Sunday, June 30, 2019

when life throws you curves

I knew this day was coming, but didn't think it would really happen for awhile...

My brother has decided to move back to the mainland (in October) and at the moment, it doesn't look like we'll be moving back to Hawaii anytime soon, so we need to get my parent's house ready to sell.

While I'm thankful my brother was around to take care of my Dad, I'm sad that he wasn't able to find his niche in Hawaii...I guess when you've lived most of your life on the mainland though...

So...this means LOTS of danshari (purging) among other things...

I told the doctor that I needed to take a break from rehab (yup, I am still going to rehab) and he said, "no stairs, no lifting of heavy items, etc"...Then I told him why I needed to take a break, so he prescribed me some medicated ointment to rub on my knee while I am in Hawaii and I will continue my rehab when I return in the Fall.

Am looking forward to catching up with family and friends.

I put "someone" in charge of my plants and to update me on the condo construction (in case you were wondering, this is what it looked like on 6.29.2019)...sad yeah?!...

I'll be posting from Hawaii (when I can) and my dates will reflect Japan time.

You can also check up on me on Instagram or Facebook (if you use these).

Be well everyone.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

this cat

In our neighborhood, there are several cats.

Previously, I told you about this one.

Today, I want to tell you about this one that takes a nap on its owner's roof.

He always looks like he is mad and is the very first cat we stumbled on when we moved to Tokyo.

He's been under the weather lately because someone fed him something bad (they had a sign up saying so and not to feed him anything), so it was nice to see him on the roof the other day.

I give the furry ones credit for being able to survive in this heat and humidity.

Me, I'm a wimp and need air conditioning or at least no humidity...

Friday, June 28, 2019

supermarket finds

We recently tried these Red Beauty Plums which were grown in Yamanashi prefecture.

The outside is a deep red but tart.

The inside is a yellow-orange flesh and sweet.

Have you tried this variety before?

p.s. Typhoon season has started here and we are already on our 3rd! Hopefully it will pass quickly today without any damages.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

life hack

Do you ever have a hard time peeling hard boiled eggs?

Me, I almost always do.

The shell sticks to the egg and my "peeled" eggs usually look all "bumpy".

I recently learned a new hack though.

Before boiling the egg, tap the "rounded" side of the egg with the back of a spoon a couple of times. (FYI: the opposite side is more "pointy")

The rounded side has an "air pocket" and when the egg is in the boiling water, the "cracks" will release the carbon dioxide that is between the egg and the shell.

(Apparently, this is also why the egg is put into the carton with the rounded side up, so it can "breathe"...)

Then when you peel it the shell should just slide off.

If you try this, I hope it will work for you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

prize

Have you ever ate the ice bar called Gari Gari Kun?

If I'm not mistaken, "gari gari" is the onomatopoetic sound from your teeth biting into an ice bar...

Anyway, the other night, Satoshi was eating a Gari Gari Kun and he saw this on the stick.

I brought the stick along with the receipt back to the store that I bought the ice bar from and they gave me another bar.

Cool, yeah?!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

yesterday

Yesterday morning we had a big jolt of an earthquake.

It was only a second, but it was scary.

Usually we can hear the earthquakes coming up the road and usually it is a swaying from left to right type, but this one was all of a sudden and an up-down type, kind of like when a plane lands on the runway...

Of course, Satoshi was on the train going to work and didn't feel a thing...

On top of that, it was raining...kind of hard too.

I went to do some errands and when I came back, I noticed this...

Apparently it fell off of the ceiling above the stairs near our apartment...eep!

It looks a bit rusty so it probably fell off with the rain and shaking...

I called the building management and within an hour or so, someone called to reconfirm.

They'll be sending someone to check it out soon.

I'm glad they are acting on this and hope they will be able to fix the area soon.

Krazy weather going on here, huge earthquake in Yamagata & Niigata...AND Kansai (West Japan) still hasn't started their rainy season!

Without the rain, veggie prices are gonna skyrocket...

Hope the weather is nicer on your side of the world.

Monday, June 24, 2019

curry wa nomimono

Back in February while we were waiting for Ponta Honke to open, we spotted this place...Curry wa nomimono (literally "curry is a drink/beverage")...which is hard to translate, but I think it kind of similar to how we say "there is always room for dessert".

Since we had some errands to run yesterday, we had lunch here.

Satoshi had the kuro niku curry (literally black meat curry) + 300 grams rice...890 yen (tax included)

This is a European style curry...Rich fond de veau (brown stock) based with a little marscapone cheese as a hidden ingredient...while eating you can change up the flavors with the lemon, a splash of the habanero sauce and or the parmesan cheese.

I chose the Butter Chicken + 200 grams rice...960 yen (tax included).

Spicy and a teeny nick of butter it also comes with a spicy onion achar (pickle).

The chicken is cooked tender.

After getting your meal ticket from the machine and passing it to the staff behind the counter, they will ask you what 3 toppings you want.

All orders come with free toppings...From their list of 10, you pick 3 and yell out the numbers when they ask you...

1) ajitama (marinated hard-boiled egg), 2) rakkyo (pickled shallots), 3) fukujinzuke (pickled daikon radish/other vegetables), 4) potato salad, 5) fried garlic, 6) coriander (cilantro), 7) mayonnaise-dressed tuna, 8) mayonnaise-dressed corn, 9) basil bean salad, 10) fried onions.

Satoshi chose the ajitama, rakkyo and fried onions, while I chose the rakkyo, cilantro and fried onions.

The curries are served on turmeric rice and come out quite quickly.

Fried onions on curry is so good!

I'm glad we tried this place, they also have other shops in different parts of Tokyo...we'll be back.

Curry wa nomimono, Okachimachi shop
3-23-3 Ueno
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5812.4770
Lunch: 11:00-16:00, Dinner 17:30-21:30

Sunday, June 23, 2019

asukayama park

Back in April, we checked out Asukayama Park.

I noticed on someone's Instagram that the same park had ajisai (hydrangea).

I had planned on checking it out on Thursday, but rain was in the forecast, which turned out to be wrong (it was sunny)...boo!

So instead, I went on Friday.

And while the weather was overcast, it was so so humid and gross.

When you arrive at the JR Oji Station, take the South exit and walk over the pedestrian bridge to the park.

The hydrangea run alongside the train tracks, at the base of the park.

So many different types.

So pretty yeah?!

For lunch I went to Meijido and had their kimagure plate.

Kimagure is translated as "whimsy" or "moody" but I like the "capricious" definition.

Today's Kimagure Plate had (top) fried chicken sandwich, sweet-salty bread topped with sweet bean paste and whipped cream, (bottom) basil tuna broccoli bechamel sauce tartine (toast) & egg ham sandwich roll.

Everything was so good and I enjoyed the tartine, chicken sandwich and sweet salty bread the most in that order.

The last time I visited Meijido, there was a grandma sitting across of me, and I am pretty sure she was sitting across from me on this day too.

She ordered "her usual" and the waitstaff knew exactly what to bring out for her...so cool!

Despite the humidity, I'm glad I was able to check out the hydrangea here.

I have a few more pictures as well as some videos here...I shot some using the "time-lapse" mode and I hope you will not get dizzy viewing it...

Saturday, June 22, 2019

diamond head market & grill's blueberry cream cheese scones

Finally tried making Diamond Head Market & Grill's Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones.

The recipe is in the "By Request Cookbook by Betty Shimabukuro".

I kind of adlibbed because I didn't have the amount of cream cheese the recipe called for.

I also cheated and pulsed the dough together in my food processor.

This scones really "poofs up" and after baking is "huge".

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones by Diamond Head Market & Grill, published in "By Request by Betty Shimabukuro"
1/3 cup butter, cut in pieces
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed, rinsed and drained, sprinkled with sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and cut with a pastry blender or two butter knives until crumbly.

Stir milk into softened cream cheese, then stir in egg until well-combined. Stir cream cheese mixture into flour mixture until dough forms a ball.

Gently push blueberries and cream cheese pieces into the dough to incorporate evenly. Be careful not to crush the berries or mash the cream cheese pieces.

Spoon mounds of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet to make 8 scones. Tuck berries and cream cheese pieces into the dough as much as possible. (Or, for traditional scones, gently pat the dough into a 9-inch circle on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate.)

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Makes 8 scones.


NOTES: This was delicious...with all that butter, it should be, right?!

This recipe goes against my rule about only using 50 grams of butter, but I'm glad I tried it.

Instead of folding the berries and cream cheese into the dough, I sandwiched it between the dough.

Next time, I will put all the all the blueberries and cream cheese in between the dough because they didn't "sink" into the scone like I thought it would, they just stayed up top.

Friday, June 21, 2019

sakuranbo

I've told you before that I've never had sweet sakuranbo (cherries) grown in Japan.

Well, I found some recently.

The color is definitely different, yeah?!

Now I know to choose the darker colored cherries.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

plate lunch nanary

There is a plate lunch place nearby that I've been wanting to try.

Most times though, if a shop is not open while I am doing my grocery shopping, I end up buying my lunch elsewhere.

Sunday, Satoshi went to watch university baseball team play, so I got to try Plate Lunch Nanary.

This shop is tiny and takeout only.

I tried their kalbi bento.

It was a good sized bento.

The meat was flavored well, though it could've been a little more tender.

And the rice was a little too soft for my liking.

Still, I hope to try other items on their menu...I'll be back.

Plate Lunch Nanary
4-32-2 Ikegami
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6410.3985
Hours: 11:00-19:00

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

anpan & gardenias

It has been many years since I've baked bread.

I have this type of yeast, which was a freebie in a foodie magazine.

I have had it in my freezer and it is WAY past the expiry date!

Since yesterday was quite warm, I decided to try baking with the yeast.

On the 1st proof, it rose...whew!

I weighed and divided it into 7 pieces.

After the 2nd proof, I filled them with an (sweet bean paste).

It was my first time using this yeast as well as trying a pain de campagne (country bread) recipe.

After baking, some oozed.

I tasted one, the texture seems to be good and there was a nice crust.

Breakfast tomorrow : anpan!

I wanted to show you this gardenia bush that I found on the side of the road nearby.

Love the fragrance of gardenia (the Japanese call it "kuchinashi").

It is gardenia season here and I have seen some homes with them in their yards.

Are the gardenia blooming where you are?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

this and that

Yesterday, I posted about Coffee Jelly, I forgot to mention that if you'd like to leave out the sugar or use a sweetener when making your gelatin, please do so.

On to today's post...The other day the weather was on the cooler side, so I made rafute.

I also made goya namashi (namashi is the Okinawan pronunciation for namasu).

Goya Namashi : based on recipe from "Chimugukuru" by Hui O Laulima

1 goya (bittermelon), cleaned & thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1.5 tablespoons water

Clean and slice bittermelon, massage salt onto the goya and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Rinse then squeeze out the water.
Add to vinegar mixture, mix well.
Chill and serve.

NOTES: It was my first time making namashi and will definitely make it again because it is easy and perfect for summer.

I hope to also try more recipes from this cookbook.

After making the rafute, I had quite a lot of gravy leftover.

Instead of throwing it out, I made some ajitama (literally seasoned egg) with it.

If you eat ramen, you'll often see ajitama as a topping or garnish.

Make some hanjuku tamago.

Then put your peeled eggs into the rafute sauce.

Put the eggs & sauce into the refridgerator for at least a couple of hours.

This got a thumbs up from Satoshi.

I think you could use any shoyu based gravy.

Most recipes I've seen online use the pre-made sauce used for soba/udon.

If you try this, I hope you like it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

coffee jelly

Have you ever had coffee jelly?

In Japan, "jelly" is pronounced "zelly" and is a shortened version of "gelatin".

Anyway, you will often see coffee jelly on many menus here.

If you'd like to make your own, do this...makes about 2 servings

200 mililiters hot coffee
5 grams gelatin
20 grams sugar

vanilla ice cream

Make the coffee.
Mix in the sugar.
Using part of your hot coffee, mix it with the gelatin, so that it will not clump.
Put in the refrigerator to set.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

NOTES: this is perfect for those humid days...I'm pretty sure you could even do this with tea if you don't drink coffee...happy summer!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

odaiba

The last time I went to Odaiba was pre-blog.

I had seen hydrangea photos on someone's Instagram and went to check it out on Friday.

Even though it was overcast, it was super humid.

There are many office buildings as well as many shopping areas on this man-made island.

There is a huge Gundam statue in front of the Diver City Shopping area.

If you'd like to know more about Gundam, check out this link.

There was also another area to view hydrangea but it was a bit farther from where I was.

I am sure if the weather had been a bit cooler, I would've checked it out, but it was pretty miserable on this day.

There are many bridges crossing the freeway, so be prepared to walk.

As for food, there were lots of fast food places...I ended up eating at Taco Bell.

I am glad I went to reconnect with Odaiba and hope to check out other areas for hydrangea.

If you want to see more photos, please check out the link.

Have a nice week.

Friday, June 14, 2019

millefeuille corn

Came across a new variety (to us) called Millefeuille Corn.

Super sweet and different gradations of yellow.

I'm glad we tried this and will get it again if I see it at the market.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

around honmonji

Monday, it rained all.day.and.all.night.long.

Since I needed to go out in the rain for some groceries, I also went to check out the hydrangea.

There are many temples around Honmonji.

One in particular is Myokendo.

Along the stairs to the temple are many ajisai (hydrangea).

I don't think the ajisai were in full bloom at this temple.

If you'd like to see a short video I shot in the rain, click the link here.


In the back of Nagasoyamayogen Temple, there were azalea and ajisai which are planted on the perimeter of their cemetery.

It's been rainy (and cold! The temps dropped to 16C (60F)!) hope to get out to other temples/parks to see their hydrangea in the coming days.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

bogor pineapple

About 2 years ago, we tried snack pine.

The other day, I bought another one called Bogor Pineapple, which was grown in Okinawa.

This time I followed the directions on the package.

Cut off the bottom and pick off the "nubs".

The fruit was overripe in places.

Still, there was quite a bit to eat.

After picking off the nubs, the center "shaft" that is left can be sliced and eaten.

I'm glad we tried this, it was also super sweet.

By the way, here's the snack pine that I planted 2 years ago...pretty big.

on the other hand, I think "someone"'s bonsai is dead...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

curry camp express

It's been 5 years since we tried Camp back in Osaka.

This past Sunday, we both had separate errands to run, so we had lunch at the Curry Camp Express in the JR Shinagawa station then got onto different trains to do our errands.

This particular shop is inside the ticket gates so they are much "quicker" than the one in Osaka because there are many who need to catch their trains.

I had a similar curry to the one I had back in Osaka...this one also had some pork and cheese.

Satoshi tried a Southern Indian style curry.

We both enjoyed our lunches.

There are also many other eateries inside the ticket gates, so we'll be back.

Curry Camp Express
Inside ticket gates, JR Shinagawa Station Ecute South area
Minato, Tokyo
Monday-Saturday 7:00-23:00
Sunday 8:00-22:00

Monday, June 10, 2019

trattoria m's

Well, we've started rainy season.

In fact, we started before Kansai (west Japan), how is that for weird weather?!

Saturday, we had an errand to run in Kamata, so we had lunch at Trattoria M's.

They are located in the basement of the Keikyu EX Inn.

Satoshi had their natto pasta, which he said he enjoyed...I'm glad it wasn't too stinky.

I had their salsiccia arrabiata (spicy sausage)...half size.

Too bad they don't serve bread with this, it would've been nice to mop up the garlicky sauce.

Service was pretty quick and we enjoyed the food.

We'll be back.

Trattoria M's
5-28-18 Kamata, Keikyu EX Inn B1
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3735.8405
Closed Sundays
Lunch 11:30-14:30, Dinner 17:00-23:00

Friday, June 07, 2019

kabayaki corn

Last week, I made nasu kabayaki, and even though I made half the recipe, it still left me with some kabayaki sauce.

Since I was grilling some veggies on my grill pan, I tried grilling some corn drizzling it with some of kabayaki sauce.

Nope.

The sauce didn't stick to the corn and burned before the corn was actually grilled.

So the next day, I mixed some sauce with butter and put it into the microwave oven for a couple of seconds.

Then after steaming the corn, I put the corn into the fish grill/broiler.

On high, I turned the corn after 1 minute.

Then, I used my "pastry brush" (which is actually a paint brush that I use as a pastry brush) and brushed on some of the butter/sauce mixture.

Closed the drawer and waited 30 seconds.

I did this about 4 times.

Voila!

Grilled corn.

This version was delicious!

I hope to make this again.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

ramblings

I recently realized that one of our favorite salads is similar in taste to...

my favorite sandwich at La Tour...

Gonna try adding capers, almonds, cranberries & avocado to see if it tastes exactly like it...

Since I just made this salad, it may be awhile until I make it again, but I hope to try this combo soon.