Honey and Pepper Sesame Chicken

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honey pepper sesame chicken ingredients
This marinade for chicken, made with a traditional Japanese combination of sesame and soy sauce, is accented with the sparkling sweetness of honey and spiced with black pepper and garlic. You can slice the chicken into thin cutlets to fry; you can bake boneless thighs or breasts with the marinade then slice them. You can serve the chicken hot or cold, over rice or noodles or even on a green salad.

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.

Lamb Shanks, Japanese Style

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japanese-lamb-shanks_3759Lamb shanks so tender you can eat them with a spoon make a noteworthy meal without requiring a lot of attention, only a block time for a slow braise. Because they can be prepared a day ahead, lamb shanks can be part of a dinner for guests even the hostess can enjoy. While lamb is not widely eaten in Japan, this recipe illustrates how well basic Japanese ingredients (sake, mirin, shoyu, miso), and Japanese cooking techniques can make this dinner unique but familiar enough to be comforting.

New Honey Cake Recipe!

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honey-cake_3626I always bake honey cakes for Rosh Hashanah from Joan Nathan’s book, The Jewish Holiday Kitchen. The first honey cake, I added cardamom. Mr. Tess noted it was not like his grandmother’s.
This year I tried a new recipe: lovely, light, not cloyingly sweet, and the spices shine, especially the cardamom which is reminiscent of my grandmother’s Finnish pulla bread. So that brings us full circle, one grandmother to another, most appropriate for the cycle of generations, seasons, and years celebrated during this holiday.

Rosh Hashanah 2013 / 5774

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rosh-hashan-chicken_3569L’Shanah Tova!
A Good and Sweet Year!

My kitchen was redolent with the sweet spice fragrances of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom combined with the scent of caramelizing honey as the honey cakes baked while I prepared a Jewish New Year’s meal with a Japanese accent.

Rosh Hashanah is early this year, and because the weather is so summer warm and sunny, with only a hint of low slanting autumn light, I decided to make a chicken salad with a sumiso dressing.

Miso Grilling Sauce: Dengaku

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grilled eggplantThe Farmers’ Market had lovely eggplants to remind me of this tasty grilling sauce called dengaku, made with miso, saké, mmirin, and sugar, and in this recipe, thickened with eggs. It’s a traditional Japanese grilling sauce for tofu, but one can use this grilling sauce with other vegetables, seafood, and fish. This style of grilling is very popular with home cooks. It’s easy to make, and with soup, rice, and pickles makes a filling meal.
The various vegetables that are grilled with dengaku sauce include sliced eggplant, large mushrooms, green pepper strips, and sliced sweet potatoes. More modern variations include scallops or small fish such as sardines, smelt, ayu, or trout. Some recipes include deep-frying the food before grilling and caramelizing the sauce. Simpler recipes use charcoal broiling, oven broiling, or pan-frying.

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.

Swizzle Grapes

frozen grapes swizzle stickA cold drink on a hot summer’s day is poetry on the tongue. Enjoyed solitary, or with a convivial group, a cup of icy minty tea, a tall glass of lemonade with lime, a mug of chilled Korean honeyed fruit tea, a tumbler of white grape juice, or a favorite cocktail is a small pleasure of summer.

ThanksGiving 2012

warm thanksgiving in michiganWhere did the time go? I’m writing this post in August 2013, on a cool summer afternoon not unlike the warm Thanksgiving day last November when Mr. Tess took a long sunny-morning bike ride, and Little Tess prepared a feast. It was a beautiful day, and memory makes it more perfect.

The philosopher Martin Heidegger observed that time “persists merely as a consequence of the events taking place in it.” Our brains understand the passage of time by the things we experience. A year has passed with little evidence that anything of note happened. At least not on this blog…

Looking through photo albums proves otherwise.

The Best Yakitori Sauce

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yakitori-chicken_3097This is a basic sauce (tare) can be used all summer for grilling chicken. Yakitori is usually chicken on skewers: yaki=grilling and tori=chicken.

This basic sauce can be used for more than yakitori. Use portions of the sauce to grill: chicken, pork, fish, or just about anything you can cook over charcoal, food you cook on skewers, or not!

Add some orange juice, honey, fruit preserves, spices, and voila: teriyaki sauce.

Barbarian Chicken: be prepared!

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japan-marinated-chix_2709Tori Namban-zuke is a versatile Japanese recipe that I love!I have prepared this Japanese marinated chicken at least once per year since 2008! This recipe is easy, but allow time for the chicken to marinate over-night. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make it ahead in preparation for a busy day at work, or even better, for a party. The recipe has evolved over the years. I’ve made it with chicken thighs and breasts. I’ve fried, baked, poached, or steamed the chicken. I’ve served it hot, and cold.