Recipe as a result of: My attempt to make something Halloween-ish that is spooky and sweet but does not require baking (and I got it)
I was in elementary school when my dad took us with him from Tokyo to San Francisco, while he was invited to attend a 6-month business training program at the headquarters of the American company he was working for. It was the first time for all of us to live outside of Japan, even for a short term. We arrived late summer, spent a hectic few weeks getting settled in, then October came around.
Halloween is fairly established and enjoyed by many in Japan nowadays, but at that time not many Japanese even heard of it unless they had been in the States. So, imagine you are in the 3rd grade, never had Halloween before, and your mom (who probably just learned what it is, too) explains to you what will happen.
This is EXACTLY how it was processed in my 8-year old brain:
Wait – Let me get this straight.
… I get to dress up.
… Then I go around neighborhood, while still being dressed up, knocking on everybody’s doors.
… And they give me candy?
NO. FREAKIN’. WAY.
We went back to Japan in following winter after dad completed his program, but this miraculous event was thoroughly ingrained in my memory. To this date, Halloween is my favorite holiday – It MAY be somewhat responsible for the fact that I now live in US. Continue reading
Recipe inspired by: Zuppa di Cavolo (Italian Cabbage Soup)
I have had my fair share of a rock-hard bread loaf forgotten in the breadbox, but I never minded that much as there seem to be many usages for it – Famous panzanella salad and tomato & bread soup would be obvious and fun choices, whereas I could be more practical and make homemade croutons or bread crumbs to stock up in freezer.
Then one day, with another half loaf of old bread and some leftover ingredients, I almost accidentally put this together, adapting from a variation of Zuppa di Cavolo where the soup is ladled over toasted crusty bread. It INSTANTLY became my favorite way of consuming old bread – As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I now go so far as to let the bread go stale on purpose to make this dish.
But since I sort of made it up and perhaps tend to be overexcited thus somewhat incoherent when talking about it, I have had a hard time describing this dish to others and, consequently, convincing them how good it is – Even to my sister, who is actually married to an Italian (“So… it’s basically cabbage soup?” “No, it’s more like gratin. And bread becomes like French toast, but it’s savory and baked” “So it has eggs in it?” “No, it’s soaked in broth. And I put cheese on top. It’s soooo good! Make it. Make it TONIIIIGHT!!!” “Uhh… Okay…”). Continue reading
Recipe slightly modified from: Mayumi’s Kitchen – Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul (by Mayumi Nishimura)
Not many people know this, but I am following Madonna’s footsteps in many ways. I mean, a few ways. Okay, maybe three. What I’m trying to say is I enjoy yoga (both actually doing it and the thought of doing it), own Tracy Anderson’s exercise DVD (very strange but surprisingly effective… a long story) and have been enjoying cooking from a cookbook by a Japanese Macrobiotic chef, Mayumi Nishimura, who was Madonna’s personal chef for a long time.
Without going into too much details as I’m by no means an expert in Macroiotics – I have always been in general agreement with its concept of eating seasonal local produce and less processed foods, not necessarily because they are healthier but because I think they taste great that way. Plus I adore M cafe, one of well-known Macrobiotic establishments in Los Angeles, and used to go there for lunch quite often while I worked in Culver City. So when I got a new job in the valley, I thought I would try cooking some Macrobiotic foods myself. Continue reading