Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eggplant and Red Pepper Salad

I thought my physical strength had not been changed since I was a teenager. I was wrong. After two decades have passed I am no longer a teenager and I cannot run like I used to. But I still considered I was physically in good shape. I recently realized I was totally wrong and I need to work out more.

A few months ago, I started playing soccer and joining tournaments with ladies over 30’s. At a glance, these ladies look like just women next door. But I was mistaken. They (some are over 50’s!!!) are extremely energetic and move like I used to when I was a teenager.

So I continue my vegetarian diet and hopefully I will get into good shape for the games. Here is one of the vegetarian dishes I like. Broil eggplants and red peppers and peel the skin off. Chop the eggplants and red peppers and mix them. Add copped parsley and green onion. Pour a lot of olive oil and lemon juice and mix with the mixture. Season it with salt and pepper. If you like, mix with ground garlic. This dish is very refreshing and can be a great side dish for Thanksgiving ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leek with Rice

Since my cholesterol level was more than I expected, I have started strict vegetarian diet. I thought it would be a torture because I love meat. But I started liking it. I enjoy trying vegetables I have never tasted before. Indeed, I am amazed by some vegetables, which are really delicious.

A several years ago, when a book, “French Women Don't Get Fat", was introduced, my girlfriend cooked leek soup. She said the recipe was from this book. The sweet taste of leek has fascinated me since then.

A few years later, my husband taught me this leek with rice dish. It is very simple and healthy, yet very yummy. Sauté chopped leek, garlic and onion well. Add rice and cook them until the rice becomes soft. Add chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Greek people usually eat this dish with feta cheese. I often spread Parmesan cheese on the top of this dish.

Leek helps lower the bad cholesterol. I should cook this healthy vegetable more often!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fried Tofu

One of the things I am proud of was my cholesterol level, which had been 170 for years. I ate various vegetables, soybeans and soybean products. Also I avoided red meat and fried food. Of course, I worked out a lot.

However, the result of my recent blood exam shows that my cholesterol level increased! My doctor said, “Don’t worry! It is still below the red sign. It just indicates you are aged.” No way! So I decided to say “Good bye” (at this moment) to juice Cajun sausages and delicious fried food.

Perhaps, I should temporary farewell to one of my favorite dishes, which is fried tofu. Simple coat it with potato starch and fry them with oil. Pour soy sauce and ginger juice over the hot fried tofu. Yummy!

My “Back to 170” program has already started. While I am looking at this delicious fried tofu picture, I determine I will do it in order to have this dish again!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Onion and Japanese Basil (Shiso) Salad with Tofu

Recently I found ponzu, a citrus seasoned soy sauce/dressing in a local supermarket. I just did not expect I would find one of the must-have Japanese seasonings if you cook Japanese food. I am very excited and eager to use this seasoning.

It is very hot in Louisiana, which causes me to lose my appetite. I do not want to eat oily or heavy food. So I decide to make simple salad using ponzu. I used my favorite herb, shiso, and onion for it. You can eat this salad with cooled/hot tofu, which has a lot of healthy benefits. It is amazing that I can eat a few cup of rice with this simple and delicious salad.

1 onion, thinly sliced
10 Japanese basil (Shiso) leaves
3 tablespoons of dried bonito flakes
3-4 tablespoons of ponzu

1. Wash shiso leaves and pad with paper towel. Thinly slice the leaves.
2. Soak the sliced onion in the cold water for about 15 minutes. Drain them well.
3. Mix the onion slices, shiso, dried bonito flakes, and ponzu. Leave them in a refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.
4. Serve it on drained tofu!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Granola Bar

I hardly eat or make desserts unless there is a special occasion. The other day, I was invited to a social event where tasting snacks and chatting are main activities. I brought my homemade granola bars for the party.

It might be not a good idea to bring these bars because they started melting under the hot weather. However, I received a lot of compliments about my simple homemade snack. Many people asked me the recipe. I am pleased to share it with you here :)

Ingredients (8x8 inch pan):
3 cups of granola, pumpkin seeds, chopped dry fruits, or nuts, etc
60 g of marshmallows
50 g of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of honey

1. Place the marshmallows and unsalted butter in a bowl and let them melt completely using a microwave.
2. Add the granola and honey in the bowl. Mix them well.
3. Grease a flat pan (I used 8x8 inch pan). Place the mixture in the pan. Lay a wax paper on the top of the mixture and press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
4. Refrigerate it for 15 to 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

I tasted heirloom tomatoes for the first time last year. I had seen them in stores before but never tried them. This was because they were quite expensive comparing with other tomatoes. In addition, their black, yellow and green colors and strange shapes looked artificial to me.

Last year I found out heirloom tomatoes was introduced before 1920’s. They are non-hybrid and have a genuine tomato aroma and taste. After I tried them, I cannot think of buying other tomatoes when heirloom tomatoes are available.

I kept some heirloom tomato’s seeds from the tomatoes I ate and this spring I planted in my vegetable garden. It is time to harvest. The more ugly figures and weird colors they are, the better their taste are. Hope I can harvest enough to preserve some for winter!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Fried Bitter Melon with Pork, Egg, and Onion

Last year I planted two bitter melon plants in my garden. Unfortunately I was able to harvest only a few bitter melons. However, this spring I found ten bitter melon plants coming up from the soil. It seemed some fruits dropped the seeds last year and came up! They grew and I already picked up 6 or 7 fruits and more to come!

Bitter melon is extremely high in vitamin C. Recent studies show bitter melon can be effective for treating diabetes. Lately supplements of bitter melon are available, which regulate blood sugar level.

The taste of this vegetable is very bitter. But this can be addictive. I usually star-fry bitter melon with pork or chicken, eggs and onion. This dish gives you not only a delicious flavor but also many of the healthy benefits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Insalata Caprese (Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil Salad)

Basil green, mozzarella white and ripped tomato red remind me of the flag of Italy and hot summer days in the Mediterranean. Insalata caprese is the ultimate summer dish and my most favorite salad. It is very simple to make but amazingly delicious.

Usually I use *garlic-infused olive oil, which makes this dish lovelier. Do not forget to serve this with lots of slices of toasted Italian bread!

* Please note that garlic-infused olive oil may carry botulin toxin, which is very deadly. There is a lot of information available about the products and how to make garlic-infused olive oil. Make sure garlic-infused olive oil you use is safe!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fried Cod Wrapped with Japanese Basil

I am crazy about perilla, a member of mint family, and sometimes called Japanese basil. If you have tried sushi or sashimi in Japanese restaurants, you might have tasted this extremely aromatic herb. Some people say it tastes like cilantro or basil. Other says it feel like cumin. I do not know how to describe this aroma to you but I can tell this plant has an irresistible flavor.

It is difficult to find perilla. Perhaps they are only available in Asian supermarkets in US. Even though you can find them, I am not sure if they are fresh or aromatic. The best way to obtain this herb is to plan in your garden or a big pot. I found the seeds on Amazon.com or other website.  It is very easy to grow and disease resistant.

Since I am able to harvest them in my yard, I enjoy them as much as possible. I mix them with fresh vegetables and make salad. Also I use them with cold noodles as a garnish.

Wrap perilla leaves around cod fillets and coat with corn starch/ potato starch. Then, fry them and pour my original sauce, which is soybeans sauce based. I have a good appetite. Especially with these delicious pieces with perilla taste, it cannot be better!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ginger Tea

I had been sick for a few days a week ago. It started a sore throat. When I realized I got some flu bacteria, I immediately began taking ginger tea. I felt the tea was efficacious right away. Next day, the pain became worse. I continued taking ginger tea every couple hours. I also took lots of rest and ate nutritious food, which is easy to digest. A few days later I completely recovered from the summer flu.

Before I discovered the power of ginger tea, a sore throat was usually a sign of horrible distress. Typically it developed fever and runny nose and more than a week of suffering.

I was always depending on medicines when I had a sore throat. But when I stopped taking them, the flu symptoms always came bake and became worse. But one day, I decided not to take any medicine. Instead, I frequently took ginger tea and gargled with salt. Surprisingly, these ancient treatments really worked for me. Since then, when I have a just minor throat pain I try not to use medicine and support my own power to cure my sickness.

1 cup of hot water
½ teaspoon of grind ginger
1 teaspoon of honey

Mix all of the ingredients.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oil Spill

Checking my vegetable garden in early morning is my usual task during the summer time. This morning I followed my routine. It was a less humid and cloudy day. The wind was gently blowing from the South. Then I noticed the subtle gasoline stink. Yes, the smell was the oil from the Gulf. We live in Baton Rouge, which is 80 miles away from the sea. It is unbelievable but sadly our life is affected by the oil spill.

The small particles of oil must be everywhere around the Gulf. We breathe the contaminated air and no one knows the long-term result of it. It is scaring.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Omelet with Zucchini Flowers, Dill and Feta Cheese

“Zucchini flowers are so flavorsome,” said my husband, who is native to Greece. Indeed, there are many dishes using zucchini flowers in Mediterranean counties. I have never tried zucchini flowers before and I was always fascinated about eating them.

So I planted six zucchini plants this spring and was looking forward to harvesting the flowers.

However, a few weeks ago, when they were ready to blossom, the plants suddenly started dying. After searching webs for the cause, I found out they were attacked by squash vine borers. In fact, I found the babies and eggs lying on the zucchini leaves. Yikes!!!

Fortunately, several flowers were surviving and I was able to eat them! Certainly they are very delicious. It is sweet and has a delicate flavor. The flowers could be better than zucchini fruits!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Plum and Blueberry Clafoutis

Our plum tree produced a lot of fruits this year. My husband enjoyed eating them. But they were too sour for me. In front of tons of plums, I thought about many possibilities to cook and eat them. Then, making clafoutis suddenly flashed into my mind. It was already ten o’clock at night. But I decided to just do it!

The dessert was done before the midnight. My husband and I ate all before the next day of afternoon!

Clafoutis is a French baked dessert. It is very easy to make. Mix with eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, and flour. Pour into the tart pan. Add fruits such as cherries, berries, apricots and plum. Then put it into the preheated oven. 30 to 40 minutes later you are eating this delicious dessert.

Do not remove pits of fruits. They give a special flavor to this simple sweet!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala with Chickpeas

When the weather gets hot, I long for curry. Since my neighbor gave me a lot of fresh jalapeño peppers, I decided to make tikka masala.

Usually I roast chicken, which is marinated with yogurt, ginger, garlic and species over night, and add it in tikka masala. This time I boiled marinated chicken wings along with my homemade tikka masala paste, vegetables and chickpeas. Of course, I used a lot of jalapeño peppers, which make this dish extremely hot and flavorsome :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pita Sandwich with Hummus Dressing

It has been very hot with no rain in Louisiana. I am very afraid that this heat will produce multiple huge hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Indeed, the weather forecast warns that we will have a several major hurricanes this summer. When I think of this, I feel a chill go down my spine.

The summer heat reduces my appetite. But I have to eat in order to get going. So I made this simple pita sandwich with delicious hummus dressing. Use various kinds of summer vegetables. It is very refreshing and recovers my good appetite!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shrimp with Orzo in Tomato Sauce

If the current oil spill continues more than 50 days, it would be the worst oil spill in the U.S history. This was the article I heard a month ago. Today is the 51st day after the oil spill started. It is already the worst oil spill in the U.S. history. Yet, no one knows when the spill stops. Depressing.

The shrimp dish I made before the oil spill was Shrimp with Orzo in Tomato Sauce. It was so delicious because of the tasty and big shrimps from the Gulf. But now it makes me very sad since many of the shrimp beds in the Gulf are destroyed…

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shrimps from the Gulf of Mexico

I am very upset about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It has been leaking for several days and it is already the 2nd worst oil spill in the history. If this situation continues more than 50 days, it will be the worst oil spill. So far no one can predict when this ends. I feel extremely sad and afraid of environmental and economic damages from this horrible disaster.

As I always mention on this blog, I admire delicious shrimps, crabs and oysters from the Gulf. Some expert says once oil pollutes the sea, it will take 20 years or more to clean up. I feel desperate that I may not be able to enjoy shrimps, crabs and oysters from the Gulf in 20 years or more!

Yesterday I went to buy a few pounds of the Gulf shrimps. I grilled, boiled, and baked them. They were so big and delicious. While I became satisfied, my anger against this devastation escalated. I do hope we will continue to enjoy beautiful shrimps and oysters from the Gulf of Mexico…

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beet salad

My friend, Maria, was the first person to introduce the flavor of beets. She was originally from Spain and loves cooking. She used to boil beet roots, slice and simply season them with lemon juice and olive oil. I was fascinated its rich taste as well as the beautiful vivid color.
Since then, I am a big fun of beet salad. Today I prepared this beet salad using a Turkish recipe. Grind garlic and chop dills. Mix them with smashed beets and olive oil. Then, add a tablespoon of yogurt. No salt or pepper necessary. It is very refreshing and delicious.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spaghetti in Meat Sauce

My husband, Greek native, taught this meat sauce recipe. He put a touch of cinnamon to give a subtle sweet flavor. Sweet meat sauce is a Greek standard. Some people put sugar. Others add cinnamon. I had never thought of using cinnamon in any meat dishes. But after I tried this, I loved the idea and delicate taste.
Cinnamon is one of the popular seasonings in Mediterranean cuisine. Add a pinch of cinnamon in meat sauce. It will give you a distinctive and delicious essence!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cabbage Soup

My husband, who is a Greek Orthodox Christian, and I observe a fast before Easter. So we had this simple but very delicious cabbage soup. I found this fresh and tender cabbage in a local farmers market. Cabbage is excellent for soup. Use it with various kinds of vegetables so that the soup becomes very rich and flavorsome.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Pecan pralines are one of the Louisiana’s landmarks. They are a very sweet flavor with crunchy pecan nuts. I love to eat them with a cup of coffee au lait or milk tea.
It is quite expensive if you buy. But it is very easy if you make. Try this sweet, which was originally from Franc!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gumbo Soup

It is already the middle of March. But it is still cold in Louisiana. It was 41 degrees F when I woke up this morning!!!
I need hot soup. So I decided to make this gumbo soup, which is one of the traditional Louisiana dishes. I was told that guineas fowl are the best to make gumbo soup. They are not familiar birds in regular super markets and I only found it in the local farmers market. It was quite expensive comparing to chickens. However, the soup became more flavorsome and thick.

After eating this soup, I checked the temperature. It is still 43 degrees F. Yet, thanks to this delicious soup, I feel much warmer.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage with Egg and Lemon Sauce

Stuffed CabbageStuffed Cabbage is one of my favorite dishes since I was a little kid. This is a Greek version of stuffed cabbage. Rice, tomato, onion, beef, lamb and lots of dill leaves are used for the stuffing. The egg and lemon sauce is called avgolemono, which is a traditional Greek sauce. It was a lot of work to make them. But it was definitely worth it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms and Spinach

Happy Mardi Gras!

These beautiful fresh oyster mushrooms are from the local farmers market. I used a little bit of soy sauce for seasoning, which makes this simple Mediterranean dish extraordinary. It was yummy :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eggplants with Mint

We had lost many of the plants in our vegetable garden because of the cold fronts. However, several herbs, such as mint, theme, rosemary and Greek oregano, did not get any damage. I am amazed by their vital power. Since these herbs are only things I can obtain from my vegetable garden, I decided to use them as much as possible.

I enjoy the flavor of mint leaves as much as appreciate their health benefits. This herb enriches meats, fish and many kinds of vegetables.

Because of the mint aroma, eggplants get an additional essence. When I invite my friends, I frequently make this eggplants-with-mint dish as a side dish since it is very easy to prepare. Amazingly I got a lot of compliments on this simple dish (ironically more than the main dish…).

2 eggplants (Holland eggplants)
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoon of organic balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

1. Slice the eggplants lengthwise. Soak the sliced eggplants in the salty water for about 15 minutes. Drain them well and pad them with paper towel.
2. Mix 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar, the chopped garlic and mint leaves in a shallow plate.
3. Heat plenty of olive oil in a large fry pan and fry the eggplants until they become tender. Season with salt and black pepper. Drain the eggplants. Then, transfer them to the shallow plate.
4. Stir the eggplants and the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and mint mixture. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the top. Let them cool. Then, chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to several hours. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Roasted Sweet Bell Peppers

After the cold fronts a few weeks ago in Louisiana, all of our lemons and kumquat fruits were miserably ruined. Also many of our plants had seriously damaged. It is sad to see that the garden lost many colors.

A variety of bright colors always give me energy. So everyday I try to have colorful food items as many as possible. Of course, they must be no artificial.

I love the vivid colors of bell peppers. Their various colors, such as red, yellow and orange, make me very happy. Also I enjoy their delicious flavors and healthy benefits. Indeed, they are an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Our garden looks dead at a glance. But if you take a careful look, there are a lot of small buds, which are almost ready to come out.

These days I often make this dish while dreaming of coming spring.

4 bell peppers
2-3 cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons of organic balsamic vinegar
4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the red bell peppers on the oven pan and roast them until the peppers become tender and the skins turn blackened.
Or place them on the barbecue grill for 15 to 20 minutes until the peppers become tender and their skins become blackened.
2. Remove the peppers from the oven or grill and transfer to a glass bowl. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let them cool for 20 to 30 minutes (or leave the bowl cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or overnight.).
3. Transfer the peppers into a serving plate. Peel the skins and remove the seeds on the pan so that the delicious juice would not be wasted. Cut them into stripes. Place them on the serving plate.
4. Add the sliced garlic, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to several hours. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Pastitsio is one of the most popular dishes in Greece. Also this is one of my most favorite Greek dishes. I always wanted to try to cook this. But each time I decided, my husband, who is native to Greece, stopped me. He thought it was very difficult --almost impossible-- for me, non-Greek, to cook this traditional Greek / Mediterranean food. Um, my challenging sprit became awake.

When we found various goat meats (shoulder, chop and ground etc.) in the local farmers market, we were excited. Then, I suggested making pastitsio. He was too excited to say “No” to me. So he immediately agreed on me making pastitsio. Luckily I also found bucatini, pasta used for pastitsio.

I admit that it was very time consuming and a little bit tricky. But it was defiantly worthwhile. I made it in a big oven pan so that we could enjoy three times or more Unfortunately it lasted less than three times. Indeed, our appetites were more enormous than I thought.

1 lb ground beef, lamb or goat
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 large rip tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup of red wine
¼ cup of flat-leave flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of cinnamon
1 lb of bucatini (According to Wikipedia: a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. Please refer to my picture of bucatini)
1 cup and 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Béchamel sauce:
½ cup of butter
½ cup of all-purpose flour
3 cups of milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of nutmeg powder
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan and fry the chopped onion and garlic until they become translucent. Add the ground beef (lamb or goat) and cook till well done.
2. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir them well. Add the white wine and bay leaf. Stir the mixture well.
3. Season the mixture with salt, freshly ground pepper, and cinnamon. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and cover the pan.
4. For béchamel sauce: Heat the butter on another pan. Place the butter and let it melt completely. Add flour and mix with butter well. Add the milk little by little. Stir and simmer on low heat until the mixture is thickened.
5. Turn off the heat and add the eggs, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Mix them well.
6. Boil water in a large pot and cook the bucatini in the pot for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the bucatini well. Toss them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
8. Pour the ½ of extra virgin olive oil. Place half of the bucatini and make a layer on the large oven pan. Sprinkle the ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Pour and spread the tomato mixture. Next, place the rest of the bucatini and make a layer. Again, sprinkle the ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Pour the béchamel sauce and spread evenly over the top. Pour the rest of the extra olive oil. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese.
9. Bake it in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is brown.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Soybean Sprout and Seaweed Salad (Moyashi and Wakame Salad)

Soybean Sprout and Seaweed Salad (Moyashi and Wakame Salad) Alfalfa sprouts are quite popular and can be found in any supermarkets in US. However, finding soybean sprouts in Louisiana is not easy. I have to go all the way to Asian supermarkets to obtain them. The flavor is delicate like alfalfa. The texture is crispier than alfalfa’s. This vegetable is one of the most popular vegetables in many Asian cuisines.

They contain two times more protein and three times more potassium than the amounts of alfalfa. They are an excellent sauce of vitamin C, fiber and aspartic acid, as well.

Boiled/steamed soybean sprouts can fit with any kinds of dressings. But this time I mix with Chinese flavored sauce. If you like Japanese style, stir them with soy sauce, sesame oil and lemon juice or ponze. Korean style, which is spicy with hot pepper and grind garlic, is my favorite, too.

Growing soybean sprouts at home is easy. It does not require a lot of sun, space or care. Lately fresh vegetables became very expensive because of the recent cold. So why don’t you grow this healthy vegetable at home and try this dish!

3 cups of soybean sprouts (moyashi)
3 tablespoons of dried seaweed (wakame)
2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of Sichuan spicy bean paste
½ teaspoons of sesame seeds

1. Soak the dried seaweed into cold water for about 30 minutes (or follow the instruction on the dried seaweed package). Drain them well.
2. Boil the soybean sprouts for about 1 minute. Drain them well.
3. Put the soybean sprouts in a bowl when they are still hot. Add the seaweed, sesame oil, soy sauce, Sichuan spicy bean paste and sesame seeds. Stir them well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spinach with Tofu and Sweet Sesame Sauce

Since I had a lot of meat during the holiday season, I decided to cook and eat vegetarian food as much as possible. This dish is one of these healthy and delicious vegetarian dishes.

As many of you may know, soybeans are one of the most essential food items in Japanese cuisine. Soy sauce and miso, which are made of soybeans, are primary Japanese seasonings. Tofu is made from coagulating soy milk and it is a very popular food item among not only Japanese people but also health conscious people around the world. Tofu is extremely healthy food. It is rich in tryptophan, manganese, iron and protein.

The taste of tofu is very delicate. I love simply boiled or microwaved tofu with a little bit of grind ginger and ponzu. But if it is too plain for you, try this dish. Delicious grind sesame mixture and spinach enhance the tofu flavor.

1 bunch of spinach
150g of soft tofu
3 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of mirin (sweet rice wine with a low alcohol content)
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

Directions:1. Steam or boil the spinach until they become tender.
2. Drain the spinach well and cut the spinach into about an inch long.
3. Grind the roasted sesame seeds very well using a Japanese mortar and pestle (or regular mortar and pestle). Add the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Mix them well.
4. Place the tofu on a plate and microwave briefly until well warmed. Drain the tofu. Smash it and add into the soy sauce mixture. Stir them well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fried Daikon (White Radish) Leaves

Happy New Year to all of you!
May the New Year bring these Wishes to you all.

Well, I had been busy cooking during holidays. Mainly I cooked Mediterranean food. Therefore, I had been eating mostly Mediterranean food. After all of the parties were over, I realized I missed Japanese food very much. I longed for a cup of white rice with miso soup and some simple Japanese side dishes.

I found daikon (white radish) in some local farmers markets. They did not come with the leaves. I was very disappointed because the leaves are one of my favorite vegetables. Luckily I found daikon with leaves in Whole Foods. So I decided to cook this easy but yummy Japanese dish.

I recommend you to cook only organic daikon leaves. If they are not organic, they may contain agricultural chemicals more than their roots. Daikon leaves are rich in vitamins A and C. I cannot believe they used to be thrown away and people did not eat them at all!

1 bunch of daikon leaves (white radish leaves)
¼ cup of dried shaved bonito
1 teaspoon of roast sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of mirin (sweet rice wine with a low alcohol content)

1. Steam or boil the daikon leaves until they become tender.
2. Drain the daikon leaves and cut small pieces.
3. Heat the sesame oil in a fry pan and fry the daikon leaves for 3-5 minutes.
4. Season them with the soy sauce and mirin.
5. Add the dried shaved bonito. Mix them well.