Mickey Mouse Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes (Everyday Food)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes & Mickey Mouse Eggs
Guess where I'm going today?

I'm heading to Disneyland today to renew my Annual Pass. The Annual Pass rocks for a Southern California girl as you can go for just a few hours and just hang out. I've gone to DLand just to exercise and, well, negate all that with a corn dog (they have a crazy good corn dog).

Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes & Mickey Mouse Eggs Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes & Mickey Mouse Eggs
This recipe for Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes is from Everyday Food of the Martha empire. You blitz half the old-fashioned oats in the food processor for a bit before adding the wet ingredients and whole oats.

I halved the recipe and really messed up! I was supposed to put 1/2 Tablespoon or 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, but used 1 1/2 T baking powder! I was wondering why the batter was all bubbly and exploding on me. It was an early morning chemical process lesson.

Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes & Mickey Mouse Eggs
Even though it went all crazy, I liked the pancakes. I added blueberries to some of them. Next time, I'm going to sub some of the white flour for whole wheat flour, and throw in some chocolate chips. Oh yeah, and read the instructions!

Off to the Blue Bayou!

Recipe: Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes from Everyday Food
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Welcome Oliver & Simon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oliver and Simon C.
My friend's twins! Welcome Simon and Oliver!

Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby

This season, I have 5 1/2 pregnant friends! (Sunshine was having twins so I counted her as 1 1/2). There should all have 5 boys and 1 girl. Turns out that four of them are librarians too! No, I'm not telling you what happens in the stacks... ;)

And finally...the delivery season has begun!

First up, Sunshine and her precious, beautiful baby boys!

Congratulations to Sunshine, Clay and big sister Beatrice on the arrival of Simon and Oliver. They just increased the population of Duluth, Minnesota!

July 22, 2009
Simon Francis: 5 pounds, 3 ounces...18 inches
Oliver Amos: 7 pounds, 1 ounce...19.3 inches

No, that isn't a typo. Oliver is 7+ pounds and Simon is 5+ pounds. Sunshine had them in less than 3 hours, naturally, no drugs and went home with her boys three days later! Sunshine is an amazing mom, librarian and swimmer...but who knew she's great at delivery too!

Clay and Bea
(photos from Sunshine)

Welcome to the world cuties! See more on Sunshine's website: South of the Border (the Canadian border...) Congratulations Sunshine, Clay and big sis Bea! Can't wait to see you all!
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Red and Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Red & Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese (Food Librarian)

I love the concept of the CSA box. Pay your local farmer for a share of their harvest, and get fresh fruits and veggies throughout the year.

There aren't many in my area, and my local farmers market is so full of items that I haven't gotten one yet. Besides, I have my own CSA.

It's my Dad CSA.

My dad "farms" the entire backyard and side of my parent's house. My dad's family were farmers in the Imperial Valley and central California before they were sent to internment camps in Jerome, Arkansas and Gila River, Arizona during WWII. After the war, the family settled in Los Angeles and my grandfather was a gardener. There were lots of Japanese American gardeners back in the day, see this book: Green Makers: JA Gardeners in Southern California. Anyway, even though my dad became a mechanic, he always grew veggies in the backyard.

Red & Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese (Food Librarian)
This season, he is growing lots of tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, red beets, golden beets, string beans, lettuce, mustard greens, and shishito peppers.

Red & Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese (Food Librarian)
My dad usually grows red beets, but I love the golden beet. I think they are sweeter and they don't stain your fingers!! So...I just happened to give my dad some golden beet seeds for his birthday! :) Thus, my own Dad CSA box of freshness!

I steamed the beets for 30 minutes, let cool completely and peeled. I stick my hand in a plastic baggie when peeling the red beets. I drizzled some olive oil and red wine vinegar on top along with goat cheese and pepita seeds. The beets are so sweet!

Red & Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese (Food Librarian)
Thanks Dad!
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Vanilla Ice Cream - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vanilla Ice Cream - Food Librarian
For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu decided on Vanilla Ice Cream on page 428 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Lynne's blog is sooo pretty!

Vanilla Ice Cream - Food Librarian
I've never made vanilla ice cream! Thanks Lynne for picking this recipe...it's perfect for this hot summer!

This vanilla ice cream has heavy cream, whole milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. I used vanilla paste to get those nifty little vanilla bean specks.

Vanilla Ice Cream - Food Librarian
I made an ice cream sandwich with two Ginger Spice Cookies. Yum! These remind me of the ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Reese in Westwood. It's a landmark at UCLA. Cookies for $.25 and ice cream sandwiches with Dreyer's ice cream for a buck (prices have gone up, but only a little). It's 100% sweetness.

Vanilla Ice Cream - Food Librarian
Have some summer fun with this delicious vanilla ice cream! And be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!

Recipe:
Page 428 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours
or...Vanilla Ice Cream on Cafe LynnyLu
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Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 - Buddhist Obon: Eating my way through festival food

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Higashi Buddhist Temple Obon Poster
Welcome to the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple's 50th Annual Obon Festival!

I'm thrilled that Foodbuzz selected my proposal for this month's Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, a unique monthly food blogging event covering 24 meals on 24 blogs in 24 hours. My proposal: Eating my way through festival food! Come along!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Obon Festivals are an annual Japanese Buddhist tradition, honoring the departed spirits of one's ancestors. My friend describes it as the Buddhist Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead.

Buddhist temples and churches have Obon Festivals in the summer to celebrate their heritage, religion and family connections. Obons are known for unique and yummy foods prepared by church members. Like most children, I remember eating my way through festivals. While my friends have memories of hot dogs and corn dogs at the county fair, I remember rice, noodles, and the wonder of dango.

Even though I wasn't raised Buddhist, my family would attend the local Buddhist Obon festival. The chance to win a goldfish or glass cup in the dime toss (I'll tell you that story later), and eat some comfort food draws families from all faiths.

Used with permission, Estelle Ishigo, Obon, 1942 - 1945, Japanese American National Museum (94.195.10F)

This pencil drawing by Estelle Ishigo was made during WWII in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming internment camp. That is how far back and important these festivals are to the Japanese American community.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Six friends, all who have never been to an Obon Festival, joined me at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in downtown Los Angeles (Little Tokyo). Founded in 1904, the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple is a member of the Shinshu Otani-ha denomination with its headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. This year, they celebrated their 50th Obon Festival!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Recently, I made somen noodles. These cold noodles are perfect on a hot summer day!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Always on the menu...beef and chicken teriyaki plates.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Tamales with chili and tacos. The obon food reflects the character and culture of the Japanese American and Los Angeles communities. Remember, my family used to make mochi AND tamales during the holidays! Chili Rice is also a favorite Obon dish (a staple in Hawaii). Why have cornbread when you can put chili over a hot bowl of rice? :)

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Chirashi sushi is sushi rice (rice mixed with a sugar & rice vinegar syrup) with egg, kamaboko (fish cake), shitake mushrooms, and age (fried tofu). It is a must at Obon festivals!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Spam musubi. Spam, rice, seaweed and sauce.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Japanese confectioneries. These manju cakes are filled with sweetened beans, and handmade by temple members.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Shave ice is a delicious summer treat. They were sold out of my favorite: kintoki...Shave ice with "an" or sweet red beans. If you see that, try it!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Oh yes. The Dango. The draw of the food booths! The Okinawan Dango is a fried cake-like donut. I've been spending this summer doing the Obon circuit seeking dangos! :) See below for my mom's dango recipe.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
This was a new one for me! The Dango Dog. Hot dog dipped in dango batter. A sweeter corn dog! They were also making Oreo dangos but they were sold out.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009) Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
We found some great, inexpensive produce at the farmer's market at the festival. Nothing like Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and tomatillos! The festival also had a bake sale, flower and plant sale and white elephant/bazaar area.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
The night always ends with the Bon Odori dance, a circular folk dance performed by temple members, friends and visitors. Some members dress in yukatas (cotton kimono).

Here is a slide show of Bon Odori photos:


Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)
Three Taiko drum groups performed during the festival. And we played a couple games of Bingo!

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple 50th Annual Obon Festival (July 25, 2009)

Whew! That was a lot of food and fun. Thanks for coming along on our eating tour!

Whatever your faith, I hope you take time this summer to spend time with family and honor your family members who came before you. Give them a some thanks...and perhaps a little dango.

Okinawan Dango
There are a million different Okinawa Dango recipes out there...believe me, I'm made it my mission to try all of them. Variations include: thick crust, density, size, sprinkling of powdered sugar, and the addition of cinnamon flavor. I want to share my mom's with you. My mom came to Los Angeles on a student visa in the late 1960's. She arrived with very few possessions, very little English and big dreams.

Okinawan Dangos (originally published in this December 2007 post)
Mix together in large bowl: 3 c flour, 1 T baking powder, 1 c sugar, 1/2 t salt

Beat together in small bowl or measuring glass: 5 eggs, 1/4 c milk, 1 t vanilla

Mix the dry and wet batches together by hand (with a wooden spoon or spatula) until dough forms. Do not overmix. Heat a wok or deep-fryer with vegetable or canola oil. Form dough into small balls with your hands or with an ice cream scoop/cookie dough disher before dropping into the oil. Fry until golden brown. Makes 36 dangos.


The amazing thing about Obon festivals is that they only occur once a year, and most of the city doesn't even know about it. If you are in Southern California and Nevada, there are still some Obon Festivals to attend this summer! You can find a calendar here.

Thanks to the good people at FoodBuzz and VISA Signature for this great opportunity!
Be sure to check out all the other 23 bloggers in this event!



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Rabbit Manju from Piyonya in Kyoto

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto
I've been reaching for my roots and getting my Japanese on lately. Ramen California yesterday, rabbit mochi today and you'll see my Saturday post of Japanese festival foods.

The other day, I got a txt from friend, JustJenn. It read something like... "omg. rabbit mochi coming soon. 4 days only."

Um, them magic words.

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto
Piyonya in Kyoto set themselves up in Marukai Pacific Market in Gardena, California. Yes, another Japanese place in the South Bay. A lot of Japanese American settled in the South Bay before and after WWII (see the book Japanese Americans of the South Bay), and the city of Torrance has a lot of Japanese companies, including the North American headquarters for Toyota and Honda. Thus, lots of Japanese restaurants and stores.

The white rabbits are steamed dough manju filled with smooth sweetened "an" or red beans. The colored rabbits are sweet dough filled with flavored and sweetened beans.

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto
That tail is just too kawaii (cute!)

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto
These Bunny Cakes are white chocolate, green tea and chocolate flavored manju. They come in a box that reads: Yumeki-Usagi. In Kyoto the rabbit is legendary.

Rabbit Mochi/Manju from Piyonya of Kyoto
This post is just eye candy (literally!) Too cute! More photos here.

Piyonya is only there from Thursday-Sunday (7/23-7/26/2009)
Here is their website (all in Japanese): piyonya

Pacific Market - Marukai
1620 W. Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 464-8888
Mon-Sat 9:00AM-9:00PM, Sun 9:00AM-8:30PM
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Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes (Martha Stewart Cupcakes)

Martha Stewart's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes


I bought Martha Stewart's new Cupcakes book on "opening" weekend. However, I have yet to make anything in it!

I had good reason to try the Zucchini-Spice cupcakes first. See below.

Martha Stewart's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes
When this ends up on your porch, you instantly think...Zucchini Bread.
(The cupcake liner is shown for scale)

Martha Stewart's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book suggests a cream cheese frosting (which would be lovely). But I was out of cream cheese...so I made a quick glaze of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and water. I think I probably saved about 100 calories each too!

Martha Stewart's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes
I got these cool cupcake liners at, well, where else? Surfas in Culver City, California. They are basically squares of parchment folded into pretty little things.

Note to Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet: When you and the family come out to Disneyland, I'll go with you to both Disneyland AND Surfas! :)

Martha Stewart's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes
The cupcake is very moist and easy to make. It is dairy-free, and I used olive oil instead of canola oil.

I poured a wee bit too much in each cup and ended up with 20 cupcakes instead of 24. I also ended up baking them for about 35 minutes instead of 20 minutes. Because these liners are really tall, I had the pans on the top and bottom racks. If I use these liners again, I'll try baking them separately and in the middle. So watch the time and size of your cupcakes!

When you are gifted with some zucchini, make sure to make this tasty treat!

Recipe:
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, page 44-45.
Also found on Erin's Food Files blog. She made the cream cheese frosting - yum!
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