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Sushi just right for making at home

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Noone really makes nigiri sushi at home - we leave that to the sushi chefs.  But almost every home cook makes chirashi-sushi. It's a scattered sushi - a Japanese version of a paella or pilaf.   This particular chirashi sushi is vegetarian; the toppings can be almost anything you want them to be - b...
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Lilac bush - first bloom -Tehachapi ranch

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The lilac bush that I planted two years ago are finally starting to put on some clusters of flowers.  The bush is still small, compared to the lilac bushes that I see in front on people's ranch houses in Tehachapi but one day it will get there. I am tempted to cut...
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Spring in Tehachapi -Morning walk

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

With Sakai gone to Europe, I came to Tehachapi alone. But Ana and Kurokin keep me company.  Kurokin had been locked up in the ranch house for nearly a week, so sure enough she needed some fresh air.  Ana and I went for our morning walk ar...
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Wooden Boat

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The night before taking off to his first art show in Germany,  Sakai was in the garage doing woodwork. It turned out he was working on a little wooden boat for Masa, our grandson.  It's Sakai first grandson, my step grandson.  I already met Masa last year but Sakai had ...
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Fresh bamboo - Soba Umami Workshop

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)


I got my first order of bamboo shoots from Penryn Farms. Last year, I wrote a story about their bamboo shoots in Zester Daily (

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California Poppies

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)


I love the dessert in the spring, especially when I see the large capets of bright orange poppies spread over the dessert.  I used to call the Poppy Reserve to find out when...
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Snow in Tehachapi

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)


We finally had some rain and snow in March and April. I took this picture yesterday while walking with Ana and feeding the horses on our ranch.  The clouds were moving in.  Ana paused for a moment.  Sorrel, one of the horses, raised h...
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Bar Tartine - Dashi event

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

We had a few wonderful days with our friend chefs, Nick Balla and Courtney Burns, and her kitchen team at Bar Tartine. I brought in my friend, proprietor of Yagicho-hoten - a shop in Nihonbashi, Tokyo that specializes in naturally dried food products like b...
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Dashi ingredients - The Three Essentials

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Karebushi - Dried Bonito

If there are ten things I love about Japanese food, Katsuobushi would be one of the main reason...
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Basic Country Bread a la Tartine - Lesson 1

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

After taking Dana Morgan's Tartine bread baking class in Weschester yesterday, I let the dough rest in the fridge overnight and took it out this afternoon to bake it.  One of the things that Chad Robertson, author of Ta...
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Fried Rice with Koda Farms's Organic Nirvana Blend Rice

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I met Robin and Ross Koda of Koda Farms at the  Natural Products Expo at the Anaheim Convention Ce...
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Onigiri with Daikon radish leaves and sesame

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to daikon radish, there is no part to throw away.  Even the leaves and stems can turn into a delicious kinpira dish when sauteed with sesame oil, soy,  mirin and red chili p...
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Anko - Sweet Azuki Bean Paste

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I have been making anko - azuki bean paste all morning.  This is my second batch.  I like the way the mound of paste is forming a peak, like a mini- mountain. That was where I wanted to be.  Still moist but firm enough to hold a form. The first batch came out drier. I cooked it too much, and this can happen very easily if you are not careful.

Anko, Azuki Bean paste, comes in smooth, creamy and coarse texutres. There are also whole bean anko, which leaves the beans en...

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12 years a Slave - Congratulations Chiwetel

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I didn't realize that the lead actor of 12 Years a Slave was Chiwetel who came to my soba workshop.  This was particularly a fun one.  Congratulations to the beautiful film.  Good job.  Eat more soba.

Rain of Diamonds

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Rain of diamonds
Brown leaf glistens
Mother's tears
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Raining in Los Angeles

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been pouring for two days.  How we needed this! It's coming down again, as I write.  Rain or shine,  Kinchan stays put in her cozy place.  Occasionally, she gets up to observe the rain. That's plenty of exercise for a 16 year old cat.

Good Snack: Brown Rice Onigiri with Pickled Plums

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I got a new rice cooker from my new friends at Tiger Rice Cooker.  They told me that this particular rice cooker has several layers of insulation, ma...
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Dashi and Miso Soup

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)



When I think about the basic building block of Japanese cuisine, it all boils down to Dashi.  Here is a dashi story I wrote for Zester Daily.   http://zesterd...

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Breakfast Miso Soup

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (3)

In our family, breakfast is not complete without miso soup.  My son likes to dip his toast in

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Regarding my pantry

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

As a child, I used to love looking inside my grandmother's pale green kitchen cabinet of seasonings and utencils.  It was an old cabinet that my mother tried to get rid of, but my grandmother rescued it,  and put it in her kitchen to store food.  My brother stuck war plane stickers on the glass.  Grandmother had everything she needed in that cabinet.  It was like a treasure box.  My pantry is not in one place like hers. I keep my salt, pepper, sugar and soysauce ...

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