate from a Trader Joe's Pound Plus bar had something to do with their less than perfect flavor? The kids didn't mind though. As for dinner, Becky W. had brought
*Coyle chicken (which must be some kind of a family secret recipe?)
*green salad with a simple but really delicious oil and vinegar dressing

I added
*white rice and
to the above, for the sake of those family members that might not get excited about quinoa and salad, to whom I say, "more for me!"
Thank you very much, Becky!!

May 14
It was so good last week that even though I was nervous about its effects on Misaki's digestive system, I thawed
*Becca's chickpea curry and ate it with
*white rice and
*broccoli left over from yesterday

May 15
In an effort to get used to the idea that I may have to get back to cooking dinner for the family at some point, tonight I made
*maple glazed salmon and served it with more
*quinoa (white rice for everyone else) and
*green beans
I can see from my records that this is the third time this year I've made this dish and I've still never posted the recipe, which is a shame because you could have been making it all this time! Try it, it's really delicious and better yet, really easy!!
Alas, I copied this recipe onto a piece of Winnie the Pooh memo paper ages ago but never thought I might one day like to know where I got the recipe. So you know, I didn't make it up but I can't tell you from whence it came either...

Maple Glazed Salmon (serves 4)
Whisk together
3 T maple syrup
2 T soy sauce
1 T grated ginger
1 T water
1/2 tsp. cornstarch and pour over four 6 oz. salmon fillets in an oven proof pie plate or casserole dish. Roast in a 475 degree oven for 15 minutes, basting once halfway through cooking time.

May 16
Today was a HUGE day for Koji because at long last, after pretty much YEARS of waiting, we finally had his school friend Takeru over to play. What Koji doesn't understand is that Takeru lives stinking far away and that's why we can't have him over more often. sigh That's the problem with most of his school friends, but hardly the point here. The point here is that Takeru's brother and mom came along and we had dinner together.
Our dinner turned out to be such a smorgasbord, which isn't what I had planned, but was really funny! First, I wanted to cook for them so I made chili and white rice. But they wanted to contribute so they brought two kinds of Japanese curry. Meanwhile, I had lost track of my dinner contributing friends from church, so we had not one but TWO dinners from different kind ladies. Therefore, in addition to the above we also had pasta with chicken and carrots and Thai chicken curry with mushrooms and lots of other veges. Whew! And after a suitable interval, we had dessert of cupcakes from Izumi's birthday and white chocolate chip cookies adapted from this New York Times recipe that I made for the work party Aogu's away at today.
We really enjoyed having Takeru and his family over today and I hope we can do it again soon, even if it is a trek for us to get to one another!

May 17

Oops, I'm getting ahead of things, this is what we had for dessert tonight, after a super fun "season opener" barbeque at Matt and Nadia's place with our housegroup. Thanks for the fun, everyone! Thanks also for the
*jalapeno cheddar brat with pickle, mustard and bun
*"melty toasty" cheeseburger with mustard, onion and tomato
*pasta salad
*macaroni and cheese

The cake is Triple Layer Devil's Food, a recipe from The Cake Bible, which I was relieved to go back to now that I've procured cake flour! I filled it with E.D. Smith jam from Costco. The frosting was a little too lumpy, but had the dark chocolate taste I was looking for on the back of the Hershey's Special Dark Baking Cocoa and overall, I think the cake was a success.

12 May 2009

Chintzy Sma land

Though Izumi's been pretty much potty trained for at least three months now, I still hadn't hauled all of us to I.KEA to take advantage of the opportunity to put her and Koji in the kids room, until today.

Except that for no particular reason, I took us off to the other place we needed to go first, which landed us in front of Sma land at 4:46. The lady working there said, "Can I help you?" as if it wasn't completely obvious that I wanted her to be in charge of my kids for an hour.

When I gave her a dazed stare, she helpfully added, "We close in 10 minutes". Oh. Yeah. There's a sign there, inscribed with "10-5" for today's hours.


I was so distraught! Whatever I thought I needed at I.KEA, it certainly wasn't important enough to drag three kids along for!

But I was stuck, so we wandered around for awhile and then had dinner in the third floor restaurant. The kids had pasta with marinara sauce, yogurt and chocolate milk. I had a shrimp salad. Aogu joined us later and he had the meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. We all shared a slice of chocolate cake and apple cake.

Watch this space; I'll be back at I.KEA soon, but you can be sure that I'll be arriving there no later than 4 pm!

11 May 2009

Round Up

I'd like to take this opportunity to use my parents as an excuse for the fact that I've lost my grip on at least half of the meals we ate for dinner over the last two weeks. I'd also like to say that it was utterly worth it. Having Mom and Dad here was not only super helpful, it was fun too, and we want them to come back ASAP!

Now, in an attempt to salvage my record keeping:

April 29th:
takikomi gohan by Kaori-san
*spinach and
*mackrel braised in a miso sauce by Chieko-san

April 30th:
*ham fried rice by me
*gyoza from the freezer
*pumpkin salad with cranberries and sun dried tomatoes and
*dried daikon and vinegar salad by Toko-san

May 1st:
no picture, but Kazuyo-san and Aiko-san teamed up to make us some amazing
*spinach with mushrooms
*another vegetable that was delicious but alas, I can't remember exactly what...
*shrimp in chile sauce

May 2nd:
we had a joint birthday party for the kids in honor of Koji turning SIX and Izumi turning THREE. We served dinner, which was
*Japanese style chicken curry with white rice
*DIY ham (thanks to Nadia for the ham!) and cheese sandwiches
*strawberries and of course,
*birthday cake, one white cake and one chocolate but both with jam filling

May 4th:
*chickpea curry by Becca...this curry was AMAZING and I proceeded to eat it for every meal the next day and a half, after which I noticed that Misaki didn't seem so laid back as she usually is...but I was unwilling to give up the curry so I froze it and fully intend to enjoy it again soon, after I give her little digestive system a short hiatus
*salad by Becca
*white rice

May 5th:
*beef stew with heavy cream
*homemade rolls
; normally I don't eat much bread but these were DELICIOUS so I think I ate at least two and then remnants of what the kids didn't finish?! both of these wonderful items were prepared for us by Naoko-san
*steamed asparagus (Naoko-san gave us broccoli, but I panicked and got out the asparagus instead, knowing it was about to go bad)
*white rice

May 7th:
*salad with too much ranch
(I was overzealous on trying to finish the bottle)
*spiced pinto beans from a can
*the last of Aiko-san/Kazuyo-san's shrimp in chile sauce

This past weekend, I didn't cook anything of significance, as far as dinner goes. Instead I used all my energy making vanilla ice cream and chocolate covered potato chips. Fortunately, Emery made us some delicious chicken fajitas, and of course for lunch Sunday we went with our standard macaroni and cheese, this time from a Kraft box.

we had Jan and company here for the first time in quite awhile, and I was stressed because the house features large piles of detritus in each and every room. The time I spent trying to uncover the top of the table cut severely in to my dinner making time, so we ended up with
*dino chicken nuggets from Costco
*french bread, courtesy of Nadia
*green beans
for the kids with
*chicken quesadilla filling (we couldn't be bothered with tortillas when the chicken was just as good mixed with
*salad from Becky
*vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce