Oshogatsu 2016 and Osechi Ryori


Happy New Year, everyone! 2015 came and went in a flash. It was truly a year of so many ups and downs, but there was so much to learn and so much to grow from through all those experiences. I am so grateful to have my amazing friends and family who have supported each other and helped us all stay afloat, even when we were in some deep water. I truly believe in the power of community, support, friendship and family and knowing that someone has your back, no matter what, is something that is so fundamentally important. We are not alone, stay connected!

Osechi Ryori Collage 2016

I am honestly not a resolution type of person and I believe that with each breath we have a chance to start over again. We don’t have to wait till a new year to get a new perspective or to do things differently, we can begin again at any time. It seems challenging, but the more we do it, like anything, the easier it is. New Year’s Day is always filled with food and family. 2016 was no  different and I am glad that I can show five years of osechi ryori on Unrivaledkitch  2015, 2014, 2013. 2012, 2011 and this entry is my 6th.

As much as I have let go of blogging, it is still such a big part of me to share my food, especially these special dishes that I learned to make as a child and some that I have revised or are family favorites. A lot of the the Osechi dishes are things that are particularly important to my Bachan, who has influenced so much of my life and my cooking. And although she’ll always ask me not to do it, it is my pleasure and privilege to cook this food for her and my family every year.

Osechi Ryori 2016

So here is the 2016 Oshogatsu Japanese New Year Osechi Ryori dishes and other Japanese food that we had for New Year’s Day.

Oshogatsu 2016

Oshogatsu 2016 Collage with Bachan




California Roll

Spam Musubi

Beef Korokke  

Miso Shrimp

Chicken Katsu

Sesame Chicken


Tuna Sashimi

Roasted Japanese Mushrooms

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings



Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Sesame Gobo

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Shishito Peppers

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

Nishime 5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Gobo


Ozoni (New Year’s Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

Ozoni Unrivaledkitch


Oshogatsu 2016

May you and your loved ones have an amazing 2016 and beyond filled with luck, love and your heart’s deepest desires.


Happy New Year!





Andy’s Going Away Party

Taco Bar Spread

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!


Carne Asada

Grilled Chicken

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

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

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.




Veggies, salsa and Guacamole Mexican Inspired Catering Taco Bar Ingredients Chicken, Sofritas and Shrimp for Tacos Carne Asada and Grilled Chopped Pork

Mother’s Day 2013

DSC05865 DSC05874

58533_508187062549974_173216920_nI’m so grateful to take time out to acknowledge some really amazing women in my life. Mother’s day is always a special occasion, especially now that my sister is a mother too. I was lucky enough to help make Mother’s Day cards for all of Maleeya’s grandmas (Grandma, Granny, Bachan and Bubbe). They all received homemade cards, with probably more glue on them than stickers, but for a 2 year-old, they were pretty awesome. It’s so much fun to do little crafts like these for a special treat on Mother’s Day— we made a very special one for her mommy as well.

Mother’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a special Mother’s Day dinner. I taught yoga in the afternoon and then, even though it was over 100 degrees out here in southern California, we had a delicious Mother’s Day surf and turf bbq. My dad brought over some delicious seafood that I simply barbequed over a charcoal grill. We all had more food than would fit on our plates and a simple strawberry banana pie for dessert. I’m so grateful for all the strong, wonderful, sweet and loving women in my life who have shown how to love unconditionally. I hope all you mothers out there had a beautiful time celebrating with the people you love.



Grilled Lobster Tails

Pan-Seared Scallops


Barbequed Shrimp


Sake and Soy Sauce Grilled Chicken with Garlic and Green Onion


Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream, Butter and Green Onions

Pan-Roasted Green Beans with Button Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic


Green Onion, Broccoli, Cabbage and Carrot Coleslaw with Raisins and Red Wine Vinaigrette


Cucumber, Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes and Blue Cheese Salad


Grilled White Corn


Mozzarella Garlic Bread


Strawberry Banana Cream Pie




Golden China

My boyfriend lives in Ventura pretty close to the beach, which is about 50 miles from where I live; it’s far, but not too far and I don’t mind the drive at all. It’s a nice escape from the triple digit heat and it’s further away from full-on city life with the abundance of what seems like never-ending traffic, smoggy air and all the other things that come with living in the San Fernando Valley.  At Brandon’s exit, there’s this huge restaurant and I always look over and see bright blue screens with words streaming across them and imagine some pretty intense karaoke going on over there. The restaurant is named Golden China. Well, I’ve been passing this place for God knows how long and Brandon’s always said that the owner’s a pretty nice guy, he’s been there forever, and they have a pretty awesome Sunday brunch, but for some reason we never seem to go out to eat Chinese food.


So the other day, while we were continuing our hiatus from cooking, which occasionally happens when your boyfriend is a sous chef and works between 60- 80 hours a week in a double restaurant/ hotel (slave drivers I tell you), I asked him, “Why don’t we try that Chinese place by the freeway?” There was hardly a protest, so I ran out to the car, because I’m inevitably always cold by the beach since when I’m home I’m always in what feels like sweltering heat, and we drive to get some Chinese food. As we walk into the restaurant, there really isn’t anyone there. It’s about 9:30 p.m. so we figured that things could be closing down, but to our surprise, Golden China serves food till 1:30 a.m. every day. Holy cow, these guys are beasts! That’s a lot of work. So we look over the menu and I’m sure, like most people who eat Chinese food, you already have a good idea of what you like—I normally like something spicy, some type of vegetable dish, maybe some shrimp and a moderately greasy sauce chicken dish.

We ordered crispy chicken in orange peel sauce, broccoli in hot garlic sauce, shrimp with lobster sauce and Kung Pao Beef. The food was packed and ready relatively quickly and we decided to take it home and eat, because it’s always nice to eat in the comfort of your home and not have to worry about dishes. Our food came with two sides of white rice and was all piping hot and deliciously fresh. The orange peel chicken had a really interesting spicy sauce to it, the chicken itself was hardly succulent; they really did mean crispy. I liked the Kung Pao Beef; it was better with the broccoli because it made it more like a spicy beef and broccoli, which I like. The shrimp with lobster sauce was delicious and overall, everything was really good. I’d say for a late night meal, it’s a perfect choice and since there are hardly many places for a late night meal in Ventura, Chinese food (with leftovers for lunch the next day) was a great option.



Shrimp and Vegetable Chirashi

The type of chirashi that I’m used to is much different than the traditional Japanese-style dish that I had when I was in Japan, and the ones that I drool over in Japanese cookbooks, with lots of lovely expensive thin slices of fresh raw fish and other seafood over a bed of sushi rice. Growing up, we waited till Obon (a Japanese festival that takes place at the Buddhist temple behind my dad’s family house) in July to have different styles of simple Japanese American food. Amongst the teriyaki chicken and sato-shoyu grilled beef, we ate chirashi, which was a mix of marinated Japanese vegetables in sushi rice topped with a little ginger. Nothing too special or fancy, but with the other food we ate, it always tasted good.

This is my shrimp version of chirashi. I used a very simple package of Sushi Taro brand chirashi mix, which makes this a very simple process without having to pickle your own vegetables (including carrots, lotus, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms). In my chirashi I use leftover Japanese short grain rice to make an easy and delicious meal and add extra vegetables for additional nourishment. Even my niece Maleeya loves it.

Shrimp and Vegetable Chirashi
2 cups cooked short grain Japanese rice
1 package chirashi mix, set aside nori for topping
¼ cup kamaboko (Japanese fish cak–I like Yamasa brand), sliced into small strips
1 egg scrambled, plus 1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ lb peeled and deveined shrimp without tail
¼ cup frozen peas
¼ white onion, minced
¼ cup bamboo shoots, cut into small strips
½ portobello mushroom, cut into small dice
1 teaspoon pickled red ginger
Non-stick spray

In a small sauce pan, heat over medium-high heat and spray the pan with non-stick spray. Scramble the cracked egg with a teaspoon of water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Fry the egg mixture in the pan, swirling the egg around till it becomes firm. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat off, letting the egg sit for about 2-3 minutes. Slide a rubber spatula around the edges to loosen the egg and slide it out of the pan. Set aside. If the egg becomes broken, that’s fine, because it’s going to be sliced into small pieces once cooled.

In a small bowl, place shrimp, a pinch of salt and pepper, sesame oil, and soy sauce, then let the shrimp marinate for 5-10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, place extra virgin olive oil at the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, portobello mushrooms and bamboo shoots, then sauté till the onions and mushrooms are cooked down (about 7 minutes). Add peas to the pot and cook another 3-4 minutes. Now add the marinated shrimp and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or a little longer, depending on the size of your shrimp.

Take about 6 shrimps out of the mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, add the vegetable and shrimp mixture to the rice, then stir till incorporated together. Add the chirashi envelope and incorporate well. Place the sushi rice in a serving container and let cool. Slice 6 shrimp in half along the center of the shrimp and place them on top of the sushi rice. Take the sliced egg and sprinkle over the top, top with kamaboko slices, red ginger and nori and serve.




Father’s Day Surf and Turf

My dad has always been my hero. There is no one like him in the whole world and I love him more than I could ever describe. My dad always believes in me, no matter what, and is always by my side and I want to thank him for that.  I love you, dad. Thanks for everything.

This past Sunday, my dad, mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece (Maleeya), and I came together at the dinner table for a big surf and turf dinner.  Earlier in the week, I had asked my dad if there was anything in particular that he’d like to eat for his Father’s Day dinner. He’s a pretty simple guy. He replied, “How about steak and baked potatoes?” Sounds simple enough for me, but you know how I can’t do just a small simple steak and potato. Father’s day seems to be the unsaid national surf and turf day, so we had that, but also a bit more. I’d like to share the menu with you all and extend a sweet wish of thanks and happy Father’s Day to you and yours!


Black Pepper and Thyme Filet Mignon with Rosemary Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

Basil and Parsley Lemon Butter Shrimp

Seared Scallops

Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Mushrooms, Zucchini, Broccoli, Carrots, and Blue Cheese Dressing

Broccoli Gratin with Creamy Jack Cheese, Roasted Zucchini and Pecorino Bread Crumbs

Baked Potato Butter, Sour Cream and Chives


The perfect steak house dinner at home with the people I love.



The Hungry Cat and Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Brandon and I seem to find our way out to Santa Barbara pretty often. It’s far from where I live, but only 30 minutes away from where he lives, so when I visit him, which is often, we have a tendency to head up there to see what’s going on. We knew there was a farmer’s market there on Tuesdays, so we decided to drive up to see what kind of beautiful vegetables we could get and also have a nice dinner.
The season is showing its spring-like colors at the market with beautiful citrus, lots of wonderful radishes, rainbow tomatoes, and strawberries peeking around each stand. The wonderful smell of citrus and fresh picked greens always makes me have a little longing for a garden of my own one day, but I’m not sure that would work, seeing as I can barely keep a plant alive, but one can hope.

After we walked the market, we decided to stop in at The Hungry Cat. This beautiful, small restaurant captures the quaint and simplistic nature of Santa Barbara. We came in for a midday meal around 5:00 p.m. and it was still happy hour, so drinks were half off–a steal for such gourmet cocktails. I ordered the Greyhound Proper, which was Plymouth Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, and candied grapefruit; a deliciously prepared strong and wonderful cocktail.
The kitchen at The Hungry Cat is half-open with a conjoining bar and a long set of seats, set along the back side of the restaurant. Small decorations and open glass windows keep the restaurant open and inviting. We perused the midday menu to see what we would get. Brandon and I have been known to devour large towers of seafood together, so we decided to go with that again. We ordered the medium-sized seafood platter, which came with peel-and-eat shrimp, clams on the half shell, oysters, snow crab legs, a half Maine lobster, marinated mussels, rock crab claws, and caviar. The large tower was a fantastic sight to see, so wonderfully prepared, freshly shucked, flawless seafood done with just the right touches.  We were also served accompaniments to aid in the seafood flavor development: housemade tartar sauce, housemade cocktail sauce, housemade thousand island, and mignonette. All the sauces were delicious and went well with everything. We had fun making small bites of delicious sauce and seafood and we were also given toast points with chives, hardboiled egg yolk and white, crème fraiche, and shallots, which made for some delicious seafood morsels. Everything was so wonderful. I’m still not the biggest fan of raw clams, but everything else was excellent, especially the most delicately poached and tender peel-and-eat shrimp; I could eat those every day.
A beautiful day in Santa Barbara with wonderful food and food adventures along with the best company a girl could ask for. I’m sure we’ll frequent The Hungry Cat again, you should too.

Dinner for 8: Happy Birthday Big Sister Keek‏

Birthdays are my favorite occasions to celebrate. I always have some extravagant plan for someone I love, if it’s at all possible to get done.  The weekend of the 12th my big sister, Kristen, had a birthday celebration for the family, and myself and Brandon cooked for everyone. We decided on a last-minute venture all over the place, including a trip to Oxnard farmer’s market and a couple of other grocery stores on the way home. We cut the preparation pretty close, but my family is always pretty flexible when it comes to me cooking. I honestly came up with the menu last-minute, so it’s good I had Brandon with me so he could fill in my brain gaps with the menu. So here’s what we decided on for the fun of it all. (Some photos are missing)

Appetizers: Buffalo mozzarella, melon, olives, humus, and pita
Whole sautéed head on prawns with garlic
Three color: white, candy cane, and golden beet salad, with prosciutto chips, goat cheese and mixed greens with honey balsamic vinaigrette
Cabernet and Italian herb braised beef and ricotta stuffed shells
Homemade pasta filled with spinach and chicken ricotta and herbs
Homemade basil spinach pesto with pine nuts and aged Parmesan
Vine-ripened red heirloom pomodoro fresco with basil and extra virgin olive oil
Alfredo sauce over chicken-filled fresh tortelli
Tuile cookie with orange pastry cream and fresh blueberries and blackberries
I think my sister was happily stuffed and opening presents like we used to when we were kids. I loved everyone being together and seeing our little addition, Maleeya, join in the fun.  I love my family very much and my sister is a huge part of that love. I love you Keek. Happy birthday, you old lady! Just remember, I’ll always look up to you just like I did when we were little like monkey. You’re the best sister ever.

Chicago; Friday The Dog Joint, Navy Pier, Churro Factory, Harry Caray Tavern, The Gage, BuddieGuy

As we got our stuffed together to exit the Belden Stratford Hotel, I looked out to the beautiful view of Lake Michigan with a happy feeling. This was by far one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. I’m very glad that we stayed outside of the city for a portion of our trip because it allowed me to see many things I probably wouldn’t have been able to see or think to go to.

After we checked out of the hotel we had the hotel hold our luggage so that we could do a little last minute site seeing around Lincoln Park. We set down to get a little lunch at the Dog Joint. The place was filled with working class men, locals on their lunch breaks which I always approved of when going out to lunch. This was a local little gem, with many options at a very affordable price for a quick bite. We had our Chicago style Hot Dogs from here. They were very tasty!


After lunch I took a quick stroll through the zoo and the conservatory with Michelle because she hadn’t seen it. After that we walked down to Lake Michigan to see the water and take pictures by the shoreline.

After that we went back to pick up our luggage and got in a cab to go to the last of hotel Swissotel in downtown Chicago.

We settled down and then went off to Navy Pier. The pier has so many wonderful touristy things to do there as well as just a gorgeous view of the whole city from the water.  We saw some stained glass, went on the fairs wheel, ate churros smothered in caramel from the Churro factory and had some good local beer Argus Pegasus IPA at Harry Caray Tavern which had the most horrible music ever.


So we made our way back to the hotel and I changed and we headed toward Millennium Park to eat at The Gage.

The Gage was filled to the brim when we got to the restaurant but it was cultural mix of people from Chicago and tourists as well. The affair seemed casual and elegant. Everywhere you looked there were people in large groups sharing food and enjoying themselves with good company.

The dining experience here is rather chic. White linens and an extensive wine list are presented to you upon arrival. Our server was very cordial an extremely busy. We looked over the menu and I let Michelle pick things that seemed to shine out to her seeing as I’d already eaten at many lush places. She has an excellent pallet and likes most of the same things I do so we finally decided on

Hot Poached Shrimp Sambal, Sticky Rice, Herb Broth

these shrimp were perfectly poached the sticky rice was actually black rice that I’m very familiar with it has a floral beautiful scent and a brilliant texture that goes well with the delicate flavors of the shrimp. The sambal had a quiet heat to it with a finishing burn that was pleasant and over the top was poured a small amount of very green cilantro broth. A beautiful simple dish.

Gage N-17 “Fondue” Butter Kaase, Brie, Spinach, Toast

This fondue was very rich. Almost border lining too rich but very delicious. I loved the flavor of the kaase which I would akin to a sweet butter rich and a very pleasant melting cheese along with the brie. Came with these delicious long pieces of toasted baguette

Caramelized Lobster Lemon Quinoa, Basil, Chili

Lobster was caramelized in a very sweet almost orange flavored type of mild candying and the texture of its mild cooking process with the crunch of the quinoa and the cooling of the basil was a really beautiful way to express this dish.

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Roasted Breast Duck Confit Tortellini, Roasted baby beets, purslane, goats cheese

Duck breast was cooked almost medium which for me leads to a bit of a chewy texture. We were told it would be medium rare but I think it was slightly over cooked. The flavor was delicious, the small duck confit ravioli were so perfect and small you could barely spot them on the plate. The braised endive gave bitterness so the sweet cherries and beets while the radishes cleansed the pallet.

We finished our bottle of wine and opted to skip dessert, over all this experience was an interesting expression of a chef’s notion.

After dinner we went to see some blues at Buddie Guys and finished our evening with a stroll back to the hotel.



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Easter Dinner

Easter was really wonderful I hope you all had a beautiful day with loved ones or just a relaxing day of rest. I know not everyone is allotted that time but i hope you were or if not you get a day like that soon.

We had family over for Maleeya’s 1st Easter. It was the cutest little thing ever. Everyone was flashing their cameras and fussing over her. My dad and mom really helped out with the dessert and meat and I made some side dishes for us to enjoy. Here are some photos of our Easter dinner. I love my family so much, my moms Easter bunny rice crispy treat was amazing shes so fun and creative now you see where I get some of my skills from :)

I made:
Roasted Zucchini casserole with crunchy onions
Green bean, mushroom and celery casserole with crunchy onions
Three cheese scalloped potatoes with broccoli
Roasted Corn on the Cob with black pepper compound butter and sea salt
Spinach Prosciutto and salami salad with mixed vegetables and Parmesan balsamic vinaigrette
Lemon and herb poached shrimp with lemon horseradish cocktail sauce
Veggie platter

My mom and dad made:
Roasted Ham
Tri tip
Bunny Rice crispy treat
Easter bundt cake
Chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows

Bachan and grandma made:
triple layer jello
deviled eggs

My sister in law and my sisters mother in law:
chips and Hawaiian sweet bread
and cheese ball and crackers

Have an amazing week!

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