Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rainbow chard & cannellini beans over brown rice

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bok Choy & Shitake stir fry

Another easy recipe for a quick eat. Coat pan with canola oil, add sliced ginger, stir up some bok choy (stems first) and shiitake mushrooms for 3,4 minutes. Add some water (enough to cover pan but not too much... you don't want to drown the vegetables), lemon zest, and salt. Let simmer until bok choy stems soften, add the leafy bits of bok choy, then squeeze some lemon juice (always fresh) over pan and a bit of soy sauce to taste. I then threw some leftover brown rice directly into the pan, mainly because I don't like using microwaves to heat up my food.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring pasta

Spring pasta, because of the asparagus. Couldn't be easier to make. All I did was saute bacon and garlic in olive oil for two minutes, add cherry tomatoes and asparagus, a good ladle-full of starchy pasta water, salt and pepper, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Threw in cooked pasta towards the end. I used organic whole wheat fusilli this time, not De Cecco, my usual pasta of choice.

This would have been fine, but I went a step further and topped it with a fried egg. And parmesan cheese of course. The culprit of my over-zealousness being Mario Batali's Asparagus Milanese - fried egg over grilled asparagus - which is more of a brunch thing. I was in the mood for something a bit more substantial, so I decided to turn it into a pasta dish, using the same ingredients plus more.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Organic vegan fare...

My recent trip to Wine Country ended up being more of a food tour rather than wine tasting.

First stop: Bay area's organic/vegan eatery Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg for a quick lunch. This is my version of their bowl of healthy goodness:

Ingredients: baby salad leaves, steamed/shredded kale, cucumber, cilantro, scallion, ginger, quinoa, nori, raw sprouted pumpkin seeds, tahini, fresh lemon juice, and a splash of Annie's Asian sesame dressing

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This is a picture of the last chocolate devil's food cupcake I shared with Jess at Dean & Deluca on the Upper East Side of Manhattan before heading over to The Metropolitan Museum. 

There is a serious lack of cupcakes in Japan. It's really puzzling, given how a) people here queue for hours to buy a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, 2) girls love sweet and cute things. Wouldn't cupcakes qualify as the perfect dessert for Japanese girls? They're tasty, cute, and fun.

I went to a seminar held by EA - Tokyo the other night to hear Mark Peterson, founder and owner of Notting Hill Cakes speak about the ups and downs of opening a baked goods business in Japan. Not only am I a glutton for cupcakes, I've actually thought about starting my own cupcake business in Tokyo, so I jumped at the opportunity to hear first hand accounts of an experienced and successful cupcake business owner in London (He sold his business in London, to open shop in Tokyo).

Mark answered a lot of my questions about why Japan has yet to embrace cupcakes. First of all, Japanese consumers are fickle, media whores.. they like to try new things they see in magazines and on tv, but don't have the loyal customer mentality. Once they've tried, they move on to the next new fad. Secondly, consumers here are very fussy about appearances, both product and packaging. Mark mentioned that his salespeople would send back 30% or so of his hand-made 'deformed' cupcakes - people like uniformity here. Thirdly, shelf-life. Japan is a gift-giving culture, and they're borderline neurotic when it comes to shelf life. So they tend to choose packaged goods (cookies and such) over fresh baked goods.

I've not had any experience in the industry, and did learn quite a bit from Mark's seminar, but wasn't convinced... Krispy Kreme in Japan wrap up their takeaway doughnuts in plain, cardboard boxes. And doughnuts have the same shelf life as cupcakes. Cupcakes are prettier, and often tastier... That said, there must be a good reason why Sprinkles Cupcakes have yet to venture into the Japanese market, despite their claim to do so for quite some time..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegetable Soup on a Lazy Sunday

I spent Sunday morning making an incredibly easy to make soup. All I did was chop up vegetables and throw them in a pot.

Ingredients: 1 large onion (sautee with olive oil in pot before adding the rest of the ingredients), 1 carrot, some celery, 1 potato, 2 tablespoons of leftover canned tomatoes, a little bit of cooking bacon, soup stock (I used vegetable stock), nanohana (field mustard they are called - they look and taste like broccoli rabe however)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chinese Cafe 8

I've been to Chinese Cafe 8 Roppogi many a times but never the one in Ebisu until last night. Cheap and amply flavored food, bad to the point of amusing service, and no dining manners need apply lively atmosphere make for perfect large gatherings. The Roppongi shop seats more and has glitzier decor, but apparently a lot of famous Japanese people go to the one in Ebisu, as was the case last night.. irrelevant if you, like me, have no idea who these people are however.

Just to give you an idea, our bill came to 12,700 yen (approximately $100) between the five of us, many drinks included.

Chinese Cafe 8 Specialty: Peking Duck

Wrap as you wish..
Left: my version of how to wrap a Peking Duck
Right: proper way to wrap a Peking Duck

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kopi Luwak

A cup of coffee for 5,500 yen ($60) anyone?

I caught up with my good friend Will visiting from HK on business yesterday. We had coffee at the Lobby Lounge & Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. Flipping through the menu, I was shocked, then infuriated to find a serving of coffee for $60! Will found it amusing and decided to order one for us to share.

According to the 'Certificate of Quality' placed neatly on the silver tray next to the cup and saucer, Kopi Luwak is 'a coffee bean grown and produced in Indonesia, the rarest coffee in the world. It is imported in raw coffee bean form and roasted by Mitsumoto Coffee Co., Ltd. exclusively for The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo.

I have to say, it was an exceptional cup of coffee. Very mild, nutty, no bitter aftertaste, in fact the aftertaste was sweet..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pickled eggplants

Alessandra's mother is my inspiration for Italian cooking. Among the many wonderful dishes she cheffed up during my time in Naples, her pickled eggplants was a 'must learn how to make'. Great with cheese, bread, salami..

Ingredients (fills one small jar, which will last an average person a few weeks.. me, a few days)
Eggplants (1kg)
White wine vinegar (250g)
Water (400g)
Olive oil (enough to fill up a small jar)
Garlic (3 cloves)
Red pepper (2 medium size)

Peel and slice eggplants into thin strips, let sit in salt water for 5 minutes or so. Then squeeze out water with hands.

Prepare in pot: White wine vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon of salt. Heat over medium heat. Dip in eggplants for 40-60 seconds (but not over 60 seconds) in small batches. Drain, let cool.

Dry and squeeze out liquid with towel.

Pickle in jar: Place carefully, layers of eggplant in jar.. add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper. Repeat layering process several times until jar is full. Make sure olive oil covers the eggplants, all the way. Best to let sit for one or two weeks before serving.

The pickling process was not as painful as expected, and was quite fun in the company of good friends. I also learned how to make home-made gnocchi, which I will be sharing soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Is this allowed?!

Apparently and rightfully so. These carb-ridden pizzas - yes, pasta on pizza - were fantastic.

There were four of us, and four diffferent pizzas. I'd like to think we each had 4 different slices, rather than one whole pizza.

Acunzo Pizzaeria in Naples, Italy.

Note: It's been pointed out that I do more eating than actual cooking. Yes, it's true. And since I'd like to stay true to the title of my blog, I will try to cook more, and not eat less but add, in parenthesis, EAT to my blog title. But let me say this: I have amazing friends and family who are better chefs than I am, thus my lack of cooking opportunities!