Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sweet Seasons / August 2008 - Morning Glory -

Asagao (Morning Glory) by Nishigawaya

I chose the same theme two years ago. Yes, the same plate, the same background photo but a different wagashi and different presentation.

First I thought that those incisions of this morning glory were made by wringing the nerikiri dough with something like cheesecloth. But how did they wring the top of the dough, making a well in the center at the same time? And they didn't forget to put tiny stamens in the center. (Click the photo to enlarge.) I like that. Good work.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Onion Zucchini Bread

Savory Onion Zucchini Bread with Nutritional Yeast

Baking zucchini bread (at least once) has been one of my summer rituals for years. And ever since a nice reader mentioned it in her (his?) comment, I had been thinking about using buttermilk for this quick bread. Of course I cannot buy real buttermilk at regular supermarkets around here, but I can try a substitute idea of mixing vinegar with milk or soy milk. So, I thought it was worth trying, and I actually gave it a go the other day.

At first I was going to make a sweet version, because the advice of using buttermilk was given to help my strive for a sweet zucchini bread like the one I first had in the U.S. But while I was googling with the key words: "zucchini bread" and "buttermilk," I bumped into this onion zucchini bread recipe, and a crazy idea (again!) popped into my mind -- "What if I make this bread with some nutritional yeast to add a cheese-like flavor?" Then, as usual, the curiosity drove me into an experiment.

The result was not bad. Maybe I can say "satisfactory," though I didn't notice any zucchini taste almost at all. Maybe that's the way zucchini bread usually is, either savory or sweet? The funny thing was that the moment I took a bite, I thought, "Gosh I've got to eat some sausage with this!" ... Sausage, or bacon, or ham. So the next time I make this savory quick bread, I'd probably mix in chopped sausages or bacon.

And I still need to do another experiment of using buttermilk (substitute) for sweet zucchini bread. ;P

Actually I baked this bread a couple of weeks ago... before Yosakoi festival. I took these photos then, but before I finished a write-up, I got busy with the festival, then visited my parents, and a terrible work shift was waiting for me when I got back... And as if it was not terrible enough -- or could be because things got so stressful -- I developed hives last Saturday night. Boy I was scared! I'd never had hives before, and you know how terrible the wheals (welts) look? When they spread all over my legs and back, I thought I was going to die. :O Fortunately it wasn't anything serious and the itchy wheals were gone a few hours after I went to the hospital on Monday and took antihistamine pills. Just like that.

So today, since I don't have to work in the daytime, I thought about going to a nearby park or cook/baking something special so that I can post about it. But I guess I'm going to take it easy in front of my laptop, nibbling on something.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend at My Parents' House and Mom's Fig Jam

Mom's Fig Jam (2008 Version)

I was at my parents' house from Friday night till this afternoon and I just came back to my place.

Maybe some of you remember that I posted about my mom's fig jam last year? (Actually it was my younger sister who made the jam last year.) Well, the same old thing again this year. More than enough Plenty of figs, mom's shiso (perilla) drink and fresh sashimi were waiting for me there just like the previous year.

Mom's Fig Tree

Some more pics from the weekend. :)

* I posted some photos from Yosakoi Festival here, if you're interested.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I've Been Living on Fair Junk Food...

Yakitori (Skewered Teriyaki Chicken) Stand

Or maybe I should call it "outdoor festival junk food?"

It's time for our crazy outdoor dance festival again, and I've been taking photos like all other crazy photographers. Why crazy? Oh, think about being a spectator of outdoor dance performances from around 12:30 to 21:30, either standing or sitting on the sidewalk and occasionally walking from one venue to another, when the temperature is somewhere around 35 - 36 degrees C in the daytime (could be higher on the blacktop), taking shots of the dancers. Well, actually not all amateur photographers stay that long... but I did yesterday. I know. I'm the craziest. Hahaha...

Yakisoba (stir-fried noodles)

Okonomiyaki (Savory pancakes) Stand

Drink Stand

To be honest, I felt kind of embarrassed to take shots of the fair food at these stands, because at this festival, everyone is interested in the dance and dancers, not the fair junk staples (and they have nothing but "the staples" in this festival). I noticed a vendor looking at me like "Is this her first time to see food stands at a Japanese festival?" Oh well.

Anyway, I'll post the festival photos on my another blog when ready. :)

P.S. I take vitamin pills every day, so don't worry too much about my nutrition. ;)

O.K. Here let me add one more shot which best conveys the true spirit of this festival.

Now how about that? ;)

* I posted some photos from Yosakoi Festival here, if you're interested.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Blueberry Ice Cream Parfait?

Blueberry Ice Cream Parfait - Obachan's version -

It was amazing how fast the ice cream melted in my room... Anyway, for the record -- I got 32 berries from my small blueberry plant (sunshine blue) this year, and they turned into this yummy purple ice cream. The white swirl is store-bought vanilla ice cream which was really sweet. I'm glad that I didn't use too much of it for this dessert.

One unfortunate fact is that now some leaves of this sunshine blue plant are gradually turning brown because of the crazy summer heat here. I placed a shading net over the plant about a week ago. Hope it helps.