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!!”

Korean Vegetable Pancake

It’s Hanuka and we have been eating pancakes. These were pancakes made by Mr. Tess some time ago, yet they deserve some space on my blog.
I bought a bag of Korean pancake mix, thinking it would have some special secret ingredient. I’d made them from scratch with vegetables and seafood but they were not quite the same as the pancakes served at our favorite Korean restaurant. But no, just ordinary flour, baking powder, spices… I hate wasting food, and the minor convenience of one measuring cup, one bowl, a knife, and a frying pan means we’ll eat them at least a couple of more times…

Chanukah Noodles


If I didn’t post, does it mean it didn’t happen?

Having my daughter back in Michigan has been fun. She found these unusual pasta shapes for Chanukah 2012 and we ate them as a variation of mac ‘n’ cheese with fried zucchini pancakes. I’m writing this now in September 2013 and I had forgotten about these interesting noodles.

Poaching Eggs with Art and Technology

poaching an egg
Onsen tomango, Japanese hot spring eggs achieve a perfect balance between cooked and raw: the white with a texture like delicate custard, the yolk firm but bright yellow with a creamy texture. I cannot duplicate the slow cooking in a natural hot spring. Soft cooked eggs are the closest, and very delicious topping toast, noodles, or salads. But they are very tricky to cook to exactly the balance of cooked but runny. Until Mr. Tess brought home a gift of these wonderful silicone “poach pods” I thought poached eggs were beyond my kitchen skills. They work like magic! And are easy to clean, and don’t take up much kitchen drawer space.

Korean Cold Noodle Soup with Radish Water Kimchi

eating Korean noodles with a fork
Eating cold noodles in winter, preferably in front of a great big fire, is a way of enjoying the best of two seasons.

We made a meal of this when Mr. Tess returned from Philly after working there for nearly two months. As a dyed-in-the-wool noodle-lover it was the best thing I could think of to welcome him home.

I don’t think he was disappointed in the menu; at any rate he was happier than the cats were.

Korean Radish Water Kimchi

water kimchi cut for dinner

Making kimchi seemed a wonderful idea. I spent a lot of deep-in-the-night sleepless hours roving the internet while Mr. Tess was working in Philadelphia. Radish water kimchi made me laugh, especially when I heard about a cold noodle soup made with this pickle. The weather was beginning to be chilly in October, and I wanted to hold on to summer if only in my dining room.
These pickles are absolutely delicious, especially the water which can only be called addictive: sour, salty, sweet, and popping good…

Shiso: so she ended, the summer

Summer’s end.…from anticipation in May,
temptation in late June to early July,
satisfaction in August,
suspecting the transitory state of life in September,
realizing in October that it’s time to turn the heat on!
This post is only the (pictorial) progress of a couple of shiso plants in one summer. has a new “gallery” format. See what you think of the “mosaic tiling.”

Dinner for Ten

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown
My husband’s family (some of them) came to dinner before their trip up north to walk the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day. While a meal is not only about the food, but the folks gathered around the table, I wanted a Japanese style meal without being frazzled. This menu includes easy prepare-ahead foods.

Tourists who travel to the top of the mitten (Northern Michigan) are called “fudgies” by the locals. Many spend money on fudge in the many gift shops around Mackinaw City, St. Ignas, Mackinaw Island…