26 November 2009

Same as You

What we ate for dinner tonight had a 90% chance of being the same as what you had, according to a quiz that our lovely hosts gave us while we were waiting for Thanksgiving Dinner at their house.

Guess I've go ahead and spell it out:
mashed potatoes
curried fruit
(maybe you didn't all have that, but let me tell you, it was delicious)
sweet potato and pecan casserole
*green beans with ginger and garlic
spinach stuffing
broccoli casserole
corn casserole
beet salad
green salad with raspberries and olives
*pear chocolate pie
pecan pie
pumpkin cake
pumpkin pie

*These are the dishes I made.

Pear Chocolate Pie sounds so strange, and is so delicious. I got the recipe from Kristen, who got it from Jen who got it from Bibi, or something like that. Confession: I used D'Anjou pears but as noted in the recipe, I think Bosc would have been better. Also, next time I'd like to try layering the chocolate with the pears rather than just sprinkling it on top. In any case, this is a TASTY pie!

(serves 8)
2/3 c butter
2/3 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp water

4 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I use Bosc)
3/4 c chocolate chips

Melt butter and mix into the flour and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and water and knead quickly into the dough. Chill for one hour. Part the dough into two halves and roll these out into two circles to fit a 7-10" pie pan. Place one dough circle in a greased pie pan. Place pears on top and sprinkle with chocolate chips over pears. Cover with second dough circle, brush with water and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 40 mins at 400 degrees. Serve pie warm with vanilla ice cream, whipping cream or sour cream. (Can substitute apples for pears too!)

25 November 2009


Today, for the first time in five months!, we got together with our long-time, long-lost friends, Jason and Kristen and their kids. We invited them here for dinner, which I promised I would make. Alas, it was too good to see them and there was much chatting to be done, and I never did buckle down in the kitchen. I did contribute a beet salad, a large quantity of rice, and some banana chocolate chip muffins to the pumpkin bread Kristen brought and the dinner we ordered from Thai Sook Dee. I say this often, sorry to be repetitive, but I mean it: we really need more time more often with beloved friends from the past. Thanks for a great night, JKAB!

24 November 2009

Not Afraid Anymore

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I'm afraid of yeast.

Or maybe I should go ahead and make that a past tense statement.

Because this is what I made for dinner:

A red alien smiley faced YEAST pizza.

I admit, it looks pretty nasty. Sorry about that. It looked a little better/more appetizing in person. And I feel obligated to document this achievement. That's what it is, an achievement. After all, it's been years, I might even say decades, that I've thought of myself as a pretty decent baker. But really, is it OK to make such lofty declarations when one is excluding entire gigantic categories within said claim? That is, is it possible to qualify as a "pretty decent baker" when one has never even made a loaf of yeast bread? Ever?

Anyway, I did it, with the help of KitchenAid mixer (first use of yeast for pizza and the first use of the dough hook, all on the same day...guess that makes sense, actually...), Izumi and Erika. As for toppings, the one you see here is half ham and half smoked salmon. The latter didn't go great with the random spaghetti sauce that I sloshed on in lieu of "proper" pizza sauce (is there such a thing anyway?) and the cheddary cheese that was all I had available. But the ham section of this one was pretty tasty.

Oh, and a word of explanation about the lack of aethestics here: I wanted to bake this directly on the stone in the oven, but I don't have a pizza peel and I'm out of parchment paper. So when Erika and I were trying to transfer the pizza from the tray we made it on to the stone, some damage occurred.

Which is fine. Scary-looking pizza this may be, but I'm still not afraid anymore.

23 November 2009

Joint Venture

As you, all two or maybe on a good day three, of you who look at this blog know well, it's not the making of dinner that is agonizing for me. It's the thinking of what dinner should be that nearly splits my head open on most days. So when Miho and I collaborated on tonight's dinner, agreeing that it should be curry and that I should make it at her house with her ingredients. Now, please imagine the sound of a giant sigh of relief...PHEW....

22 November 2009

Duk What?

Aogu really likes a Korean dish called dukboki; please forgive this butchered Romanized spelling, though I guess it's not a crime since I make no claim to know what I'm talking about. The only thing I know is, it's made of rice cakes that look like glue sticks for a hot glue gun (duk). He usually orders it when we eat at the H Mart food court. The last time we were there, I happened to discover the duk (rice cakes) for sale and thought I'd try to make it myself.

What you see here is actually my second attempt, ground turkey stir fried with onions, carrots, tobanjan and mixed with the duk. I think my first went better, but of course, I didn't write down what I did and couldn't remember it tonight. Likely most of you won't be clamoring for the recipe, so I'll refrain from explaining this time. Maybe next time. However many times I make it, I can tell you one thing for sure: I won't be eating it. For me, duk=yuk. It's a texture thing.

Instead, for my dinner, a random mishmash of things from the fridge I wanted to be rid of: black beans, butternut squash sauteed in garlic, rice. And for the kids, instant ramen, cottage cheese (Izumi) and hot carrots (Koji).

Anyong-hi jumuseyo (Korean for "Good night")!

21 November 2009


Maybe I'll just start calling all leftovers "remix," that way they won't seem so, well, left over...here's a not great picture of masaman curry, day two. As I think I mentioned, it wasn't very good yesterday, so tonight I added another can of curry paste and put it on a "bed of" (that's a strange phrase, isn't it? seems like the food will rest peacefully rather than be gobbled up) rice and sauteed spinach.

By the way, the kids had hot dogs with their rice and spinach. Oh, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert~

20 November 2009

Karate and Doughnuts

The kids were invited to a karate birthday party at the Shidokan late this afternoon. I knew I wouldn't have time to make dinner, so I actually planned ahead and made it this morning.
Get up, I know that declaration just made you fall off your chair, but this really is me still.
So I made some massaman curry. Unfortunately, in trying to be thrifty and using coconut milk and curry paste of indeterminate age, I left flavor by the roadside. It wasn't nearly as good as usual, but Hot Salt returned it to an edible state.
Wish I had a picture of the really cute "doughnut cake" that the moms of the birthday kids prepared for the party today. Since Koji and Izumi were just guests at the party and not guests of honor, I hadn't bothered to bring my camera along. Bad decision! Now I can't show you what I mean...I did ask several people around to send me a photo so if/when I get one, I will post it. Watch this space.

19 November 2009

Proper Food

Feels like days since I actually cooked anything, which means that of course, I got crackin' on that tonight when I really had no business doing so. In other words, I didn't have time but I wanted to go with my idea before my ingredients started going downhill. Spinach salad with warm dressing to make it a teensy bit wilty. It was OK but not exactly as I imagined. I still have spinach and I'm going to try and tweak it tomorrow, so I won't say any more on how to make it for now. Rice and Shrimp in Chili Sauce; too spicy for the kids so they had meatballs, peas, rice, pumpkin soup. And Koji had pumpkin pie for dessert.

18 November 2009


With wakame in a broth of

4 c dashi, 2T soy sauce, 2T mirin. Except, full disclosure, we were out of mirin so put in a bit of honey. Kabocga, pumpkin pie ?
Who knows , I'm falling asleep.....

17 November 2009


Tonight's dinner was lazy since Aogu wasn't here; as I was throwing it together, I had the kids gnawing on the carrots you see pictured. And no, Izumi's not quite as psycho as her off center goggles make her look...in addition to raw carrots, the kids also had hot carrots, natto gohan and tofu with popsicles for dessert. I stir-fried some green pepper, onion, garlic, ginger and tofu to go with my carrots and rice. I overdid it on the ginger, but managed to balance it with some ponzu (citrus flavored soy sauce). Not an evening to brag about on the culinary front, but hey, we're all still alive, and I have this funny picture to show for it!

16 November 2009

For at Least the 22nd Time

So I have to give myself grace for not blogging what we had for dinner every single day this whole year, right? I mean, after all, I did have a baby. But I can't help regretting it a bit now, just because it would be so interesting to know how many times we ate certain favorites.

What I can tell you for sure is that out of the 124 posts I've put up this year, 21 mention pizza.

And this is the 22nd.

15 November 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

was on the menu tonight, courtesy of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, which is the host church for the kids' school.

It was a dinner/potluck, as the church provided most of the traditional staples but asked that each family bring a dish to share. All two friends I polled beforehand agreed that I should contribute a dessert. But when I opened the fridge this afternoon with the intention of baking a cake, the butter had gone missing. That is, I used it all on the cookies and coffee cake I made the other day for the Craft Social.

So I made a cranberry apple walnut pie instead, and it was very good, if I do say so myself. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it. More about it tomorrow though, because that's when I'm planning to post a couple of the other pictures we took at the dinner tonight. Can't do it right now because the camera is in the van and that is much too far from where I'm sitting.

14 November 2009

From a Box, Proudly

Recently, I've learned to make a couple of things that I would previously buy in packages. For example, gyoza (pot stickers), soup for udon, nabe (mentioned a few days ago) and so on.

My head started to get a little puffy. I started thinking I could probably make just about anything, so I went looking for a hayashi rice recipe. I soon realized I would either have to spend hours simmering and concentrating beef stock, or buy cans of demi-glace sauce, which would feel like cheating if it was done as part of a "make it myself" endeavor.

Now, I have scratched hayashi rice from my "make it from scratch" list, and I happily make it with this box (I don't endorse this site, this is just the place where I found the best picture of this box). Tonight Misaki ate tofu, the kids ate natto gohan, cucumbers & ranch, grapes, and honeydew melon. Aogu and I had the aforementioned hayashi rice, and I also ate the nabemono that was left over from the other day. Oishikatta (delicious), if I do say so myself!

13 November 2009

Friday the 13th=Nasty Zucchini?

I had a friend over for lunch today. We had a modified version of Weight Watcher's vegetable soup. Sounds rude, right, making WW soup for a friend and thus implying "You need this," but I took a chance because I've had the soup at her house before. Plus, I didn't stick to the recipe 100%...had to add some chicken sausage and butter beans, just because they were there. Also used homemade stock.

We dig in and everything seems fine. About halfway into my bowl, I detect bitterness and start rooting through my soup to find the source. Turns out to be the zucchini. Oddly, that makes me feel as though the soup's less than perfect status wasn't my fault. The recipe called for zucchini, and I was just following orders. Had any of the ingredients I added randomly been off in some way, then I would have felt obligated to take the blame. Anyone following my logic?

Yes, I am going somewhere with this rambling soup story, straight to dinner, in fact. It was the soup mentioned above, but with all the offending zucchini fished out and green beans swapped in. Also, quesadillas, chips & salsa, chocolate peppermint cookies and yogurt cranberry coffee cake; those last two were made for the Craft Social, but the kids and I took some samples to make sure they were worthy to be shared with the crafting public.

Persimmons and

Happy Meals and Nabe Leftovers, Oh My~!

11 November 2009

Electric Pot

So I'm not a big fan of my electric cooktop, and I wish I could change it to gas. But I'm rapidly becoming a huge fan of this electic pot/skillet thingy that Aogu gave me a couple of years ago. I don't know why it didn't catch on with me sooner.

Two weeks ago, I needed to steam some gyoza in a place where I had electrical access but no burners. Enter this pot; she (he? what gender is a pot?) was a star performer.

Next appearance, in the kitchen tonight, for the occasion of nabe. Please don't say "NAYB," this is "Nah-beh". Based on my experience with it tonight, I can predict you'll be hearing about it a lot more in the future, because thanks to Ms. Pot (I decided my pot is a girl), this dish is EASYEASYEASY and delicous too.

I used this recipe for the soup. For the ingredients, I went my own way, somewhat: Chinese cabbage, tofu, mushrooms and udon, yes, but also thinly sliced beef, parboiled broccoli, and shirataki. I seem to recall that at some point in the past, I didn't care for shirataki. But after simmering in this broth and thinking about its ZERO calorie count? Ms. Pot and I will be having another appointment very soon, I think. Want to come join us?

10 November 2009

Flu Shot

No, that's not what we had for dinner, though the way that nasty flu is going around, drinking a shot of it might not hurt?!

Just as I was thinking to myself, "Self, come on, you have got to start getting dinner together, whatever that's going to be!!," I got a call from the kids' pediatrician saying that the H1N1 vaccine is in, first come first served. So I hauled everyone out to the car and trundled over for the shots. And that is how I escaped from making dinner tonight. We did eat though, as follows:

Misaki~sweet potatoes
Koji & Izumi~hot dogs, cheese, yogurt, milk, various other snacks
Aogu~sushi from H Mart
Me~spaghetti squash tossed around with some olive oil, garlic and chili flakes inspired by this recipe and topped with turkey meatballs. This was Just OK becuause the squash was a little, well, squashy for me.

Anyone know how to make spaghetti squash al dente?

09 November 2009


Everything I really wanted to make for dinner tonight called for cooking sake, and of course I'm out. So at the very last minute, I decided we should have "omuraisu," which is a Japanese smash-up word that means "omelette rice". You see it here with tabasco on top and a salad of romaine, cucumbers and caesar dressing on the side. What you can't see is the ketchup-flavored stir-fried-with-onions-and-ham rice on the inside. I don't care for ketchup as a general rule, but it makes sense in this dish.

Great for Aogu and I; not such a hit with the kids, though as usual it was amusing to see them having opposite reactions. Izumi immediately gobbled all of her omelette and then started picking the ham out of her rice (she's very carnivorous, if I haven't pointed that out before). Koji scarfed all the cucumbers I gave him on the side and screamed and cried about eating even the rice without the eggs, which I generously excused him from (he's practically a vegetarian, with the notable exception of processed pork products, in other words, the kid will eat any amount of hot dogs).

08 November 2009


Guess saying this will make me sound weird or old, but since I'm well on my way to both, here goes: I remember that when I was growing up, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. were "starches". No one says that now. Seems like meal planning is all about "carbs" and "protein," "main" and "sides". What I can definitely categorize tonight's dinner as: unbalanced. We often have mac & cheese on Sundays. Tonight's version incorporated ham, peas and spinach. But then, wanting to use a potato that Koji dug up during a school outing the other day, I also served some smoked salmon hash. Which Koji didn't eat. Starchy!!

07 November 2009

Main Dish: Chaos

If only someone had been filming our "dinner" tonight, I'm sure the resulting footage would be great comedy for someone somewhere sometime. As for me, I wanted to be amused, but was instead caught up trying to manage the chaos that was our dinner time. Note that a large portion of the chaos was likely my own fault.

Stream of consciousness recap:
While we were at the market immediately before dinner getting popsicles for Izumi who has a fever (note to self, love the Village Market but DO NOT buy popsicles there next time, FIVE BUCKS for one box of Dora Pops?!!) my sidekick Koji was hungry and whining at me to buy him something so I suggested that we buy some Rice Krispies (mistake: see parenthetical note above, but sub in "Rice Krispies" for Dora Pops) to make RKTreats when we got home.
Well. Of course to him that meant the very instant we arrived home and NOT after dinner, which would have been more reasonable and sane. And because I am a weak parent who couldn't bear the thought of one more confrontational interaction for today, I decided it would be perfectly OK for me to manufacture RKTreats with him while making dinner and feeding the baby at the same time.

Somehow at some point, but certainly never at the same time, the following people ate the following items:

Misaki: smushed persimmon with rice cereal stirred in
microscopic bits of pita bread, the ones she was able to get to her mouth by herself
gnawed on two celery sticks and one cucumber stick

Izumi: two popsicles
one yogurt
one bowl of rice and natto

Koji: rice, beef shwarma leftover from Pita Inn, green beans
another round of rice with natto

Aogu: rice, beef shwarma leftover from Pita Inn, green beans
another round of rice with natto

self: rice, chicken torn from rotis chicken, salad of Pita Inn lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers w/ ranch

How do you write down the sound of all the air escaping from a balloon? 'Cause that's how I feel right now.

06 November 2009

CBS Staff Retreat

Whatever was for dinner tonight was not made by me and was therefore delicious...pizza, Caesar salad, Halloween candy, pitas & hummus, baklava, brownies....

05 November 2009

04 November 2009

Chick Peas are the Same Thing In Japanese

A few years ago when we were living in Roppongi (that's how this whole thing got started, you know) I used to pore over recipes in magazines and try to find new things to try. I distinctly remember an ingredient called "hiyoko mame" (keep in mind, I'm in Tokyo, and the recipes I'm reading are in Japanese). I knew that it was some kind of bean, after all, that's what "mame," as in "eda mame" means.

It literally took a year or two after for me to realize that since "hiyoko" means "chick," the ingredient in question was chickpeas. Sometimes I'm a smart chicken. Or is that a dodo?

Tonight I made chili. With ground beef, onions, garlic (no green peppers, didn't have 'em) diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, pinto beans in chili sauce, black beans and chickpeas. More beans in chili is definitely better. At least, as the chili is going down. I'm just saying~

03 November 2009

Curry, a Little Bit New-Fangled

Curry and rice tonight, but not just any curry: Aogu's parents brought us some half calorie curry when they were here a few weeks ago.

Which is a good thing, I've got to balance all this Halloween candy somehow...

02 November 2009

Bird Two Ways, Thanks Costco

Had it in my head all day to make curry, but I haven't been bothered to clean up the dishes that accumulated from the weekend. So every time I went in the kitchen to cook up some dinner, my motivation suffered a serious blow from the dismal state of the place.

At the last moment, I had to switch from curry to rice, broccoli, chicken corn chowder and roast chicken. Every last one of those items was from Costco. What can I say? I'm a loyal customer. Maybe I should join their fan page on Facebook.

If they have one?!

01 November 2009

As I Was Saying

on my other blog, apparently if one is ever going to revive one's faltering blog, this is the month to do it.

So here I am. Today we ate cookies for breakfast. They had peanut butter and oatmeal in them, so I'm thinking that wasn't quite as bad as it sounds.

We had bagels from church for a mid morning snack.

When we got home from Koji's tennis lesson, everyone was hungry but we were out of our Sunday staple, macaroni and cheese. Even more horrible: we were out of rice. So I made some spaghetti instead. Izumi picked her noodles out from under her sauce one by one. She left the sauce in such a neat pile that I let her get away with it.

Kim & crew have been very sick with the swine flu, so I did a Costco run to try and provide them with the menu variety they've been lacking. Naturally, that means we had Costco pepperoni pizza and green beans for dinner. We all LOVE those green beans. I'm too lazy to go and look at the package right now, but trust me, this is how good they are: the kids both picked up giant fistfuls of them and at them out of their hands. Misaki even ate two.