Month: September 2014

Seasonal Fish |the Grilled Mackerel Pike

There is a Japanese saying that ‘No heat or cold lasts over the equinox’ which was September 23rd this year. But arrival of autumn seems a lot more faster than what we expected and at around September 6th we have been seeing cool temperatures and rapid signs of autumn. The ‘MACKEREL PIKE’ (Pacific Saury) becomes a very popular seasonal fish, not to mention a extremely popular fish among the Japanese. The ‘kanji’ spells autumn knife fish; which is exactly what it is. It is long pointed swordlike fish.     I have never seen this sold at fish markets in the United States nor Europe; so it must be a typical Japanese fish or an Asian fish.   Salted and grilled is the most common and popular way of eating the ‘Mackerel Pike’ with shredded radish and sudachi (citrus). written by Hisako Makimura/Tokyo, Japan

Ohagi|Red Bean Sweets for Autumnal Equinox Day

September 23 is an ‘AUTUMNAL EQUINOX DAY’, a national holiday and officially the end of the summer season.  It is also a time for visiting our ancestors’ graves and making OHAGI (also called BOTAMOCHI) – which is a sticky rice red bean cake as a sign of everyday gratitude.   Sticky rice covered with sweet red beans (left and right column) and red beans paste in the inside covered with kinako-a soybean flour (middle column). written by Hisako Makimura/Tokyo, Japan

Homemade Cragel (Crogel)|a Hybrid Croissant-Bagel

Trendy food catches on fast. I mean really fast, especially in Tokyo. A fashion magazine introduced the CRAGEL or CROGEL (whichever you may call in English but pronounced the same in Jan-glish), a croissant and bagel – hybrid bread and bread fans are already looking for small boulangeries that may sell a homemade CROGEL. Unfortunately not yet except for a convenience store (Lawson) which is far beyond what is described as the real CRAGEL born in New York. The croissant is a flaky bread…. the bagel is a soft moist chewy bread… a combination of both doughs and the combined bread texture made me curious enough; no wonder it seems to be a big seller at the bagel store in New York. So…since I, myself run a ‘Saturday Bakery’ to my registered bread friends; this is my version of the CRAGEL which all of what is described with this ‘hybrid Croissant – Bagel’,  FLAKY, CRISPY, SOFT and MOISTY in the inside. I hope to be testing this CRAGEL (CROGEL) further, but it already is quite …

Almonds…..an anti-aging snack | アーモンドスナック

It’s been quite a busy for the last couple of weeks with family events, followed by a short trip at the end of the summer season. So…. it’s been a while since I last blogged and I (hope) to be back to my normal daily routines, suddenly to notice that summer has suddenly closed it’s curtain to open another new season; one of my favorite autumn season.   Croquants aux Amandes (Crunchy Almonds) This is a light snack I made for the short road trip which I picked up from a cooking magazine. It keeps well at humid temperatures AND… it serves as my ‘anti-aging’ beautifying snack!!!! SO…. ‘beauty conscious people’ here is a recipe you should definitely try. FYI, 20~23 almonds are allowed to be taken as an anti-aging nutrient so this is perfect munchie or coffee snack.   Makes about 60~80 Flour…..150g Egg Whites…..100g Almond Powder…..100g Cinnamon Sugar…..45g Almonds…..300g Glazing Liquid Egg Yolk…..2 Granulated Sugar…..10g Milk…..10g Preheat the oven to 150C . Roast the almonds for 30minutes at 180C. Combine ingredients in a …

Starbucks at home?…DUFFIN recipe | ダフィン

The gourmet trend in Tokyo is fast and ever changing, just like any other cosmopolitan cities; and the diversity of international cuisine is so abundant that funny enough, we sometimes tend to misinterpret what real Japanese (WA) food is. The fast food culture… the starbucks culture… the macDonald’s culture… the 24 hour convenience store culture.. Yes! it’s all here like any other cities in the world. I myself loved Starbucks Cafes at the height of my working suitcase life, the blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls were my favorites but now, I keep a reasonable distance from going to Starbucks like getting off from drugs and addictions and replicating their cakes and breads is a fun challenge at home. So, here it it is …. The DUFFIN. This is my own morphed recipe so it has less sugar, organic apricot slices and replaces any item I can possibly think of to make it healthy, which makes me feel less guilty to eat so more so the effort rather than the result is probably more gratifying. It …

making it even better…boiling Edamame

Have you tried EDAMAME? Edamame is also known as ‘green soy beans’ and an extremely popular side dish in Japan during the summer. It munchies well with beer but I find it ‘fortunately’ extremely addictive as after all it is soy beans and one of our healthiest diets of all. Fresh picked EDAMAME is obviously very good….. but even more, we Japanese never stop to make things even more better….. and there was a television program just a couple of days before to make it even better. Since the TV program is only in Japanese, here is the recipe.   Fresh edamame…..1 pack (200-300g) Salt…..12g Sugar…..12g Water…..600ml Preheat the pot for approximately 30 secs, and roast the dry shrimps. Add the water, salt, sugar and EDAMAME and with the lid boil for approx. 3 minutes. Check the firmness of the EDAMAME after 3 minutes and boil until your preferred firmness. After draining the EDAMAMA, sprinkle salt to your liking.     『ためしてガッテン!』で紹介されたレシピです。 昔はサヤの両側を切って、、茹でると極上の枝豆が出来るという紹介の番組を見たことがありますが、、今回は『茶豆』に変身するという裏技の番組です。夏が終わる頃が枝豆が一番美味しいらしいですが、、採れたての枝豆はやはり羨ましい〜。東京に出荷されている豆とは全然味が違うのでしょうね。   written by Hisako Makimura/Tokyo, Japan

Very Easy…..70℃ Braised Tender Pork

Pork belly seem fattening but not really…I think. The nutrients in ‘pork’ is excellent containing high protein, high B1 vitamins and a good source of B2, B6, B12 and Niacin. The iron in pork is easy for the body to absorb and also aids the absorption of iron from bread and vegetables. It is also a source of zinc and selenium. And of all, it tastes good if cooked properly. Here is an easy way of cooking which I often used for meats to retain the ‘tenderness’. Choose a pork belly with the degree of fat of you choice. Using salt and herbs, marinate the meat overnight to let the herb flavor and salt settle into the meat.   Just about an hour before you dinner guests to arrive, brown the pork belly in a frying pan (in high heat), the purpose is NOT TO cook the meat but concealing the meat juice from extracting out of the flesh.   I use HOT POT but you can also use a CUISINART or HEAVY LID PAN …

Weekend Bread Bakery

My weekend breads which I make for my small group of friends. My homemade bread baking goes back ….oh gosh…..over 10 years. Breads could be a time consuming process (at times) but I got totally addicted to the organic reaction of ‘fermentation’ which to think of it…a lot of Japanese food such as MISO, SOYSAUCE, SAKE are also produced from the process. My breads uses YEASTS and NATURAL DERIVED YEASTS which I hope to introduce at due course in my future blogs. A distinctive process of my bread-making is leaving it overnight to proof in the fridge which makes the bread soft and moist compared to a ultra-speed yeast boost.   Croque Monsieur Soft boiled egg, ham and cheese baked on a English Muffin Bun, served as a light lunch snack.   EGG NESTED MUFFIN Soft boiled egg nested inside a English Muffin dough.     CRANBERRY SCONES My scones is sort of a moist bread scone, proofed at least 24 hours with yeast (or natural yeast) and then refrigerated before it goes into the …

Plum & Kiwi Galette

The summer heat is gradually starting to taper off or maybe, I hope not just in hiatus, slowly seeing the signs of autumn. Surprisingly enough, my body reacts so much to seasons and temperature that I have even forgotten my love to PIES and PASTRIES blown away by the heat which this article has inspired me to make my own version of A SUMMER FRUIT GALETTE, using PLUMs and KIWIs. How to Make a Summer Fruit Galette (And Why You Should)     Please be careful with most all of my recipes……the proportion of sugar is very low and I like to extract the natural sweetness out of the ingredients rather than relying on making it sweet with abundant use of sugar. I also do not use any white granulated sugar, unless absolutely needed so although my recipe indicates sugar, you can replace most all into brown sugar for health purposes. This fruit galette also has only 1 tablespoon of brown sugar hence my advise is to use VERY VERY RIPE FRUIT or keep it …