Bachan Beef Bowl with Komoboko and Nori
Bachan Beef Bowl with Komoboko and Nori
It’s September. I can hardly believe it. August was so amazingly wonderful, full of gratitude, celebration, family and friends—I miss it already. I was able to go on eight weeks of outdoor hikes with my dad, a family vacation to Mammoth Lakes and to really jumpstart my kids’ yoga business, Little Heroes Yoga, as well as participate in an amazing business course about kids’ yoga called TBoKY The Biz of Kids Yoga by Jodi Komitor. I’m so grateful to have had a wonderful summer, probably one of the best ones of my life. And I’m equally grateful to have a really fantastic fall full of kids’ yoga fun lined up.
But I wanted to highlight some of the amazing food adventures that I had in August. First of the series will be Amaya and Grandma’s birthday celebration dinner in Mammoth. I spent a total of seven beautiful days in the Eastern Sierras this year. I could have stayed for an entire month, but that’s another story. I truly am home when I go to Mammoth; the fresh air, beautiful scenery and just slowed-down pace of everything, makes it the perfect vacation for me. I’ve been going to Mammoth for my whole life and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
It’s so great to see the next generation of little fisherwomen come up to the Sierras with us. We really caught a ton of fish this year. I caught two pretty good sized ones and a bunch of little ones the whole time we were there. We went to a couple of new lakes: Little Virginia and Big Virginia and Upper and Lower Twin in Bridgeport, and even saw a quick hail storm.
Now, back to Amaya and Grandma’s birthday dinner. Well, the two of them have back to back birthdays and kick off our month of celebration. My sister said she’ll never have to get my mom another birthday present, mom’s present just came a day late. My mom’s birthday is August 14th and Amaya, my youngest niece, was born August 15th. My sister, brother-in-law, Maleeya and Amaya came up to Mammoth to celebrate my mom’s birthday and Amaya’s first birthday, which made it extra special for my mom and dad.
We had an amazing time celebrating. I barbequed for Amaya’s birthday and we all enjoyed this fun home-cooked meal.
BBQ Tri Tip
Boiled Fingerling Potatoes
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Birthday cake and big smiles all around. Thank you for sharing with us.
A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I cooked for his dad’s going away party. He’ll be out of state for work for some time so we decided it would be nice to get his friends together and enjoy company while he was still in town. Being in the military is a difficult profession and I can’t imagine what our country would be without the help of so many men and women all over the world who sacrifice so much for our safety.
So for this event we had two chefs and one kitchen. Brandon and I have worked together in some kitchen during various times for the last 7 years professionally, at home, or at someone else’s home/event. You can currently visit Brandon at Blush Restaurant and/or Blind Tiger in Santa Barbara, where he is the Executive Chef.
Though most of my time is spent cooking for my family and teaching yoga, it’s nice to prepare a large meal for wonderful people. We decided to have a massive taco fiesta. Our first go with the barbeque ended up not too successful because the grill wasn’t in working order, so we went for the simple charcoal grill that I’m used to and I grilled the food while Brandon cooked inside. I think overall it was a great team effort. Safe travels, Andy!
Chopped Seasoned Pork
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Zucchini
Spanish Bay Shrimp
Mixed Vegetable Sofritas
Chorizo Bean Dip
Salsa with Green Chiles and Garlic
Tortillas and Toppings
Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches
Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple
Rocky Road Pudding Pie
Rocky Road Pudding Pie Recipe
Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate pudding in Oreo crust with marshmallows and chocolate dusted roasted almonds
1 Oreo Crust
½ cup cocoa dusted roasted almonds
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Place cold heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Whip with a hand mixer till thick whipped cream forms, no powdered sugar necessary. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.
1 small box Hersheys white chocolate pudding
1 ¾ cup whole milk
Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.
1 small box Hersheys dark chocolate pudding
1 ¾ cup whole milk
Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.
Pour 1/2 of the white chocolate pudding into the bottom of the Oreo crust. Top with ½ cup of marshmallows and pour ½ the dark chocolate pudding on top. Mix the remaining pudding together and fold in the whipped cream till smooth. Top pie with the mixture and smooth into a mound. Top with the remaining marshmallows and cocoa dusted almonds. Refrigerate for one hour or more.
April flew by (actually, May is flying by too…the whole year). I can’t believe it, but it was a really great month full of really fun and exciting happenings for our family. Maleeya turned 3 on April 8th and we had a really fun birthday party for her at the park. About 50 people attended and I made probably the closest amount of food for the size party, without there being a week’s worth of leftovers. We had a really sweet Minnie Mouse theme and Maleeya dressed the part in her Minnie Mouse dress and awesome party hat and crafts made by my sister. We are really getting into this birthday party hosting with all the crafts, food and fun. To my surprise—well, not really—I did some kids’ entertainment: yoga, freeze dance, three-legged races, jump rope hopping, parachute and giant balloons. The kids had a great time and so did everyone else. We are so blessed and I couldn’t be more grateful for another amazing birthday celebration! Happy 3rd birthday Maleeya, Auntie loves you!
Kale Salad with Raisins, Cranberries and Walnuts
Macaroni Salad with Mixed Vegetables and Red Wine Vinaigrette
Potato Salad with Diced Egg, Celery, Green Onion and Pickles
Roasted Turkey or Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Vegan Vegetable Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, and Herb and Garlic Olive Oil
Italian Cold Cut Sandwiches: Capicola, Mortadella, Salami, Ham, Provolone Cheese, Red Peppers, and Pepperoncini
Minnie Mouse Mixed Fruit Platters
Veggie Platter and Dip
Meat and Cheese Platters
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you enjoyed some time for reflection, tradition, family and friends during the holidays and carry that hopeful good cheer throughout the year. The first of the year is a special time for my family. We share in the traditions of Japanese New Year or Oshogatsu and since I’ve been little, we’ve had a family gathering eating traditional and some non-traditional foods together as we celebrate the New Year, over food, fun and togetherness.
These traditions are very important to me. They remind me of my childhood, especially of the times when I used to stay with my Bachan from Christmas until New Year’s. Bachan would spend days preparing different dishes, allowing things to simmer and pickle, while cutting vegetables into different shapes and making food I’d only see on New Year’s Day. Though some of the dishes on the table today are not the same as the ones we had when I was little, I try to incorporate some of those traditional dishes into the Jūbako Japanese stackable decorative dishes and we have a large spread of food and invite friends and family over.
Beef and Chicken Teriyaki with homemade teriyaki sauce
Chicken Yakitori with peanut sauce
Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork
Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (mom’s contribution)
Pork & Shrimp Wontons (mom & dad’s contribution)
Bachan Jello (mom’s contribution)
Grilled Sake and Mirin Shrimp
Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)
Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)
Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)
Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)
5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)
Ozoni (New Year Japanese soup) (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shiitake Mushroom, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)
Twice cooked Artichokes with soysauce mayo
I hope each of you had a blessed and beautiful holiday season and have a peaceful, joyful and thankful new year!
After a week of working hard, teaching yoga and witnessing the effects of the holidays on children in my classes, it was really interesting to see the shift in their attention and mood, as well as in their parents’ or caretaker’s moods. When the holidays come up, energy is either very low or extremely high and temperament can be extremely unpredictable. It’s been a good beginning of the holiday season, as I remember to carry a heightened sense of awareness, a commitment to staying with change and constantly reminding myself to embrace the present moment in my teaching, practice, and life.
I am so grateful that I was able to take time to cook a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Sometimes we don’t really get to all spend very much time together but it’s always nice to share the holidays with my family because they mean so much to me. I took on the cooking. We had our traditional spread of dishes and mom and dad took care of some of the other big items so my oven didn’t have too much wait time between sides. Granny, Maleeya and my sister did an amazing job with decorations and clean up. It’s always a team effort with everyone and I’m so grateful for my awesome family. My brother and sister-in-law brought a delicious pumpkin pie for all of us to share.
My kitchen is a place for me to be completely in tune with what ingredients, ideas and delicious dishes that are produced and I love that. Though I’m not cooking as much as I used to, Thanksgiving was a nice reminder of what I can still do in there. Dinner was ready in no time at all and all of us were able to sit down and eat without too much excess running around. It was Amaya’s first Thanksgiving and Maleeya had a great time feasting on pumpkin pie and everything else we normally save for special occasions. It’s so wonderful to have my little nieces here with us to celebrate our family traditions and make new ones for them to share in.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with their families and friends. I am so grateful for everyone that has shared their time and love with me on Thanksgiving and to all of you! May the season of gratitude carry you into the rest of the holiday season and throughout the New Year!
Happy Holidays everyone!
Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Herbs
Roasted Zucchini and Cauliflower Gratin
Sausage and Spinach Sautéed Kale
Candied Spiced Yams with Roasted Marshmallows
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Roasted Apple, Pineapple and Golden Raisin Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Candied Yam Bread Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream
Mom and Dad’s Contributions
Green Bean Casserole
Granny’s Deviled Eggs
Auntie Linh and Uncle Kyle’s Homemade Pumpkin Pie
This blog was to memorable not to post but it is a month late. Oh well better late than never!
We’ve celebrated birthdays all month long and just about everywhere this summer, which always keeps me busy and on my toes thinking of new ideas and different dishes to make. Having my dad’s birthday at the end of August and Brandon’s birthday on September 7, I’ve been keeping pretty busy in the kitchen. I’m so grateful that my yoga practice and teaching have been taking a great amount of my time and with the start of the new school year (I teach primarily children’s yoga with some senior and adult classes as well), it’s been a really great transition period for my life. I’m glad I can still find time for fantastic meals with my loved ones, because it’s just so important to me to always keep us all at the table together, enjoying delicious and freshly prepared meals.
Brandon’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year, which, for a chef, is the busiest day of the week, but when he could finally muster up a day off, we got together with my family for a Japanese-style sushi and rice bowl dinner. I thought of this awesome little party idea because I wanted everyone to be a little interactive with their food. I didn’t want Brandon to have to cook at all since he cooks practically every day, but I wanted him to be able to put together some sushi, have a beef bowl, and enjoy and relax with a fun dinner. So I drew up this idea at the Japanese market, Mitsuwa, in Venice. There are some really amazing things at that store; all the Japanese ingredients I need to pull off a perfect meal, which is sometimes difficult to find in the valley.
I chose different ingredients that we could all enjoy and make into little sushi rolls with small pieces of nori and ingredients such as salmon and tuna sashimi, imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, umeboshi, ginger and wasabi. I cooked thinly sliced beef in sake, mirin and soy sauce with sliced nori, kamaboko and thinly sliced egg to create my Bachan’s signature beef bowl and made beef and pork wontons with bamboo shoots, scallions and shiitake mushrooms, as well as tonkatsu (panko breaded and fried pork cutlet) and chicken katsu to enjoy. I scooped large bowls of hot Japanese rice for everyone and we made our own concoctions and combinations to enjoy. I love interactive family style food!
I always find that making these dishes connects me with my Japanese heritage and keeps these wonderful traditions that I learned from my Bachan, in our family. Japanese food takes amazing ingredients and lets them shine all on their own with little effort, but lots of care—I love that. I’m so glad I could share these traditions that are so dear to me on such a momentous day: Brandon’s 30th birthday! I’m very grateful that I could make such a special meal for you and to cook for you because you are always so busy cooking for everyone else. Happy Birthday, Brandon, I love you!