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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

It has been quite the steamy summer here in Japan, with record high temperatures in the southern regions. Hot and humid is nothing new for August and neither are low appetites in this sultry season. Which is why salads are wonderful to have at dinner since they are refreshing and nutritious. One of my favorites, is a chickpea and carrot combinat...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

The summer is coming to an end although in the heat of the day it still feels like August with temperatures hovering around 32C. And with the close of summer it's time to say sayonara to the peach or momo, my favorite Japanese fruit. As a farewell to summer, I decided to make a momo tart for a dinner I was invited to this weeke...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Now that my daughter is back at college, the house is empty again, but for me and my mom since the hubby is away on business. And when it's hot and humid, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking over a hot stove. So for lunch, I needed something quick and simple with what was in the refrigerator: leftover rice, a big jar of kim chee and eg...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

A Japanese news report last week stated that research indicated the yamaimo (Japanese yam) could have an effect in reducing the disease-causing betamyloids in Alzheimer's patients. When tested on mice with Alzheimer's symptoms who were given diosgenin, which is ...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

My cousin and her husband invited us over to their place the other night and they brought this out for dessert. It's a new item at Fujiya Bakery, and you can drink the thinned-out pastry cream filling with the straw or scoop it up with spoon end of the straw as you tear into the puff pastry. Interesting. What will they come up with next?

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Walking to teach my class at St. Luke's College of Nursing the other day, I stopped by one of the vegetable stalls in the Tsukiji Outer Market area. I don't have much time to prepare dinner after class, so sometimes I try to pick up already marinated fish or fresh vegetables that will be fast and easy to prepare when I know I have nothing in the...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Walking to the grocery store the other week, I spotted something bright red among the stalls at the open market in the Patio Juban. One of the vendors was selling to my surprise and delight, rhubarb! The stalks were thin and some were completely green, but some stalks had red hues graduating to green. I bought a bunch and made a pie again and wi...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Wiki wiki means very quick in Hawaiian, and I titled my stained, handwritten recipe for banana bread just that, Wiki Wiki Banana Bread. I don't know where I originally got the recipe, but I do know that I've been making this same recipe for many years now. The only other thing I will add is that you must use very, very ripe, mushy black...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

There's nothing better than a little aloha in the morning. I made some malasadas, Portuguese style donuts, the kind I grew up eating on Hawaii, for a coffee morning and for my mother's daycare center, Inana. In Hawaiian, inana means "to come to life or to become healthy again" and is such a fitting name for an elder care center, whose p...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Another use of the piri piri sauce: piri piri mayonnaise. Just mix in as much of the sauce as you would like to some mayonnaise and you have a tasty dipping sauce for karaage, which are bite-sized, boneless, fried chicken. In Japan, you can conveniently find already cut up chicken thigh pieces ready for frying at any grocery store. You ...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Piri piri sauce is fast becoming my favorite spicy sauce. It hails from Portugal and is made with the African Bird's Eye chili, called piri piri (pepper in Swahili), which is cultivated in Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Not able to get my hands on those particular peppers, I used some other type I found at my local grocery store. I don't know what...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

My husband Peter doesn't like cake. But he does love pies. So when I asked him what kind of pie he would like for his birthday, he said his favorite is strawberry-rhubarb. My heart sank. Where am I going to find rhubarb in Tokyo in April? I've never seen rhubarb sold in the regular Japanese grocery stores so I ventured over to our neighborhood i...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

It's April and that means sakura (cherry blossom) season here in Japan. And sakura season means hanami (flower viewing) picnics under the blooming cherry trees. We joined the Georgetown University Alumni Club of Japan for their annual intercollegiate hanami at Komaba Park in Meguro-ku, with other alumni clubs such as B...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, after seeing our daughter off to the airport, Peter and I wandered around a farmer's market at Ark Hills in Akasaka. We've been disappointed at the ones nearer to our house and weren't expecting much, but we were surprised at the quality and variety at this one on this particular day. It seems the vendors change fr...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Blossoms wrapped in paper, incense smoke swirling upwards, families kneeling graveside with hands together in prayer, the sound of beating drums; these are the images, sounds and scents from the temple across the street on this day of ohigan, March 20, which has its roots in Buddhist teachings. It's a national holiday in Japan, shun...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

I had forgotten about this recipe until I saw me preparing it the other week. Peter had been converting our 8mm videos to digital format because video tapes will degrade over time. And sure enough as we were watching the footage, there was some quality loss on videos from 19 years ago. One particular video, from 2002 when we visitied Hanoi, Viet...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

What to do with leftovers is always a dilemma. After making a batch of Anzac Biscuits, I had so much coconut left over, I was wondering if I should just make another batch. I then remembered I had a whole bag of navel oranges and thought that it might be interesting to add a hint of orange to the cookie. And then I remembered I had half a bar of...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

 Hot pot turns into a tea pot! A friend of mine made some shoyu braised pork with tea once, and that gave me an idea of using tea in cooking, which I had not done before at all, save for eating ochazuke (tea with rice) which doesn't really count as cooking. Taking advantage of the thinly sliced meats available here, I decided to do a <...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Today my mother turns 80 years old. In Japan, traditionally, after age 60, these longevity celebrations called choju occur every 10 years. For year 80, it's called the sanju celebration and then there's a special one at age 88 called beiju. The number 8 is very auspicious in Japan and China, where many of these traditi...

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