Monthly Archives: November 2013

Beautiful Red Sauce

As we are getting to prepare to feast on Thursday, some nice simple meals could be nice to enjoy. This red sauce is so simple yet so beautiful.  Normally when it comes to red sauce, I am all about the bolognese. But when I made this to accompany some fresh pasta, I realized that sometimes simplicity is best. The late Marcella Hazan who made famous the beauty of a simple red sauce. Her sauce is even simpler than mine.

You don’t have to prepare fresh pasta for the sauce, I poured the leftovers on some boxed pasta and still slurped it up with gusto.

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One Bite Katsu

One Bite Katsu

Obaachan to the rescue! I’ve been out sick, unable to do any cooking. So my mother has been making C’s bentos. Lucky girl today gets “one-bite katsu” in her lunch!

Menu: One-bite katsu, Braised kabocha, green string beans, one-bite rice balls with seaweed, and apples. Not pictured: yogurt and applesauce.

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Mother & Daughter Bento

Mother & Daughter Bento

I accompanied Ciel and her class on her first field trip. So, I requested my visiting-mother to make our bentos, just like the good ol’ days.

Menu: Salmon onigiri, tamagoyaki (egg omelet) soy sauce sauteed fish cakes, hot dogs, cucumber and watermelon.
Not pictured: Assorted fruit (persimmon and watermelon).

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Croissant Sandwich

Croissant Sandwich

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a bento/school lunch photo because 1) My daughter was sick the past few days, and 2) Tuesdays have been the much exciting, cafeteria lunch for her class. I do have to say that I was fairly impressed with the school lunch. A bit healthier than what I feared but the fact that she gets really excited about it, makes it cute.

Menu: Turkey avocado croissant sandwich, persimmon, Harry’s berries (love them!), sweet potato, and cucumber slices.

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Kabocha Kale Fritata with Avocado Toast

Weekend brunches are a meal we love to cook at home vs. going out. And with the bounty I gather at the weekend farmers market, there’s so many great options to choose make a nice savory brunch. The meal pictured here are ingredients all purchased from one- even the bread! Best yet, you can make the mimosas as strong as you want when dining at home. Heck, you can pour yourself a straight flute of champagne, no one will judge.

Since a lot of Japanese people like to always have a nice kabocha on hand for emergencies… only kidding. I THINK it’s because Japanese people are always ripening the kabocha to full velvety sweetness at home. That or it’s great to make kabocha tempura with soba noodles for a midnight snack. Not kidding about that.

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Japanese Salmon

One of the things I miss about living in Seattle is the amazing access to fresh and wonderful somewhat AFFORDABLE wild seafood. Every time I visit, I insist on a nice meal at home with black cod, clams, crab, or definitely salmon during coho or sockeye season.  I may have the tendency to be a food snob with some of my cooking ingredients and fish is definitely one of them. If you research farm-raisded salmon, you will too. Genuine wild salmon can be expensive if you don’t live in the northwest but another alternative is frozen wild salmon. Trader Joe’s has exceptional quality for the price. I love salmon skin so I always opt for the variety with the skin.

I use this recipe to make my avocado salmon bowls, chop it into fine pieces and spread over rice or to just serve a nice Japanese breakfast… or dinner. If you aren’t a fan of the smell of fish, you can coat the fish lightly once it has thawed with a little mirin to remove the “fish” odor. Me, I don’t bother with that step because this technique does a great job with making salmon taste great!

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Sukiyaki

Growing up eating a lot of Japanese meals, sukiyaki was a favorite as a kid because of its sweet soy sauce, but just wasn’t as common as other dishes. It’s like how you never ate chicken teriyaki or tempura at home. But now that I am the Chief Food Officer of this home, I choose to have sukiyaki as an occasional dinner option. It’s a dish that everyone in the family can find delicious.

The ingredients normally contain, thinly sliced angus beef or wagyu beef if you want to be fancy-pants about it, shirataki (yam noodles), shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, onions, scallions, napa, and tofu. But feel free to use whatever is available. I often don’t have shungiku in my fridge so I swap it for whatever other hearty greens I do. Or even broccoli. I also love mushrooms so I like to use oyster mushrooms if I want to go vege. If you want to use chicken, please pre-cook the chicken. Traditionally, you would dip these items into a small bowl of raw egg- I would only suggest continue doing so if you have your own chicken coop in the back. Otherwise, why be a volunteer for salmonella?

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Butternut Squash Pasta

Butternut Squash Pasta

It’s been a good few years since I’ve made butternut squash pasta and I forgot how delicious it is. I’m definitely going to have to keep this on the revolving dinner ideas because it hits my criteria: simple, healthy, and super delish!

Menu: Butternut squash pasta, roasted vegetables (brussel sprouts, potato, and cauliflower), and grapes. Not pictured: Annie’s bunny graham crackers.

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Dumplings

Dumplings

Frozen dumplings are magical. They are always a bag of store-bought or homemade dumplings in our freezer. You can cook them in 10 minutes and with some rice on hand, you pretty much have an instant meal. I think I need to post a recipe on how to make some!

Menu: Rice with furikake, vegetable shrimp dumplings, bok choy, steam sweet potato slices, and fruit.

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Italian Wedding Soup

I have made about thirty types of soups but never once made Italian Wedding soup until yesterday. Perhaps because I don’t ever think to make meatballs. I consider meatballs to be burdensome. Having to roll out each ball, then to cook/bake them. Why go through those two extra laborious steps if you can just make bolognese? But I’m really glad I made the effort to make meatballs for this because I’m adding this soup to my repertoire for cold weather eating. (It dipped down to 64 degrees for a high!)

Normally, I would have opted for a smaller variety of pasta however because of the recent anti-gay statements made by Barilla CEO, I’ve boycotted the company. So I ended up with a box of DeCecco penne pasta but that didn’t seem right for soup so I thought I would just break up spaghetti to mix in.

What I love most about this soup is that you can add so many varieties of vegetables! Definitely a nice one pot meal for the family. I made a large batch to freeze for upcoming meals.

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