Friday, December 31, 2021

thank you

It’s the last day of 2021…Who would have thought we would still be saying... "stay safe", "mask up", "social distance"?!

I hope this pandemic will be under control or be over soon…so we can all travel, so we can hug loved ones, so I can maybe wear lipstick...

There were some sad days, but I’m thankful for the good days and the beautiful rainbows we have seen this year.

Thank you for coming along on our adventures.

Be well, be kind.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

10 photos

Been posting about 10 photos since 2008, which started off as a meme but these days I do it to look back at some of my "firsts" in the kitchen.

1. Spice Cereal was more like "clumps" rather than "granola" but super tasty and easy.

2. Kaki Namasu a different way to make namasu

3. Hishidaya's Shumai even though I couldn't figure out how to form these, they were tasty!

4. Pepper Rice  a fun dish to make

5. Blood Orange Upside Down Muffins so pretty and tasty too.

6. Oxymoron's Caponata Style Curry ratatouille meets curry…delicious warm or cold.

7. Araiimo at first we peeled these but found an easier to peel them by roasting them first.

8. Shishito easy to cook and tasty.

9. Kouka no Shizuku super red plum...delicious.

10. Pizzutello Bianco it was the first time for us to order these directly from a farm. 

Bummer they had seeds though, we look forward to seedless grapes next year.

How was your year in the kitchen?

We look forward to trying new things in our kitchen next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

books

It is snowing everywhere in Japan (except Tokyo) because I read 2 books this year (sorry!)...the one by Fran Gage was so boring...not a fan of detailed history and lots of name dropping that it took me at least a couple years to get through it.

The Chez Panisse book was interesting to learn about the different fruits in California.

 "A Sweet Quartet" by Fran Gage

"Chez Panisse Fruit" by Alice Waters

I borrowed and enjoyed a collection of travel picture books by Mitsumasa Anno, which was like “where’s wally” meets classic/modern art…9 books that showcase the famous arts of the country’s artist hidden in different landscapes and cityscapes (Central Europe, Italy, United Kingdom, America, Spain, Denmark, China, Japan, Switzerland). 

Also borrowed and enjoyed his Forest book which had many animals hidden in the various greenery.

Hope to get through more books on my shelf in 2022.

If you had a favorite read this year, please share the title with me in the comments.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

this and that

Satoshi bought these "interesting" curries for us to try when he went to Nikko with his travel guide school.

Tochigi's strawberry and lemon milk...um, the strawberry one had bits of strawberry and beef in it.

The lemon one had bits of pork in it.

If I had to choose I would say that I liked the lemon one more than the strawberry one.

Songbird Bakery's stollen.

Lots of fruits, nuts and spices.

I would get this one again next year.

Tried a tan tan men that had tofu "noodles".

The "noodles" were on the firm side and overall it could have been a little more spicy but I would get it again.

Cakes we enjoyed for Christmas from Enomoto...

Pistachio mousse christmas tree...a tart topped with pistachio mousse, raspberry puree, custard and whipped cream

Maison chocolat...griotte cherries (sour cherries) and chocolate mousse shaped like a house...rich!

We plan to do our o-soji (cleaning for the New Year) today.

I usually clean the kitchen while Satoshi cleans the rest of the apartment, windows & lanai.

I let him clean since I do most of it during the rest of the year.

I have my usual year end posts lined up.

May 2022 be kinder to all of us.

Please stay safe and be well.

Monday, December 27, 2021

the can of sardines

Thursday, we went to Benny to pick up some groceries.

I wanted a can of sardines so that I could make brandade for our Christmas pupu party.

At the checkout, the guy at the register scanned the can I had in my basket then went to the back of the store.

He said..."this can is expired"...

I was bummed because when I looked at their shelves they did not have any other cans of sardines...

Then he said, "do you need the can of sardines?"

I said, "yes that is why I was gonna buy a can"

He said..."if you want, I'll give you the can at no cost because it is expired, though I cannot guarantee the safety of the contents"

Thank you Santa!

Friday, December 24, 2021

this and that

Discovered a new (to me) way to "peel" the araiimo (satoimo/dasheen)...roast them first.

I scrubbed the araiimo then let it dry for a couple of hours then stuck it into a 220C (425F) oven for 30 minutes.

While it is still hot, use a dish cloth and rub the outer “skin” and it comes off pretty quickly, no slime too!

Just be careful because it is very hot!

7 years since my Grandma passed away...I bought some kuri manju (her favorite) to put next to her picture...miss you Gram!
Hard to see in the photo but Santa and his reindeer have washed their uniforms and are ready for Christmas...
The cats have been keeping warm.


A small batch of David Lebovitz's spice mixed nuts.

I added pumpkin seeds too.

Omicron is spreading around Japan but not as krazy as other countries, hoping it will not get too krazy.

This week Tokyo's daily cases ranged from 20 to 40…we are definitely not in single digits anymore..eep!

Have a safe & delicious Christmas weekend. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

songbird bakery

Ordered Songbird Bakery's stollen and went to pick it up today.

Fahreezing winds and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes.

When it was my turn to go into the shop, I also purchased their an butter.

A ciabatta style bread filled with a nice "slab" of butter and dollop of sweet bean paste.

Their creme brioche is made to order and is filled to the gills with rich custard cream.

Satoshi and I shared these and both were so good!

Even toasted the butter didn't melt and there was more than enough in it!

The custard was overflowing goodness...

We look forward to trying the stollen in the coming days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

jiyugaoka

Got out early today to check out a new bakery in Jiyugaoka.

Since they just opened a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would need to stand in line but luckily there wasn’t any…whoo!

I purchased their baguette, a teeny baguette topped with ratatouille & a kouign amann.

Everything was so good especially the kouign amann, It was so flakey & buttery…will try the baguette on Friday with wine.

Down the street is Paris S’eveille, which I have been to in the past (pre-pandemic)

Now they only let 4 people into the store at a time.

I stood in line for about 30 minutes (luckily the sun was out for most of the wait) before I was able to purchase these items.

Cake aux fruits (fruit cake), cake aux marron (chestnut cake), pave fromage (cheese cookies) & speculoos (spice cookies).

We'll have these with wine this weekend.

Hard to believe Christmas is 3 days away

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

nengajo

Whenever nengajo (New Year card) season comes around, the post office asks you to bundle your cards and stick them into the mail box.

The reason they ask you to bundle them is so that they can keep the New Year cards separate from the regular mail since these New Year cards are delivered on New Year's day (if they aren’t bundled they will get delivered right away)

This was the first time I saw that someone had attached a bag of rubber bands to the mail box for people to bundle their cards.

A very thoughtful act!

Monday, December 20, 2021

friday

Friday we met up with Satoshi's friend O.

Since he could meet us from 14:00 for lunch, we had something small to tide us over...a medium boiled egg with furikake.

Lunch (number 2) was at Konpira Chaya...an udon shop whose most popular dish is beef curry udon.

I ordered their tomato beef curry udon which came with some parmesan cheese.

Super filling with a nice amount of spices.

Satoshi ordered his “spicy” and was perspiring profusely after eating his beef curry udon with a raw egg.

From Meguro we walked to Ebisu (only a station away).

Super skinny driving school building.

I've only seen this building from the front, as the Yamamoto train passes it, so it was cool to see it from the side.

Mask up!

It was amazing to learn how close stations along the Yamanote line are from each other.
Through Ebisu Garden Place, past the Baccarat chandelier.

We stopped in at San Tropez where O and Satoshi had glasses of wine and I had a blood orange mint soda…so good!

After talking story we said our goodbyes and walked to Nakameguro to catch the train home.

12221, it was nice to meet up with O and we hope to meet up again next year.

We'll be back to Konpira Chaya too.

Thanks for making time for us O!

Konpira Chaya

3-3-1 Kamiosaki

Shinagawa, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3441.2491

Open daily 11:00-23:30

ps you may or may not have heard about the deadly fire in Osaka on Friday.

The building was quite old so it may not have had any alarms or sprinklers.

Most died of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The building was near Umeda, a place where we often went to when we lived there.

Hope they caught the guy and we pray for the families of those lost.

Friday, December 17, 2021

this and that

Wednesday we had rain and it was pretty cold (some areas had snow & flurries)

In the afternoon, we had a large rainbow.

Since moving to Tokyo, we have been lucky to see a lot of rainbows.

This cheeseburger from 7-eleven...it is called "overflowing" cheeseburger.

After zapping it in the microwave, I was surprised with this cheese sauce (I should’ve taken a before photo)

This was deliciously cheesy! I would definitely get this one again.

The sunrises have been quite pretty!
Love this hippo in front of a restaurant in our neighborhood.

This week Tokyo's daily case numbers ranged between 7 and 30.

There are 15 confirmed cases of Omicron (I think) and everyone on the plane with these cases are being quarantined as close contacts (which I think they said total 1000?!)

Hopefully no one will fall through the cracks and leak out into the public...

Only a couple more weeks until the end of the year...

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

friday

Oops…Forgot to tell you about last Friday…I went to the dentist.

What they thought might be a cavity back in November, luckily wasn’t..whew!

I had intended to eat at Shake Shack afterwards, but since I finished early and they weren't open yet, I went on a bakery crawl in Oookayama instead.

I thought I had written about these bakeries when we first moved to Tokyo but guess I didn’t…it was pre-pandemic when I visited them, so it’s been 2 years…

Schomaker…German style breads…this time around I bought their walnut bread & maple ginger cookies.

The cookies were made by a vendor called Osanji. They were crisp and very gingery, love!

The walnut bread is super dense with big chunks of walnuts and some raisins...good with butter!

Himmel..half a tuna sandwich and a roll filled with mortadella & cheddar..so good toasted.

Campanella Pan…their stollen and a chocolate walnut scone.

I’ve had their scone before, love the chocolate nut ratio.

It was the first time trying their stollen, so buttery and generous amount of dried fruits, love! would definitely get this one again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

sunday part 2

Sunday at about lunchtime we had a jolt! it was only a couple of seconds but felt really long.

These days we've been having many earthquakes...

Changing the subject, since I had time on my hands I made a really small batch of furikake “cereal” mix because most everyone I follow on Instagram is making it.

The only type of cereal I usually buy is oatmeal or granola, so looking for “chex” like cereals was interesting when I realized that Japan only has “flakes” type of unsweetened cereal?!

So…I used tongari corn which is similar to bugles but seemed to already be coated with something...

I bought some pretzels from Yamaya, added some mixed nuts and pumpkin seeds.

I based my recipe on the spice cereal I made awhile back because it all had to fit on my oven’s turntable.

I used the “sauce” that I used for the spice cereal (not the spices), lessening the oil and adding butter.

Didn’t have enough honey and had to add maple syrup

It turned out darker & stickier but it was tasty!

Satoshi found out firsthand how addicting it is.

I would lessen the sauce amount, if I make this again

For Sunday dinner, I made a small batch of portuguese bean soup with part of the sausage I bought from the Okinawa antenna shop.

The sausage is “skinnier” (smaller) than the kind we have in Hawaii, but I like the flavor (minus the sorbitol).

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I’m greedy…instead of using an ingredient to make just one thing, I like to make lots of stuff, so I also plan to serve some with egg & rice for a breakfast and with the sausage that I froze maybe make a small batch of chili and some fried rice.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

sunday part 1

Sunday...Satoshi went on another field trip with his tour guide school, so I walked to Oomori (1 station away from where we live).

Tokyo people...guys changing the billboard at the top of a building...eep!

Aloe flowers...so pretty!
Poor guy had a cataract.
We still have some fall colors...
Wondering what this looks like lit up...
Thought the entrance of this shopping arcade was cool.
Past this statue in front of a library.
Blinding
Things I bought at Yamaya...coffee beans, cans of beans and pretzels.

13491...another day of great weather.