Japanese food and language were all I knew until age 5 (although I’m an American of European descent.) Tokyo was my hometown until age 18. Japan is famous for its Kobe beef. However, my first bite of beef was at my grandmother’s house in Colorado. I was sent there one summer to learn English. Good thing my Nona was patient…And had a large stash of nori. (Dried Japanese seaweed) I refused to eat meat if not wrapped in nori. Besides being the best grandmother ever, Nona was an excellent cook. So the beef (wrapped in nori) was swallowed without complaint.
On subsequent summer visits to Nona’s house, I was not quite as demanding. Also, I did learn English. Thanks to my grandmother and my cousins. Some of them managed corn and green bean farms. On drives to the farms - or even to the market - I saw grazing cattle. It was quite a contrast to my “regular” life in cosmopolitan Tokyo. But a welcome change. Colorado summers were opportunities to learn about family, horseback riding, S’Mores and how to enjoy American beef!
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking pays homage to the oba-san*1 (granny or auntie) in the Japanese home kitchen. Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking (published in 2007) was a generous share of how to create exquisite Japanese cuisine with a multicultural flair. If you’ve seen Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef on TV in Japan and/or America, you know he’s a master of Japanese and French cooking. (Frankly, he seems to be well versed in the cuisine of almost every country!) Almost 10 years later, it seems the Iron Chef has returned home to his Hiroshima roots with his latest cookbook.
Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking still has rebellious recipes such as potato chip-centric furikake (seasoned rice sprinkles.) The bulk of the Iron Chef’s recipes in his current cookbook, however, reverberate with Japan tradition. Chef Morimoto’s love for his mentors is also apparent. There are mentions of his time as an executive chef at Nobu in New York. (Thanks to his business partner, Robert De Niro, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa opened the door for foreigners craving an experience of Japanese flavors.) But the spotlight shines brightly on Mrs. Oyama. She was the missus of Ichiban Zushi where 18-year-old Masaharu Morimoto began his apprenticeship. Chef Morimoto recalls, “It was under her tutelage that I made my first dashi. (Japanese soup stock) Every morning, she and her daughter-in-law made the stock from scratch, steeping kombu (dried kelp) in a pot of barely bubbling water before adding handfuls of the feathery katsuobushi (bonito) flakes.”
What’s your go-to chocolate? Or is chocolate passé? Does it pales in comparison to savory snacks? My penchant for chocolate and cupcakes are inherited from my father.
My father passed this last February - the day after Valentine’s. He was a goodhearted gentleman. He loved chocolate and cupcakes. I have fond memories of sampling boxes of Bradenton, Florida’s Frosted Over Cupcakery. My father also loved the boxes of chocolate I’d send for birthdays and holidays.
On what turned out to be my last visit, I also brought chocolates. He was eating only strained foods. Yes, I was able to feed him chocolate pudding. But his appetite was diminished. Good news: For many of my father’s 93 years, I was privileged to bake chocolate cupcakes and other yummies for him.
In addition to my sweet tooth, thanks to my father’s job, Tokyo was my hometown for 18 years. As a tribute to my father and the country
Mary Poppins would approve of this Ninja Baker’s Japanese veggie ramen. The famous Disney nanny was all about fun! In between traveling into colorful sidewalk art with her charges; she was singing, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!” (My Japanese nanny actually did crush up my medicine with honey.)
I’m not espousing the sweet stuff today. But I am promoting ramen! Specifically Japanese noodles topped with veggies in amusing shapes. I’m no parenting expert. However, as an auntie and great-auntie I’ve noticed that when imagination is engaged, children will play along.
Plus, when children are involved in a project, when it’s their handiwork on the plate, they’re more likely to dig in. Even vegetables. Japanese bento tools and cookie cutters, by the way, are fantastic ways to create fun vegetable shapes.
You can also make Japanese-style octopus-shaped tofu dogs. It’s super easy.
Organic and outrageously delicious, Kippy's Ice Cream may soon be cornering the world's dessert market.
Note: Kippy’s is expanding domestically and internationally.
Kippy's may be moving from Venice, CA to Santa Monica or Mar Vista.
The first stop in global dessert domination for the queen of organic, non-dairy ice cream is Tokyo, Japan!
Consult KippysIceCream.com or telephone the shop to ensure you get your Kippy’s ice cream treat.
Secrets of the Magic Kingdom: Tokyo Disneyland & Disney Sea
Are you a Disney fan? Me, too! So, I’m delighted to share a few secrets.
1. Enter the parks past 6 p.m. and you get a discount!
2. Can you prove you’re over 60 with an ID? You get a reduced rate!
3. Have kidlets under 3? They are in for free!
4. From 3 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays, tickets are also discounted.
5. Enjoy rides during “regular” meal hours. Eat at off hours.
When Life looks like a random romp through Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; and foggy feelings arise like mist on English moors, what do you do? I reach for poetry. Japanese haiku poets I find are the most poignant. There’s an acceptance that joy and grief are intertwined.
The Japanese cherry blossom is a pretty popular topic in poetry. (Sakura – the Japanese word for cherry blossom – is also more frequently seen than “love” in Japanese song lyrics.) No wonder. As the cherry blossom blooms, there is an awareness that its demise is around the corner.
With the passing of my father, many questions have arisen. My ideas about Love are shifting. Gentleness with myself seems to work best. The 3 mighty masters of the Japanese haiku brigade - Basho, Buson and Issa – bring Light to my struggles.
You could be on your way to Orlando, Florida! A step or two away from Disney World, the 2017 Food and Wine Conference (#FWCon) is taking place May 19 to 21. The revered food writing guru and author Dianne Jacob is scheduled to speak. Other speakers will address important issues such as time management, social media and marketing. Presenters and participants can also hob-nob whilst sampling scrumptious food and wine. Sounds fantabulous, right?
The Florida Dairy Farmers are picking up the tab for one person to attend the 2017 Food and Wine Conference. All you need are a couple cups of milk and your go-to kitchen tools. A blessing of creativity from your Fairy Godmother could help, too. Click here for the #MakeItWithMilk #FWCon contest. All you need is one winning recipe using dairy products. Even if you don’t win admission, the Florida Dairy Farmers are handing out iPad Minis and Visa gift cards. First, second and third place winners will all be featured on FloridaMilk.com.
Is it a sweet or savory that brings you back to your childhood supper table? Who was there? What makes your memory extra special?
Japanese food and language were all I knew until age 5. Tokyo was my hometown until age 18. I still read, write and speak Japanese. Tamagoyaki, Japanese egg omelet, a childhood go-to also remains a favorite. Thanks to my nanny and surrogate mother, Kawaji-san. (I regret she wasn’t in my life longer.)
Generous Japanese friends have taught me their secrets to tamagoyaki making. I am grateful. So is my husband. But with Iron Chef Morimoto’s tamagoyaki-making technique – from his newest cookbook, Japanese Home Cooking – I’m super excited to report a replication of sushi restaurant style Japanese egg omelet.
Of course, tamagoyaki atop Japanese white sticky rice is scrumptious. But as summer weather approaches...