Jean’s Cincinnati Chili

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jeans cincinnati chili_7046

“Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirits and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.”
Harry James (1916-1983) band leader and trumpeter

My mum used to serve a Midwestern-style chili made with hamburger, tomatoes, oregano, garlic powder, and kidney beans on macaroni elbows. It was a way of stretching a pound of ground beef to satisfy a family of six inexpensively. I recall we even added grated Cheddar cheese to top it so very very elegantly. It wasn’t until I started this project to learn Japanese cooking, that I first heard of this delicious and somewhat exotic version of Cincinnati chili from a lovely woman called Jean on the Taunton Press Fine Cooking magazine forum. It’s become a favorite meal, and I want to let my online friends know about it.

Japanese Style Brisket

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Japanese style braised brisketKosher Japanese spare ribs? Well, perhaps something like that for Seudat Mafseket, the pre-fast meal before the Yom Kippur fast. While it is not traditional to eat such a heavy meal before beginning a fast, Mr. Tess wanted some beef. And I’ve been craving these pork spareribs from Hiroko Shimbo’s The Japanese Kitchen. So I thought, “Why not cook a beef brisket (which is usually fatty-rich like ribs) with the same seasonings!” Some of the Korean beef recipes I’ve posted about previously make my train of thought not so illogical…beef braised with spices and soy sauce.

Summer Shabu Shabu

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tomato-bounty_3479This summer has been cool. Our garden tomatoes ripen so slowly, so late; but there are lots of tiny green fruits. We’ve had to be content with a few small bowls of these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes. But the bounty is beginning…
Mr. Tess and Little Tess came home from the Farmers’ Market with a bunch of yellow beans with purple stripes. They were long and the beans in their pods looked large, perhaps more mature than I would have chosen, but none the less intriguing.

Lasagna Bolognese

Christmas guest from China
Lasagne is a collated noodle dish.

My perfect lasagne would be straightforward al denté noodles framed with luscious sauce, just as lightning, seen against extravagantly swirling deep blue and grey clouds, is both dramatic and simple.

This recipe is not that, but it is luscious, subtle, to remember, to repeat.

As Christmas 2012 dinner, it is especially memorable because we shared it with an unexpected and charming guest.

Shabu Shabu Gift

aroma-induction-cktp_0747Oh winter cold, winter dark, winter comforts so dearly embraced: it’s when friendly time beside the fire and good food is most satisfying.

A nabemono is a warm and convivial way of sharing meal. A pot of water or broth simmers in the center of the table, surrounded by plates of meat, fish, tofu, fruits, and vegetables. With chopsticks (or fondu forks) diners slide morsels of food into the simmering stock to cook, then lift them out to a plate.

This Christmas, my sister and my daughter surprised me with an induction cooktop and prepared a lovely Christmas Eve shabu shabu!

Shabu Shabu Christmas

faux stained glass Christmas bird made with tissue paper and glue
It’s been many years since I decorated for Christmas.

This year has been different. I discovered the faux stained glass installation I made in 1979. I’d displayed them for several years, then we moved to apartments/house with small windows so they went into deep storage. When I found them a few weeks ago, my first impulse was, “Bah! Humbug!” and toss them into the recycle bin. But both husband and daughter said, “NO!!”

Hayashi Rice (Mix)


Hayashi rice (ハヤシライス) is a popular Western-syle dish in Japan. It is made with thinly sliced meat (usually beef), onions, and button mushrooms, simmered in a thick red wine, tomato, and demi-glace sauce. The sauce is served atop or alongside steamed, buttered rice.

I bought a package of Hayashi Rice Sauce Mix, imported from Japan by S&B. Very convenient? I don’t know!

It would without doubt be a delicious dish made from scratch. Links to posts I’ve written related to this topic.

Stir-fried Liver and Garlic Chives

This Japanese Chinese-style recipe features Chinese chives and lovely tender calf’s liver which melts in your mouth with a salty-sweet gingery sauce.

The pretty green chives are sometimes called nira grass or garlic chives, and its Latin name, Allium tuberosum, means it is part of the onion family. It is a perennial plant which grows into clumps of flat straight leaves. Clusters of tiny white flowers appear at the end of summer on round stalks which rise above the clump. The flowers last well into autumn, providing a bright display in garden when many flowers are well past their prime.

Beef Donburi


Donburi meals are Japanese comfort food, served in fast food restaurants, available in ready to heat-and-serve packets, or cooked at home for family. Donburi (kanji: 丼; hiragana: どんぶり) are also the over-sized rice bowls themselves. Rice, usually white rice, is topped with meat, seafood, tofu, and/or vegetables. I wanted something a bit more hearty. I used a delicious nutty 6-Grain Rice mixture from Kagayaki.

Japanese Menu for Six

http://1tess.wordpress.comA few weeks ago, we hosted a dinner for Mr. Tess’s “new” brother, his wife, their neice, and her boyfriend. We don’t know these folks very well, and I get nervous whenever we have guests. I wanted to have most of the dinner ready when they arrived, just in case an unanticipated kitchen disaster meant I’d have to resort to pizza delivery… Yes, Mr. Tess always tells me that it’s the company and not the food that is important, but none the less, I wanted to make a nice evening where things went according to plan.
My solution was a menu which I could prepare the evening or morning before, with only a small bit of close attention in the kitchen just before serving.