Monday, November 30, 2009

thanksgiving dinner at jimmy and joanne's

Jimmy and Joanne just moved into their new house early October, and they invited us and a few other friends over for Thanksgiving dinner!

thanksgiving dinner
Yummy food!

I was in charge of the sweet potatoes, which I kept simple: sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows. I also made a pumpkin cake and brought some Ceylon to go with it.

dinner table
The dinnger table. Very Thanksgiving-y!

jimmy carving the turkey
Host Jimmy carved the turkey.

thanksgiving dinner 09
It was a wonderful dinner.

We also had a lot of wine. Nothing beats good friends and wine!

We played games and talked, and made room for my pumpkin cake and Ceylon.

It was a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks to Jimmy and Joanne for inviting us!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

i did some baking

Last night I did some baking.

pumpkin cake
Pumpkin cake.

We all know it, pumpkin cake is John's favorite. I'm going to make one to bring to Joanne's Thanksgiving dinner, so I figured I'd practice making one. I used regular milk instead of evaporated milk this time. It was delish. Yay!

creamy chicken and biscuits
Creamy chicken and biscuits.

This was for dinner. I was already in the baking mode so I started making this before John got home last night. I liked the milk biscuits.

Ooooo I think I'm going to do a lot of baking this Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

[Tokyo Fall 2008] tsukiji before the storm

We left Macchinesti and realized the weather was changing. We still wanted to go to Tsukiji even though it was a bit later in the day (and most of the actions are in the early mornings.)

We got on the subway and arrived at the Tsukiji Station.

wall art
We were greeted by beautiful wall art.

And as soon as we stepped into the station, we could smell the ocean and the sea(food)!

wall art
"Very Japanese-y" I say.

We passed the parking area... thousands of cars would have been here that morning!

We knew we wouldn't be able to go to the inner market, but the outer one would have to do.

tsukiji outer market
"Tsukiji outer market."

I dind't take many photos here... because a lot of the shops were almost closing, and I was really hungry and was searching for a good sushi place for us. But among the open shops, there were fresh seafood stores, dried seafoods, seaweed specialty stores, spices, and such. I am totally going to Tsukiji early in the day (I mean EARLY) next time.

We walked around for a while, and decided to check out a few of the sushi shops in the area. These shops usually offer sushi sets at different prices. You can't really go wrong with the freshness of the fish and seafood... because all of the seafood is brought in to the shop by the sea THAT day.

big fish head
And then I saw this HUGE maguro(?) head.

We decided to go into the shop the maguro head was going in.

our chef
We were warmly greeted by the staff, and our chef "Nakano."

On the chef's name tag it also read, "Hobby: 2 cats!" I wonder if he brings scrap fish home for his kitties.

having sushi
Happy people getting sushi.

We were served miso soup, edemame, and pasta salad(!) before our sushi set arrived.

Sushi! Mmmmm. The fish: good. The chef's techniques: good. The flavors, the hospitality of the people and all: gooooood.

I was happy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

tofu with soy sauce and chives

I saw the tofu in the fridge and figured I should use it up soon.

tofu with soy sauce and chives

I first cut each piece of firm tofu in a box into halves (so it's thinner,) and then cut each of the halves diagonally so you get triangles.

Heat some oil in the pan, and fry the tofu pieces. It's hard to get these pieces "brown," but as long as you heat them well it's good.

After the tofu pieces are heated, pour in a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sugar. Make sure each tofu piece is well coated with the sauce. Try to turn the pieces a couple times if you can.

As the soysauce-sugar mixture is reduced (watch out! soy sauce+sugar will burn easy), pour in a couple tablespoons of rice wine, and then sprinkle dry (or fresh) chopped chives and allow it to reduce. Voila!

I was not in the mood for spicy food (!) but if you are, adding some chili pepper flakes or a teaspoon hot chili sauce/oil would be great, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

[Tokyo Fall 2008] macchinesti

"Tokyo Fall 2008!" Yes I know it's been almost a year, but I'm still blogging about our trip to Tokyo. Since I've been staying at home because of my lower back, I figure it would be nice to blog about something new and/or old.


One of the shops John and I wanted to go and visit while in Tokyo last year was Macchinesti. It started off being the "Espresso Vivace in Japan" where Mr. Schomer trained all the baristas and the shop uses exclusively Espresso Vivace. I'm not sure if they are still affiliated these days.

We arrived at Akabanebashi station. It was not easy finding the place. John and I tried to look for the address on our paper, but with no luck.

We did see Akabanebashi (bridge).

tokyo tower
And the Tokyo Tower from a distance.

We walked around for a while and asked a few passersby but no one knew where exactly Macchinesti was. We eventually saw a phone booth... I never thought I had to do it, but I figured out how to read the Japanese phone book and eventually figured out at what direction Macchinesti should be!

We found the address but it was not Macchinesti. It was a small grocery store whose specialty was to sell Costco merchandise. Interesting. The store clerk was kind enough to find the new address for Macchinesti and even printed out a map for us.

We walked for another while.

And there it was!


The store was beautifully lit and quiet, which was pretty unusual for a cafe in Tokyo. I think it had a more different clientale than many of the other shops.

macchinesti counter
The counter area.

Very casual and pleasant.

The first round (I belive) we had a cappuccino and a latte. Some of the best we had in Tokyo.

I loved the store.

And the second round (I believe) we got a Romano (their signature drink, I think,) and a French Press coffee.

Mmm. I was happy.

If I remember correctly, the baristas gave us a really good deal on the drinks. Awww. That was so nice of them.

We had our drinks and we were really happy.

As we were leaving we saw these little guys with their owner on the patio.

The Frenchie boy even ate a treat from John's hand.

Ahhh. Nice people.

macchinesti sign
It was totally worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sadface and madelines

Long story short: I cleaned up a spilled latte on the floor and twisted my lower back.

Hence the sad face.

Both John and a-gui made sad faces for the camera.

I stayed at home yesterday because I couldn't move very well, and it looks like I'm going to do the same today. I can still make yummy drinks, but it'll probably take a lot of time for me to get around and make stuff. John's been working very hard at the caffe all by himself. I say you go and see him, get a drink, and keep him company.

On a happier note, not too long after I twisted my lower back, I was only slightly feeling the pain and awkwardness, and I tried to cheer myself up... I baked my first batch of madeleines!

They all had the little "bump" and all!

I might have filled each of the shells of the pan a bit too full, but I was happy there were "bumps" on my first madeleines.

Will stay at home for another day and get better.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


a-gui has a toy that we call "Ropey."

Since we try to socialize a-gui as much as possible, we bring him to the caffe and hang out with us and our friends when we can.

And Ropey comes with a-gui all the time right now.

a-gui and ropey
a-gui and Ropey.

a-gui and ropey
"I've got you, Ropey!"

a-gui and ropey
Mmmmm... Ropey legs. num num num.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a year


It's been a year! Not much has changed, but I guess you probably have heard there's a lovely little guy in the household:

A-Gui runnin'. I think Yama is chasing after him.

He likes running and playing, and chewing on lots of things... just like you!

Yama and Nuki are teaching A-Gui how to play!

a-gui and torsion
and there's a friend Torsion visiting.

And you know it, the kitties are being kitties!

We love you!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

something new and furry

What can it be?


It's a puppy!

We adopted him from the Salt Lake County Animal Services. He was carefully chosen for our family!

a-gui and nuki

His name is A-Gui (pronounced "ahh-guay) and he is about 3 months old. He is a Chow Chow mix (possibly Shepard). He's a happy and mellow guy... sort of like Nuki! We know he is a great addition to our "pack."

His favorite thing to do so far since he came to our family (11/05/09) has been to follow us around, and walk under, or snuggle by Nuki's belly. He also really likes to take naps on Nuki's foot.


I love A-Gui!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

les' lamb sliders

Yes. Everyone loves party with Les, because he is cool and he makes fabulous food!

party food
"Party food" can be oh-so-crazily-delicious!

And may I say, the lamb sliders Les made this time was the best sliders I've tasted. He also made clams, ham and swiss wrapped asparagus, maranated marlin, and a yummy sausage dish.

Vanessa made an amazing dessert with rosemary creme fresh. Yummer! I made fatty pork with shitake mushrooms and quail eggs (odd, I know.) Turned out pretty well.

Ahhh. I'm already looking forward to the next party with Les!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

daikon cake makes me happy

I make a savory daikon cake for the first time! I've always like daikon cakes. I buy them in Asian markets and order them at dim sum restaurants.

I decided to make my own, for the first time!

I first stir-fry some fried shollots (approx. a handful), 6 soaked and chopped shitake mushrooms, and some chopped bacon (approx. 4-5 uncooked black pepper slices). When everything seems cooked I season the mixture with a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and some white pepper.

I then mix a bag of rice flour (approx. 1 lb.), a peeled and shredded daikon (approx. 2 lbs.), and just under 3 cups of water to make a thick "batter."

Mix the cooked ingredients and the batter, and it's ready to be steam cooked!

daikon cake 1
Some of the daikon chunks were not shredded completely inside the food processor, but it's ok. They add more texture and all.

I know poeple line dampened cheesecloth inside bamboo steamers, pour the batter mixture in, and steam for about 45-60 minutes until the cake is set. I steamed mine inside a rice cooker for an hour. Seems to work OK.

daikon cake 2
My first daikon cake!

daikon cake 3
Inside the cake.

I think I may have put either too much of the cooked mixture, or too little rice flour batter in my daikon cake, because the cake is a bit crumbly when I slice it. But it's really tasty!

daikon cake 4
I like to pan fry the (broken) slices until the outside is slightly crispy, and then dip them in sweet chili sauce and eat a bunch of it. Yummer!

Next time I'll try to make a smoother daikon cake.