Friday, November 27, 2020

this and that

How cute are these teeny anpogaki from Fukushima prefecture?!

Where most anpogaki are gelatinous, this was more dried and firm.

Still delicious though.
On one of my trips to Shinagawa that I wrote about earlier this month, I had bought a small bag (33 grams) of these snackaballs made by Tom & Luke, a New Zealand company and had posted a picture on Instagram.

They contacted me and sent me two large bags (88 grams) of their snackaballs.

These are made from dates, cacao, almonds and coconut. 

They are gluten free and vegan, are great as snacks and I'm sure it will be nice with wine.

Thank you!

1st time making chikuzeni, which is similar to nishime.

It was pretty easy and fast to make because you cook everything in a shallow pan.

Chikuzeni adapted from "Aiba Manabu" : serves 4
100 grams gobo (burdock root)
150 grams renkon (lotus root)
1 carrot
250 grams boneless chicken thighs
150 grams konnyaku (devil's tongue jelly)
60 grams dried shiitake mushrooms
400 milliliters katsuo konbu (bonito & kelp) dashi (stock)
100 milliliters stock from reconstituted shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil

Cut the gobo and carrot into bite sized, rangiri style (which means random cutting), here is a link to show the rangiri cutting technique.
Cut the renkon into bite sized pieces.
With a spoon, cut the konnyaku into bite sized pieces.
Reconstitute the dried shiitake mushrooms, then cut into bite sized pieces.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
In a pan, heat the oil and then toss everything in to coat with the oil.
Add the stock, reconstituted shiitake liquid, shoyu, sake, mirin, sugar and bring to a boil.
Put an oshibuta (drop lid) on, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, longer if you want your veggies more tender.

NOTES: super easy! I didn't have dried shiitake, so I just used the shiitake stems I had in the freezer.

I didn't read the directions well and cut the konnyaku with a knife instead of using a spoon...oops!

Will definitely make this again.

Our numbers have sort of taken off, there is talk of another state of emergency “shutdown” but the main government wants to wait 3 weeks to see if our numbers can come down a little (they do not want to pay for another state of emergency)...for now Satoshi still goes into the office but on weekends and the weekdays he is off, we try to lay as low possible...take care everyone and have a safe weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

no waste leek top soup

How are you doing? We are hanging in there.

We had our Thanksgiving yesterday since Satoshi had the day off and we would be able to eat dinner together.

Satoshi also had his German lesson in the evening, so we didn't eat anything special and only he had some beer.

It is soup weather over here, Mother Nature decided to slam us back from the Spring like temps we had over the past week to the fahreezing temps of December?!

Anyway, to use up the green parts of some leeks, I cooked it down with some potatoes and a little bacon then added a little milk, pepper then whizzed it.

Super simple and good way to use up all parts of the leek.

This year "celebrations" will be different, hopefully everyone can get their case numbers down so that we all can return to travelling, eating out and hugging each other.

Stay safe, keep healthy and continue to think positively.

We are thankful for relatively good health, enough food to eat, a roof over our heads and that Satoshi has a job.

Be well and be kind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

shiofuki piman

Super easy recipe that I saw on a television commercial.

It uses piman (bell pepper) and shiokonbu (seaweed that is seasoned then dried).

The bell peppers in Japan are very small like 4 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Shiofuki piman : adapted from Fujikko website : serves 2

3 piman (bell peppers), cleaned then sliced thin lengthwise

1 tablespoon shiofuki konbu

1 tablespoon sesame oil

sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a pan then add the bell peppers

When everything is coated with the oil, cook the bell pepper to your liking

Add the konbu and cook until the konbu's seasoning turn from white to black.

Sprinkle some sesame seed and serve.

NOTES: super easy, great for a side dish, for bento, for pupu (appetizer)/beer chaser.

The recipe actually uses a combination of red and green bell peppers, but I only had green on hand so that is what I used.

Since the bell pepper in the US are bigger you could probably use just 1 for the amount of shiofuki konbu I have written above.

You can alter the amount of konbu and bell peppers to your tastes.

I'll definitely make this again.

Monday, November 23, 2020

yurakucho to tamachi

Saturday was the only day forecast for sun.

Unfortunately, Satoshi had to work.

I still wanted to check out the fall colors, so I got out early, like 7:45 and went to Yurakucho.

From the station it is about a 5 minute walk to Hibiya Park.

It was my first time checking out this park and it is quite large, they even have tennis courts!

I didn't walk the whole park, just certain areas.

They had some roses blooming but most were blocked by fences so that you couldn’t get too close to take photos of!

I was impressed by the size of the ginkgo nut trees.

Like this one.

And this one.

This is the pond that Satoshi would eat his lunch at.

Unfortunately, he is so busy these days, he rarely gets to eat outside of the office.

From Hibiya Park, I walked down the street to Shiba Park.

It was my first time here also and I didn't realize it was so close to Tokyo Tower and Zojoji temple

I was also surprised to see that there was more than one Shiba Park...I think they must have divided the land to make way for roads...

Right outside of Zojoji, I stopped in to Le Pain Quotidien to pick up lunch as well as other baked items.

Pistachio tarte, blueberry muffin, nicoise sandwich and 15 grain bagel.

Saturday, I enjoyed the nicoise sandwich for lunch which was tuna salad and egg salad, some olives and a lot of veggies.

(We shared the pistachio tarte and blueberry muffin on Sunday...the tarte was so moist and topped with lots of pistachios (this was the most expensive item I purchased) it reminded me of an olive oil cake.

The blueberry muffin was moist but could have used more blueberries.

This morning we shared the bagel, it was tasty but didn't have the chew I like with bagels...)

Then I walked all the way to Tamachi to catch the train back to where we live.

It was nice to be out and about.

Where I would normally go here and there to check out the fall colors, I think this might be my one and only this season, our (Tokyo) numbers have gone up to 500 plus every day!

Le Pain Quotidien

3-3-1 Shibakoen

Minato, Tokyo

Phone: 03.6430.4157

Open daily 7:30-22:00

Friday, November 20, 2020

this and that

Monday, I had to run an errand in Shinjuku, it has been awhile since I've ridden the Yamanote line this far...

Only in Japan can they make social distancing messages look so cute.

Since I was in Shinjuku, I had also wanted to check out the fall colors at Shinjuku Gyoen, but forgot that they are not open on!

So instead I admired the cherry tree's leaves in front of Shinanoya at Gotanda.
How cute is this giraffe truck?
This tree near a preschool in our neighborhood was so pretty!
I bought a stollen to try from Sawamura as well as their tuna avocado sandwich.

The sandwich was so good, and filled generously.

And that tomato bread which they used was so tasty! I will definitely have to see if they sell this bread the next time I am in Shinjuku.
I thought I had blogged about Shinanoya, but did not, love their teriyaki chicken.

This is 1 chicken thigh which is 550 yen (tax included) and is huge and meaty.

The teriyaki sauce isn’t sweet like we have in Hawaii.

There is always a line in front of this tiny shop, luckily on this day there was not.

This week was sunny and WARM! 

Hope you have a safe weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

sarameshi musubi #2

This musubi was also featured on the "Sarameshi" show I wrote about here, but it took me awhile to get some mikan to try it.

The recipe is from an olive oil farmer in Shodoshima, Kagawa.

Adapted from "Sarameshi" : makes about 3 musubi
1 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons mikan peel, diced fine
3 grams katsuobushi (shaved bonito)
1/2 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

After peeling your mikan, gently scrape the pith (white stringy stuff) off of the peel then dice fine.

Mix all the ingredients with 1 cup of cooked rice and form into musubi.

I again made about 3 musubi from this recipe.

The hardest part of this recipe is scraping the pith off of the peel.

NOTES: Delicious! love the citrus with the salty shoyu and it is a nice way to use the peel.

Will definitely make this again.

p.s. oh em gee we had 493 cases in Tokyo yesterday (2000 something total for Japan) and 534 today...the main branch of government is not willing to subsidize business/citizens to stay at home, and the local branches of goverment have used up most of their monies...on top of that the government (main & local) are focused on the Olympics and the economy...sigh.

This weekend is a 3 day weekend but we will be laying low.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

back to shinagawa

Sunday, Satoshi had to go to work, and I went to pick up our seasonal greeting cards.

It has been awhile since I've eaten anything from Guzman y Gomez, so I ordered a spicy fish burrito and added some guacamole to go. 

The rice was a little mushy and it could have had a little more fish in there but overall I enjoyed this.

The an butter from Breadworks was delicious...biscuit/scone like "bread" filled with sweet bean paste and whipped butter.
I also picked up their stollen to try...this one was dense and heavy!

Look at those huge marron glace (candied chestnuts) on top!

I sliced this on the diagonal so that most pieces would have a chestnut.

This was a little too sweet but super buttery!

There were also tiny pieces of chestnuts baked into the stollen too.

I'm glad we tried this stollen and grateful we are able to enjoy these foods, especially this year. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


Saturday, we went (early) to Kinko's to get our seasonal greeting cards printed.

Since it would take a day, we put in our order and went to check out the trees near the Shinagawa Intercity, which were shining in the sun.

We then bought some lunch to take home...Satoshi bought this chirashi from Sakana Bacca.

Satoshi said he enjoyed all the different seafood items in his bento.
I picked up chicken and veggie sandwiches from Mitsuru.

I liked the chicken sandwich which was tender and also had some cashew nuts in it.

The veggie sandwich was generously filled!
We bought some Tonbi Coffee and Takibi Bakery stollen from Dean & Deluca.

We've tried both before and look forward to enjoying them in the coming weeks.
Then Satoshi stumbled upon a tsukemono stand, Ginza Wakana...we picked up their flavored cream cheeses (sake kasu (sake lees), chili and miso)

We only opened the miso which was delicious on crackers topped with some dried fruits.

We'll enjoy the others in the coming weeks as well.
Nagori kaki...pickled persimmon and daikon, slightly sweet and super crunchy.
Hana cabbage...layers of pickled chinese cabbage, carrots, turnips, salmon, konbu.

Crunchy and a little puckery.
"Reuben" sandwiches from Sendagi Koshizuka made with their housemade corned beef.

The bread was dry dry dry! but the corned beef was super tender.

Since we haven't been eating out, we went kind of overboard buying things to nibble on for dinner.

I'm glad we got to try these different items and look forward to enjoying them in the coming weeks.

What are you enjoying these days?

Monday, November 16, 2020

gakugeidaigaku area

My host sister's birthday is coming up and I wanted to send her something, so I went to a patisserie near Gakugeidaigaku.

Since the weather has been quite sunny, I decided to walk from the Toritsudaigaku station...I passed by Himonya Park, which I've seen from the train on the way to Shibuya.

Apparently this park is quite large with tennis courts, a petting zoo and an area for children to ride ponies...will come back during sakura (cherry blossom) season.

Up past the Gakugeidaigaku station, is a street lined with karin (quince) trees.

I'm pretty sure you could help yourself to the fruit because many businesses had them lying in front of their shops.

Many years ago while watching a Japanese drama, Patisserie Sourire was part of the background, I had bookmarked this shop and was finally able to try some of their sweets.

I purchased their lemon cookies and madeleine...simple and delicious.

I'm glad we got to try them and I hope my host sister enjoys the box of sweets that I sent to her.

I also stopped in to Trasparente to pick up some baked goods.

The edamame bacon (top) was delicious with wine.

The two different curry pan were delicious for breakfast, both were a little spicy and filled to the gills with curry.

The chocolate danish was super chocolate-y and super flaky.

I found out later that this shop is related to Sesto, which I tried when I went to Tachikawa.

Near the Gakugeidaigaku station is Matterhorn, a sweet shop that has been in business since 1952.

They had different sweets but I bought these assorted cookies to try.

In the top package are crispy cream puff shells.

There are a lot more places to explore in Tokyo.

I will definitely come back to these places in the future.

3-5-1 Takaban
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3716.3311
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 9:00-18:30

Patisserie Sourire
2-40-8 Gohongi
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3715.5470
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-18:00

3-8-11 Takaban
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6303.1668
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 9:00-19:00

Friday, November 13, 2020

this and that

Sorry it's been quiet here...

Satoshi was off Tuesday and Wednesday.

Note to self: KFC's chicken pot pie was junk last year (no chicken) and teeny this year..waste of money.

Marco's marron marron is a fruit sandwich of sorts...chestnut whipped cream with chestnut paste.

So good!

so... when you notice that the "other person" forgets their cell at home, how you gonna tell 'um?! (not the first time either)
We received a package of teas and hawaiian salt from reader Ryan and S....we appreciate their kindness and thoughtfulness (thank you!)
Wednesday, I took out this teeny bouche de noel (a chocolate cake filled with chocolate cream and covered with dark chocolate) from Starbucks.

It didn't go with the Gingerbread Latte that I also took out, but since I don't get to Starbucks too often these days, I got the items I wanted all at once.

Glad I got to enjoy at least one gingerbread latte for the season.

Yesterday, I tried Moto's Kitchen's taco rice. 

You can choose your level of spiciness from 0 to 6.

I chose level 3...this felt hefty and had more cabbage than rice which was nice.

I would definitely get this again.

I thought we (Tokyo) were plateaued at 200 but Tokyo's case numbers have doubled over the past couple of days...sigh.

Hope you all are doing well.

Have a safe weekend.

Moto's Kitchen

1-11-3 Kamiikedai

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3726.6781

Closed Saturdays

Hours: 11:00-23:00

Friday, November 06, 2020

sarameshi musubi

There is a show "Sarameshi" that features all sorts of bento.

I haven't watched this show in awhile because they changed the time of the program.

Anyway, recently when I happened to be flipping the channels, I was able to catch a re-run episode where they featured different musubi.

There wasn't a recipe for this particular musubi online, so I made up my own.

1 cup cooked rice

1 tablespoon chirimen sansho
1 tablespoon takuan 
1 tablespoon thinly sliced cucumber
5 leaves of shiso, juilienned.

1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil 
1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

This recipe made about 3 musubi which we enjoyed and I have already made this again.

This week has been quite krazy...I hope the results will be known as soon as possible.

The weather here is getting very cold, and the experts are getting worried as Japan's numbers have been rising.

They are suggesting to keep ventilating our homes (by opening windows) and businesses all while trying to keep warm...layer up everyone!

Make sure your mask is covering your nose!

Have a safe and social distanced weekend.

Monday, November 02, 2020

new month new things

We've had dry days, not much sun, overcast days.

This was the sunrise on the 1st of November.

Last month, Satoshi had most weekends off, this month he will be working most weekends and have some weekdays off.

Hopefully we will be able to check out some fall foliage nearby, hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Disappointed with the choices some made to gather in Shibuya as well as other big cities around Japan for Halloween...crossing fingers that this won't uptick the number of cases...

Two months until this year is over...who would have thought we all would have to experience the things we did this year, yeah?!

Hope you are all keeping zen.

Have a good (safe) week.