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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

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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

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

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

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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 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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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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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

It's fuyu time! As in Fuyu persimmons and fuyu as in winter. Late fall and early winter is when these beautiful, huge, sweet persimmons are shipped to us from a small farm in Nara. I had never had a better persimmon and every person we have given some to agree. They came a bit late this year, but I don't mind because they are picked onl...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

It's raining and it's cold today. A perfect day for nabe (hot pot). This one is with ground chicken scraped directly into the pot. Add any favorite vegetables, and you're ready for a meal on the table, literally. The soup base can be plain water, chicken stock or dashi. For this particular nabe, I used potatoes, shitake mushroo...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

My grandfather and grandmother on my father's side were from Okinawa, Yonabaru to be exact. My grandfather immigrated to Hawaii in 1911, and the following year, my grandmother joined him. There were many families like that looking for work, for a better life, and they ventured overseas to do so. Every 5 years, the Okinawan government sponsors a ...

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Peter came home with a treasure; a fresh matsutake mushroom from Tohoku. It was a gift from the region where employees of  Ito Corporation volunteered over the summer. They had sent a huge box of this autumnal delicacy foraged wild from the area, and it was shared among the volunteers. After all ...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

When I cook, I often ad lib or improvise, swapping ingredients here, loosely measuring there. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but that's the fun of cooking to me. Looking up the meaning of ad lib, it comes from the Latin ad libitum, translated as "at one's pleasure." I love that. That's what cooking is all about to me. Mich...

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A friend from the neighborhood stopped by yesterday to drop off some fresh bamboo shoots, takenoko. The best part was that they were already prepped, that is, they were boiled in water with nuka (rice bran) to remove the bitterness, cooled for several hours to overnight in the nuka water and then peeled.

He gav...

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The sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom in Tokyo. Although some people have refrained from partying, others have decided to continue with tradition. I was going to make this sushi roll for my preschool cooking class I taught last week, but decided in the end that it would be too complicated for little hands. I couldn't quite maneuver the ...

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Posted By: Jan Opdahl

Please excuse me for not feeling like cooking much at present. I can now sit down and focus on updating this blog after a tumultuous three weeks of riding an emotional and figurative roller coaster. It all started earlier this month when my 79 year-old mother was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer's. She had been forgetful for years, but when sh...

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