Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bento week...with Donabe "onigiri" rice balls!

Both physically and mentally, my entire week has been spent on the bento project for the 3-day trunk show happening this week, and I haven't had a chance to update blog or even do casual email past days.

Nevertheless, I've been having a blast making bento boxes!  I will update all the photos once the event is over and I have a chance.

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Past days, as I got new bamboo skin bento boxes, I've been trying to get a good feel of it by serving almost every meal in it.  This picture is not exactly the same menu as what I'm serving at the trunk show, but it's what I had a few days ago.  Roasted amazake-marinated salmon was superb.

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One of the side dishes in the bento box was a salad of hijiki, sun-dried enoki mushrooms (they were simmered together in donabe and cooked down), tossed with avocado in my whimsical tofu "mayonnaise" (pureed tofu, roasted pistachio, amazake, brown rice vinegar, shio-koji, and avocado-blood orange oil).  I also made dashi-maki tamago (fluffy omelet), and roasted beets, topped with pureed roasted fennel.  The above picture on the right is the "deconstructed" version of hijiki, tofu "mayo", golden beets and pureed fennel, I quickly plated when I was just too busy.  These are very my kind of "shojin" (temple-style vegan) dishes.

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A night before the actual bento service, I was so busy doing all the prep work.  I made a huge batch of Yuzu-kosho & basil pesto for onigiri (rice balls).  I also cut the salmon and marinated in my home-fermented amazake.

Actual bento photos will follow soon.

Happy healthy life.  Happy donabe life.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Donabe-steamed mushroom & potato with daikon "mizore"

Another dish using mushrooms and fingerling potatoes...this time, with microwavable donabe steam-roaster, "Tochinsai".

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For this dish, you don't need a grate of Tochinsai. Just set some 2-day sun-dried mushrooms in the skillet of Tochinsai. Sprinkle 1T sake. Make another layer with sliced potatoes. Cover with lid and put it in (700-watt) microwave for 4 minutes or until everything is cooked through. Meanwhile, grate 4 oz daikon and squeeze out excess moisture. In a small bowl, whisk together 1T rice vinegar, 1-1.5 tsps sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add the daikon and mix. Add the daikon mixture and some chopped seri (dropwort - leafy plant - you can substitute it with your choice of green plant) and toss everything together.

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The quick earthy salad is ready. So good.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Handmade Market by Japanese creators in LA next week...Come try my Japanese bento!

Next week, I will be part of a special summer trunk show, hosted by nanamina boutique in Los Feliz.  It's made possible by a collaboration between talented Japanese designers/ creators in LA.

May 30th (Wed), May 31st (Thur) 10am - 3 pm
June 2nd (Sat)  1pm - 6pm

4430 Gainsborough Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027
(at nanamina's atelier, located in the backyard)

It's an open house.  Come stop by to see those beautifully crafted items.  Most items are available to purchase on the site.

At the trunk show, I will be serving healthy Japanese bento (lunch box) including donabe-cooked onigiri (rice balls), different side dishes and dessert!  It's $15/ box, and advance reservation is required. The onigiri flavor is scheduled to be Yuzu-kosho pesto (shown in the picture above).  Limited to 15 sets for each day.  For bento reservation, please contact

You can enjoy homemade bento in the beautiful backyard patio of nanamina!  Hope to see many people there.

Happy donabe life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Donabe cooking at Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day in Santa Monica

Last Saturday, there was the first "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day" in Santa Monica.  As a healthy Japanese & donabe cooking ambassador, I had an honor to participate in this inaugural event!

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It was held at Pico/ Cloverfield Farmer's Market in Santa Monica.

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Many people stopped by at our Food Revolution booth.

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Marina and at the booth.  Marina is a talented private chef and she created beautiful dishes.

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I demonstrated cooking a donabe rice dish by using the authentic Iga-yaki double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san".   The menu was healthy brown rice onigiri (rice balls) with Japanese-style yuzu-kosho pesto!  It's a perfect picnic food for the coming summer season.

I had a great time at the event, and I am thankful to the organizers who worked so hard to make this successful event and for letting me part of it!

Happy healthy donabe life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trip to Los Cabos (May 2012 - Day 5)...See you next time

Our final morning in this trip started with another power breakfast in the balcony.

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We will miss the view and the sound of the big waves.  I made a special order of porched eggs with spinach and red & green Mexican sauces.  It was so good...the red sauce was quite hot and I was wide awake after the first bite.

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Our ride to the airport came in the early afternoon.
Mom and I had a great time in this trip.  I was so glad she enjoyed her stay very much, although she doesn't like water at all.  It was all the Mexican cocktails and good-looking "ikemen" employees of the resort!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Trip to Los Cabos (May 2012 - Day 4)...More fiestas

Good morning, Los Cabos.

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We'd been enjoying having breakfast in our balcony.  I had egg white omelet with asparagus on Day 4.  Very good.

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More beach time during the day.  After lunch, we joined a tequila tasting in the afternoon.  Mom had her first tequila shots...!

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Our final evening dinner at the resort was also very nice.
We partied more after dinner.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trip to Los Cabos (May 2012 - Day 3)...Asian night

We had been lucky with the weather from Day 1.

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We had breakfast in our suite’s balcony. I had Mexican divorced eggs (sunny-side up with red and green sauces) with fruits, pastries, yogurt, and coffee. Power brekfast! Mom had a continental breakfast.

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Another relaxing day at both beach and pool. I loved my ceviche and fish tacos for lunch.

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Late afternoon, we made an excursion to the town of Cabo San Lucas, which was about 15 minutes from our resort by car. My last time there was about 18 years ago!! The town had changed so much since then, but the marina was still pretty much the same.

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After we returned to our resort, we had dinner at their Asian restaurant.  It's always fun to try sushi and sashimi when I visit Mexico...they are normally their own interpretation and so different from what I'm familiar with.  So, we started with sashimi and sushi again this time, and the cuts were indeed very "unique".  But, the fish were all very fresh quality and we enjoyed both!  The rice was also pretty good, although I didn't taste vinegar seasoning almost at all.

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Two of us also shared a bunch of different cooked dishes...forget the presentation, because they all tasted yummy, especiall the sea bass with light coconut curry sauce.