Saturday, September 27, 2008


Soon after we got married, Ryu and I bought a bottle of yaki-niku sauce at C------. I should say a jug! It was huge. We had to lay it down in our fridge, it was so big. We never did finish it and finally I tossed it.

A couple of months ago, I got some Aussie beef on sale and wanted to try to make my own yaki-niku sauce. I looked up some Japanese websites for recipes and they all took tons of ingredients that I didn't have and tons of time from start to use, which I didn't have either.

Then I remembered that my sister often made Kalbi for her Japanese husband. She used a packet from the store, but I was able to find a recipe in Japanese on the net. I have made it a couple of times, and Ryu has pronounced it "delicious", so I am passing it on to you! I hope you enjoy it.


300 gm. thinly sliced beef

1 Tbsp. sake
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. ground sesame
1 tsp. minced garlic (we tend to leave this out)

Mix up the marinade and marinate the meat for 10 minutes. (I have left it over night in the fridge with no problems.) Fry it up in a fry pan, and you have yummy kalbi. (I don't add any oil, but use a non-stick pan.) It is great for lunch boxes! Jun loves it too!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


We were in the States this spring, in a ranching community. I overheard a woman invite her father to dinner. He asked what was on the menu, and she said cornbread and beans. And I died from jealousy.

Oh, to be able to go to any old supermarket anywhere and buy a big box of cornmeal. Cornmeal muffins, cornmeal in pancakes, cornmeal in yeast bread. Anywhere except mush!

I went home to my folks and got out the big box of cornmeal and made the recipe below for muffins - but as cornbread. The nieces and nephews nearly finished it before dinner. So, I made a double batch the next time.

Here, I can buy a package of cornmeal at Isetan's supermarket. Close to, but not quite a cup, for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2. So, I picked up a package. I divide the cornmeal carefully into two batches, so each batch has a little less than the stated 1/2 cup, is worth it! I just fill the 1/2 cup measure with extra flour.

The recipe is on the box of the Alber's box. If you can find cornmeal, I recommend it!

Sweet Cornmeal Muffins

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ryu's Decadent Creamy Cinnamon Toast

When we got married, Ryu was really good at making coffee and Decadent Cinnamon Toast. Well, Jun calls it Cilalaman Toast, but we know what she means!

So, whenever I was under the weather, or we had time on the weekends, he would offer to make me this toast. This, folks is NOT like the Cilalaman Toast I used to make as a child. This is truly decadent!

Take a thick slice of white bread! We use at least the 6-slice per loaf here in Japan. Maybe close to an inch thick? Be sure it is not frozen!

Melt a BIG spoonful of butter in the micro. I'm sure Ryu uses close to 1/4 cup per slice. This is not healthy toast. It is decadent!

Drizzle the melted butter all over the bread. Letting it soak deeply into all the little places melted butter can soak into. The top 1/2 of the bread slice should be saturated with butter.

Sprinkle the bread with a Tablespoon or so of sugar. We use the packets that come with yogurt, but you can use any sugar. Make sure it is spread all the way out to the crust!

Take the cinnamon jar and really really powder that piece of bread up. Until it is nearly black with cinnamon. I heard cinnamon has healthy components. We should be fine from THAT disease - hopefully.

Then put it in the toaster oven or under the broiler, and watch it carefully. Toast it until the sugar on the top has melted, and is bubbling nicely!

Take it out, wait till it cools a bit, and enjoy with a big cup of coffee for a real sugar/caffeine rush! Creamy Cinnamon Toast!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homemade Sausage II

I posted a while back about trying to redo a homemade sausage recipe to fit my hubby's tastes. Well, I have officially given up, and will post the original recipe with some of my personal notes.

This is great sausage because it tastes just like Jimmy's sausage - to me at least. And, you can choose the type of meat you use as well as the amount of salt (and other spices). Love the control!!! And Junnie at least likes it as much as I do. Sometimes, that is.

I got this recipe from Mary Jo, a fellow missionary, who now lives in Okinawa. She gave it to me in the late 1990's. I feel old. Here it is:

Italian Breakfast Sausage

1/2 tsp. fennel
1/2 tsp. savory
1/2 tsp. thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix the above spices with 300 gm. ground pork. Make into patties and cook.

Now, for my notes, I prefer to use ground chicken, but find it makes quite a hard patty. So, one day, I decided to mix a handful of panko (Japanese bread crumbs) in with it. They were wonderful, tender, and yummy! At other times, I have mixed 1/2 ground chicken with 1/2 ground pork. This keeps the patties a little more tender than 100% ground chicken.

The patties freeze well, also!

Oh, I was able to find all of these spices in Japan, as well! At a fancy supermarket, but, still, in Japan!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wild Blackberry Pie

I grew up in a house at the end of the road, kind of up a hill. If you looked out the bathroom window, you could see the dunes and coast way off in the distance.

Going up the hill a bit further, there were wild blackberry bushes. Prickly things! And, wild blackberries are really pretty small. But, we got our buckets out and picked and picked each summer.

This recipe is from the cookbook my family christened the "fall apart cookbook" Favorite Recipes of The Great Northwest published by Favorite Recipes Press, Inc in Louisville, Kentucky, in the year MCMLXV. Hmmmm. When was that? What is an L? (Quick Internet Search - 50). So, it looks like 1965 to me.

I always made this recipe because I couldn't and still can't be bothered to actually cut shortening into flour and make a simple crust. Maybe for Thanksgiving. Maybe not.

So, anyway, here is my favorite (only) recipe for Wild Blackberry Pie.
(Please adjust the sugar and butter amounts to YOUR taste. This was way way way too sweet for me this last time, but...I live in Japan right now, and we don't do SOOOO sweet here...usually.)

1/4 lb. butter or margarine (I used 100 gm.)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups wildblackberries

(Note: A USA cup is 250 cc's)

Melt butter in baking dish. (I used a round deep cake pan.) Mix 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and milk. Pour over melted butter. (Right in the middle of it.) Cover top of batter with fruit. Sprinkle remaining sugar over top and bake at 350 degrees (176 C. But, if you have a tiny oven like me, adjust as needed.) until golden brown. (I added too much milk last time I made it and had to bake it for an hour. Probably 30-40 minutes?) Serve hot with whipped cream. NOTE: Other berries, cherries or pecans may be substituted for wild blackberries. Yield; 4-6 servings.

This was submitted by a Mrs. Roy Fotte from Reedsport, OR! Thank you very much, Mrs. Fotte! I love it!

Food Theories

I recently went to an international luncheon. We talked about food! Really! One woman was from Korea. Her husband is also Korean. A number of years ago, he became ill and had to have surgery. Since then, she has been very very careful about the food she makes for him. Two years and 8 months, no eating out, no salt for most of that time, etc. She talked about the microbiotic diet they were on. She has definitely thought and read a lot about food.

She read that people are healthiest if they eat the food of the country they are living in. Not the food of their birth country. Live in Japan, eat Japanese. Live in Korea, eat Korean.

I noticed back in the early '80's, when war orphans were returning to Japan from China to visit their relatives, that they looked NOTHING like their relatives. Of course their clothing and hair styles were Chinese, but even their faces and bodies resembled Chinese people of that time, rather then their relatives. I began to think about how our diet, rather than DNA affects the way we look.

Then, I read an article about babies who tend to like what their mothers' ate while they were pregnant with them. The study was about carrots. The moms who ate lots of carrots while they were pregnant, gave birth to kiddos who loved carrot juice much more than other kids.

This article interested me, because, Jun's birth mom probably ate a lot of Japanese food while she was pregnant. And, Jun really prefers Japanese food to western. Now, maybe it is as the study says, and maybe she likes the strong salty and sweet flavors of Japanese cooking, but...hmmm.

I also read something about food memories. Regardless of the junk we may eat during college and single years, most of us tend to return to the food our parents fed us during our growing up years when we settle down and raise our own families. I told one relative this and she looked at me, shocked. Her sweet girls were chowing down a bag of tortilla chips with root-beer! HAHAHAH!

How about you? Any Food Theories?? Bring them on!


I have recently been enjoying the food blog, Mamatouille. Abagail is a wonderful person, and always answers comments. It has been fun to exchange ideas and recipes. She even takes and POSTS pictures! Please check her blog out and leave a comment for her.