This is a bit of a throwback recipe. I posted it for the first time over at Tokyo Terrace when we lived in Japan. At the time, this bowl-of-beautiful made an appearance at least once a week. With a glass of crisp white wine this was an ideal way to end a long, busy day when I just didn’t want to cook anything at all. And really, how could you not enjoy salmon sashimi, a perfectly poached egg and creamy avocado over rice?
We enjoyed this dish last week when my mom was visiting from Minnesota. For 10 days she helped me out by playing with Riley while I got some work done. She read endlessly, tossed a basketball countless times, braved the world of toddler crafts, and sang sweet lullabies. It was wonderful. When she stayed with us in Japan we made this rice bowl for her and she immediately fell in love. Since then, every time we are in the same kitchen, my mom requests this meal.
Sadly, salmon sashimi is not as easy to come by (or as affordable) as it was in Tokyo. Still, when we see a beautiful piece of fish this is usually how we enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll make this exact recipe with broiled or pan seared salmon, which is delicious as well. Sprinkle the finished bowl with some nutty, salty furikake (want to make your own furikake? click here) and a drizzle of light soy sauce mixed with wasabi and there it is: perfection in a bowl.
Brad and I went skiing with some good friends last weekend. We spent all day Saturday with snow flakes falling on our faces and, at least in my case, saying prayers of thanks that I didn’t break a leg as a result of my very limited experience on skis. When the day was over, all I wanted to do was sip on a cocktail while cooking a warm, soothing soup in my cozy kitchen. There is something about ending an active day cooking something delicious that can’t be beat.
One of the things I love about cooking is that you can make seemingly small changes that make a recipe new and fresh. Adding coconut milk to what would otherwise be a classic butternut squash soup, for example. That’s the fun part- taking something classic and making it your own.
Classic cocktails are another perfect place to add little touches that reflect the seasons or showcase your favorite garnishes and ingredients. Another perk of going with the classics is that you can learn a lot about mixing good drinks. The Negroni, for example, demonstrates how delicious Campari can be when the bitter flavor is balanced properly. Gin and vermouth are used to both highlight the bitterness and mellow it out. The finishing touch, typically a twist of orange, completes the cocktail with a bright citrus scent that you catch just as your mouth touches the rim of the glass but before the liquid passes through your lips. Perfection.
I’ve been working like a crazy person lately. Cooking, doing dishes, taking photographs, editing recipes…and yet I make it to 2pm without having eaten a single bite of food. It goes something like this: work, work, work, work, forget to eat, work, work, CRASH.
Yes, that’s about right.
In order to avoid this afternoon down-slide, I’ve been trying to put out healthy things to munch on. This creamy miso dip has been perfection. Shiro (white) miso, the mildest miso paste, is mixed with Kewpie mayonnaise. If you’ve never tried Kewpie mayonnaise you should probably get on that. Now. Go ahead and run to the nearest Asian grocery store. I’ll wait.
When I was in college many of my friends went to ‘Taco Tuesday’ night at a local establishment. The building was clearly run down and the inside, if memory serves correctly from my one and only time walking through the doors, was dark with that strange misty look in the dim lights from stale cigarette smoke. Taco Tuesdays meant cheap food, cheap pitchers, and probably a lot of fun that my goodie-two-shoes missed out on.
In order to add some variety to our weeknight meals, I’ve decided to reinstate Taco Tuesdays. Obviously without the stale cigarette smoke, dimly lit bar and pitchers of beer. What we will have- must have- are delicious tacos. The first round will feature these slow-cooker shredded chicken tacos topped with fresh, green cilantro, creamy guacamole, and crumbled queso fresco. The chicken simmers with some IPA and…wait for it…ENCHILADA SAUCE…in the crock-pot until tender and infused with flavor. And who knows where we will go from there. The possibilities for Taco Tuesdays are endless!
Why enchilada sauce, you ask? Because I almost always have a stash of the stuff in my pantry. Because it is delicious. Because it saves me on busy nights when I just can’t fathom finding the energy to put any more effort into dinner.
During my first year of blogging over at Tokyo Terrace I did a post for a Guinness and Matcha Ice Cream Float for St. Patrick’s Day. My husband thought I was nuts. Why would I ruin a perfectly good beer by putting ice cream in it? All I have to say is this: who’s laughing now?
OK, I can’t be so I-told-you-so to my sweetheart so close to Valentine’s Day. I’ve been very lucky to have a husband who has supported this crazy blogging life since day 1. In fact, he’s been my biggest supporter, loudest cheerleader, and most comforting shoulder to cry on. He’s also the one who always makes sure I stick with it because he knows how much I love…LOVE…what I do.
There is chocolate all over the inter-webs. All. Over. Chocolate, heart-shaped stuffs are here there and everywhere and I’ve decided to detour. I love chocolate just as much as the next gal but I wanted to contribute something a little different and off the beaten path. Chipotle shrimp with creamy polenta is simple to make (gentlemen, I’m talking to you!) and it has spice (a known aphrodisiac) and luxurious polenta that has been combined with tangy sour cream.
As I made this dish the other day, I was reminded of the first Valentine’s Day Brad and I spent together. I wanted to impress him with something delicious, exotic, and like nothing he’d ever eaten before. I settled on red curry coconut soup with shrimp. It was beautiful. I somehow found huge, lovely shrimp in the middle of the Iowa corn fields (I don’t care to think about how that was made possible) and the little kitchen in his on-campus house smelled divine. We sat down with a couple glasses of wine, dim lights, and bowls full of what I was sure would be a triumphant success of a meal.
Bless his heart, Brad took two bites before he said what we both were thinking. It was blazing hot and our mouths were almost certainly on fire. We ditched the wine and opted instead for splitting a gallon of milk to rid our tongues of the miserable sting of too much red curry.
Last week I was in my frigid homeland: Minnesota. Yes, the temperatures were cold enough to force anyone and everyone to run politely between cars and buildings in an attempt to minimize the amount of time spent in the dangerously cold air. This is a practice my husband says he had never seen before living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It never seemed strange to me for two reasons: 1) when it is below zero degrees you want to do anything to get from outside to inside as quickly as possible, and 2) it’s like a little mini-workout that could potentially warm you up a bit more than a simple stroll…right? Yes, Minnesotans are a little strange (I’m allowed to say that because I am one) to live in such a cold place by choice, but we are not stupid. We have a survival mode of sorts.
For me, another necessary method of surviving winter is simply reminding myself that warmer weather will come. Mixing up a cocktail is a pretty great way to do just that. In this case, I’ve made a Tamarind Bourbon Sidecar. Tamarind is a fascinating ingredient that is used in familiar Southeast Asian dishes such as Pad Thai. It’s flavor is sweet-sour, similar to citrus, but it is a little richer and more complex. It’s the perfect addition to a warming bourbon sidecar because it gives just the right amount of brightness. Plus, since it is used in warm-weather countries like Thailand, it helps paint a mental picture of palm trees, oceans, sandy beaches…all the things many of us start to long for this time of year. Continue Reading →
When Brad and I moved to Tokyo in 2008, all I could do to keep from curling up in a ball of homesickness was to look for things about Japan that reminded me of my Midwestern home. Let me just say that finding similarities between Minnesota and Japan is not an easy task. Sometimes I would find ways of preparing food that reminded me of home. Occasionally I would see a sign for Minnetonka Moccasins that would make me feel like I still had a connection to my home state in the midst of the strange new surroundings in which I now found myself.
I had an inkling moving to Japan might be difficult in the beginning. It was half way across the globe, after all. What I didn’t expect was having similar feelings after moving to Denver, Colorado. Reverse culture shock didn’t hit right away. We were so busy moving and taking care of our then 6 month old son. But when it did hit, the shock was strong. And it is still lingering. I find myself searching for anything that comes even remotely close to our life in Tokyo. Typically this means trying to find the perfect bowl of ramen, the best sushi, and perfectly a Japanese curry recips. This is easier said than done because, in the case of food, Japan always does it best.
What does all of this have to do with a fennel and blood orange salad? Nothing at all. Except that when I made this salad all I was doing was thinking of life in Japan. That previous life consumed my thoughts for an entire day. That’s the way it goes, I guess.
Back when Brad and I first started dating, I had less than zero interest in anything football related. It all seemed the same to me: run a little, crash into each other, fall down, do it again. Still, because I loved him so much, I gave in and watched a game with my boyfriend. We were sitting on the sofa in the house he shared with several other college boys. I stretched out just as the game began. Five minutes later I was sound asleep. And I stayed asleep for the entire game.
These days I’m a least slightly more interested. Between watching a 2 year old cheering for Peyton Manning and the excuse to make delicious snack foods I can remain entertained. I’ve realized during this football season that has been so amazing for the Denver Broncos that I enjoy watching others enjoy the game more than the actual event itself. I guess that’s the beauty of sports. In a time when we are distracted by smart phones, computer screens, video games and more, anything that brings people together to spend time cheering, laughing and eating together is worth it.
I’ve been traveling for the last week and a half, so I’m looking to keep this weekend as simple as possible. This white chili skillet dip is perfect if you have last minute guests coming over to watch the game or if you just want something that doesn’t take tons of time but brings the classic flavors people expect during the big game. What I love about this appetizer is that it’s a little more elegant than the typical cheesy chili dip with tortilla chips. Serving it in a classic cast iron skillet lends a nice touch.