January 27, 2011

Missing cafe days

Good evening.
I'm watching an NBA game on TV and considering which team Boston Celtics or Portland Blazer I should root for with drinking wine.
As I used to live in Portland and stil love the city sooooo much, I can't decide that though I usually root for Celtics.
I like Celtics, love their green.
(FYI, I really love to watch sports games on TV though most of you might not imagine.)

Well, I'm enjoying my last night of being alone ( with 3 cats) this way, and at the same time I'm a bit missing my very last cafe day and expecting a near future cafe day.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that my husband has been in Singapore for about 2 weeks now and now he's supposed to be heading back to the home now.

Below is how we enjoyed our last cafe day on very sunny early fall day.

I was extremely pleased with a tag for our order.
It was a hand drawn cat!

He's so ready for his order with a bottle of spicy sauce.

Don't know why, but I love taking pictures of someone's table just left.

Him very ready to eating and his favorite dish, Spanish wrap dish. ( 2 whole wheat tortilla with scrambled eggs, cheese, avocados, tomatoes and side of fruits.)

I'd prefer going with the lightest dish of the cafe, whole wheat toast and fruits.

At this cafe, water is always served in a jar.
That's just cool.

This place is filled with a lot of junk (like signs no more effective nowadays).
And I love boy's curly hair very much.

It was as unbelievably sunny as I can't remenber now as I've been having a lot of rainy and cloudy days lately, and I can't see this picture straight because it is too bright!!
Could you get me a pair of sunglasses, someone please?

January 26, 2011

A happy finding

As my husband and I are originally from Japan, we've consistently followed the traditional way to celebrate a new year's day by having a special feast even after we came to the U.S. 11 years ago.
The picture above is that of 2009.
And today I came across an interesting article whose content is about some interesting soup.
As our special feast for a new year's day contain the one (most left orange one in the picture) which is based on the similar idea as it, I was so pleased to find the article.
In the plate in the picture, I topped mashed sweet potato which contain juice of squeezed orange and a bit of Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) on a sliced orange.

I don't remember exact when, but I came up with this idea several years ago to substitute for the menu which is usually included in the traditional special new year's feast.
It is so-called "Kuri-kinton".
"kuri" is a Japanese name for a chestnut and "kinton" is the name given to mashed Japanese sweet potato.
So "Kuri-kinton" is the dish the both are mixed , and this dish is usually quite sweet because "kuri" candied in advance and "kinton" has a lot of sugar in it.
When I was a child, I hated this dish because it was too sweet for me.
And I also couldn't understand why this dish was dished up with other salty and savory dishes in one plate as if it had been a side dish as well.
For me it should've treated as a desert rather than a side dish.

Anyway, in the U.S. it is difficult to get chestnuts and Japanese sweet potatos (Japanese ones are different in color and texture from those of U.S.'s) in a good timing, I need to replace that side dish with something new that I can make with the ingredients which are easy to get here for me in the end of December.
Thus I came up with my new creation, "Orange-kinton".
It is definitely for adults, because I use sugar modestly to bring out the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes (actually I use honey not sugar) and drizzle one or two tablespoons of Grand Marnier.
My kinton is kinda dip, and we eat our Orange-kinton like we eat "chips and bean dip" or "strawberry and melted chocolate".
I have to wait this side dish ( "Kuri-kinton" or its sort) became one of my favorite new year's feast till my creation showed up.

We've been pleased with this new version of "kinton", I just haven't been sure if this is acceptable for other people or not.
Because it's not Japanese or American, and the idea was accidentally introduced to the world, I was just curious about that.
But today, I made sure that it's OK.
I don't know how many people accept or are pleased with this idea, but at least one cook has adopted and introduced it to the world, and it's enough for me to be happy. :))
(The second picture is the version of 2010's new year's day.)

January 25, 2011

Crazy about eggs

I've adored eggs since I was a child.
And it's not an exaggeration to say that almost only protein I could eat in my childhood was eggs.
Though there's the time I had been apart from them for a while (4~5 years), the most powerful attraction which pulled me back to the normal diet from macrobiotic/vegan was eggs.

I know I've sometimes made the repetition of this kind of confession here.
So some of you may have been tired of hearing the same word from me.
I'm sorry for that, but as eggs have quite a big roll in my everyday life, I'll even do this sometime in future.

When I eat eggs, it is mostly at lunch time.
Since I've been very concerning about my husband's cholesterol level (he once had a much worse number than we'd been afraid.), I'd rather eat eggs for lunch by myself than for dinner together.

And when I eat my eggs for my lunch, I have the urge to take some pictures of them almost all the time.
The only thing makes me feel awkward to do it is my inner voice to tell me " hey, you took the same picture 3 days ago!"

In spite of that inner voice, I can't help but take a picture of it.
And even worse, I'm enticed to take another picture when I break an egg and find its yolk is very pretty yellow.

This way, I have a lot of same sort of pictures of my lunch with eggs.

Do you think this is kinda addiction?

January 24, 2011

Winter prettiness

If you have some time and bravery to wade across wilderness in spite of the harsh winter weather,
you'll find something pay off.
You won't get only satisfaction of good exercise outside, but also the feeling of admiring how wild animals live and enjoy their life in the midst of harshness.
The moment that we come to know that we're the same creature which live on this earth as those animals is simply precious, isn't it?

And I think, winter is just such season tells us a lot.

Love your winter and neighborhood. :)

January 21, 2011

My 2011

Today's title isn't necessarily suggesting that I'm going to talk about something like new year's resolutions or that sort.
And also, all of you know that it's too early to look back the year this early.
I told you that I've finally started to feel a big Monday has come, and I know I'll have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,.... and another big weekend in 2011.
I've already felt I lived so hard and long in 2011.
I feel I don't need Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,.... and even weekend this year.
Too much things already happened and I'm tired to be worried and crushed.
Once it went, then another come so soon.
So, I can't help but ask someone invisible what the heck day today is.
Then I hear faintly but surely, "Oh, well..., it's January 21, .... still the start of 2011." someone awkwardly answers.

I know, I and all the people around the world are still at the start of the year.
Some people may be full of hope and will for the year.
And some people may already have been discouraged to go on further more, just like me.
The thought that I may not be the only person who feel like this, and, things go just they are in spite of our hope or expectation ease my discouraged soul in some degree.

I'm sorry I'm talking this kind of profound feeling without touching any detail.
I just can't do that now.
You know, once you make a negative word over the thing which is now ongoing, you'll be possibly trapped by the magic of the word.
All the things that I or such people can do now is just watching closely what's coming next and never give up to work with that.
Maybe, at the real end of the year, I'll be able to talk to you what exactly went on at the very beginning of the year.
Time is simply necessary, right?

January 19, 2011

Our new year's days

19 days have passed since 2011 started, and now I'm feeling a big Monday finally.
Once Mondays have come after weekends, I always feel some kind of relief and calm.
Weekend is almost always fun and filled with something exciting, but it drives me to somewhere restless and unfamiliar.
Sometime from around Christmas till now, those days are a big weekend and today is a big Monday for me.

Anyway I'm ready to look back and talk about how the big weekend was.

In top picture, it shows our traditional new year's feast this year.
They are so-called "Osechi-ryori" and "Ozoni", and they're so traditionally Japanese, they always need me to make an effort to prepare. (Obtaining necessary ingredients is the most difficult and important part.)
I always complain about that, but I somehow manage to serve to my husband whose one of favorite food(meal) is this feast.

Well, in the picture you can see my husband and the oldest (8yrs) and our first cat.
I don't exactly know what they were doing on the sofa, maybe dancing together, I took this without any intention.
They were just cute and full of peace.
We took a family(2 people + 3 cats) picture some hours before this, which has been our custom for a new year's day, on this sofa.

Our newest family member, Maple is looking through the window.
Every cats like that place, but Maple dominates there.
She is the bossiest cat I've ever met and other 2 cats are subdued, so she can enjoy the fresh look of the outside all by herself.

My husband and I did a word game over and over with some tea and snacks.
As we had been so restless over a big concern which hit our heart devastatingly, all we could do to spend time without collapsing to cry was a word game. (I don't exaggerate at all, but it might have been only me who inclined to cry.)
"Scrabbles" was really nice for us.
I made one "bingo" and that victory brought me a faint but certain hope for near future in the midst of that situation.

I finally opened the Japanese snack I brought back to the U.S. last April.
It's so-called "Yo-kan", which is one of traditional Japanese sweets.
It's made of adzuki beans, sugar, agar agar and a bit of salt. (Please imagine very hard version of Jello.)
The one we ate this time had the enhanced salty flavor, and it really went well with authentic green tea.
Oh please don't worry about the expiration date if you're concerned with its long period of having been left in the pantry!
It was the end of January 2011, so it's barely OK. ;P

Milk's pretty face suddenly appeared up on the table when we were eating the rest of Osechi-ryori for our dinner on a new year's day.
We burst into a big laugh because she was as if she had claimed us that we should had invited her for sharing the feast together.
She's always been such full of playfulness, and entertained us a lot regardless of her unintended thoughts.

Thus our new years days have gone, and we've gone back to the swing of everyday.
Happy new year and happy unchanged everyday!

January 18, 2011

A change has adopted.

I've just come up with the idea that I may adopt a change for this blog.
After 2 years of blogging here, I realized that my everyday life is not necessarily related to something around the table.
the events take place around the table are just part of my life.
Since I'm not a vigorous cook nor a fashionable kitchen prop decorator, I'm sometimes at a loss to talk about. (only very sometimes, because I've talked about a lot of random things ever here.)

Though the stories talked here have included many different things, I mostly uploaded the pictures only around the table.
I've kept the rule strictly for the blog name's sake.
But now I just wonder if I really have to stick to the rule and if so, what's the significant meaning to do so.
I took and will take a lot of pictures at somewhere other than around the table.
Like around the fire place, by the window, and outside the home.
I want to share those pictures that make me happy with you here.

So, from now on, I'll adopt a small change for this blog.
I won't change the blog title or main parts of this space, but each post will have more pictures in bigger size.
As you've already known or just noticed, all my pictures were taken with old manual cameras that I adore, and it won't change, either.
So the change is as possible as minimum, just the quantity and the size of pictures, and the widened variety of the topics.

I promise you'll find more fun here!

a white coffee filter holder

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome 64)

it's been rather warm lately here.
i even see the sun sometimes shines modestly.
i appreciate those days as a treat in the midst of winter days.

when i took this picture in december, i was so excited with this old coffee filter holder.
as i don't like to make coffee with a coffee maker, i usually prepare my coffee by using a coffee filter holder.
i used to use a very cheap black plastic one sold in a supermarket for $2~3, and i hadn't been very happy with that.
because it has only one hole in the bottom, which means it drips coffee very very slowly and serves coffee not hot but rather warm, and it lacks attractiveness visually.
so i was very pleased to find this old white porcelain one at the local antique shop.
it had a price tag that said it's from 1960's as well as the price of $8.
it's an old melitta.
i'm not sure if mine is really that old or not, but i'm just fine with it irrespective of that matter.
because it is simply pretty!

btw, i liked the motion picture of the melitta's top page that i've linked above.
isn't it cute?
i want to enjoy my coffee like that. :)

January 12, 2011

the guess game

(taken with nikon f on rdplll)

have you ever experienced this happening that you took a picture of some food, then after finishing some rolls of films including the one which you took the picture of "some food" on you shipped them to some lab to have them developed, you waited some days to have them reached, developed and returned to you, and when you finally see the slides or prints you can't come up with the idea what the "some food" is?
yes, i myself have.
a lot.

so the today's picture is among the ones.
but fortunately i can come up with the idea.
it's oatmeal topped with pan fried egg white with figs and onion.
to get the idea, i had to look closely the relation between the pictures taken before and after this one, and recall what food i adored most at that time.
now, i don't adore this food at all because of the season and my taste.

since i only do film photography, this kind of happenings are so common, and i enjoy this guess game all the time.
i even find the significance of film photography in it. :))

January 7, 2011

my first meal of the year

(taken with polaroid 690 on 600 film)
hi, friends.
i know i'm too late to say this, but let me say, happy new year to everyone!
my husband has been back to the work after the new year's holidays and i'm going back to the swing of everyday.

we had a lot of events and incidents over the holidays and had rather been out of mind.
we missed the days without fear and tears, but was brave to make a new step to be settled in the new situation surrounding us.
i don't think the new year has already failed, at all.
we try to make another year full of happiness.

by the way, our first meal of 2011 was pancakes in spite of the apprehension for the new year's feast felt at the end of last year with so much pressure. :)
the feast was fortunately and successfully ready to be served on new year's day, but we were not in the mood to eat them for our breakfast at the very early in the morning.
so i made pancakes.
and they were so nice.
and pretty. :))

bananas were in the basket on the kitchen counter, butter milk, which i don't usually stock, was in the fridge, and i recently made a big decision over if i was affordable to pay for about $20 for a 32 oz bottle of maple syrup.
everything favored pancakes utterly.
and i got a gift of the recipe of the ultimate pancakes on the very first day of the year.
i tried some time by changing some of ingredients, and i finally made sure this is it.
it is an unanticipatedly pleasant gift, isn't it?
i'll never look back with this ultimate recipe which was created after the incident of spilling butter milk over the counter. ;P
and, i want to share this recipe with you wishing your happiness and yumminess of the year.

=puffy fluffy pancakes=

yield: 4~5 large(app. 4" size) pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (white whole wheat flour will do)
11/2 tablespoon cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

11/8-11/4cup butter milk *
1 large egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter (melted and mildly heated)

1, set a pan over medium to medium high heat.
2, prepare wet ingredients except butter in a small bowl.
3, prepare dry ingredients in a large bowl.
4, pour wet ingredients mix into dry ingredients mix and combine lightly with spatula. (never overmix, small lumps here and there are totally fine.)
5, pour butter onto the dough and fold in 2 or 3 times.
6, ladle the dough onto the heated pan and flip them over when you see a lot of small bubbles on the surface approximately 4~5 minutes after.
7, when you smell good fragrant and find prettily swollen pancakes, now's the time to dig in!

* i tried with soy milk instead of butter milk before, and it turned out to be bulky and too moist, way far from "puffy fluffy". if you want to try with soy milk or regular milk, i recommend you to dilute them with some water to reduce their density though i don't guarantee.