August 31, 2010

imagining and eating

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome 64)

today, my mind seemed to be somewhere i don't know.
i can't do anything special than eating.
i ate breakfast, lunch and dinner as always.
but i didn't do anything i can name other than that.

whenever i stood on the crossroad in my life, i was forced to lose my weight.
sometimes it terribly affected me and i lost quite a bit pounds.
but now, i think i'm doing well to keep my weight decently. ( yeah, i used to weigh much less than 100 lb, and it was terrible. indeed. i felt cold even when it was the mid summer.)

unfortunately, i'm not good at shifting.
but there's surely the moment some kind of shift has to be done.
i know.

i'm imagining the table which i loved, and will try to keep imagining.
and that keeps me to be attracted by eating.

the image above was taken in bologna, italy in last may.
bologna is well known as the city of gourmet.
so, this is, i think, the perfect image for me now even though anything scrumptious is on the table. :))

August 30, 2010

something new

(taken with hasselblad 500c on fuji pro 400h)

i'm starting my monday busily.
lots of things were done over the weekend, and still lots of things to be done are left.

my hub and i started our life here about 6 years ago.
before, we used to live in portland, oregon with lots of rain.
before porland, we were in austin, texas with the view of thousands of bulls and cows and vast meadows.
before austin, we were surrounded by a lot of amusement parks in orlando, florida.
before orlando, we were simply japanese in japan.

we've moved a lot.
we sometimes weren't sure where our real home was.
that idea made us feel sad and confused about our own identity.
then now, finally, we are trying to buy our home that we are going to be sure " this is our home".

we looked some houses over the weekend.
we're still deciding, but 70~80% of decision has been already made, i think.
now we're on the step of being confident with buying "that" house.
searching for as many houses as possible, comparing them to the one now we are with, thinking about the remodeling plan to be done, and so on.
lots to be done now.

bit overwhelming but still excited with the new kitchen and dinning.

everytime we moved, i was excited and also struggled mostly with little features each kitchens had.
i was utterly happy with the window in the kitchen.
i loved the white tile counter top.
i never cared about a dish washer because i didn't use that any.
almost all the time i had to experience the hard time with putting all my japanese ceramics, fire kings, pyrex and other old hardware into the limited space of cabinets.
i love them all very much, but sometimes i cursed them as well. ;P

i'm thrilled, bit awkward, already tired and still daydreaming, ..... very busy.

well, hope you all have a good start of the week.
take good care of you, now the season is shifting.
oh, speaking about shifting, my favorite channel has shifted from travel channel to hgtv (home & garden tv) recently. ;)

i wanted to tell you this.
these two photos were taken with my hasselblad on the day i got it.
so these are from the very first roll taken with it.
very pure, aren't they?
"new" is already inspiring. :))

August 27, 2010

hoping for the price down

(taken with hasselblad 500c on fuji rdplll)


today i don't have much to say other than tgif.
just popping in to make a to-do list for the weekend.

1, getting some fruits. now i have only one piece of fig left in the fridge and tons of frozen blueberries in the freezer.
so, i need something.
if cherries are priced down, i'll go with them before they are gone.

2, searching for new home.
an appointment has already been made with an agent.
and i've already looked one yesterday evening.
it was sooooo pretty.
she is approximately 60 years old and surrounded by lots of big old trees.
2b+ 2b+ khaki wall kitchen + gray wall dinning+ chocolate wall living, then yellow wall home. :))

3, adding a or two bottle(s) of vinegar.
i love vinegar very much.
all kinds are welcome.
i definitely need apple cider vinegar, which is almost running out though i got that only a few weeks ago.
i have a little apple cider vinegar, mildly aged balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, rice vinegar, plum vinegar in my fridge.
then what else do i need?
can't wait to go to the co-op.

4, making progress with nigel slater's "toast" which i started to read yesterday.
this week i got 3 new and used books, and one is the apple's, other two are the one now i'm reading and "the kitchen diaries".
so thrilled to read all.

meanwhile, i'm troubled with the book about the ex american spy agent in the ussr (former russia) which my friend lent to me.
the reason why i can't make any progress with it is, i think, that i can't have any interest with it.
i've never had this trouble with books about food. ;p

5, going out for "the jazz in the park" concert on saturday, "the curb cup", which 102 local amateur artists play and show on streets in downtown, on sunday.
the summer is in its climax!

have a pretty weekend, y'all!

August 26, 2010

the pleasure of googling

(taken with nikon f on rdplll)


i'm quite impressed with my capcity of stocking up the topics which are related to food and i want to share with you. (also impressed with the kind readers to have been with me for sharing the mishmash stories, simply thank you so much.)
actually, they never run out.
and the fact shows that i've been seriously thinking about food for quite a long time within a day so that i can write something lengthy but trifle almost everyday.
how gluttonous i am.

well, i'm such inclined to take food seriously, i like learning about pizza, which has been our sunday dinner for at least 2+1/2 years, seriously as well.
we seldom eat out for pizza, especially on sunday.
we love to bake our own pizza from scratch on every single sundays when we are at home.
while my hub is kneading the dough, i am assembling the toppings.
things are always going on as if we were two only employees at a small local pizza joint.
and we sometimes have to make improvement, or provide seasonal specials like real pizza joints do.
so, we have to keep our eyes wide open to get (steal?) the intriguing ideas from our competitors.

btw, have you ever googled "pizza"?
though you may not think it's necessary because you've already known what pizza is, i'm sure you'll appreciate doing that once after you reach the interesting result.
i'm enjoying the information wiki provides.
they tells us there are so many styles in the world for only one food called pizza.
i was kinda amazed to know them.
so many people in the world enjoy their pizza in so many ways!
it's utterly worth to know about.
and i'm happy to feel as if we were all friend in the chain of pizza. :)

the most interesting info we've gotten so far is that our style is really close to st. louis style pizza. (on the right sidebar at this link page, you can find some links to the varieties of pizza and its kinds.)
an ultra-thin crispy crust is exactly of ours, though we cut them diagonally, not rectangular way.

today, i'm writing about pizza because i'm always looking forward to the sunday pizza, and so am i now!
i can't help counting how many nights i have to sleep till then.
one night, two night, ......

August 25, 2010

one of the happiest time in the year

(taken with sx-70 on px color shade)


i'm stingily eating these lately.
i got them last weekend at the co-op.
after having passed them 2 or 3 times until being in its real season.


then, some notes here.

1, another package of new polaroid film had to be consumed.
2, varieties of ways of enjoying them are being created. (i'll make a report sometime later.)
3, $4.99/lb is quite something. (yes, i'm a tightwad. but i know the meaning of the "$4.99/lb". it's worth.)
4, the next visit to the co-op is being waited.

i can't help feeling now's one of the happiest time in the year because of figs.
and last night i was kinda surprised to have noticed that i've owed lots of my happiness to seasonal fruits. :))

August 24, 2010

another confession to be made (the heaviest post ever with lots of images of apples)

(taken with nikon f on fuji superia 400)


so, i told you about my chronic addiction related to food and photography yesterday, and today i have to make another confession also about food and photography.
today, it's all about one particular food; apples.

some of you may know that how much i love to shoot apples.
but not many of you may know exactly how i love to.
also whenever, wherever i am and with whichever cameras.

all began just after i got my first old camera, nikon f in the early fall of 2007.
i shot apples in the top picture with it around that time.

(same as the top)

with my old nikon f, i had to tell good-bye to my nikon digital camera which i used to use till then, and i started to walk on a new road having continued long before me.
good-bye digital, hello analog!
the rusticity of the "f" and the antiqueness of the images were pretty enough to force me to go that way.

(taken with contax rts on fuji superia 400)

in the late fall of 2007, the 1 year anniversary after my dad's death was held in japan.
and i didn't hesitate to shoot the apples dedicated to my dad's commemoration.

(taken with nikon f on rdplll)

i love these apples with dark red skin in japan, and when i went back there this past spring, i bought a lot of them because of the reduced price, and ate them row and made them into compote.
having that with homemade yogurt was so good.
( i was making apple compote in the picture. i made that with skin for me, and without skin for my mom who was hospitalized at that time.)

(taken with hasselblad 500c on ilford xp2 super 400)

in summer time, i like to do picnics in some parks around my town on weekend.

(taken with minolta autocord lll on fuji 160s)

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

and almost all the price reduction on apples makes me buy them a lot around fall.
fuji apples were rolling on the floor in 2008, and sitting well-mannered in a paper bag in 2009.

(taken with nikon fe2 on kodachrome 64)

in the wintertime, i love to spend plentiful time inside to gaze at and shoot apples on the table.
i loved the color which kodak kodachrome 64, which is the one of the traditional films, rendered in the winter of 2008.
and at that time, i didn't have any idea of its disappearing future sometime soon.

(taken with nikon fe2 on kodachrome 64)

with my favorite kodachrome 64, i flew to italy in the mid may of 2009, and i shot my first apples in italy on the first day there, needless to say.

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome 64)

and continuously, i shot apples on the first day of the trip around italy this year, too.
of course, on my buddy, kodachrome 64.
i can't help being melancolic with the fact that i can shoot on kodachrome 64 only within this year.
(kodak announced that they quited producing the film last year or so, and the only lab which has the skill and the equipment to develop this special film also announced that they were going to take the film only in this year. so pratically, kodachrome 64 is destined to vanish at the end of this year. sad.)

(taken with box type polaroid on 600 film)

as i love to travel with apples, they are always with me.
i love an apple sitting on the edge by the window of a hotel room.
it looked irresistibly lovely in a bay area hotel near san francisco in the early april of 2008.

(taken with box type polaroid on 600 film)

and adorable as well in a virginia hotel near dc in the summer of 2008.

(taken with nikon fe2 on agfa 100)

a white pillow and a bed sheet glittering with morning ray became an red apple in an oregon hotel sometime in 2008.

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

once in a while, the mischievous ideas to play with an apple and a camera visit me.
i exposed a polaroid film twice on white plastic flowers and then a red apple sometime in 2009.

(taken with hasselblad 500c on polaroid 669)

i shot an apple on a polaroid peel-apart film and then manipulated it on a rough paper other time.

(same as the above)

next, on a cotton cloth and ripped the apple.
i love a ripped apple.

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

well, i think i've done quite a nice job to collect these images from my album though i haven't sorted my all images by objects.
the reason why i decided to make the confession in such a troublesome way is that i got one of my cook book orders this morning, and it's front page is the image of an apple.
and i noticed that i placed the book in an order probably because of the apple image on the front.
i made sure how i've loved apples, then i dared to get involved in this troublesome post here.

now, it's the time to enjoy the book, i think. ;)
oh, fyi, the book i got this morning is this.

August 23, 2010

a chronic addiction

(taken with 680 on 600 film)

how was your weekend?
it was a bit cool and pretty for me.
the temperature was comfortable around 70, and that made me feel the summer is going away now.
i went a farmer's market for the first time after a long absence with my husband instead of doing darkroom work, which we always spent our saturday mornings for.
they had rearranged the way how shops made lines, and it made me feel i had been to a new place where i'd never visited.
late summer crops, new street regulations, new talented street musicians, the first time crepe eating (though there has always been crepe gangs, i call them that 'cause crepe makers were wearing dark black sunglasses, white cook uniform jackets and short pants, since the summer 2 or 3 years ago.), everything was enjoyable so much.

one of the things on the to-do list of the past weekend was to update my photography homepage.
though i've left that for a long time without any update since the last, i've been thinking about that earnestly.
in spite of the necessity to have been connected online for the update, the big wind storm hit the night before disabled me to do that.
so i simply reviewed my portfolios.
then i noticed that i have a necessity of making another food portfolio.
though i've already made one last time, whose portfolio name is "cafe & bar", i had to admit the fact i can't skip food related pictures this time, either.

why do i take same pictures again and again and again and ............ everlastingly??
i took the today's picture 2 or 3 weeks ago, and i'd taken this kind of pictures before and before and before and ........ constantly!!
i shoot my table almost everyday.
i shoot our breakfast almost every weekend.
i can't have any reasonable word for the excuse, but just i love that.
i love my table and our breakfast on weekend, earnestly.

i cherish polaroid especially when i shoot food and plates and mugs on the table are haloed with the pretty morning sunray.
i expect the way how polaroid fuses the gorgeous light and the outlines of the objects.
it's all about the pleasure of the weekend morning.
sometimes it makes a lot of sparkling stars on the pictures unexpectedly, it is so lovely and makes me feel i'm the luckiest girl in the world on that morning.

i adore black and white film for its excellent capability of catching the moment memorably.
even though i shoot similar food events so many times, they all vary.
and whenever i look them again after a while or long after, they unexceptionally successfully remind me of what, when, where and how i loved the situations once.
b&w film is an a-1 memory reminder.

though i don't like color film very much recently, i still trust how slide film (positive film) catches and shows the fresh color on seasonal fruits and the nostalgic color and patterns of my collection of antique plates.

so, well, i apparently have a chronic addiction of taking food pictures.
and i think, i'd better to rethink about my food related portfolios in the web gallery to be series.
i hope you'll keep an eye out for the update of it which is supposed be done within days.

have a pretty monday!

August 20, 2010

blueberry pancakes came to my table!

(taken with sx-70 on px color film)

today's first word, tgi friday!!
i have been looking forward today since a peaceful monday went away.
on monday, i was kind of happy that another week had come peacefully.
but once monday was completed, i started to feel enormous fatigue.
i think i'm the happiest now this week.

btw, do you remember i made a list for blueberries at the end of the last week?
pancake breakfast was the one of things on the list, and i had that without missing.
last saturday was the pancake morning.

i seldom make pancakes.
only barely does the occasion occur with something pretty and intriguing.
this time, blueberry induced me to have a chance of pancake breakfast.
i was so thrilled as if i had been a kindergartener who is excited with a coming field trip next day that i was waiting for the morning to come with a package of new polaroid film which i got some days ago.
i've shot 2 or 3 in advance to be able to adopt a feedback to the "it" time.
c'mmon, blueberry pancakes!!

i was pretty much contented with how my blueberry pancakes looked, so i was quite busy to do two important things at a time, eating pancakes and taking pictures of them.
eat them, shoot them, eat them and shoot them....
there were a 35 mm camera (a slide film loaded), a twin lens camera (a b&w film loaded) and sx-70 on the floor around my chair.
never ending breakfast.
no one wouldn't oppose the diagnosis that i went crazy in that morning.
so don't i.

so, what do you think of a polaroid's new product?
here are those.
it's too much bluish, having a crucial unevenness, which is supposed to be eased gradually as time goes by, they say, but actually became more crucial 5 days later.
nevertheless, i love them.
especially with pretty blueberries shot on.
love is blind.

speaking about the recipe, i adopted the one from one of the most reliable cooks'.
i made mine with a half of the ingredients to serve 6 medium size pancakes for 2 people, used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white whole wheat flour and skipped the blueberry maple syrup but fold raw blueberries directly in the batter and sprinkled additional before serving.
also i cut the 1/3 cup sugar down to 2 tsp.
as i always love my baking goods to be slightly sweet, that's my way to make them with minimum amount of sugar and then put a bottle of honey or maple syrup on the side to taste.

please don't giggle at me about having used buttermilk for the first time.
i had known the name and how it's made, but i was just awkward to use that because i'd been a kinda vegan and eliminated all the dairy products for quite some time in the past years.
even after i decided to allow as minimum amount of them as possible to enter my diet, i prefer to use soy milk for my milk.
but this time, i obediently wanted to follow the original recipe which calls for buttermilk.
then i really liked the flavor and the smell of the pancakes with buttermilk.

tomorrow, it's saturday and there's still rest of buttermilk in the fridge.
i'm not sure if it's still consumable, but i'm hoping to have french toasts soaked in the buttermilk and eggs mixture for tomorrow breakfast.
and i'm thinking if there's another necessity of preparing a pack of polaroid film. :)

have a pretty weekend, girls and boys!

August 18, 2010

lingering regret

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome 64)

yesterday i tried to finish film-scanning of the slide films which had taken in italy last may.
i had tried to do that some time ago, but wasn't able to complete.
then i left and neglected those for a long time.
the idea it's just not right for them to be laid aside like old postcards came to me suddenly yesterday.
and now, who doesn't suppose a today's topic is about italy, again!

after a trip, almost all episodes become pretty.
even though about unwelcome happenings at the time, we come to be able to make a bitter smile for them and welcome anyhow as time goes.
although it's supposed to go like that way, if there's something to be still regretted in my last trip around italy, that is the dinner at a chinese restaurant in florence.
a chinese restaurant in florence, italy!

ok, let me explain about this, a kind of unwelcome happening.

the first day in florence, my husband and i were still ok though we were terribly tired and under the weather.
but on the second day, after we made a short excursion to pisa (yeah, that pisa which is famous for the leaning tower.) and came back to florence again in the early evening, we didn't have any available energy to do the next activity.
so we spent our rest of the evening on staying at a hotel room and drinking wine with the window open.
then it started to rain.
we were sipping glasses of wine silently with staring tails of cold rain.
our body gradually started to get cold and our minds were caught by misery.
we were completely alienated from italy.

then one good idea (seemingly, at that time) hit us.
"let's go to a chinese restaurant!"

going to a chinese restaurant and spooning hot simple soup with an intimate flavor was believed to be the best idea we could reach.
we were tired, miserable, physically sick and homesick.
though we are not chinese, but our food has similar taste.
and we didn't want to get japanese food in italy because we can easily get that in our home anytime and had known that we usually get disgusted with the quality and the quantity of the content when we eat out for japanese food.
so, chinese food is in kind of between special and ordinal.
it seemed to be a good compromise.

the hot soup which was most wanted was soaked into our cold bodies.
it was more than delicious.
and at the same time, it was other than delicious, too.
though i don't exactly define what "delicious" means, i don't think it's too much to say that it wasn't something admirable.
we ordered two cups of crab soup for each.
but we unfortunately were able to neither find any fragments of genuine crab meat nor taste the flavor of the stock of it.
famous little imitation crab made up for its appearance.
oh, please don't take this the wrong way.
it was satisfying enough because it was mercifully hot, but just not admirable.
and the price tells everything, right?
our soup cost something around 3~4 euros per cup.

things went on kind of the same way all through the dinner.
everything was ok, but far from remarkable.
though it was, having been able to get espresso with a chinese style jello (杏仁豆腐) as a desert was rather impressive. (i'd never expected chinese restaurants are able to serve authentic espresso!)
and the waitress girl, who was seemingly a daughter of a chef or an owner of this family-run restaurant, was favorably diligent and kind.
i was impressed with the girl's linguistic ability; she spoke perfect english for us, though she spoke chinese with her family and served other customers in italian.
oh, other customers!
they were a 2 people party and the only customers other than us, and they were very impressive, too.
they were supposedly a same-gender-and-having-a-big-age-difference male couple.
the atmosphere which surrounded them made us guess they were not a dad and a son, brothers, friends and co-workers but a dating couple.
the young one looked happy after having been offered a small present from the old one, according to the commentary made by my husband, who was sitting facing toward them as i was against.

sun peacefully set underneath the day as if there had been nothing hard or curious.
we walked along the river with the subtly changing sky.

we were supposed to return to the restaurant which we had lunch the day before for our dinner this night.
we had planned that and had been looking forward to do so, then we changed our mind at the last minute.

i don't mean to speak ill of the chinese restaurant at all.
but i just regret that we chose it over the very impressive italian restaurant even though we were in florence, italy.
the chinese restaurant was just not impressive enough to make our stay in florence memorable.
or i could say it's already been memorable somehow.
i just have to wait for the memory of this night to become pretty someday. :)

August 17, 2010

i'm on the middle of a seesaw.

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

i heard that today's high temperature is going to be quite close to 3 digits.
but now, it's not set in that condition,but still in the crisp and calm air of the morning.
and i'm deciding if i bake blueberry oat muffins or not.

sometimes a baking enthusiasm hits me suddenly, and i can't help baking something somehow once it sets on.
especially when ingredients are lying in the fridge or the pantry without any errands for them.

now i'm thinking of blueberry oat muffins.
i like blueberries and rolled oats.
and there are good amount of blueberries and rolled oats in the fridge and the pantry.
why not!!

but here's one big apprehension for doing that.
almost all the time after i eat baked goods, i have a nasty bloating problem.
mostly it comes with notorious water retention.
doesn't it sound disgusting?
yeah, it really is.
i'm not sure the exact reason for that, but there should be some agents which cause those problems on me in the ingredients.
i've already suspected flour and milk as both gluten allergy and lactose intolerance shows the symptoms of both.
but when i consume those separately, they don't affect me very much.
that's why i've been in trouble of persuading myself of a culprit.
and making things worst, i can't help baking in spite of this clueless state.

should i dissuade me from baking blueberry oat muffins?
or it should be allowed as an occasional pleasure? (i don't bake often at all, but very rarely.)
oh, i hear a tiny fairy is tweeting " you'd better to eat oatmeal" ......

August 16, 2010

the charms - the story of bread, vol.2

(taken with nikon f on rdplll, the same other 2 below.)

how was your weekend?
i hope yours were good although mine was not that good at all.
well, nothing terrible happened, but just the matter of the mood.
i'm relieved having another peaceful monday today.

continuing the last post, today's topic is something about bread.
not solidly about bread, but around bread.

the top picture was taken in one rainy morning in last april.
i was about to eat my breakfast by myself in my mom's home in japan.
on that day, i got a new 2 digit number for my age, and i was not very glad about that.
not necessarily because i didn't think i need an additional year on my age, but the circumstance having surrounded me at that time was hard one.
mom was still in the hospital, her 4 year old chihuahua seemed to have been very nervous about new creatures who had started to nestle on the 2nd floor 4 days ago, in my room on the 2nd floor there are 3 fragile cats, who had been born seemingly a week ago and left mercilessly in a neighbor open land, and found and rescued by me, and it rained coldly.
i had been banging my head on what i could do for them before i left japan a week later.
and i was sitting before a toast with strawberry jam for my breakfast on my 30 and something-th birthday.
it was indescribably merciful.

my dad loved strawberry jam.
my mom loved it as well despite her bit more favor for orange marmalade.
and i have been crazy about strawberry jam straight through my life.
we shared a jar of strawberry jam.
the fragrant smell, the tartness and the sweetness of it connected us tight together as a family.
in this way, strawberry jam knocs me on the spot cuddled with a warm blanket whenever it's on my tongue.
having a lightly burnt toast with butter smeared and a good amount of strawberry jam spread is the most right thing, i thought, to have been done on a special day.
when i bit it, i was sure i was cerebrated though i was lonely.

i had a small bowl of home-made yogurt (as my mom has kept culturing her own yogurt, i wasn't able to root it up and kept doing that on behalf of her during her hospitalization) and apples with the toast.
and, this spoon.

when i was a child, mom spooned food into my mouth with very this spoon.
when i had to leave the home over the marriage, i decided to leave this spoon though i wanted to bring it with me.
i needed to leave something that can be my trace and welcome me back home whenever i make a visit once a year or two.

i was devastated on my last birthday, but i was happy enough with this pretty breakfast.
and the charms turned out to have worked great.
mom was released from the hospital in the evening on that day, two of three cats were successfully adopted one after another by kind people as a result of a keen advertising.
and last one should cuddle up to my mom's lap now. :)

p.s. i know that i've been often writing about my apart family and the reminiscence of it recently.
and that's true too much sentimentalism is something stinky and tasteless, isn't it?
but i appreciate if you are kind enough to allow me to have been.
next i'll write a more tasteful one, pinky swear. :))

August 13, 2010

we are bread people. - the story of bread, vol.1

(taken with nikon f on tmy400, developed and printed by me, the same for the one below.)

i'm really impressed that i've kept posting here almost everyday recently.
blogging here has successfully been promoted to a daily routine!
or i may take this as a summer homework for now. ;P

btw, this morning i was thinking what i would eat for my breakfast.
i wasn't ready for it, though it was really a rare case for me.
because i'm a breakfast person (i even would believe in the god of breakfast, did ever exist), i usually am very ready by the time each morning begins.
but this morning was a rare exception.

as i had told you yesterday that i was going to have blueberry shake today for each my breakfast or lunch, i decided to have that for breakfast.
then that made me think about what i would have with it.
having a bagel with shake seemed to be a little bulky (though i eat a bagel almost every morning), and i was at a loss for a substitute.
while i was preparing a cup of darjeeling tea (another daily basis) and blueberry shake, my thought reached the idea of having a (or two) slice of toast.
i grabbed a slice of bread from a freezer and set directly it in a pop-up toaster. (my freezer has a good stock of some kinds of bread constantly. ;p)

when i gave a bite to a bit burnt toast, the crunchy and fragrant surface made me ponder how i have been fond of bread since a child.
yes, i was a bread girl.
and so am i as well now.

when i firstly recognized my food preference in my life (probably 3 or 4 years old?), my family's breakfast had already been bread and something.
and i have never expected my breakfast to be rice and something, which is quite typical in japan.
the type of bread changed one after another.
soft butter rolls, raisin bread, sugary pastries, crunchy toasts, and so on.
our family used to live in the same bag of bread.

that's why i eat bread for my breakfast even though i stay in japan as a little hiatus of the life in the u.s.

the top picture is of the bread i liked the best during the stay in japan in last april.
hard crust, very lean dough, pieces of walnuts and cheese kneaded in; perfectly artisan!
the picture below is of my mom and her favorite.
soft and elastic dough, lots of walnuts kneaded in, smell of milk and eggs; her never changing taste.

we still love to start our mornings with bread, and making fuss over bread through an international telephone call or skype is our pleasure, too. :))

so, today is friday, 13.
being afraid of something cursed, hope you all have a nice weekend. :))
i'll give a post of another story of bread next week.
see you.

August 12, 2010

another 2 pounds of blueberries

(taken with contax rts on fuji superia 200)

i noticed that i've inclined to eat more berries this spring and summer.
it's a rare case for me.
i love fall and winter fruits, like figs, persimmons and apples the best of all fruits.
and when it's out of the season of those, i usually eat bananas.
so, i didn't think i liked the tartness of fruits very much.

i come up with idea for the reason why i'm in such mood (of liking berries).
maybe because my 1-year-old girl friend looked so pretty when she forgot herself with eating strawberries when she visited my home in the past early spring.
or maybe because my 63-year-old girl friend is always eating cheerios (one of cold cereals) and strawberries for her daily basis.
i kind of adored those inclinations toward something small and pretty, then berries stood as a candidate for me as well, i guess.
i've been buyin a pack of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries one after another as soon as one has gone.
and now, 2 pounds of blueberries are in my fridge. (needless to say, i've already eaten some.)

here's a small list of plans for blueberries.
1, weekend blueberry pancake breakfast (buttermilk is already waiting for its time in the fridge, though i usually don't buy any dairy milk.)
2, make blueberry shake for friday breakfast or lunch (with bananas and soy milk)
3, buy another 2 pounds, then zip and put it in a freezer (for the future pleasure)
4, take pictures of them on polaroid (the most must)

have pretty rest of weekdays!

p.s. fyi, i bought the embroidered cloth in the pic at a flea market in orvieto, italy on one sunny saturday in '09.

August 11, 2010

how i liked japanese food last april.

(taken with nikon f on rdplll, same for all 6 photos below)

do you still remember that i told you on the past weekend that i would publish a long post sometime this week?
here's the one.
as i completed writing and saved it last week, the expression is kind of old now.
but i don't dare to amend that.
and i'm sorry that recent my post's topics fly here to there in the world.
yesterday from italy, and today from japan!

hi. (this was supposed to be said to you last friday.)
i've just come across a bunch of slide films i took when i was in japan last april.
i went back to japan by myself and stayed there for roughly 3 weeks to take care of my mom who got an operation with one of her knee.
because of the nature of the body part, i didn't have to be much nervous about that (i didn't think a bad knee would kill my mom), and that made me enjoy food life in japan!
lucky me. :))

as i've been proud of myself as a food fanatic (is this really honorable?), i seriously thought about the possibility of what, when and how much i could eat during the stay.
then, one day something merciless hit me badly, and i lost such my ambition for food.
well, i won't tell you about the incident which honorably overcame my appetite here.
anyway i enjoyed my food life in japan at least until then.

and today, i want to introduce 7 of my favorite food which i ate and took a pic of to you with some episode.

1 (top): hukashi-imo/ steamed japanese yum potatoes

this is a kind of snack or treat which we can easily prepare.
they are just steamed and cut into a bite size and sprinkled with pinch of sea salt ant roast and ground sesame.
i've loved this so much since a child.
on the day when i reached my home in japan, the thoughtful neighbor lady who my mom keeps in touch so close with brought these yum potatoes and something more to welcome me back.
the yum in the pic was the kind called as "naruto-kintoki", and this kind is famous for its golden color flesh and the sweetness as "kintoki" part of the name suggests.
another part "naruto" suggests its cropped area. (naruto is one part of tokushima prefecture.)
i love the simpleness and tastefulness of this food.

2: ann (anko)-toast/ a toast spread with sweet red been paste (the right one of the two)

i'm not sure if this is popular, but this formula is surely adopted from the sweet bread usually sold in convenience stores or supermarkets.
some people would like to have this with smearing a margarine before spreading red bean paste, or topping with whipped cream.
the red bean paste in this pic is not much paste like, and it has a lot of solid red beans in it.
it depends on how you cook your red bean paste or what brand's can of red bean paste you choose if you don't have time to prepare by yourself.
the one in the pic was canned, and i'm not sure the brand name as i incidentally found that lying in a pantry.
when i was about to spread the paste directly from the can, my mom warned me that it might not be sweet enough as she always simmer that with adding some more sugar.
but actually it was deadly sweet by itself and i doubted if my mom's taste bud really works!

3: ichigo/ strawberries

you don't need an explanation for this, do you?
yeah, simply strawberries.
but i want to say out loud, japanese strawberries are totally different from those of the u.s.!!
they are much smaller, juicier and sweeter!
to my surprise, every time i go back to japan, i find some new kinds of strawberries newly produced recently as a result of farmer's eager effort of hybridization.
sometimes they are enormously big, but still surprisingly sweet.
i guess that japanese strawberry makers are all mad at experiment. ;)

4: ichigo-daifuku/ japanese style cake with a strawberry
so you need an explanation this time, don't you?
"daifuku" (the last part of the name) tells the style of this cake.
as most of japanese traditional style cakes are so, this one is consist of the skin part and the filling part unexceptionally.
the skin, which is made from rice flour, is very elastic and stretchy.
the filling is usually red bean paste or white bean paste, either smooth or rough type.
this ichigo-daifuku is the seasonal special version of daifuku, and has a strawberry in its very center.
the ones in the pic was given to my mom and me from one of her friends when my mom was hospitalized.
i liked the combination of the sweetness of smooth white bean paste and the tartness of a strawberry.
the one thing we had to worry about was that this cake didn't last long.

oh, sorry for the ugly yellow line in this pic.
i don't know why i got that.
also i remember that my mom explanatorily put the red paper which the name of this cake is written right next to the cakes.
thanks mom, she's always cooperative to my photography!

5: hanami/ the party under cherry blossoms

it's not really the name of food, but of the event.
this is one of the traditional japanese event to cerebrate the arrival of spring and the beauty of cherry blossoms.
most japanese like this, and sometimes this event are made most of as an excuse for eating and drinking outside.
this event is not necessarily held in the daytime but at night also.

my mom and i found something prepared at a supermarket's deli corner, and had the event just after we visited the temple where my father's bone is held.
as the park we had the event in is next to the temple, we felt and talked as if my dad had been participating in the event though he is actually not in this world but in the heaven.
we were so glad to be able to do that, because my father used to love this pretty event when he was alive and we used to do this a lot.

6: sakura-mochi/ a japanese style cake with a pickled cherry blossom leaf

of all japanese traditional cakes, i like this one the most.
basically the formula of the cake is same as daifuku (4).
as for this one, skin part is more thick and have a texture of sticky rice as the recipe for this calls sticky rice or an expensive version of sticky rice (called as "domyoji-ko").
filling is either of smooth or rough style of red bean paste.
the most remarkable character of this cake is that the pickled cherry leaf wrapped the cake part up.
you can either eat or leave the leaf.
i do both depending on the toughness of the leaf. ( if it's softly edible enough, i eat it.)
the subtle balance of the saltiness of the leaves and the sweetness of the cake is so irresistible!!

oh, don't you think this is in a similar theory of the "dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves; one of famous greek food)" ?

7: soramame/ broad beans or fava beans

i ilke this very much!!
of all the pea and bean families, i love this the most.
so did my dad.
whenever i eat this, i can't help remember how he loved this.
i'd like to eat this with very light flavor of salt or soy sauce.
though i was simmering broad beans with slightly sweet soy sauce flavor soup in the pic, i also love to have this boiled lightly in salted hot water.

oh, it's a long post.
sorry for the kind readers who have been with me recently, and i so appreciate you all.
i didn't expect to write this long today, but i did after all.
because the topic is related to japan, i must have been excited.
and though i didn't mean to be nostalgic with my dad's remembrance, i utterly was.
as i live in the u.s. for ten years, most of japanese food are in the taste of memory...

hi, again :)
see, this is a too long post!
probably the first longest or so ever.
thank you for being with me!

August 10, 2010

this dinner; another way to enjoy the trip

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome64, the same other 3 below.)

yesterday's post induces me to write something about the food affair i had in italy on another day.
i'm utterly in the mood of reminiscing, yearning and daydreaming of italy!!

yesterday i talked about an amazing ristorante i visited in florence, and today i want to introduce another pleasure of the food affair in matera.
matera is the famous cavernous city in south italy. (it's situated in basilicata region.)
my husband and i stayed two nights there at the very beginning of the trip in last may.
i think i'm very good at searching for nice and affordable hotels, and the hotel we stayed in matera was the another proof to tell how much i'm such.

hanging around the town with favorite cameras with keeping my eyes on restaurants for the night is fun.
or otherwise, being tired away from the hotel with some bulky plastic bags of wine bottles, packages of fresh veggies and fruits, some kinds of wedges of cheese and an artisan bread for the dinner party planned to be held at the balcony of the hotel is fun, too!

here's one example we had in matera.
we bought 3 pieces of different kinds of focaccias and a bag of taralli (famous southern italian ring-shaped crackers, i love these soooo much!) from a local bakery, two plastic bowls of salad, a package of cherry tomatoes and olives and two bottles of local wine from a grocery store.

dinner was ready at the balcony in front of the room.
though the weather was cloudy and mildly windy, and the temperature was a bit cold, i wanted to stay there as long as possible because of this panoramic view!

as our dinner party began rather early in the evening, i'm not sure if i stayed outside till this dark.
i wished if this had happened in the early summer and imagined of the smell and warmth of the air the summer would bring.

with this calm and serene surrounding, the night fell upon us.
we spent our time sipping the rest of wine, taking pictures and feeling that we are amidst of the vacation.
doesn't it sound pretty?

so, this dinner, which we often have in our trips, must be another way to enjoy the trip!

August 9, 2010

a miraculous victory

(taken with nikon f on rdplll, other 2 below were the same.)
another monday and new week.

this morning i just came across some photos taken in italy last may.
whenever i look again a bunch of pictures taken during the past trips, my eyes are caught by ones related to food or cats.
today, i was caught by food ones.

today's pictures are from florence, italy.
when i visited there with my husband last may, we had a terrific lunch accidentaly.
the street was not busy, that's why we became returning customers at the hotel which is situated 2~3 next to this ristorante.

when we reached florence around noon after taking about-1-hour-train-trip from bologna, we were terribly tired. (because of the bad air quality of big cities, the cold and bad weathers and the literal tiredness.)
so were we, after we made check-in at the kind of intimate hotel, we went out for lunch which would be won effortlessly but still be something.
yeah, i always suppose that a terrific meal is supposed to be "won" after some kind of effort and research, especially the situation occurs in an unfamiliar place.
against my belief, we were unfortunately luck of energy in florence.
so, after we left the hotel we entered in the ristorante which was be able to be reached with only a few steps.

miraculously, we did win effortlessly!
everything here was more than ok; the elegant decoration inside, porchini risotto and house red wine, the friendly chefs and waitresses, and time flew so slowly and decently.
i was totally stunned with the risotto.
because i'm originally from japan where people mainly eat rice for their starch, and i was in florence on the 5th day of the trip and was eager to eat rice, especially in a way carefully cooked by a skilled chef and quickly brought from kitchen to my table in order to be eaten at the right temperature.
every my stern ideal was easily cleared at this ristorante!
i regretted again and again that we had passed by this ristorante last year.
now i know that if we visit florence again, we'll be returning customers of this ristorante!

lovely chefs at ristorante "nerone". :))
i'm sorry about the blur, but your kitchen was too challenging for a slow speed film! ;P