Japanese Curry Rice

Monday, February 28, 2011

Japanese Chicken Curry 
Japanese Curry 
with chicken, onions, carrots, potatoes, corn...over brown ice and topped with pickled ginger

My friend Pam and I are 400 miles apart (she in Berkeley, me in Los Angeles) but we want to "cook" together. I have some very basic cooking skills...I often find myself cooking for one or two and don't throw together a huge feast. Besides, I'm too busy baking! :)

Anyway, I told Pam I would share a few easy recipes with her that she might want to make for her family, including her cute son, Toby. Although I'm not there in her kitchen, I hope these step-by-step photos will help.

A note on authenticity... I'm Japanese American and am sending Pam a box of stuff I use from the Japanese grocery store. However, these recipes aren't a picture of authenticity...they are just what I do with the ingredients and shortcuts. If you want authentic Japanese, there are many cookbooks out there... or visit blogs such as Just Hungry.

Japanese Chicken Curry
Japanese curry is way easy. You grab a box of curry (everyone buys the box), some meat or tofu, and veggies. In about 30 minutes, you have dinner and a yummy lunch for tomorrow (it reheats nicely...just add a bit more water or broth if it is too thick).

Japanese Curry 1
I used an onion, carrot, parsnip, and purple heirloom carrot. I picked up the purple carrot at the farmer's market and planned to use it in a raw slaw or something, but that never happened. So in the curry it goes. Please note, your curry liquid will turn all shades of purple! But the curry roux covers all that up...just be careful when cooking anything with purple carrots.

Japanese Curry 2
One chicken breast is cut up into small pieces and browned with the onions in a bit of oil. You don't have to cook the chicken completely, it is going to simmer for about 30 minutes with the veggies. Add the veggies and cover with water or broth and simmer until the veggies are cooked. For complete instructions (in English), see the side of the box of Japanese curry. I added some frozen Trader Joe's Roasted Corn (soooo good) to the veggie mix too. You can also add peas or green beans too.

Japanese Curry 3
After the veggies cook, break of this block of curry roux and stir until it fully dissolves and thickens the liquid. So freaking easy. I purchase "Medium Hot" because you have to remember this is Japanese curry (not Indian or Thai curry). And the Japanese are weak when it comes to spices. Once, I held up some peppers to the seller at a farmer's market and asked, "Are these really hot?" He surveyed me and said, "Chinese?" I said, "No, Japanese." And he quickly shook his head, clearly telling me with this slight motion, your people can't handle these peppers. So, even though the package says "Medium Hot", it's really not that hot.

There are several brands of Japanese curry such as House and S&B, each with different flavors.

Japanese Chicken Curry
I top my curry with some pickled ginger (you can find it in the Asian grocery story). You can make your curry with any type of meat or tofu and top it with a hard boiled egg, some tempura or anything else. It is a wonderful comfort food and perfect for a chilly night.

To Pam: I sent you a box of Mild and Medium Hot curry! I hope you give it a try soon. - mary the food librarian
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Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones - Lemon Week 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones - Lemon Week 2011
Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones

Happy Friday! It's the last day of Lemon Week 2011 for justJenn and me. And my friend Mary is going crazy with her lemon week...she's on Day 6! We are all shouting, "Make something lemon this weekend!"

Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones collage 1
I love the scone. So easy to make and such a great morning treat. I've made La Brea Bakery Ginger Scones and Flour Bakery's Lemon Ginger scone, so this time I wanted to try Martha's recipe. It is a variation of her currant scone recipe found in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook cookbook. I made half the recipe and upped the sugar and zest. I wasn't serving the scones with any butter or jam, so I upped the sugar a bit. And I upped the lemon zest because it is lemon week! I like to make square scones because they are super easy and made 16 small scones with half the recipe (the full recipe says it makes 16 scones...oh dear, those scones must be huge!)

Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones Collage 2
This recipe asks you to freeze the uncooked, cut scones for at least 2 hours or overnight. Perfect if you want to pop them into the oven in the morning. However, I started in the morning and these only had 45 minutes in the freezer, but they still turned out very yummy.

How do all three scone recipes compare? I like all of them! The La Brea Bakery recipe has more ginger and less lemon. That is my go-to recipe for any ginger lover. And the Flour bakery Lemon Ginger scone? That lemon glaze is sooo good. That one is good for someone who likes lemon more than ginger. So this one? Perfect for that person in the middle who likes a hint of lemon and ginger. Both are more subtle in this scone, and yet very pleasing. I hope you get a chance to make all three...and invite me over for tea!

Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones - Lemon Week 2011
Lemon Week 2011:
Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffin, Whole Meyer Lemon Bars, Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt, Avgolemono Soup

Meyer Lemon Ginger Scones
Adapted from the Currant Scones recipe, Lemon-Ginger Scone variation (page 42) in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
I got 16 mini scones from this recipe (which is half the original recipe)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (I increased the sugar from the original recipe)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 stick butter, cold, cut into small pieces
Zest of 1 lemon (I used Meyer lemon)
2 ounces crystallized ginger, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg yolk + 2 T of cream
Sanding sugar or Raw sugar

1. Whisk together in a large bowl: flour, sugar, powder, salt.
2. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your finger (my choice) until the mixture has pea size butter bits.
3. Combine lemon zest and crystallized ginger in the flour mixture.
4. Pour cream and lemon over the flour mixture. Gently combine with your hands or spatula. Don't overmix.
5. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a square, rectangle or circle about 1 inch thick (depending on the size you want to make) and cut to size.
6. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. (Martha says at least 2 hours or overnight. I only had 45 minutes to chill and they still turned out).
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Beat together the egg yolk and 2 T cream. Brush on the scones and sprinkle with sanding sugar or raw sugar.
9. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
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Avgolemono Lemon Rice Soup - Lemon Week 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Avgolemono - Lemon Rice Soup - Lemon Week 2011
Avgolemono Soup

Lemon Week continues! I'm usually baking, but a girl needs to eat. And I love to eat soup!

Last month, we had a Lemon Fest at work. My colleague has a huge lemon tree and brought in baskets and baskets of lemons. We had a potluck of lemon themed foods and one of my colleagues made this Greek lemon rice soup. I couldn't wait to make it at home!

Lemon Week 2011
Just wanted to show you where the lemons are coming from! Here are my folks in front of their Meyer lemon tree.

Lemon Rice Soup Collage
The recipe is from the LA Times Food Section's Culinary "SOS". Here, you find people writing letters begging for recipes from their fav restaurant. Luckily, someone asked for the Avgolemono soup from Taverna Tony in Malibu! (I'm hoping that one day they get the Surfas Cafe Lavender Lemon Bars recipe! :)

Avgolemono soup at Taverna Tony - Los Angeles Times Food Section
My adaptations: I had some leftover rotisserie chicken so I used that instead of poaching chicken in broth. I used long grain white rice and Meyer lemons.

Lemon Week 2011:
Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffin, Whole Meyer Lemon Bars, Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt
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Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt - Lemon Week 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt
Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt

It's Day 3 of Lemon Week! Hello. My name is Mary and you may have heard...I Like Big Bundts. So, of course we had to have a Bundt cake. But this one is a Meyer Lemon Bundt!

Meyer Lemon Week 2011
Friends Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet and Jenn of JustJenn are celebrating lemons this week.

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt
I made Martha Stewart's recipe for a pound cake but made 1/2 the recipe. I think I baked it a bit too long or over-mixed the ingredients because it was a bit dry. I'll have to try the recipe again!

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt
I baked it in the pretty Bavarian bundt pan. I really like this bundt pan...just be sure to spray the heck out of it...them curves? Very sexy but lots of opportunities for stickage.

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Bundt
Be sure to check out JustJenn and the East Coast Mary recipes too. You don't have an excuse not to make something lemony! :)

Martha Stewart's Meyer Lemon Pound Cake
I made 1/2 the recipe and baked it in 10-cup Bundt cake pan. I baked it for 60 minutes but found it a bit dry so I would check it much earlier next time.
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Whole Meyer Lemon Bars - Lemon Week 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars - Lemon Week 2011
Whole Meyer Lemon Bars

It's Day #2 of Lemon Week! justJenn and I are making five days of lemon recipes with my dad's Meyer lemons. I have about 10 minutes to write this post so I'll just say: Crust. Lemon. Done. Yum.

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars - Lemon Week 2011
David Lebovitz created this recipe using one whole lemon. A shortbread crust is topped with a food processor mixture of whole lemon, eggs, corn starch, sugar, and butter. I used a Meyer lemon, but David prefers the regular lemon (I only have Meyers in the house since I get them free from my folk's backyard! :)

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars - Lemon Week 2011
Come back tomorrow for another lemon recipe!

David Lebovitz - Whole Lemon Bars
My adaptations: I used a meyer lemon and I removed most of the pith before putting it into the food processor. I know that runs against the "whole lemon" part of this...but it's just what I did. I also think I should have baked the crust a little longer to get a darker brown like David's.
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Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffins - Lemon Week 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffins - Lemon Week 2011
Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffins

For the past couple years, I've dropped off a big bag of Meyer Lemons on justJenn's porch...a lemon fairy. justJenn had Lemon Week 2009 and 2010 and this year, I'm celebrating my dad's Meyer lemon tree with a week of lemon recipes too. Sure, I'm losing enamel on my teeth, but Meyer lemons make your kitchen smell fantastic so it's worth it!

Meyer Lemon Week 2011
It's Lemon Week 2011! Check out what justJenn is making, and check out my friend Mary on the East Coast who received a box of lemons from the Lemon Fairy. So far, she's made scones, muffins, and pasta.

Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffins - Lemon Week 2011
This recipe has fresh ginger and lemon zest. You whiz them together with some sugar in a food processor.

Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffin 1
I always use a disher to, well, as the name implies, dish out the batter so they are all relatively the same size. The crown on the muffin is really nice and perky. :)

Meyer Lemon Ginger Muffins 2
After coming out the oven, a lemon/powdered sugar glaze is drizzled on top while the muffins are still a bit warm.

Simply Recipes - Lemon Ginger Muffins
My adaptations: I used Meyer lemons, I rubbed the zest into the sugar before adding it to the butter, and I used sour cream instead of yogurt because that's what I had in my fridge! I made 1/2 the recipe and got 9 muffins...so you might get more than 12 if you make the full recipe.
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Sumo Citrus - Dekopon has finally arrived

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sumo Citrus - Dekopon Tangerine
The Sumo Citrus. It's long trek to California took years. And it was worth it.

My Thursday morning routine: Get home from a night of clubbing...sorry, I'm just laughing at that one. Okay, my exciting routine is to grab the Los Angeles Times from the driveway and reach for the Food Section. And guess what? As I discovered when buying this lovely piece of citrus, I'm certainly not the only one. Let me take a step back and first tell you a story that includes smuggling, cults, secrets and not drugs...but citrus.

The front page of the LA Times Food Section (Feb 17, 2011) had a beautiful photo of an enormous tangelo-looking citrus and a fantastic story. The Dekopon, developed in the 1970's in Japan, has finally made it to California.

In the first paragraph, author David Karp says, "I've tasted more than 1,000 varieties of citrus, and to me the Dekopon is the most delicious."  

You had me at citrus.

Sumo Citrus - Dekopon Tangerine
You really have to read the article. David has been searching and lusting after this citrus for 12 years. The development includes smuggling, budwoods cleansed of disease by something called the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, more smuggling and a "farming cult". Seriously, does it get any better that that?!

So, I had to get this citrus. I love, love California citrus. My dad's Meyer Lemon. The lovely, lovely Cara Cara orange. Blood orange drinks. Satsuma tangerines. Grapefruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can eat citrus all day.

The Los Angeles Times lists sellers, including several Japanese markets. After taking my dad to the DMV on Friday to get an ID (in case he gets carded ;), we stopped at a Nijiya Market. As you walk through the doors, there is a big old display of the Sumo/Dekopon! They have the LA Times article posted too! $1.69 EACH or $15.99 a box! Savor these babies. They had samples and we met a woman who read the article and came over to find them too! As my dad and I were leaving with our three Sumos, we saw a man walk out carrying two boxes of them. (Who said the newspaper's dead?!)

Sumo Citrus - Dekopon Tangerine
Called the Dekopon in Japan, the California growers are marketing them as Sumo Citrus (with the tagline: enormously good to eat!) The article says they rejected the name Tanzilla. I love that name!

And the taste? DELICIOUS. Very sweet. Firm and yet delicate. The membrane is really thin and doesn't get in the way. They are seedless and easy to peel too. I haven't had 1,000 varieties of citrus like David Karp, but darn, these are delicious. And I'm sure they will get better after their rookie season. Can't wait til next year's crop.

Read the article and find sellers here:
LA Times Food Section article (Feb 17, 2011)
Sumo Citrus (Grower's website)
Hear David Karp on my favorite show KCRW's Good Food where he talks about the Dekopon/Sumo.

P.S. Speaking of my love of citrus, next week justjenn and I are having Lemon Week on our blogs! :) Stop on by!
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Day of Remembrance 2011 - Japanese American Internment

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My dad (middle with snow cap) in Jerome, Arkansas during WWII. 
My father, his sister and two brothers were American citizens born in California.

Usually, I write about baking, eating, baking, eating, my friends, and my cousin's cute dog. However, today's post is a little different.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Oh, ignore any zits, wrinkles or beauty marks. Think about your ancestry. English? German? Korean? Mexican? Italian? A mixture of all of them? Who do you you see?

69 year ago, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which cleared the way for the military to forcible remove anyone of Japanese descent (including American citizens born in the U.S.) from designated areas and incarcerate people like my dad, my friend's grandmother and 120,000 others. The United States government looked at my father and his family and decided they looked like the enemy. 2/3 of the people taken from the West coast were American citizens. My dad and his siblings were all U.S. citizens. They were not the enemy. They were farmers growing lettuce in California, raising their kids and trying to attain the American dream.  My dad was 10 years old and liked reading comics and fishing.

Look around at your house. All your belongings. Your car, your business, and for a child, your collection of toys. Everything was sold for pennies in a few days because you could only take What we you could carry.

Years later, the government apologized for the unjust treatment of the Japanese Americans. My dad framed the letter signed by the President. My father, like the rest of his family, loves this country. My dad and his brother served in the Air Force during the Korean War. And there are many veterans who served in the armed forces during WWII while their families were in camps. Get that? Your family needs to be locked up, but you can fight and die for your country. Read more about the 442nd here.

My dad is 100% American (just ask my mom...she jokes my dad's Japanese language skills are so poor that he wouldn't survive a minute in his parent's homeland); but his face and his bloodline moved his family into a racetrack, Arkansas and Arizona during the war.

So, today, please take a minute to remember this time in United States history. And today, please think about judging people by what you see...their face, their ancestry, their religion. We must all guard against racial profiling and civil rights violations, and make sure what happened to my family never happens again. Thanks for reading this. If you want to read more, here are some links:

1. Day of Remembrance event in Los Angeles, today at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles
2. Story about food memories and the effect of camp on the family dynamic in this NPR/Kitchen Sisters story: Weenie Royale: Food and the Japanese Internment.
3. Photos and Background: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive (JARDA)
4. For my librarian readers and friends... Clara Breed was a San Diego public librarian who corresponded with her young patrons. Letters at JANM and Joanne Oppenheim wrote this book, Dear Miss Breed.
5. Lesson Plans for teachers and homeschoolers from JARDA, Manzanar National Historic Site, and the Japanese American National Museum
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Pancetta Green Beans - French Fridays with Dorie

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pancetta Green Beans - French Fridays with Dorie
Pancetta Green Beans
This week, the French Fridays with Dorie group made Pancetta Green Beans from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around my French Table.

I work on Saturday this week, so I have Friday off. I explored a Friday farmer's market in a neighboring city and picked up some green beans. I'm lucky to live in Los Angeles where there is a farmer's market someplace in the area everyday of the year.

The beans are blanched for a few minutes, then set in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Since I was only making a small side dish, I went to Whole Foods and bought...$.65 worth of pancetta! (One very thin slice, please). Remember, I'm the lady at the seafood stand buying $.50 worth of shrimp for dinner. You cook up the pancetta, add back in the green beans and enjoy!

Pancetta Green Beans - French Fridays with Dorie
My dad has a Meyer lemon tree. Thus, everything has lemon on it lately (in fact, next week is "Lemon Week" on the blog!) I threw some zest on the green beans and it brightened the flavor of this lovely side dish. The pancetta is so warm, salty and satisfying. I need to raid my piggy bank to buy $.65 more! :)

Be sure to check out my fellow French Fridays with Dorie members and see their creations!

Please note: French Fridays with Dorie will not be posting recipes. Please support Dorie and purchase the book or find it at your library.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Caroline and Claire of Bake With Us chose Chocolate Oatmeal Drops of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. I made these Tuesdays morning but have been super busy and tired so I'm posting a day late.

These cookies are easy to make...melt some butter, chocolate, and brown sugar. Throw in some flour and oatmeal (yeah, it's healthy! hee hee) and you have a cookie.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Mine turned out flatter than others, but they were like little brownies. Very chocolatey.

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and see their creations!

Caroline and Claire of Bake with Us blog,
or, Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours (page 75)
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Apple Snacking Spice Cake - Flour Bakery

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Apple Snacking Cake - Flour Bakery
Apple Snacking Spice Cake from Flour Bakery Cookbook

Last week was crazy busy. Day trip to San Diego, sickness and a garbage bag full of baked goods that never made it to their destination (um, don't want to be known as Typhoid Mary), and just the usual 75 degree winter weather of Los Angeles. :)

However, I did manage to make this yummy cake from my latest obsession, the Flour Bakery cookbook. 

When I drank coffee in college (I don't drink much caffeine now...gives me a headache), I would be the person who had a bit of coffee with my milk and sugar. This cake has a bit of batter with lotsa apples, pecans and raisins. The batter is superthick but all comes to together in a yummy cake. You'll need a 10" round cake pan for this delicious snacking cake.

Apple Snacking Cake - Flour Bakery
A sprinkling of powdered sugar is all this cake needs. Another winning recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook! Yum!

Flour: spectacular recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang (page 64 ): Available on Amazon, your local bookstore, or in your library

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Katie and Sinjin - Superbowl of Cuteness!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nate & Gwendolyn with almost 2-year old Sinjin and Shannon with 2-year old Katie

Instead of watching the Superbowl yesterday, I went to the Superbowl of Cuteness! My friends and I got together with their adorable kids, Sinjin and Katie for a great Sunday afternoon. It has been a year since our last gathering and the kids have grown so much!

Sinjin Feb 2011
Sinjin is very active little man. He loves all things baseball and sports related. What you may see is a yellow kitchen glove. Oh no. It's his baseball glove. You can see it, right? :) Sinjin is preparing to become a big brother soon! He's a cutie and so polite!

Shannon & Katie - Feb 2011
Katie is precious and has boys falling for her in pre-school (holding her hand all the time!) Yes, her eyes are that blue too. Katie loves singing, dancing and all thing music related.

Shannon & Katie Feb 2011
Sinjin Feb 2011
Oh my goodness. So much cuteness in such a small space. :)

Sinjin & Kate Food - Feb 2011
Hey, what would a Food Librarian post be without mentioning the food? Gwendolyn made a terrific lasagna. My favorite line was, "It was a vegetarian lasagna, but we added meat!" Filled with veggies and meat, they also added pine nuts (good idea Nate!) It was delicious! Shannon and Katie brought cheese, crackers and fruit. Nothing is cuter than a toddler asking for more and more blueberries and grapes.

Sinjin & Katie with Food Librarian Treats
And my new spokespeople for my treats! :) I love that Katie has both hands full of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. 

Superbowl of Cuteness! Here are the rest of the photo on my Flickr account. Can't wait for our next get together (which better be sooner than one year from now! :)- mary the food librarian
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Self-Frosting Nutella Cupcakes for World Nutella Day 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes
Happy World Nutella Day!
Make some Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes today!

World Nutella Day celebrates its 5th anniversary today! Ms Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso are the masters of ceremonies for this delicious foodie holiday.

Nutella CupcakesWho doesn't love Nutella?! I hope indulge in some Nutella today...on toast, with peanut butter, on a crepe, or in a cupcake...or just straight from the jar! :)
Nutella Collage
After making the batter, one teaspoon of Nutella is marbled into the cupcake. The crumb is more muffin than light cupcake. The Nutella topping is rich and gives it enough sweetness.

Nutella Cupcakes
Each one is very unique depending on how much your marble the Nutella. This would be a fun and easy recipe to make with kids!

Nutella Cupcakes
Find the complete recipe on Esi's Dishing up Delights blog

P.S. I'm running in the LA Marathon's 5K in March and raising money for Noah's Wish animal rescue during disasters. Check out my fundraising plea (with cute doggie!) here and thanks for the support! 
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