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!!

September 17, 2009

Wakame Tomato Miso Bread

Today, I have a lot of gorgeous tomatoes from Ms. G.,
so I cooked our favorite breads. Easy and healthy!
The recipe is from "vege-dining"*
Thanks Ms. Izumi, you are a genius!

comments from Mrs. P.

This is a wonderful bread! Moist and Savory!

The wakame is an unexpected treat!


2 medium
fresh tomatoes crushed
2 tablespoons of Dried Wakame flakes*

1 table spoon of White miso paste*

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

*See notes below.


Mix together the tomato, the wakame and the miso. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix them.
Divide your dough into 6 and drop by your table spoon on the parchment-paper, leaving an inch between.

Bake them in a 425 degree for about 10 min (or until wooden skewer inserted near center comes out clean).

about Japanese foods
*Wakame is a kind of seaweed. It is good for your health. you can get :
If you don't have wakame you can make the bread without it. Put some pine nuts or pistachio nuts to make up for wakame. It also would be good!

*We have plenty kind of miso paste in Japan.
You can sort them by degree of maturity. The most mature one has dark color (almost red), middle one has light color (brown-yellow) and young one has really pale color (yellow-beige). Most people in US call middle one "White miso". We don't call it "White miso". For Japanese, "White miso" means "Saikyo-White miso" which I used in "Miso flavor Gratin." It is a little bit too complicated, so I decided to call them "Red miso", "White miso" and "Saikyo-White miso" in this blog. Most of the time the miso paste sold in ordinary markets is White. If you have miso paste now, I think your one is probably "White miso."
Which means I used White miso for this bread. This is the one :


Gift from Ms. G


September 16, 2009

Miso flavor Gratin

This picture is a dish of Zucchini/Tomato Gratin. I cooked Zucchini/Spinach Gratin for them.
Both of them are good. If you have eggplant (sliced, fried and salted,) you can make Zucchini/Tomato/Eggplant Gratin.*
It would be good!

comment from Mrs. P.
It was amazing!
My husband couldn't stop eating.
Soy-milk and Miso?
It browns just like cheese.

2 medium zucchini sliced in 1/4" rounds
1 bunch of spinach (or, 1 tomato diced)
1/4 onion minced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon mushroom powder*
1/2 teaspoon of kombu tea powder or 1/2 teaspoon of kombu dashi powder*
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon of flour
1.5 cup of soy milk
2 tablespoons of white miso*
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
extra virgin olive oil, (some fresh basil,) salt and black pepper
*See notes below.

Fry zucchini with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent on both sides. Remove from pan and lightly salt.
Boil your spinach for 1 minute, immerse in cold water and squeeze dry. Dress it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and black pepper.
(or dress diced tomato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, bit of basil, a pinch of salt and black pepper.)
Spread 1 teaspoon of olive oil on your medium size baking dish.
Alternate layers using 1/2 of the zucchini, the spinach, and remaining zucchini.
Stir shitake powder and kombu tea powder into the water.
Dissolve miso in the soy milk.
Bring a frying pan to medium heat. Cook the onion with 1 tablespoons olive oil until soft but not brown. Add the garlic and fry lightly. Stir in the flour. Add the shitake/kombu water and stir. Put in the miso/soy milk and simmer while stirring until it thickens. (Season with salt and pepper if you need after tasted.) Pour it into your baking dish over the vegetables.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the top.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil on it.
Bake it in a 450 degree oven for about 15 min
or until golden .

* If you make Zucchini/Tomato/Eggplant Gratin, you need 1 medium zucchini, 1 tomato and 1 small eggplant.
In this case, it is good to put the eggplant on the bottom, the tomato on the middle and the zucchini on the top.

about Japanese foods
*The white miso is called "saikyo-white miso." It is a little bit sweet and smooth.
This is the one which I used. Very good!
If not available locally it may be purchased from:

*It isn't easy to get kombu-tea in US. However, you can get Kombu-dashi powder easily from:

*If you get Japanese dried shitake mushrooms, let's make the powder with your food processor and keep it on hand s
o you can make beautiful soup stock easily.
If you don't have dried shitake mushrooms, you can choose fresh mushrooms. Mince some and put it into the pan with garlic.