December 19, 2009

Parsley Root and Carrot Potage

I found the root of parsley in the market. I had never seen it before. It resembled burdock, my favorite Japanese vegetable.
And the fragrance was wonderful. Of course, I got some. Parsley root is sweet!
So, today, I cooked it in a soup with carrot for Mr. and Mrs. P.
When I delivered their bento, the potage had already gotten cold. I asked Mrs. P. to warm it up but she didn't. Because the weather was warm then. And they might have been hungry.

comment from Mrs. P.
The soup was cold but we ate it anyway and it was very good! - delicate like vichyssoise soup.


serves 2
2 parsley roots sliced
2 medium carrots sliced
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon of rice flour or 1 teaspoon of rice
1 teaspoon of kombu tea powder* or 1 teaspoon of kombu-dashi powder*
1.5 cup water
2 cups of soy milk
a bit of minced parsley
extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, white pepper


Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauce pan and heat it up on medium heat. Add the parsley roots, the carrots and the onion and stir for 1-2 min. Add the water, the kombu powder, the rice or rice flour and simmer until everything becomes soft. ( 15-20 min .)
Puree the soup in a blender. Put the puree and the soy milk in a pan and simmer for a while and add 1 table spoon of the olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, drizzle a bit of the olive oil and put the parsley on the top.

December 14, 2009

Pasta : Simple tomato and basil

I had the tomato pasta today. I often cook the tomato pasta for my lunch.
I never lose interest in it even if I eat everyday. It is savory, healthy and easy!
Choose rich and sweet grape tomatoes.

serves 1
10 - 13 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove garlic, smashed and sliced
2 -3 fresh basil leaves
handful of pasta ( angel hair or spaghettini : 100-120g )
a pinch of dried red pepper
extra virgin olive oil and salt

Put 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the garlic and the pepper in the frying pan. Saute over low heat until the garlic becomes golden. Add the tomatoes, basil and bring the heat to middle high. Smash the tomatoes and stir until the sauce becomes thick. Keep warm on low heat.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Put the salt in the boiling water ( 1 1/3tablespoons for 1/2gal : 1% ). You might feel it is a little bit too salty if you sample the water, but it is exactly right. Put the pasta in the water and return to boiling. Stir just once as soon as you put it in. If you stir many times the pasta will lose its rough surfaces and can't catch the sauce. Make sure the pasta is Al dente!
Put a tablespoon of the boiling water in the sauce and shake the pan until it becomes milky.
Drain the water off the pasta and put it into the pan and stir well. Dish it up and drizzle a bit of the olive oil.
Adjust the time for finishing of the sauce and pasta. If this is difficult, make the sauce first and turn off the fire until the pasta finishes cooking.
The amount of salt put into the water is very important. It determines the taste.

November 28, 2009

Green Curry : sweet potato and eggplant

I cooked the curry with my homemade Green curry paste. Of course, you can cook it with bottled prepared paste. It would be good enough.
I'm sorry, you can not see the sweet potato and the eggplant in this picture. It doesn't mean it dissolved. I greedily served too much sauce in a deep bowl and every thing sank to the bottom. And the color looks white but it was a beautiful light green. So, the red pepper sets off the curry remarkably. Imagine, please.

comment from Mrs. P.
We love the curry! The fragrance of the curry was wonderful and the heat was perfect - not too hot. And the color of the rice was beautiful!

(serves 2)
2 cups of cubed eggplant
1 cup of diced sweet potato
2 tablespoons of green curry paste*
1 caned coconut cream
1/2 cup of sliced red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon of kombu tea or kombu dashi powder
1 teaspoon of Garlic soy sauce( or soy sauce
1 cup of Jasmine rice
1 teaspoon of curry powder
extra virgin olive oil, sea salt

First of all, let's cook the rice. Measure 2 cups of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of the rice, a pinch of salt, the curry powder and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Lower the heat and simmer 15-20 min or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 5 min. Fluff with a fork.
Put the sweet potato, the kombu tea or the dashi powder and 1 cup of water in your pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender. Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a frying pan and bring it to medium heat. Put the curry paste and stir until the aroma comes out. Add the eggplant and fry lightly. Add the potato with the water and the coconut cream. Bring it to a boil and simmer 3-5 min. Add the red pepper, the soy sauce and salt to taste. Dish up with the rice.

*Green curry paste
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon of minced fresh lemon grass
10-15 jalapeno peppers
1 cup of fresh basil
1/2 medium onion chopped
5 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seed

Put the all of ingredients in to your food processor and mix well. That's all!!
Keep it in your freezer.

November 21, 2009

Baked stuffed pepper

I like to cook the entire vegetable in order to use all its nutrients. Anyway, it is easy.

comment from Mrs. P.
The stuffed pepper is perfect for fall - colorful and tasty.

ingredients (serves 2)
2 bell peppers ( red, orange or yellow) Cut 1/4 off the top, remove the seeds. Keep the bottoms as cups and dice the tops.
1 cup of diced baguette
2 tablespoons of minced onion
1.5 cups soy milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon white miso
(1/4 teaspoon kombu tea powder or kombu dashi powder: if you have it.)
extra virgin olive oil, salt and white pepper


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees ( 180c )
Put the diced pepper and the baguette to the pepper cups.
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in your pan and bring it to low heat, add the onion and fry until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and stir well, add the miso and 1/2 cup soy milk stir well until it becomes smooth. Put the remaining soy milk to the pan and simmer while stirring until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
Fill the pepper cups with sauce, stopping about 1/2 inch from the tops.
Put them to the oven, and bake 30-45 min.

November 15, 2009

Fennel, Orange and Barley Salad

I like fennel very much. It is a popular vegetable in Italy. Today, I cooked it with oranges. They make a good combination. And I also like barley's texture. This salad definitely refreshes you.

comment from Mrs.P.
The fennel was delicious. I had never had it before because I thought it would taste like licorice ( not my favorite ). It's wonderfully fresh tasting with the orange and the crispy/chewy texture are great with the barley!

1 fennel bulb sliced ( keep a few leaves for topping )
2 oranges cubed (cut off the both ends and pare the skin). Keep their juice ( squeeze the juice of the flesh left with the skin ).
1/2 cup of barley
1/3 cup of minced parsley
extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, black pepper

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt on the fennel, mix it lightly, and keep it in your fridge for a while.
Boil the barley until soft and drain. Put 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper on the barley and cool it.
Put the diced orange, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper on your bowl and mix.
Squeeze the fennel and put it into the bowl. Add the orange, the barley, the parsley, 2 pinches of salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, the orange juice, a pinch of pepper and mix well. Dish it up, put the fennel leaves on the top.

November 3, 2009

Miso soup and Mushroom pilaf

I often cook Miso soup, especially potato and onion. My husband loves it.It is a very usual dish in Japan.
As you know, Miso-paste is made from soy beans. Normally we cook Miso soup with kombu( dried-kelp) and dried-fish stock. In the old days, Japanese people ate only rice, vegetables and a little bit of fish. So Miso soup was very important for providing protein. Kombu, dried-fish, miso - each of them has a lot of amino acids. We have a term in Japan for protein, UMAMI, which is one of the five generally recognized basic tastes. Of course, I couldn't use fish for vegan so I cooked it with kombu and dried-shitake mushroom. Dried-shitake also has a good amino acid. you can make good soup by mixing different kinds of amino acids.
Fall is the season of Mushrooms in Japan. People often eat Mushroom rice in this season. The changing of seasons is quite noticeable in Japan. We love to transport the sense of the seasons to the table. So I also cooked Mushroom Pilaf today.

comment from Mrs. P.
I never had miso soup with potatoes - what a wonderful surprise!
The Mushroom rice is rich tasting and fragrant!

Miso Soup - potato, onion and carrot
2 medium size white potatoes, chopped
1/3 cup of carrots, sliced
1/4 medium size onion, sliced
1 piece of green onion, minced
4in. of kombu wiped with a moist paper towel very gently (you can choose 1 teaspoon of kombu-tea powder 0r 1 teaspoon of kombu-dashi powder )*
4.5 cups of water ( If you choose the powder you need 4 cups of water)
2 pieces of dried shitake mushroom soaked in 1 cup of water (2 - 8 hours) - use 2/3 cup of stock for Miso soup and keep 1/3 cup of stock and the shitake mushroom for pilaf
2 - 4 table spoons of white miso*

*kombu-tea powder :
*kombu-dashi powder :
*about miso :


Put the kombu and the water in your pan and leave for 1 -3 hours. Bring the pan on middle heat and warm it up slowly. Take off the kombu just before it starts boiling. Now you get kombu stock ( Kombu-Dashi ). The method is not easy even for Japanese. You have to chose good kombu, have to wipe it VERY gently, have to control the temperature, etc., but don't have the POWDER!! Put the powder and the water in your pan! That's all. You get kombu stock.
Any way... put the potato, carrot, onion and 2/3 cup of shitake stock into the kombu stock. If you don't cook mushroom pilaf, add the soaked shitake mushroom, sliced. Bring the pan on high heat to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potato becomes soft. Skim off the scum and turn off.
Put 2 tablespoons of miso in your small bowl, bring a bit of ladle soup from the pan, put it into the bawl and dissolve the miso well. Put it into the pan, stir and sample it. If you need more miso, add more miso in the same way to taste.
Just before serving, heat on low, turn off just before it starts to boil and put in the green onion. (Never boil miso! It makes it lose its flavor.)

Mushroom pilaf - soy sauce flavor
1.5 cups of Japanese rice
2 - 3 cups of various fresh mushroom sliced ( I cooked clam shell mushroom, white mushroom and brown mushroom)
1/4 cup of chopped carrot
1 clove of garlic sliced
3 teaspoons of minced parsley
1 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine
1 table spoon of soy sauce
1/2 tea spoon of kombu- tea powder or kombu-dashi powder
a pinch of sea salt
1.5 cups of water
2 soaked shitake mushrooms, sliced and 1/3 cup of shitake mushroom stock ( These were kept from the "Miso soup" recipe )

Put the garlic and the olive oil in your heavy, lidded pan. Bring it to low heat and fry the garlic very slowly until golden. Put the mushrooms in the pan, up the heat to medium high, and fry lightly. Add the rice and fry until rice becomes translucent. Add the white wine and stir it lightly. Add the water, the shitake stock, the shitake mushroom, the carrot, the soy sauce, the kombu-tea powder (or kombu-dashi powder ) and the salt. Put the lid on the pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 12min. Take the pan off the fire and let it steam for 10 min. Put the parsley in the pan and mix well gently.

October 28, 2009

Fried Tofu Sticks - curry flavor

I cooked Fried Tofu Sticks for their Bento. This time, I made it as curry flavor.
It is suitable for bento because it has no liquid and still good after it gets cold.

comment from Mrs. P.
My husband loves these Tofu Sticks! He likes to dip them in Garlic-Soy Sauce.

1 pack firm tofu (12 - 14oz)
1 tablespoon of curry powder
2 tablespoons of purpose flour
1 tablespoon of corn starch or rice flour
sea salt, vegetable oil for frying

First of all, you need to press the tofu to drain its moisture. Usually, I use same-sized square baking dishes ( they work well to press because they have flat bottoms ). Wrap the tofu in your paper towel and place on the dish. Put another dish on it and put something heavy as weight ( 1 gal water bottle, a kettle of water or something else) on the dish and leave it 1 - 3 hours until the tofu loses 1/3 - 1/2 its original thickness.
Cut the tofu into 10 - 12 sticks. Sprinkle the curry powder all over them. Mix the two kinds of flour well and sprinkle it all over the tofu.
Put the oil depth of 1/4 - 1/2 in. in your large frying pan and bring it medium-high heat. Put the tofu gently into the pan after the oil becomes hot and fry each on both sides until crisp. You can get a nice crisp if you raise the heat to high for a moment just before you bring up the tofu from the pan - a low temperature just makes them oily.
Place the tofu on your paper towel to drain some oil. Sprinkle the salt on all over the sticks to taste.
These are good for dipping in ginger-soy sauce, if you are not satisfied with salt alone. Put a teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger into 3 tablespoon of soy sauce ( or Garlic-soy sauce : see previous post ). It is easy and yummy!!
You can keep fresh ginger in your freezer. It is easy to grate with your plane grater (grater/zester). I always have some in my freezer.

October 24, 2009

Guacamole with lentils : Vegan's Steak Tartar

It was a surprise to me. Because I intended to have made a steak tartar for vegan, I hadn't thought that this dish was a guacamole until Mrs. P. called it "guacamole". How stupid of me! I got the idea for this dish from the recipe of a Japanese chef. The chef also called her dish "Steak Tartar for Vegetarian". So I had forgotten existence of "guacamole".
Yes, It is a variation on guacamole, of course. It has avocado and onion but it doesn't have any tomatoes, chili and lime juice. In compensation, it has a lot of lentils and mustard.
I dished up it as heart-shaped. Isn't it cute? When I cooked it for Mr. & Mrs. P. as Bento, I put it in the box as heart-shaped, also. When they opened the box it had already lost its shape. So we have been calling the dish "Broken Heart". It doesn't sound very happy.
I think it needs "a new name". Do you mind if I call it "Vegan's Steak Tartar."?

comment from Mrs. P.
This is intriguing! I close my eyes with every bite to savour it.

1 large size avocado sliced
1/4 medium size onion minced
1 cup of boiled lentils
3 - 5 tablespoons of prepared coarse ground mustard (my recommendation is a country Dijon.)
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tea spoons of white wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
some sprigs of fresh Thyme (if you need for decoration and flavor.)
some slices of your favorite bread toasted

First of all, let's make a dressing. Put 2 pinches of salt and a bit of black pepper into your big bowl and add the olive oil, the mustard and mix well. Add the vinegar and blend well and leave it.
Put the avocado, the onion and the lentils on your chopping board, chop them well and mix until the avocado becomes smooth.
Put it into the bowl which has the dressing and mix.
Dish up in your style with the toast.

Squash became a pasta!?

It looks like a Tagliatelle but it has only vegetables. Both the look and texture are delightful.
You can add some boiled Tagliatelle, of course. It would be fun to have both the twisted pasta and the pasta-like squash.

comment from Mrs. P.
I love pasta and this is as satisfying as the 'real thing'!!

1 yellow summer squash
1 green zucchini ( you can choose 2 yellow summer squashes or 2 green zucchinis)
10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 clove of garlic
a pinch of crushed red pepper
extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper

Wash the squashes well and pat dry. Remove both ends. Using a peeler, make 1/2 inch-wide strips the length of the zucchini. Stop when you begin to reach the seeds.
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in your frying pan. Bring the pan to low heat and fry the garlic very slowly. After the oil boils, add the red pepper and fry until the garlic becomes golden.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes and fry, crushing them to get their juice. After the tomatoes become soft, add the squash and fry until the zucchini becomes soft.
Season with the salt and the black pepper.

October 23, 2009

Garlic - Soy sauce

This is a very useful seasoning. It has a rich flavor.
It is good for dressing, fried rice, curry and so on. I often use for "Fake Chicken" (the previous post). Easy and savory!!

7 - 12 cloves of garlic
1 cup of soy sauce

Put the garlic into a clean bottle and add the soy sauce.
That is all!! You can use after one week and can keep up to 1 year in your fridge.

October 20, 2009

Fried Tofu named "Fake Chicken"

This is the dish we call Fake Chicken. It looks just like a Japanese fried chicken and is, of course, yummy!!
The idea is from "ooLife organic recipe" : Ms. ooLa is a famous cook and blogger in Japan. She has a great talent and beauty!! Thank you so much, Ms. ooLa!!

comment from Mrs. P.
That's the sound my husband makes when he sees Fake Chicken in our bento! He loves tofu and this is his favorite!

1 pack of tofu, frozen in its package in your freezer. (Buy a plastic-tubed, refrigerated tofu, not the paper-boxed kind found on the regular grocery shelf.)
4 tablespoons of rice flour
4 tablespoons of coconut milk
1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder
a clove of garlic minced
vegetable oil - for frying

3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of white sesame seed crushed by your finger
1/4 teaspoon of kombu-tea or kombu-dashi powder
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Let the tofu defrost (under the running water, in hot water or leave it in your fridge 1day etc., - you can chose your way).
Put the garlic into the soy sauce.
Cut the tofu in 9 -12 pieces. Grasp each piece and press tightly to completely drain off the water.
Put the tofu in the mixture of the coconut milk, the cumin powder and the garlic/soy sauce. Mix them gently and leave it for 5min.
Sprinkle the rice flour all over the tofu and deep fry the pieces in 360-degree oil until the surfaces become crisp.
Put them on your favorite salad. ( pictured is a baby spinach and shredded carrot salad.)
Mix the dressing ingredients and sprinkle it over the dish.
Fake Chicken is also good for dipping with your favorite sauce. Ms. ooLa 's recommendation is a sweet chili sauce. Mine is a Ponzu sauce : mix all of the ingredients of *dressing except the sesame oil.

October 11, 2009

Crazy food town Osaka-city!!

It is a symbol of Osaka (?) "Gulico" - the character of candy brand.

Osaka is well-known as FOOD, COMEDY and beautiful sunset.

Osaka people love flashy. Every restaurant fights fiercely on their display.

People enjoy all night.
Every display looks like a comedy. Funny!!!

October 10, 2009

Today's my lunch: in Kyoto

My friend and I went to a fantastic French restaurant in Kyoto.
Every thing was amazing and we were knocked out!! So I forgot to take the pictures of appetizer and soup. both of them were gorgeous, unique and elegant.

Zen Temple in Japan

I went to Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto.
It has beautiful gardens and wonderful arts.
the second picture is my favorite "The Wind and Thunder Gods".
The last one is Hatto - Dhama Hall. The front facing altar enshrines a seated image of Shakyamuni Tathagata and attendant statues of the Buddhist priests Mahakasypa and Ananda.
The painting on the ceiling is "Twin dragons" (11.4m by 15.7m). Amazing and powerful!!

October 8, 2009

Japanese Temple

Today, I went to Hgashi-honganji Temple.
It was just 5min. walk from Kyoto-station (first picture-very modern) to the temple.
I had lived in Kyoto but it was a first time to go to the temple. Because It is different from my denomination. Higashi-honganji is a head temple of the Shin sect Buddhism Otani party. I am a Shingon-esoteric Buddhist. However most of Japanese people don't mind such a thing. I went to there just sightseeing. It is under repair but still fabulous. I enjoyed Buddhism quiet and spirits.
The last picture is a ginkgo tree's fruits. We had a typhoon last night, so they dropped. You can eat these nuts roasted. Yummy!

October 7, 2009

Japan!! Japan!! Japan!!

It was rain today, but it still was beautiful!!

How clean Gion street is!!

Today's our lunch. It was too delicious to take a picture.
Every dish is half eaten.

I am in Kyoto now. Kyoto is a beautiful ancient city in Japan.
I enjoy delicate and elegant foods and gorgeous hospitality.
Quiet, graceful, spiritual and exciting!!!

September 23, 2009

Stuffed Tomatoes

This is the "too tall Stuffed Tomato"
that I cooked for Mr. and Mrs. P., If you don't understand, please read the previous post
"Bento Box! It's so smart!".

comment from Mrs. P.
This is the perfect summer treat - Light, tasty and satisfying! Thank you!

4 medium fresh tomatoes
(scoop out the insides and keep the tomato cups in your fridge)
1 clove of garlic sliced
1/4 medium onion minced
a pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1 cup of rice (Italian or your favorite)
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
1/2 kombu-tea powder or kombu-dashi powder
1 cup of water
some fresh basil (for topping and for the rice)
Extra Virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper

*Kombu-tea (konbu-cha) :

Kombu-dashi powder :

Put 1 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in your heavy, lidded pan. Bring the pan to low heat and fry the garlic very slowly until golden. Add the onion, turn up the heat to medium and stir the onion until soft but not brown. Put in the rice, red pepper and stir until the rice becomes translucent. Add the tomato pulp which you scooped, the water, kombu tea or kombu-dashi powder and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on, turn up the heat to high, bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 min. take the pan off the fire and let it steam for 10 min.
Bring a frying pan to medium heat. Cook the pine nuts with 1 tablespoon olive oil until golden and salt. Put the pine nuts with the oil, some torn basil on the rice and mix gently.
Sprinkle salt and black pepper on the tomato cups. Stuff the rice into the tomatoes with your spoon. Put it on your plate. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar around the tomatoes. Put the basil leaves on the tops.

September 19, 2009

Bento Box! It's so smart!

Bento box is a Japanese lunch box.
I sometimes cook for Mr.and Mrs. P. in bento style.
Mrs. P. loves this bento box.
was given to me by my mother-in-law about twenty years ago! However, it looks like almost new because we didn't go on picnics very often. I completely forgot I even had it until I started to cook "bento" for them just three months ago.
It serves two persons, has two containers, two plates and two forks. You can stack up these containers when you have your food in them, and can fit one inside the other when they are empty. You can also carry it with its clever belt in both instances. How smart!
One day, I cooked Stuffed Tomatoes for them, but the tomatoes were a bit too tall to put into the bento box. So I chose other ordinary containers.
When she saw the containers, she said,
"Where is my bento? I miss my bento box!"
The bento box finally won recognition!!