Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’


I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these crunchy open-faced crackers topped with sharp creamy cheese and fresh tomatoes sprinkled with a little salt. The friend who introduced me to them calls them “Swedish sandwiches” and after the first bite, they are forever a part of my summer cravings. I moved coasts recently, and find myself back in the land of humid sticky summers. Any meal that doesn’t involve turning on the stove or heat is bound to become a part of my regular rotation. Particularly as tomatoes are currently plentiful and cheap, not to mention in season right now.

For one “Swedish sandwich”

– a piece of knackerbrod or crisp bread

– hushallsost ( or any kind of semi-hard cheese, I like Dubliner or a sharp cheddar)

– butter (softened)

– a slice of tomato

– salt

– fresh parsley or black pepper ( if desired)


1. Spread a thin layer of butter on the crisp bread.

2. Add thin slices or shards of cheese

3. Top with pieces of sliced tomato. Sprinkle a little salt over the tomatoes.

4. Top with fresh parsley or black pepper (if you like)






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sugar cookie
Sometimes things happen in life that kind of knock you out of your regular routine, and it takes you a little bit to get back into the swing of things. Baking delicious things that simultaneously heat my apartment and make it smell like warm butter, sugar and vanilla is my way of getting back a sense of normalcy.

This recipe makes sugar cookies that are slightly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. They are simple and not perfect, but exactly what I wanted to munch on while curled up with some tea and watching back episodes of Good Eats.


  • 100g butter, salted, softened
  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g flour
  • 20g baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 170C. In a medium bowl, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together until well combined, and until it lightens in color and is slightly fluffy. (use a stand mixer if you like)
2. Mix in eggs, one at a time until well combined.
3. Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract and nutmeg
4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking power and salt, then add it to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir well.
5. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop roughly golf ball sized balls of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just about to turn a pale golden brown. Bake less for softer cookies, and a bit longer if you like your cookies crisp.

**while I tend to just eat these cookies as they are, I’m pretty sure they would be fantastic frosted, or rolled in sugar as well.

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Cheese crackers
Living in Japan, I have a love and hate (but mostly love) relationship with Costco. They have a food court that brings me back to the states, and the sight of 100 count boxes of Tootsie pops and 5 lb boxes of chocochip cookies makes me nostalgic about college and the all mighty purchase order.

The area where I grew up didn’t have a Costco nearby, so when I went for the first time, I was romanced by the tasty polish dogs (only a buck fifty, and it comes with a drink!) and the sheer fact that I could buy a 10 pound can of ketchup, 50 black Sharpies, a sofa, and pumpkin pie the size of a large pizza if I so desired. In college, I had a job that required me to buy food to feed large quantities of people at a time, and for a while, purchasing 4 flats of muffins, and 2 lb cans of hot cocoa mix was normal. Oversized food is one thing, Costco sized food is another. For some reason, I find ridiculously large food, or large quantities of food inherently comical and interesting. (on the flip side, I also find extra small food funny and amazing as well :P)

 So what does Costco have to do with cheese crackers? As my mother says, I sometimes have eyes bigger than my stomach. The last time I went to Costco in Japan, I was persuaded into buying a 2 lb brick of sharp cheddar cheese. (they didn’t have to try hard) I think you can guess where this goes…but the short of it is I ended up having a half a block left, and needed to use it all quickly before the cheese spoiled. I did think about just gnawing on the block, but decided that cheese crackers were the more socially acceptable option.


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My friends know that I have a strange dislike for the gyoza commonly found here in Japan. Something about the inordinately large quantity of cabbage vs meat in the filling and lack of real flavor just makes me unlikely to order gyoza at a restaurant. I think I’ve been spoiled by Chinese style jiaozi and Korean mandoo to ever be satisfied with the Japanese equivalent. So now I just make my own 🙂

Ok, so I need a bit more practice frying up gyoza ^^;;
Appearance aside, I love this recipe! These slightly sweet and salty pork filled gyoza based off of my mother’s guotie filling recipe.

  • 200g lean ground pork
  • 4 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 20-30 store bought gyoza skins
  • 1 tsp each:

  • cumin powder
  • garlic powder
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • powdered hon dashi (fish stock) or nuoc mam
  • 1 tbsp each:

  • sweet kecap manis or dark soy sauce+5g sugar
  • oyster sauce
  • —————
    1. Combine all ingedients other than the gyoza skins in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Mix well using your hands ( or a spoon if you like, but by hand is much faster)
    3. Wrap gyoza. If you don’t know how to wrap or cook gyoza, About.com has a great tutorial here.

    I always double this recipe and make a batch to pop in my freezer. You can cook frozen gyoza the same way as fresh gyoza.

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    The weather is cooling off, and the constantly cloudy typhoon season has got me thinking about baking all the time. Specifically baking chocolate chip cookies like the ones back home in the states. In Japan, “cookie” usually refers to some sort of crunchy butter sable, good in it’s own right, but does nothing for you if you are craving golden brown, crispy, chewy, chocolate studded cookies the size of your hand. This sort of chocolate chip cookie doesn’t exist where I live now.

    Nothing to do but to make them myself. I used David Leite’s amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe, and after (im)patiently waiting 24 hours to chill the dough, made some cookies that are way too tasty and way too big for my own good.

    I don’t have a stand mixer, so I used room temperature butter and hand mixed everything. I also used regular chocolate chips and whole wheat and all purpose flour instead of the bread and cake flour that the recipe calls for.

    David Leite’s NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted to metric, substituted ingredients, methods)


    • 240g all purpose flour
    • 240g whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 250g butter, room temperature
    • 280g brown sugar
    • 240g white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 160g chocolate chips
    • sea salt for topping

    1. Stir together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
    2. Stir together brown sugar, white sugar and butter until it is evenly mixed in a separate bowl.
    3. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
    4. Stir in dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips.
    5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
    6. After 24 hours, divide dough into roughly 80g balls, place on baking paper or a baking sheet, sprinkle with a small (very small) pinch of sea salt, and bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown at 170 degrees Celsius.
    7. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Eat while warm 🙂

    Great with some milk, and makes plenty to share.

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    Arabiki sausages are a mild pork sausage with a casing that has a slight crunch or pop when you bite them after being boiled or fried. I had some left over crushed tomatoes from a soup I had made, and decided to toss them together to make a fake ragù.


    • 5-6 arabiki sausages, cut into 1 inch chunks
    • 1 large bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into pieces (about 1.5 cups chopped)
    • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/3 cup each minced : onion, carrot, celery
    • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • dash of garlic powder
    • dash of oregano
    • dash of salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsbp olive oil

    1. Lightly fry onions, carrots and celery with the olive oil in a medium pot.
    2. When the onions are soft, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic powder, oregano and broccoli. Stir occasionally on medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
    3. Add arabiki sausage, and stir well.
    4. Add cherry tomatoes, and cover, turning down the heat to low, and simmering for 5-7 minutes or until the broccoli is tender and the sausage is cooked through.
    5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Enjoy! Goes great with pasta or cous cous. Serves 2-4

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    When I was still a college student, one of my favorite dining hall dishes was baked ziti. Something about the mild tomato sauce and dense pasta, topped with cheese was just fantastic in the middle of the finals rush. Carbohydrates are good for the brain, and good for the soul too. 🙂 However the thought of so many pots and pans to wash, and lengthy oven time makes me disinclined to make my own baked ziti.
    This recipe for absorption pasta is just as tomato-y, cheese-y, takes requires only one pan and no oven time. I also love fresh vegetables in my pasta, but feel free to add your favorites, or remove the veggies you don’t like.


    • 200g (little less than 1/2 lb) ground beef (pork or turkey would also be good, as would soy crumbles)
    • 2 cups uncooked pasta (I like macaroni elbows or shells, but any pasta is fine)
    • 1  fresh tomato, seeded and diced
    • 1 cup tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 medium eggplant, diced
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, roasted sweet in the broiler or oven, and then chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
    • 1 bunch of fresh spinach (about 1 cup’s worth cooked)
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, black pepper, parsley, basil and oregano
    • dash of salt
    • 1 cup water


    • 1/2 cup smooth dry curd cottage cheese(or ricotta)
    • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Peccorino hard cheese

    1. Saute ground beef, garlic, and onions in a large sauce pan with olive oil until the meat is cooked, and slightly browned.
    2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, eggplant, mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach, water, all the spices and salt. Stir well and bring to a slow boil on medium heat.
    3. Add pasta, stir well. Cover pan with a lid and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is just tender (al dente).
    4. Combine cottage cheese and shredded Parmesan together until smooth.
    5. Uncover, and stir the pasta to make sure it isn’t sticking, then stir in the cheese mixture until well combined.
    6. Cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes on low heat until cheese is melted.
    Serves 6-8, topped with a little (or a lot :P) of shredded cheese.

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