Saturday, March 9, 2013

Macaroni Salad

macaroni salad

I finally got around to making this macaroni salad recipe from 101 Cookbooks! It's been on my list for a while and I'm pretty happy with the result. The green onion is a nice flavor with the macaroni and the apples add a nice crunch and a touch of sweetness. I wasn't able to find arugula on its own so I used a mix of baby spinach and arugula instead and it worked out fine :) One thing to note is that 1lb of pasta is a huge amount so definitely have a HUGE bowl to use when tossing everything together, use multiple bowls (I used two) or halve the recipe.

Friday, March 8, 2013

still alive!

grapefruit pound cake

I've been getting lazy at home and cooking simple one pot/one pan dinners for myself so it hasn't been too exciting. However, I did get a chance to try out a grapefruit pound cake recipe for a potluck this weekend!

slices of pound cake

I used the recipe from Homesick Texan and used two loaf pans instead of a tube pan. I'm pretty happy with the results but the grapefruit flavor is quite faint so next time I will probably up the amount of zest I put into the batter. It also came out a little lighter than the dense pound cakes that come from the freezer aisle of the supermarket which would make it a nice cake to pair with ice cream or tea :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Okonomiyaki Party!

my first homemade okonomiyaki!
Well, to be honest it was more like an okonomiyaki (also known as "Japanese pizza" by some) making party for me, and games and socializing for everyone else lol. I can't help but enjoy my time in the kitchen while listening to people having a good time in the next room.

Anyhow, I decided on making okonomiyaki for our gathering of friends after Thanksgiving because I selfishly wanted to make something comforting but Asian after making a big traditional(ish) Thanksgiving dinner a few days before. Surprisingly okonomiyaki is incredibly easy to make and I am a little sad I didn't get any other ingredients to mix in. Perhaps next time I'll get some mochi and mentaiko or cheese :) I think adding in the grated nagaimo is definitely key as it made the batter pretty gooey which translated into some good texture when eating. I also made a big pot of tonjiru (literally pork soup) to go with dinner. Tonjiru reminds me of the fall and I remember having bowls of it outside at some community event at the Board of Education back when I was living in Japan. Again, comforting, nostalgic, and tasty. Can't go wrong with that combination :) I'm sad I didn't take a photo of the entire table as others also contributed to the gluttony that happened yesterday. We had King Egg Rolls, muddy buddies, a giant smoked turkey leg, biscuits, and cake! I also appreciated how my friends finished off the last 1/3 of my apple pie that was in the fridge as well. I look forward to Christmas now and the next excuse I have to turn my kitchen inside out and cook up a storm :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

apple pie!

Once again this year I cooked Thanksgiving for my family! It was lots of fun prepping and cooking for just about 1.5 days straight and I look forward to doing it again next year :) I'm still quite fond of the roast turkey recipe from Simply Recipes and made my first full sized apple pie from scratch! The recipe for deep dish apple pie in Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts was a big hit and the crust was also pretty delicious! I think I'll be making that pie again sometime. That and also Honey Cornbread recipe from Cook's Country. The cornbread came out dense and rich and rich and really went well with the flavor from the cornmeal.

inside the pie :)

The full menu from tonight was:
- Roast Turkey
- Rice Stuffing
- Regular Stuffing (from the box- we had some in the cabinet we needed to get rid of...)
- Pan fried brussel sprouts
- Roasted carrots
- Fried Smashed Potatoes
- Honey Cornbread
- Cranberry sauce from the can
- Apple Pie
- Spenda Pumpkin Pie
- Roasted Whole Sweet Potatoes

2012 Thanksgiving! 

Needless to say I am suffering from a major food coma. My brother is also passed out from too much food lol. I think that's a sign we had a good Thanksgiving :)

splenda pumpkin pie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kale and Potato Soup

kale and potato soup

Even though the weather outside still can't decide if it's summer or fall, I have deemed it soup season in my kitchen lol. That and soup is just so easy to make in a pinch at home. Today, I went with a kale and potato soup that my mom read about in the newspaper back when she lived in Tucson. I think she said it was called something like "Portuguese  Kale Soup" but I'm not too sure of the ethnic origin of the linguica, kale, and potato combination so I'm just going to leave out the Portuguese labeling. Speaking of my mom, this soup will always remind me of how my dad likes to recount how my mom went in search of linguica at the supermarket and when she asked a store clerk to help her out she completely confused him by asking him for help finding the "Leticia" sausage. What I found even more amusing was my dad said he thought nothing of it until  a few minutes later when he realized "Leticia" is a woman's name, not a sausage lol. Also, thank goodness the store clerk figured out linguica from Leticia otherwise we would have been in trouble for dinner that day.

I really enjoy this soup with a side of crusty bread for dipping. The linguica is key to the flavoring of the soup as is the chicken stock and the kale some texture to the soup as well as color. This is pretty versatile and I can imagine putting other ingredients into it as well but today I went with linguica, kale, potato, onion, and white kidney beans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy comfort food

10/24/12 dinner

I have to admit I do tend to make more Japanese food than others and I'd like to say it's because I really cooked for myself when I lived in Japan....but that's really only part of the reason. Japanese home cooking has always been a comfort food for me since I interned in Japan waaay back in the summer of 2003. That introduction to what Japanese food is beyond sushi rolls, tempura, and miso soup was something I'm eternally grateful for. That summer marks my fateful meeting with nikujaga, among so many other dishes, which is now one of my favorite dishes to both cook and eat! I use the recipe I got from my one of my favorite recipe books I bought in Japan. The title literally translates to "dishes you want to make again and again."


I love flipping through this book but I haven't had time to sit down and actually cook all that many of them. However, I can definitely say the nikujaga and karaage recipes are big hits with me and also my family. My dad couldn't stop eating the nikujaga and he firmly believes (and I do too most times) that the onions are the best part. Not the beef or the potatoes, despite them being the namesakes of the dish lol. Today I just added the last carrot I had in the fridge to give some more color to the table and a lot of times I'll add either shirataki or chunks of konnyaku in as well add in a different texture to the plate. You could also decorate with some snow peas or just leave it as meat and potatoes. So versatile, and yet so yummy!


It's finally feeling like autumn

apple season!

It was rather sudden but it's definitely feeling like fall now. The temperature has dropped down to the 50s in the morning and I finally had to put on a sweater this week at home. Though I do miss the crisp fall air that I experienced once in Michigan and twice in Japan. However, one thing is the same regardless, it is the season of apples!

Apples were my favorite fruit when I was a child and now they still rank pretty high for me. Fuji apples are definitely my go to apple but when I can get my hands on them I love a good honeycrisp or empire. There's just something so very satisfying about a good crunchy apple! That being said, I also enjoy trying any new apple I might come across at the market and this time, I discovered Envy apples. They're apparently a hybrid of gala and braeburn created in New Zealand. I won't lie and say the "New Zealand" also piqued my interest since lately running away to New Zealand has suddenly risen up in my hypothetical escape plans when I get stressed out at work. I've only had one so far and there's this wonderful sweet note that you get with each bite that makes it hard to stop wanting more. Sadly the apple I had was a bit grainy, but I'm not sure if that's the texture of the apple or if I just happened to pick out an older one. Regardless, I think they're definitely worth a try!

envy apple