Mushroom Lasagna

Several years ago, I made a special lasagne. I’d just discovered lasagne made with béchemel sauce rather than pounds of gooey cheese. Mushrooms were on sale so I was inspired to create a memorable meal. Over the years, we’ve said to each other, “Remember that mushroom lasagne!” and smile fondly. But the recipe was misplaced…
This is not that recipe, but it is deliciously extravagant with mushroom delight.

Chicken Salad re-make // toilet paper rant

At work the other day we were looking at a “scrap-booking charm” someone had donated. My co-worker asked, “Is that a roll of toilet paper?” Yes: there in a miniature reproduction made of plastic, was a roll of toilet tissue mounted in a tiny faux ceramic holder! We wondered why anyone would want to put such a thing into an embellished to-be-remembered-forever scrap-book page. What sort of pictures would you want to commemorate with a roll of toilet paper?
Ah. but this is a food blog, so enough about TP…

Spread a Bit Thick

In April 1984, a 115g jar of vegemite became the first product in Australia
to be electronically scanned at a checkout.

A friend in Australia sent me an amazing gift package which included a jar of Vegemite. There was some discussion on past posts here about whether I would like it or not. When or if I can find it here in the U.S. it is very expensive, but because of this lovely present I will most certainly pay the price: I love it!

Rosh Hashanah: Chicken Soup for 5772
For the first Rosh Hashanah in our new house I wanted to make a meal which would reflect the change from summer to autumn. This soup is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of summer in Korea, the theory being that it warms the body so much as to make the outside temperature feel cooler. Yet the dates, chestnuts, and ginseng, and even the rice are fruit of fall. In any season, it is traditionally believed that sam gae tang helps to rejuvenate the body by replenishing essential nutrients while sweating out the toxins, thus promoting a long and healthy life. As we look forward to a sweet new year this soup was a flavorful meal to begin.

Chestnut Yanggaeng: Korean Candy

The little Korean grocery store (Hyundai Asian Market) where I often shop, has a full aisle stocked with mysterious snacks and sweets.
This candy caught my eye because the package reminded me of a lacquered box filled with treasure. The chestnuts, just visible through the window on the front, seemed to glow through dark amber.
This is a sophisticated confection: the flavor of the red beans shines, and the chestnuts retain their distinct texture and taste. It is a lovely treat to serve with tea or ice cream.

Κreatopita (Κρεατοπιτα): Greek Freighter Meat Pie

Allow me one more post about non-Japanese food!
March has been a long difficult cold month, with the death of my father, an aunt, and a sister-in-law being diagnosed with a serious disease. There are complications settling the estate, which may lead to conflicts among us siblings, but it was very good to have been able to gather together over several meals. I’ve been sleeping more than half the days away, perhaps trying to avoid my feelings. Thanks to Mr. Tess for taking charge of so many meals these past few weeks! And thanks to my internet friends for messages of sympathy and encouragement!

Wake Food

Family gatherings naturally center around food. No matter the occasion, people must eat. Meals are social by nature, the food being savored and flavored with the jokes, stories, and music; and the pictures passed around the table anticipated as much as the bowls of salad or potatoes.
Until we began our separate lives by going away to college, we four siblings had dinner together every evening. Since then we have gathered only for weddings, and now for funerals. It is fortunate that we were all together last weekend, fortunate that my house is big enough to accommodate all of us.

Braised Lamb Shanks
Happy New 2011 Year to all!

My husband and his step-father took their traditional New Year’s Day walk, and J. invited him for dinner. This post is about how I served leftovers to guests. Twice! and about how I now have two legs of lamb…
—we’ve come to a point in this moving house business where some things are here, some there…
I had to go out to buy a can opener, the coffee grinder is at the wrong house, the blankets are lost, what happened to our towels?
These braised lamb shanks played their role exceeding well (a nice Christmas Eve dinner), becoming stew (for my brother and his wife), then soup (for my father-in-law), making some unexpected guests warm and happy!