Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hide and Reiko's New Year's Day Feast

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Hide and Reiko Obatake's New Year's Day feast is the highlight of our holiday trip to Seattle.  Each year, their meal is a work of art featuring traditional Japanese osechi-ryori.  Everything is delicious, so colorful and pleasing to the eye and palate.  We are truly luck to be invited to their house each year.

I forgot to take a picture of the ozone soup!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Siu Mai - Steamed Pork Dumplings

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This is Denny's favorite dim sum called siu mai or pork dumplings. I steamed them in two, 12" bamboo steamers which I bought at Ranch 99 Market. The steamers fit my large wok perfectly. You can serve them with a dipping sauce of equal portions of garlic chili paste mixed with soy sauce. They can be frozen individually on a cookie sheet, then transferred to a freezer container.  

1/2 lb. won ton skin (round)

1 lb. ground pork, finely chopped
1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, shelled, deveined and finely chopped
1/4 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 T soy sauce
2 stalks green onions finely chopped
4 Chinese mushrooms, soaked and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Mix all filling ingredients together. Spoon heaping tablespoon in center of skin. Gather the sides of the wrapper around the filling and squeeze center to form a pouch. Place in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Makes 36 dumplings.

Michelle's Breakfast Casserole

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A Christmas morning treat -- breakfast at Tim and Michelle's.  Here's a delicious sausage, egg, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella breakfast casserole.  It is very rich, creamy and melts in your mouth.  Your guests will surely ask for seconds as we did.

1 lb. Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 T chopped fresh parsley
5 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup half and half
1 cup whipping cream (can substitute with half and half)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 13x9x2" glass baking dish. Saute the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes until browned, breaking it up into small pieces. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. Add sun-dried tomatoes and 2 T parsley and cook for one minute.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks, half and half, cream, cheese and salt. Gently mix in the sausage mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 cup cheese and 2 T parsley. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


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One of my favorite Japanese pickles is fukujinzuke.  Its salty, sweet, crunchiness brings back good memories of eating ochazuke with my mom.  It is often served alongside Japanese curry, can be a filling for onigiris and is a perfect accompaniment to a bowl of Japanese rice.  It takes four days to make, but is well worth the effort.

5 c. chopped daikon
4 c. chopped cucumbers
1 c. chopped carrots
5-6 shiso leaves, finely chopped
1 T finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup salt

1-1/2 c. soy sauce
2 c. sugar
3 T white vinegar

Combine vegetables, ginger and salt in a large bowl, and refrigerate overnight.  Next day, rinse the vegetables thoroughly with water and drain.  Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil for 1-2 minutes, and pour over the vegetables.  Leave overnight in the refrigerator in a covered container.  Next day, drain the liquid, boil the sauce again, and pour over vegetables.  Repeat this process one more day.  Put fukujinzuke in small covered jars and refrigerate (I used six, 8 oz. canning jars).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mini Hot Dog Appetizer

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These little guys are perfect for your next game day party.  With just two ingredients, cocktail-size franks and puff pastry, you have a tray full of mini-pigs-in-a-blanket.  Serve with mustard and ketchup, and watch them disappear quickly.
12 oz. cocktail-size franks  (I used Kinder's Chicken Mini-Sausages from Costco)
One 8 oz. sheet of puff pastry
Defrost the puff pastry by setting it on your counter for 20 min.  Unroll the puff pastry to form a rectangle.  Cut it into 1/2" x 3" strips.  Take a strip and wrap it around the middle of the frank overlapping the edges.  Spray a cookie sheet lightly with PAM, and place the franks on the cookie sheet.  Freeze for 15 min.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, then bake for 15-20 min. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stephen's Coconut Mojito

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Very refreshing!  My son, Steve, made these for a family dinner, and they were a bit hit.  They have a tropical taste, are slightly sweet from the coconut milk and have the consistency of a frozen marguerita.  This recipe makes 2 servings. 

4 cups ice cubes
2-1/2 limes, rind removed
7 oz sweetened cream of coconut (I used coconut milk)
2-1/2 jiggers Bacardi white rum (a jigger = 1.5 fluid ounce)
5 sprigs fresh mint leaves
Additional mint leaves and lime wedges for garnish (optional)

Remove the rind from the limes.  Blend the ice, limes, coconut milk, rum and mint leaves in a blender until smooth.  Pour into two glasses, garnish with mint sprig and lime wedge if desired.

This drink was made especially for cousin Patti, pictured here with her husband Cliff, who were visiting from Seattle.

Thai Sweet Chili Wings

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I love the sweet, tangy and spicy taste of these chicken wings.  This version is mildly spicy, and you can adjust the heat by adding more Sambal Oelek chili sauce.  They were devoured in minutes.  I will definitely make this again for the next family gathering.
Chicken wings, separated into sections
3/4 cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sambal Oelek chili sauce
Peanuts, chopped (optional)
Green onions, chopped (optional)
Mix the Mae Ploy sauce, soy sauce and Sambal Oelek in a small bowl.  Line a cookie sheet with foil, and spray with PAM.  Place the chicken wings, skin side up, on the cookie sheet.  Baste with a little canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.  After baking, mix the wings with the sauce.  Place on a serving platter.  Top with green onions and peanuts, if desired.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easy Apple Cake (Two Ingredient)

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It's the easiest cake to make!  It has just two ingredients, a yellow cake mix and a can of apple pie filling.  You mix the two together, and bake it in a square pan.  The cake turns out so moist with tender chunks of apple in each bite.  Frost this one with a marscapone whipped cream frosting or cream cheese icing.

1, Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 can, prepared apple pie filling

Mix the two together in a large mixing bowl.  Spray a square pan with PAM.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 min. at 350 degrees.  Test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick.

It was little grandson Seanie's birthday cake.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Corinne's Cappucino Bars

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Another fabulous recipe from Corinne Gooden!  I could not stop eating these shortbread bars.  They have a hint of espresso, truly addicting.  This recipe originally came from Holly B's Bakery, Lopez Island.

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 T instant coffee or espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 T milk
1 T butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the middle.  Line a rimmed 10'x15' pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan.  Cream the first 4 ingredients.  Blend in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.  Press and flatten the dough evenly into the pan.  Bake 5 minutes, rotate the pan, bake 5-10 more until the edges start to brown.  Cool 5 minutes before glazing.

Mix the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan on medium heat until smooth and barely bubbly.
Drizzle it over the pan, smoothing out the edges.  Cool until just warm to touch.  Cut 6 on the 10" side, 4 on the 15" side, then cut each piece diagonally.

Meet the newest member of Amy Gooden's family...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ginger Pork

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Here is an easy recipe that is tasty and flavorful.  You can serve it over sauteed greens like kale, spinach, boy choy or nappa.  The sauce has three main ingredients, so is simple to make.  It resembles ginger beef in taste.  I hope you will try it.

3 T soy sauce
2 T mirin
1 T finely grated fresh ginger
1-2 T vegetable oil
3/4 lb. pork chops (2)
Chopped kale, spinach, boy choy or nappa
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mix the soy sauce, mirin and ginger together; pour over the pork chops and marinate for 20 min.  Saute the kale and garlic for 4-5 min. in oil in a large frying pan until the kale is tender, then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the kale on a serving platter.  Saute the pork chops in its marinade over medium high heat for 3-4 min. per side until done.  Do not overcook as it will dry out.  If the sauce evaporates, add a little water to the pan.  Let the pork rest a couple minutes after cooking before slicing.  Place the sliced pork over the kale, and pour remaining sauce over all.  Delicious.

Layered Mochiko Manju

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I am a big fan of pre-made koshi an which is sweetened red bean paste used in Japanese pastries.  It comes perfectly sweetened and ready to use.  This layered dessert is simple to make and turns out so flakey with just the right amount of sweetness.  It has become one of my favorite desserts.  It tastes great with a cup of hot tea.

1 lb. butter (4 sticks)
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 cups mochiko flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 packages Shirakiku sweetened red bean paste - Koshi an (fine)

Grease a 9"x12" pan.  Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 5-8 minutes until fluffy.  Add the flour, mochiko and salt, and mix until blended.  Dough will be crumbly.  Divide dough in half.  Press one half of the dough into the pan.  Spread the two packages of sweetened red bean paste on top of the crust.  Sprinkle the remaining dough on top.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 min.; turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake for another 25-30 min.  Cool before cutting.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cilantro Lime Dressing

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This salad dressing is delicious on a salad with your favorite greens, bacon, avocados and tomatoes.  It has a creamy tangy flavor.  So good!

1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 T white vinegar
1 bunch of cilantro, larger stems removed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce

Purée everything in a blender.  Add additional olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, to get the desired consistency.  Refrigerate until serving time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

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Simply delicious.  This French toast casserole is a bread pudding - perfect for a special holiday breakfast.  It can be assembled the night before, then baked just prior to serving.  You can add fruit before baking or leave it plain as I did.  It can be served with maple syrup, if desired.  I will definitely make this one again.

One whole loaf crusty round French or sourdough bread
8 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla

1 stick cold butter, diced
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Grease a 9"x12" pan.  Tear the bread into 1"-2" chunks, and place in the pan.  Mix the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in a separate bowl, and pour over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl using a pastry cutter, blending the flour and brown sugar mixture into the butter, until it resembles pebbles.  Refrigerate overnight.  Next day, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the bread. Bake 45 min. to 60 min.  Serve warm with maple syrup.

We made this delicious baked pastry for Mother's Day brunch at Tim and Michelle's.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tim's Butternut Squash and Tomato Posole

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Here's a hearty vegetarian recipe that can be a great main course.  It is Mexican in origin, a traditional stew often made with pork and hominy cooked in a chile sauce.   It has the consistency of a chunky soup and tastes delicious.  This recipe comes from my super son-in-law, Tim Coffey, pictured with his son, Sean, and father, Pat -- three generations of Coffeys. 
1, 28-oz, can whole peeled tomatoes
1 T canola oil
2 cups chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
3 cups diced (1/2"), peeled butternut squash
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1, 15 oz. can white hominy, rinsed
1, 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed
1 ripe but firm avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Break apart the tomatoes with your fingers, letting them drop into the bowl.  Heat the oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions and garlic 4-5 min.  Add chili powder, stir for 30 seconds.  Add the squash, broth, hominy, beans and crush tomatoes and juice.  Bring to simmer.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender 25-30 min.  Serve with avocado, grated cheese (optional) and cilantro.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Carol's Coconut Mochi Cake

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Here's a great coconut mochi cake from Carol Koza of Kaneohe, Hawaii.  She got this recipe from her friend, Nat Fujimoto, who lives on the island of Lanai.  Nat had made these delicious snacks for Carol and her husband, Ron, on one of their golf trips to Lanai.  It is a chewy snack cake that has a gelatinous texture from the mochiko, a sweet rice flour, often used in Hawaiian desserts.  I hope you enjoy it.
1 box Mochiko flour
2 T baking powder
3 cups sugar
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (13 oz.) can coconut milk
2 T vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter

Cream the butter and sugar;  add the eggs and mix thoroughly.  Add the evaporated milk, coconut milk and vanilla, then the dry ingredients.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Bake 350 degrees for one hour.  Test with a toothpick for doneness.  It may take more than an hour to bake.  Let cool for two hours before cutting.

Eva's Cracked Bread

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Here's a unique appetizer that is highly addictive that Eva Leung introduced us to.  It is going to become the latest craze in appetizers.  It is a loaf of bread, cut in a criss-crossed pattern to resemble a blooming onion.  The cuts are stuffed with olive oil, dijon mustard, cheese, salami, garlic and green onions with additional cheese and parsley on top, and baked until warm and toasty.  We could not stop eating this appetizer.  Your friends will go crazy over this one.
1 whole loaf of artisan bread
1/2 - 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Monterey jack, cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated
Salami, prosciutto or any cooked meat, chopped
Green onions, chopped or Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the bread with a sharp bread knife in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut through the bottom crust.  Mix the olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pour the mixture carefully into the sliced portions.  Wrap the loaf in foil, sealing the sides, and bake for 15-20 min.  Remove from the oven and unwrap.  Add more cheese to the top and bake another 10 min. until the cheese is melty and gooey.

Here are Steve and Eva, making refreshing gin rickeys with Hendricks gin. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Carol's Pineapple Angel Food Cake

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Carol Koza (pictured on the left with Liz Shinbo) graciously made us lunch as we attended a Hawaiian quilting class while vacationing in Ko O'lina.  One of her desserts was a delicious pineapple angel food cake made from just two ingredients, an angel food cake mix and a can of pineapples.  So easy to make and refreshing in taste.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  Pictured below are Terri Lewis (left) and Mare Kihara (right) and a photo of a finished product completed by the instructor.

1 (16 oz) package angel food cake mix (Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mixes with single envelopes)
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapples with juice

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pineapples with juice.  Mix well until blended.  Pour batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. until golden brown.  Let cool upside down.  You can frost with sweetened whipped cream, Cool Whip, or Cool Whip mixed with 1 small envelope of vanilla instant pudding.  Some people mix additional crushed pineapples in with the whipped topping.

Strawberry Trifle

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My whole family loves this recipe -- the taste is refreshing and light. Perfect in the spring or summer when locally grown strawberries are available.  You can use pound cake or yellow cake in place of the angel food cake.  You can also assemble it in individual wine glasses or martini glasses for a different look. 

1 (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cups cold water
1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1, 9-inch prepared angel food cake, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Additional stawberries for garnish
Chocolate shavings, optional for garnish

Whisk the sweetened condensed milk and water in a large bowl. Add pudding mix.  Whisk 2 minutes.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Fold in whipped topping.

Stir together strawberries and preserves.  Spoon 2 cups pudding mixture into bottom of a 4-qt clear glass trifle bowl.  Top with 1/2 cake cubes; 1/2 strawberries and 1/2 remaining pudding mix.  Repeat, ending with pudding.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours or until set.  Garnish with additional strawberries and shaved chocolate before serving.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trisha's Yaki Manju

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While vacationing in  Hawaii, Trisha Kiyohara of Kailua introduced us to these light, delicate, flaky pastries which are filled with a Japanese sweetened red bean paste.  They were to die for!  The tray of pastries disappeared within minutes. You can use pre-made sweetened red bean paste as the filling or a separate recipe is below for a Okinawan sweet potato filling.  Pictured above are Trisha Kiyohara with her husband Dean.

5 cups of flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
3/4 cup ice water
1 package or can of Tsubushi-an or Koshi-an red bean paste

Combine dry ingredients well.  Add oil and ice water and mix thoroughly.  Dough will be quite sticky.  Make 24 balls the size of a small ping pong ball.  Flatten out to 3" diameter circles with your fingers.  Place a teaspoon of filling on the dough, fold over to form a half circle and seal.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush with beaten egg or milk (optional).  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Watch carefully as it will burn if left in too long.

Alternate Okinawan Sweet Potato Filling:
2 cups boiled and mashed Okinawan sweet potato, cooled
1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hide's New Year's Day Feast

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We spent another wonderful New Year's Day at Hide and Reiko Obatake's house in Renton.  It was a feast beyond belief.  Each dish was beautiful in its presentation and absolutely delicious.  Every bite was pure pleasure.  We are truly lucky to be invited each year.  It is an experience that is beyond special.  Here are photos of the meal.