Saturday, October 18, 2014

Autumn harvest Apple Jam

One of my favorite things to do is
making Jam with seasonal fruits.

I love the smell of fruit cooking on the stove top in my kitchen, that makes me happy.
Using seaonal fruits also makes me feel connected with the seasons.
Apple jam is one of the jams that I make every year.
 Any kind of apples are fine but I prefer to use Fuji.
Fuji holds up well after cooking
and has a very good balance of acid and sweet.

Since I was  child fuji has been my most favorite apple!

I like to use brown sugar in the apple jam
and I use a little less than the usual amount.
Love love to eat this jam with toast!!
It is soooooooooo yummyyyyyy!!!!!


4 apples (Fuji preferred)
2 cups of brown sugar
4~6 cloves
4~5 slices of lemon (If you use a sour apple, like Granny Smith, then use less lemon.)

1) Peel the apples and cut into quarter-rounds. If you prefer a mushier texture, you can cut the apples thinner. 

2) Place the apples, brown sugar, cloves and lemon into a pot and simmer over low heat.
You could also use cinnamon but I prefer cloves. Cloves add some kick to the jam.

"Cloves have a long history as an anti-bacterial and odor eliminator.
They have a sweet and pungent scent and go well with fruits. They are often used for compote, hot wine, etc.
If you have extra cloves, you can toss a handful into your cupboard to prevent bugs. Or you also can put them in a small pouch in your shoes to reduce odors."

3) Turn the heat to medium as the apples release some juice.

4) Mix the apples from the bottom of the pot so that they don't stick to the pot. 
    Skim the residue if needed. 

5) Continue to cook until the mixture thickens (about 20 minutes).

At this point, it can be a bit runny since it will thicken as it cools down.

6) Pour the jam into a sterilized canning jar, put on the lid and flip the jar upside down until it cools.

7) Refrigerate to store.

And enjoy with your toast in the morning!!

Or enjoy with your wine at night♡


with your favorite blue cheese and sprinkle of chopped walnuts.

Enjoy while the apples are in season.!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Season's blessing - Fresh Corn Soup

Finally local fresh corn is in season!
Of course I love to eat corn on the cob with melted butter
but I also love corn soup, corn salad, and sauted fresh corn.

I will show you how to make my light and creamy corn soup
 using fresh local corn. 

Straining the soup to get the smooth and creamy texture is a little extra work
 but it is worth it.

<RECIPE ★  Fresh Corn Soup>
5  fresh cobs of corn
1  large onion, chopped
1  or 2 stalks of celery, chopped (If you like celery, go with 2. I do!)
1  clove of garlic, finely chopped
3  sprigs of thyme
2  Tbs Butter (I use salted Kerrygold butter from grass fed cows)
2  Tbs olive oil
4  cups water

1) Shave the corn from the cob and keep the cobs.
We will use them to make a tasty soup base!

2) In a pot, melt butter and oil on medium heat
then add the garlic, onion, celery, and a pinch or two of salt.
Saute until they are tender.
Add the corn kernels and saute until they are also tender.

3) Add cobs, water and thyme sprigs then bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and cook until the corns are very tender.
Salt to taste.

4) Remove the cobs and thyme.
Let the mixture cool to a safe working temperature
then puree the corn mixture with a blender until smooth.
(I use a hand blender but you could scoop it into a standing blender too.)

5) Strain the soup through a mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids
and discarding them.
(I also squeeze the solids with a cheese cloth but this is optional)

6) Serve soup hot or cold.
We eat half the pot hot and then the other half cold the following day.

I garnish with celery leaves and sauteed shrimp (sauted with salt and pepper).
Drizzeld olive oil adds a nice touch too.

For cold soup, I like to use a glass bowl.
The glass bowl gives an ice-like visual effect to cool us down on a hot day.

Japanese cooking style is more than just a recipe.
 In the right environment we can enjoy food with our five senses:
 taste, smell, sight, touch and sound. 
We always like to add a seasonal influence.

This is the art of cooking that I really enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Color Soboro Don

"Soboro" is cooking minced (ground) meat with soy sauce, etc..
"Don" is an abreviation of "donburi" which means a "big" rice bowl.
"Soboro don" is cooked minced meat on top of a big rice bowl!
We often make this dish for our lunch box.
Typically we use ground chicken,
 but I often use ground pork because that is what my mother used.
I think pork has more flavor in it and tastes better. :)
Of course you can use either.

This Soboro is slightly salty. When eaten with rice, sweetened egg and green vegetables (peas or beans) then the harmony of flavors is perfect in your mouth!
My kids love it! 1 bowl is never enough for them,
 so I always have to make enough for seconds!

This is a perfect family and lunch box food
because it is easy and DELICIOUS!!

<RECIPE ★ Three color SOBORO DON>
4 servings
■ Pork Soboro
1.3 pound Ground pork
3 Tbs Brown sugar
2 Tbs Sake
2 Tbs Mirin (you can buy "real" mirin at some liquor stores)
6 Tbs Soy sauce
1 Tbs squeezed ground ginger juice
■ Sweet scrambled Eggs
3 Eggs
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1 Tbs Sake
1/2 Tbs Soy sauce
Vegetable oil

■ Green vegetables
Frozen green peas are the easiest!
or chopped green beans

1) Put all the ingredients for pork soboro in a sauce pan.

2) Use a couple of chopsticks to mix until all the liquid evaporates
and meat is crumbled.

★Evaporating all the liquid is the key point!!
Otherwise it won't taste as good.
3) Pour a little bit of vegetable oil onto a fryingpan and make the scrambled eggs
with all the "sweet scrambled eggs" ingredients.

4) Boil the peas in lightly salted water
then drain and cool them down.
5) Pour the rice in a bowl, then creatively arrange the soboro, egg, and peas
as shown below.

Use a spoon instead of chopsticks...


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Addictive Corn Salsa

Here is the addictive corn salsa recipe that you are sure to love!

We just keep eating, eating, and eating this corn salsa with our favorite tortilla chips.
Perfect acidity, perfect saltiness, and perfectly tasty!
This salsa is not only for chips but also good as a sauce for fish and steak.
It is amazing on fish tacos!
I know there are many recipes for salsa out there, but try this one.
You will love it!

<Recipe ★ Corn Salsa>

- 2 cooked Corn cobs
1 can of Corn
- 1 bunch of Cilantro
- 6 to 7 Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 1 Avocado
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 to 1 full Lime juiced
- 4 Tbs Olive Oil

1) Shave the corn off the cob. (or just open the can.)

2) Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters.

3) Chop the onion.

4) Dice the avocado into 1 inch pieces.

5) Chop the cilantro.

6) Put above ingredients in a bowl and squeeze in the lime juice.

7) Add remaining ingredients, salt, sugar and olive oil,
then mix well.

8) Serve with chips, fish or steak.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Enjoy Summer vegetables!

This is our favorite Summer vegetable dish,
(ratatouille in French, caponata in Italian)

This is a really easy recipe but very delicious and looks so gorgeous.
Check out my cooking video, then follow the recipe! 

<RECIPE ★ Ratatouille>

2  Italian Eggplants (mini eggplants)   
2 Zucchinis
2 Summer squashes
1 Onion
2 to 3 stalks Celery
1/2 to 1 Red bell pepper
1/2 to 1 Yellow bell pepper
2 to 4 Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Salt & Pepper
1 Bay leaf
Olive oil

1) Cut every vegetables into bite sized pieces. (Peel the tomato skins before dicing)
2) Pour the olive oil in a pot and add the chopped garlic. Saute on low heat until the garlic smells delicious and aromatic.
3) Add onions, salt  and pepper then saute until tender. Add eggplant and a pinch of salt then saute for 2 minutes. Add each vegetable (like onion) one by one.  Each time you put in the vegetable, don't forget to put a pinch or two of salt, this brings out the "umami" taste.  You can also add more olive oil and pepper if you like.
4) Add tomatoes and mix gently. Add the bay leaf then close the lid and cook until the vegetables are tender.
5) Salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat. Serve cold, hot or room temperature as a side dish or pasta sauce!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Love clams!

We love to eat clams in the Summer!
This is one of my family's favorite clam recipes,
Littleneck clams in white wine.

It is easy to cook and goes very well with chilled white wine.
We can use this as a great appetizer or pasta sauce such as
 "spaghetti alle vongole in bianco".
Here is the recipe:
<RECIPE ★ Littleneck clams in White Wine >

20 - 25 Littleneck Clams
2 cloves minced Garlic
1/2 to 1 cup White Wine (to taste)
Olive oil
Some Chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper if you like

1) Wash the littleneck clams very well and soak them in lightly salted water, over night, to get the sand out.
2) In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and minced garlic, and stir until aromatic. 
Add clams and stir for a minute, add white wine then close the lid and cook until the clams open.
3) Season with salt and pepper if you like but usually you don't need so much. 
4) Sprinkle chopped parsley and serve!

Enjoy your Summer dinner "Littleneck clams in white wine"
accompany with very chilled white wine!