Saturday, April 07, 2007

odds & ends

Last night, I decided to roast some veggies for dinner. I just drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. After the veggies came out of the oven, I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar on top.

For the main dish, I baked some salmon and topped it with an idea I got from the Honolulu Advertiser. The recipe was for a lavender-thyme butter, but I didn't follow it because it was a bit too late to take some butter out to soften it (plus it is too cold to soften butter...), so I just took all the ingredients and placed them on top of the salmon. It made the house smell wonderful and it tasted great!

Well, today is a dreary Saturday, it is very overcast and very cold! Satoshi's German language class has moved from its previous location, so they had an open house. One of the presentations was by a local confectioner, Masashi Taniwaki, who makes German sweets. He lived in Germany for about 14 years before coming back to Japan. His shop is located in Ashiya, a high-end neighborhood, just outside of Osaka.

He talked about making different types of German sweets and of course, there was taste testing too. The first one we got to try was baum kuchen and is supposed to look like the rings of a tree when cut. This cake was a bit dense and has many layers and I was surprised at how this one wasn't too sweet. This cake is usually found at special occasions such as weddings or birthdays. You need a special baum kuchen oven to make this, so I can see why it might be found only at special occasions.

The next one was called land kuchen--which means country cake. This cake is usually found out in the country side and quite eaten regularly. This cake was also quite dense but had a fruit and nut topping. It was really good and also not too sweet.

The last one that we tried was called mohn kuchen. Mohn is poppy seeds. This cake was quite light and had a layer of poppy seeds, raisins and nuts. As you ate it, you could feel the little poppy seeds popping in your mouth.

I also want to share with you a new chocolate. This is called salt chocolate made by one of my favorite local chocolatiers, Ekchuah. It was sold last year at their shop, but I hadn't gotten around to getting some until now.

The back-side of the chocolate has the store's name in gold on it. This dark chocolate is laced with a natural salt that complements the chocolate, it is perfect while sipping a glass of red wine.

Lastly, this time of year bring sakura (cherry blossom) flavored treats. It is hard to describe the flavor because it doesn't not taste like cherries that we're used to in America. The flavor is delicate like the cherry blossoms themselves. This treat was made by a Kyoto shop called Kogetsu and we got them from a friend, Kathy. (Thanks Kathy!)

After opening the wrapper, you find this pink, gelatinous ball, which is flavored with sakura.

Then cutting into it, you find the sweet bean paste inside...delicious!

Hope you are having a great weekend!


Barbara said...

How interesting,salt chocolate. I've had salte licorice and it was awful.

K and S said...

I think you would like the salt chocolate, Barbara since you seem to enjoy red wines. I don't know that I would enjoy salt licorice as I don't care much for licorice to begin with.

Take care!