Calpis: Karupisu
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to make this Japanese milk drink. J. remembers first having Calpis with his Japanese tutor, about twenty years ago. They would sit out on her sun-porch to study; one day she served him a glass of the pleasant milky white soft drink. But I recall that thirty years (+) ago, J. brought me a beautiful blue-paper wrapped bottle from Manna, the foreign and very exotic grocery store in Ann Arbor. It looked like a bottle of fine liqueur—a drink for celebration with its cheerful patter of white dots. Then he told me it is called “cowpiss!”
One of us remembers he visited me when were in junior high school. I should ask him if he thought I was “cute” back then!

Sesame Seed Senbei

I came across this senbei recipe while wandering around the internet, looking at Japanese food blogs at 3 a.m. There are many things that seem like great ideas at that time of night, but which seem foolish in the light of day; these crackers are really are good anytime.

These crackers are nice and healthy eaten plain. But they’d be great with a tangy feta, cream cheese and olives, or one of these dips I’ve posted about: Bright Green Edamame Dip or Soybean Hummus.

Mitsumami: Japanese Summer Fruit Dessert
This is a classic Japanese sweet summer treat, featuring soft, smooth, crisp textures and colors of all the seasonal fruit, studded with sparkling cool gems and creamy ice cream. What is not to like!
Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it’s dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled. It can be used as a substitute in most recipes. Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature–it can even set at room temperature.

Banana an’ Ginger Ice
I never would have considered banana-ice; remember the banana song which cautioned against putting bananas in the refrigerator?
(BTW: that is not quite right…)
I’d never thought of bananas being popular in Japan, either! A quick google of “bananas in japan” reveals that two years ago, Japan, prone to dieting fads, convinced itself that bananas for breakfast is a magic formula for weight loss. This sweet desert recipe, adapted from Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh, is not suitable for slimming!
This is an easy to make summer treat.

Japanese Black Sesame Ice

Amazaké (literally ‘sweet sake’) is the liquid and sweetener used to make this popular Japanese okashi (Kuro Goma Aisu). In her book, Washoku, Ms. Andoh notes, “ama-zaké (her spelling) is sipped on ceremonial occasions in Japan such as Oshogastu (New Year’s holidays) and Hina Matsuri (Dolls’ Day, celebrated on March 3).”

pesach It’s Passover so we are not eating foods made with wheat (except for matzoh). I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but it’s a holiday so I usually make a batch of almond macaroons. This year I’ve been inspired to try something new from Z at AMBROSIA TEA PARTY. She posted a recipe…

Honey Cake A Sweet and Happy New Year 5770! Shana Tova! It is Rosh Hashanah, and I had to make the honey cake I’ve made every year since 1979. It’s from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen. I wrote about this treasured book last Pesach (Passover), including recipes for almond macaroons and Egyptian haroset. The posts also…

Persimmon Purée Gelée

Persimmon Pureee GelatinPersimmon, an exotic fruit for one who has always lived in cold northern places, is a taste of tropical paradise and daydreams. The first time I ate a persimmon was when I moved to Ann Arbor after college and lived in a house with a communal kitchen. My husband, who was then just one of the house-mates, found a crate of almost rotting fruit behind a produce store. I was reluctant to taste trash, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying them. That was the best fruit I’d ever tasted. Astringent persimmons (Hachiya) are edible only when they are very soft. They were perfect!