Posts tagged ‘miso soup’

Menu Plan Monday for January 30 – February 5

Last night I watched newest episode of Downton Abbey with my mom, and then later I read A Clash of Kings (from the A Song of Fire and Ice series) for awhile before going to bed.

I don’t recommend doing this, because I ended up having horrible dreams that were a creepy combination of both Downton Abbey and A Clash of Kings.

The Granthams took the place of the Starks in my dream, and Mathew was horribly injured in the war for the Iron Throne.

I repeat, it was creepy.

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, and probably a lot of you don’t, you have my apologies. I do recommend watching Downton Abbey (another great period drama by Masterpiece) and reading the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I just don’t recommend doing them one after the other, right before bed. Bad idea.
I just felt the need to share that with you. 🙂


Homemade mac and cheese.

Lemon caper chicken pasta.


Menu Plan for January 30 – February 5:

Mon: Lebanese cabbage rolls, tabouli salad, humus, pita bread

Tues: Meatloaf, fried potatoes, tossed salad

Wed: Oyakodon (Japanese simmered chicken and egg over rice), miso soup

Thurs: Salmon patties, fried okra, macaroni and cheese

Fri: (eating out)

Sat: Lemon caper chicken pasta, tossed salad

Superbowl Sun: Baked chicken flautas, refried beans, guacamole, homemade salsa, and homemade Rotel queso dip



January 31, 2012 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 7 – 11

Things have gotten a little busy around here.

In less than two weeks we’re moving out of our apartment, and in four weeks, we’re moving back to the U.S.

In case you’ve never experienced it before, moving internationally is a pain.

In addition to simply packing, you have to sell, give away, and throw away most of your worldy possessions. What you keep, you have to either mail the country your moving to (expensive!!) or try to cram it into your suitcase at the last minute and end up paying overweight fees, because you had more stuff than you thought you did.

In addition to that, there’s the closing of the bank accounts, the terminating of the cell phones, the canceling of the credit cards, the car to get rid of, appliances and furniture to get rid of, etc. I could go on and on.

Fortunately, Hisa and I have been preparing for this move for months. We made a list of everything we need to do each month up until we leave, so that’s kept things very organized and not crazy (well, at least not that crazy).

Nonetheless, the closer it gets to the move, the more things there are to do.

This past weekend, we mailed the last of our boxes to the U.S.; made a final trip to the supermarket; went to the electronics store to ask them how much it would cost for them to dispose of our TV; called the gas, electric, water, sewage, and telephone companies and arranged for those services to be terminated; arranged for our mail to be forwarded; and attended two going away parties, one of which was in Tokyo.

Yeah, it was a busy weekend.

But things are going smoothly, and we’re both excited about the move. Bring it on!

Menu Plan for Nov. 7 – 11:

Have a great week!


November 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Oct. 3 – 7

This past Saturday, Hisa applied to several different moving companies for a quote on moving our stuff to his parents’ place when we move out of our apartment next month. Some companies sent quotes by email, and some companies sent a representative to our apartment to see everything we have to move, and then give us a quote (it was like having a car salesperson in our apartment. Bleh).

Most of our remaining furniture and our large appliances (kitchen, washing machine, etc.) we’ll be sending to Hisa’s parents’ house, as they wanted it. I’m happy they can use it all, because otherwise we would have had to mess with trying to sell the stuff, or just throw it away (which I would have hated doing, because it’s perfectly good stuff, and not that old, and gosh darnit, I hate waste!).

The downside to all of this, is that we have to hire a moving company to move everything, and moving companies cost money. They don’t have rental trucks (ala U-Haul) in Japan, and large pick-up trucks are practically none existent, so when people move, they always hire a moving company.

Moving companies in Japan are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. If you absolutely hate packing, cleaning, hauling boxes and furniture, then moving companies may be your best friend in Japan. They will do everything for you. With the most basic service, they’ll simply come to your home, haul all of your boxes and furniture to the truck, load it, drive it to your new place, and unload everything where you want it. You can purchase additional services, however, like having the movers pack everything for you, and then clean your entire place after everything is loaded into the truck. If you want, and if you pay, and won’t have to do a thing when you move.

Oh, did I mention they’ll also cover all your large appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) with protective covering and padding so that it won’t get scratched while being moved? It’s brilliant.

Like I mentioned before though, moving companies cost money (no, I know you already know this, but let me get to the point), and when I say that, I mean a lot of money.

To give you an idea, we’re just having the movers come and move our stuff (no fancy add-on services), and we don’t really have that much stuff to move (our futons, table, one small bookshelf, some plastic drawers, my stationary bicycle, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, some small odds and ends, and maybe three boxes). That’s it. But the average price from the different moving companies we got was around $600.

Yeah… I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a lot to some people, but I’m used to moving with the use of a U-Haul truck or by borrowing someone’s pick-up, so $600 seems like a lot of me. Still, it’s really nice not having to move everything ourselves. Especially since our apartment is two floors and the entrance is on the 2nd floor (weird, I know), so the movers will have to carry everything (including our full-size refrigerator) up the steep narrow stairs of our apartment to get it out. Not fun. Good luck mover people!

Menu Plan for October 3 – 7:

  • Stew and homemade bread
  • Homemade pizza
  • Coconut curry pumpkin soup, salad, and
  • Japanese Nabe
  • Japanese croquettes (korokke) with shredded cabbage, steamed rice, miso soup, and stir-fried burdock root and carrot (kinpira gobo)

October 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Sept. 26 – 30

Two three-day weekends in a row (well, one was more like a 4-day weekend since we went to Nagano) had left me pretty sleepy and tired this Monday morning!

Mysteriously, despite not exercising at all yesterday, my muscles were sore this morning when I woke up. Maybe it’s like accumulative muscle fatigue. I haven’t given my body time to be sore, so when I finally take a day off from exercising, the next day I’m sore. Something like that.

Being sore isn’t too much of a hindrance for me when I work out though. It’s feeling sleepy/tired that kills me. And man, when I’m sleepy, tired, and sore all on a Monday morning (like this morning), it’s a doozy.

I managed to vacuum the apartment and do my workout this morning, but I still have karate this afternoon. Considering it’s cool and cloudy outside, I would love nothing more than to curl up in my futon and go to sleep, but I’m going to make myself go to karate. I must persevere! Besides, I can always curl up in my futon and go to sleep after I get back from karate, hehe.

Menu Plan for Sept. 26 – 30:

  • Tofu hamburg, miso soup, simmered kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), sesame spinach
  • Lentil loaf, potato wedges, tossed salad
  • Minestrone soup and fresh bread
  • Mushroom cream pasta and tossed salad
  • Thai curry and steamed rice

September 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for August 22 – 26

The weather has been fabulous here the past several days. It’s been wonderfully cool. The low temperature has been in the 60’s, and the high temperature has been in the low 70’s. After 90-degree temperatures the past several weeks, and the constant, scathing sunshine, this is pure heaven. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to start heating up again tomorrow, but it’s been a lovely break.

It’s like a teaser for fall, but I’m so ready for the real thing! I’m tired of constantly sweating. It’s just no fun to be constantly sweating, you know? But that’s Japanese summers. People carry around little hand towels with them all the time to wipe off sweat. Those of you who think it gets humid in Oklahoma? You don’t know humidity until you’ve experienced a Japanese summer. Of course we haven’t been having 100+ degree temperatures every day for the past two months like in Oklahoma. That’s no fun either. Bring on the fall!!

Menu Plan for August 22 – 26:

Quiche and tossed salad

Niku-dofu (Japanese simmered beef and tofu), steamed rice, miso soup, simmered kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)

Ratatouille and fresh bread

Inari-zushi, simmered kabocha, miso soup, salad

Spaghetti Carbonara with zucchini and fresh green beans

August 22, 2011 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Japanese Inari Sushi (いなり寿司) & Simmered Yellowtail with Radish (ぶり大根)

I went to the mall this morning to do a couple of errands (and to revel in the abundant air-conditioning), and as I was leaving, I noticed what looked like a clump of dried mud on my bicycle. Wondering how mud had gotten on my bicycle, I bent down for a closer examination and discovered that it was in fact a wasp’s nest.

Let me just repeat that for emphasis.

A wasp built its nest on my bicycle.

My only means of transportation.

And I didn’t notice until I’d already been riding it for several miles.

That’s so wrong in so many ways.

Upon making this discovery, I let rip a series of loud profanities in the general direction of said wasp’s nest, and as a result, frightened the little old Japanese lady who was, unknowingly to me, walking by at the time.

Upon reaching home, I ran upstairs, thoroughly pissed by now that a wasp had DARED to build its nest on MY bicycle, grabbed the can of wasp/hornet spray from our apartment, ran back down the stairs, and proceeded to spray the daylights out of that nest. I showed no mercy. I sprayed til it was dripping.

After waiting to see if anything came out to attack me (nothing did), I then began fearfully poking violently stabbing the nest with the metal end of my bicycle lock. It started breaking off, and much to my horror, wasp larvae started falling out. I then shrieked like a girl and pranced around because it was gross applied even more force to my stabs and managed to break the whole nest off. I then sprayed the twenty or so larvae until they were well coated in wasp spray and I could stop prancing around in disgust.

Needless to say, it was a trying matter.

*        *        *

Last week, despite being sick and spending the whole week lying around weak and pitiful-like, I still manged to cook dinner and take pictures of some meals. Go me.

One night, I made Japanese for dinner. Here’s what we had.

Inari-zushi (sushi rice mixed with sesame seeds and stuffed inside of pieces of fried abura-age tofu that have been simmered). I love inari-zushi. There’s just something about that mixture of sweet and salty from the abura-age combined with the vinegary sushi rice that just really hits the spot in summer.

Simmered Yellowtail with Japanese giant radish (buri-daikon). This is a delicious, light fish dish. The fish, radish, and shreds of fresh ginger are simmered in a mixture of stock, soy sauce, sake, sugar, and mirin (sweet cooking sake). It’s not arranged very pretty in this picture, but in my defense, I was sick, and simply didn’t care. It really is a lovely dish though.

Here’s two simple side dishes, cold tofu with ginger paste and soy sauce poured on top (picture taken before soy sauce was added), and a cucumber and wakame seaweed salad with a sweet vinegar dressing.

And what would a Japanese meal be without a hot steaming bowl of miso soup? Exactly.

I’m going to share with you a recipe for the inari-zushi and the simmered Yellowtail.

Inari-zushi (いなり寿司) (serves 2 – 3)

  • Vinegared sushi rice, cooked with about 1 1/2 c. white rice (usually you can buy sushi vinegar and just add that to the cooked rice)
  • 6 slices abura-age fried tofu
  • 3 Tbsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/4 c. stock (I use Japanese bonito stock, available in powdered form in most Asian markets)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cooking sake
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  1. Prepare the vinegared sushi rice.
  2. Place the abura-age slices on a cutting board, and one at a time, roll a chop stick over it to make it easy to open. Cut each abura-age in half length-wise, and carefully open each pocket with your fingers.
  3. Boil the abura-age pieces in water for 3 – 4 minutes to remove excess oil. Remove and then place them in a pan with the stock. Add the sake and sugar, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce to the pan, and cover with a drop-lid, or parchment paper cut in the shape of the pan, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is gone.
  5. When most of the liquid is gone from the pan, drain the abura-age and let cool for about 5 minutes. Lightly squeeze the abura-age to remove excess moisture.
  6. Add the toasted sesame seeds to the sushi rice and mix well.
  7. Fill each abura-age pocket with the sushi rice. Adjust the shape with your hands, and fold over the opening. Serve.


Simmered Yellowtail with Japanese Raddish (serves 2)

  • 2 single serving fillets of Yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack)
  • 10 oz. Japanese raddish
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 1 2/3 c. stock (again, I use Japanese bonito stock)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  1. Cut the raddish into 3/4 inch chunks.
  2. Cut each fish fillet into 2 or 3 pieces. Blanch the fish pieces in boiling water for about 1 minutes, and then drain and place in a bowl of ice water.
  3. Add the stock and radish pieces to a pot and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, add the sake and sugar, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and thinly sliced pieces of ginger to the pot. Cover with a drop lid (or a piece of parchment paper cut into the shape of the pot) and simmer until the radish is a caramel color and tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish, radish, and ginger to a serving plate and cover with a little of the sauce from the pot. Serve.



July 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm 3 comments

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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