Friday, October 23, 2020

Scallion and Furikake Pancakes

I have been making green onion pancakes for years. But I've decided to share a recent riff because it's now a family favorite; I added furikake and it is delicious! Furikake is a Japanese seasoning made up of toasted sesame seeds and bits of dried seaweed; and I always have a canister or two of it in my spice cabinet.

Ingredients makes 4
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
  • 1 cup hot water
  • toasted sesame seed oil, for brushing and cooking
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallion, plus more for garnish
  • furikake, as needed


Place flour in large mixing bowl and slowly add in the hot water until it just comes together. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Divide dough into four even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Working one ball at a time, roll out into, roughly, an 8-inch disk. Paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top and roll into a jelly roll; twist roll into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath; flatten gently, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk.

This time, paint with another layer of sesame oil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup scallions and furikake. Roll up like a jelly roll again.

Twist into a spiral, flatten gently, and re-roll into a disk. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

To cook, heat a splash of sesame oil in a large flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat until shimmering and carefully slide the pancake into the hot oil. Cook until the first side is an even, golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula taking care not to splash the oil and continue to cook, shaking pan gently, until second side is an even, golden brown, approximately 2 minutes longer. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Star Anise-Vanilla Bean Kissed Pears in a Chocolate Sauce #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Quail & Olive.
Complimentary product was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Last week Anni of The Quail & Olive* asked if I wanted to play around with their Star Anise Vanilla Bean Vinegar and come up with some ways to use it. Yep. Sure thing!

As soon as I got it home and had everyone smell and taste it. It has all of the qualities you expect from a balsamic vinegar with the added allure of vanilla and the warmth of star anise. I had the idea of pairing it with chocolate...and pears. So I decided to poach some pears in red wine with a kiss of vinegar and serve them in a pool of chocolate sauce. Oh, delicious, chocolatey decadence was achieved!

You should poach the pears the day before you want to serve them. Or, at least, early enough in the day that they get to sit in their syrup for at least six hours before serving. And you should make the sauce right before you want to serve because there's nothing much better than warm chocolate sauce.

Ingredients serves 6


  • 1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (minimum of 64% cacao though I prefer 75%), chopped or use chips
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine (I used the some leftover Merlot)
  • 1 teaspoon Star Anise Vanilla Bean Vinegar


Peel the pears, but leave the stem intact. That makes it easier to pick them up without damaging the flesh and it also looks cool!

Pour the red wine and vinegar into a saucepan and add the sugar. Heat and swirl the pan until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the pears in the red wine mixture and simmer gently at a very low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. You want the pears softened, but still retaining their shape. Once softened, remove from the heat, and leave the pears in the poaching liquid. You will need to turn the pears if they are not completely submerged in the liquid. I probably turned mine 4 times while they cooled. Then I refrigerated them - in the liquid - overnight.

Before serving, remove them from the liquid and bring them to room temperature.

Pour the cream into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium high heat until the cream begins to steam and small bubbles form around the edge of the pan.

Once the cream is heated, pour in the wine and vinegar. Add in the chocolate and butter. Swirl the pan until the chocolate is completely submerged. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until a smooth sauce forms. 

To serve, spoon the chocolate sauce into a shallow serving bowl. Pick up a pear by its stem and gently place it in the pool of chocolate. If the pear doesn't stand upright, you might need to slice the bottom flat.

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*Disclosure: I receive compensation in the form of complimentary products for recipe development 
and generating social media traction. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Candied Jalapeño-Parmesan Sourdough

Earlier this year, when I started on this sourdough journey - read all about that here -, I went way off the deep-end with my add-ins to the bread. Then I backed off and solidified my recipe and my process to get consistent loaves. Now, after months of baking that Ten-Percent Rye Sourdough, I decided to try adding in some goodies once again. With restraint this time!

I decided to fold in a handful of my candied jalapeños with shards of salty parmesan. And I used the Tung Fu Salt from Big Sur Salts for another kick of flavor.

Ingredients makes two boules
  • 200 grams sourdough starter (recently fed)
  • 600 grams warm water + 50 grams warm water
  • 900 grams all-purpose flour + more as needed
  • 100 grams rye flour
  • 20 grams salt (I used the Tung Fu Salt from Big Sur Salts, but use whatever salt you have)
  • 1/3 cup candied jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, roughly chopped
  • rice flour for sprinkling in Dutch oven
  • Also needed: banneton proofing baskets or bowls lined with floured tea towels, Dutch ovens


Place 200 grams starter in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Pour in 600 grams warm water. Add in the flours. Use your hands to blend everything together so that all of the flour is moistened. Let stand for 40 minutes.

At the end of 40 minutes, pour in another 50 grams of warm water. Add in the 20 grams of salt and gently knead the dough until the water is completely absorbed.

Now I start the folds: rotating 90 degrees four times every thirty minutes for 4 hours. After the first round of folds, I add a few pieces of candied jalapeños and cheese to the dough each time I fold so that the goodies are incorporated throughout the bread.

I run my hand under warm water, grab one side of the dough and pull from underneath, folding it over the top of the ball. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Rotate. Repeat. And a fourth time so that the bowl has completed a full circle. By the end of the 4 hours, the dough should be billowy and increased in volume.

Lightly flour a workspace and use a dough scraper to divide the dough ball in half. Transfer the dough balls to the work surface. Lightly flour the banneton or towel-lined bowl. 

Now I repeat the folds, but with dry hands to shape the boules while creating tension in the top. Keep the floured side of the ball down and fold from top to bottom four times while rotating the dough. This keeps the sticky side inside. 

Flip the ball over and work the dough into a tight round. Let stand for 15 minutes. Repeat three times. After the third shaping, place the dough ball, rounded side down, in the floured banneton.

Now you proof. I typically put the dough in the fridge and leave it there till I'm ready to bake. For these boules, I left them in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours, depending on how quickly they are eating the bread. But we have found that we prefer the sourness that results from a 72-hour proof.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the empty Dutch ovens (bottoms only) into the oven. When the oven reaches temperature - an in-oven thermometer is very, very helpful - let the oven stay at 500 degrees for 30  to 40 minutes.

After the preheating, remove the Dutch ovens and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Lightly flour the inside of the ovens with a sprinkling of rice flour. Gently pull the dough away from the sides of the banneton and invert into the Dutch oven.

Score the top with a knife or razor blades. I have even just snipped a few vents into the top with my kitchen shears. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and return the pots carefully to the hot oven. Bake for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, carefully remove the lid and return the pots to the oven again. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

The loaves should be firm and crunchy on the top, golden brown, and feel hollow when the bottom is tapped.  Move the loaves to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing!

For this batch, I decided to try my hand at tying off the loaf so that it looked like a pumpkin. 'Tis the season after all though the only thing I could think about was a giant scamorza!

The verdict was they needed more add-ins. So, I will up that to 1/2 cup candied jalapeños and 1 cup cheese next time. But I think these loaves have definitely given me the confidence I need to try adding in more flavors to my breads. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Comfort Scones: Gingerbread with an Eggnog Glaze #CooktheBooks #FoodieReads

This time around, Simona of Briciole is the host for our bi-monthly book group Cook the Books. For our October-November 2020 pick, she selected The Secret, Book & Scone Society (A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel 1) by Ellery Adams*you can read Simona's invitationhere.

On the Page
photo from

I finished The Secret, Book & Scone Society earlier this month and I am still undecided about whether or not I would recommend it. Don't get me wrong: I like a good mystery and did enjoy the book. But I didn't love it though I really wanted to.

I loved the concept of the book - that the right books can soothe our souls, improve our lives, and teach us things that we desperately need to know. 

"Becoming a reader is a change for the better. Trust me. No one has ever lost by becoming addicted to stories—to the lessons learned by those who possess enough courage to put pen to paper."               

Set in the town of Miracle Springs, Nora Pennington is the proprietress of Miracle Books, a store where people come and get exactly the right book to help them with their problems. The mystery begins when a visiting businessman asks for Nora's assistance and she agrees to help him. But before the appointment, he is found dead and it is ruled a suicide. Nora doesn't believe that and sets out - with three other women - to uncover the truth.

Of the characters, Hester is my favorite and I loved how she would bake comfort scones that would help people: "They’re called comfort scones. The baker, Hester, makes custom scones based on what she thinks her patrons will be comforted by. You should pay her a visit."

But the book leaned a little too saccharine for my tastes. Still this was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

On the Plate
There was a remarkable number of passages about food in this book. Here are just a few that I enjoyed. And, naturally, scones are mentioned quite a bit. Not just scones, but all sorts of bready goodness, including fried green tomato grilled cheese sandwiches that I will have to try soon.

"Nora said. 'I prefer cinnamon twists over scones because they’re easier to eat while I’m reading. That’s my main priority when it comes to food. Other people are obsessed with calories, nutritional value, antioxidants. I look at food and wonder: Can I eat that without having to put my book down?'"
"'Oranges and cream.' The woman’s face broke into a broad grin. 'The first bite brought me back to my grandmother’s house in Florida. She had orange trees. During my visits, we’d bake the most delicious things. Her kitchen was filled with clutter and sunshine. I loved every minute I spent with her.' Nora came out from inside the ticket booth.  have several cookbooks with scone recipes. The best anyone can do is to create a scone of their own.'"
"To avoid responding, Nora bit into her [fried green tomato grilled-cheese sandwich]. The blend of buttery bread, fried tomatoes, gooey cheese, and a hint of paprika was heavenly. As she chewed, Nora felt infused by warmth and comfort. The feelings allowed her to put aside the memory of how she’d never seen paperwork when she and her husband had bought their home. Nora’s husband had used money bequeathed by a relative for the down payment and had handled the loan process without consulting her."
And about Hester's peanut butter cup scone, "Nora popped a bite of scone into her mouth, reveling in the smooth, rich blend of melted chocolate and peanut butter and the springy texture of the dough. The warmth traveled down her throat, spread through her chest, and stretched to the tips of her fingers. 'You were born to do this,' she told Hester. 'To make food that seems so simple, but has an incredible complexity of taste and an ability to stir the heart? That’s a gift.'"
After this passage, I was almost inspired to make a batch of croissants. "Nora was too hungry to protest. She opened the box lid and a rush of tantalizing aromas escaped from within. The scents of melted cheese, buttery dough, and cooked ham caused Nora’s stomach to gurgle, and when she scooped up the croissant resting on a sheet of wax paper, she found that it was still warm. After biting into the stuffed pastry, she had to suppress a moan. The Gruyère cheese that had escaped from the hole at one end of the croissant had been baked a golden brown and broke off in Nora’s mouth. It wasn’t ham, but prosciutto, which shared the pastry’s interior pocket with the cheese, and the flavor combination was heavenly. Nora could have easily devoured a second."

But, in the end, I decided that gingerbread scones would be my comfort scones! I am a gingerbread fanatic. No, seriously. I really love gingerbread. And I can't wait to dig out my gingerbread scarf.  Look at my Bison Gingerbread Coffee Cake; Piernik, a Polish Gingerbread Cake; Kruidnoten; and maybe my favorite - Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread. So it's surprising to me that I've never made gingerbread scones. 

I fixed that for this post. And, while my husband is not usually a scone fan, he texted (as he was eating his scone after I had left for work): "These are red book worthy!" Awesome. He's coming around. Wait! That means fewer scones for me...let me re-think this conversion.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cups packed organic dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 5 Tablespoons eggnog (you can use milk if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar

Eggnog Glaze
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon eggnog (you can use milk if you prefer)


Preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large mixing bowl to combine.

Cut in butter until incorporated with no chunks of butter larger than a pea. Add egg yolk, molasses, eggnog, candied ginger flakes, and pecan pieces to the bowl and then press together to form a thick dough.

Press dough into a disc and cut into 8 wedges and place on baking stone or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake until set, approximately 19 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before drizzling.

While the scones cool, make the drizzle: Stir powdered with eggnog until smooth. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, or a spoon, drizzle icing over cooled scones. Let set in a cool space for about 30 minutes.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

In addition to submitting this to #CooktheBooks, I am adding it to #FoodieReads.
Click to see what everyone else read in October 2020: here.

Garlicky, (Vegan) Bacon Blistered Green Beans #Sponsored

   This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Quail & Olive.
Complimentary product was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

When Anni of The Quail & Olive* pointed out her Vegan Bacon Olive Oil, I had to have it. Seriously. My husband is plant-based during the week, so I've been getting really creative on how to add the smokiness of bacon to things such as split pea soup and more. I've landed on using pulverzied lapsang souchong tea and smoked paprika. But this bottle presented a whole new range of possibilities. I did ask what gave it that bacon flavor - if it wasn't a proprietary secret - and she shared that it is a culinary yeast that tastes like bacon which is, then, mixed in with the olive oil.

I had some green beans in the crisper; pair that with the mouth-watering photo that a fellow wine blogger shared on her social media of blistered green beans and I knew what I wanted to try first: garlicky, (vegan) bacon blistered green beans. Now, Liz's photo had huge chunks of crisped garlic that made my little foodie heart sing, but my family always groans about the vampires I must be trying to kill when I use whole cloves that they can see. So, I decided to use the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil to add that garlicky bite to the dish.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 3 Tablespoons Roasted Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 pound organic green beans, trimmed
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegan Bacon Olive Oil
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Also needed: cast iron skillet (I use an enameled cast iron pan)

Note: if you don't have the oils I mention from The Quail & Olive, you can easily add those flavors with minced garlic and bacon. These oils just make getting those flavors all in one easy step!


Pour garlic olive oil in you pan and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil gets hot enough to spatter, add the beans. Let the beans sit and blister for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Stir and allow to blister for another 1 to 2 minutes. Once the beans are blistered to your liking remove them from the pan.

On a serving platter, drizzle the beans with vegan bacon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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*Disclosure: I receive compensation in the form of complimentary products for recipe development 
and generating social media traction. All opinions are my own.

Apple Cake with Sage Caramel #TheCakeSliceBakers

Here we are the October edition of the Cake Slice Bakers. For 2020, we have been baking from The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor by Benjamina Ebuehi.* I can't believe this year is almost over. I have really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see which book is selected for 2021.

In this group, we are given a selection of three cake recipes. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Our choices for October 2020 were...

Apple Cake with Sage Caramel

Malted Chocolate Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache

Caramelized Plantain Upside-Down Cake 

    Apple Cake with Sage Caramel

    All of the cakes looked good. But mine was decided by the sage plants in our garden. D picked and I got to work. This cake just feels like autumn. Ebuehi suggests using a mandolin slicer for the apples, but didn't give a thickness, so I tried two different settings. The thicker slices worked better. Also I added more spices to the cake and substituted mascarpone into the frosting instead of cream cheese because that's what I had in the fridge.

    Ingredients makes one 8-inch cake

    Apple Crisps
    • 1 organic apple
    • Also needed: mandolin slicer, optional; baking sheet
    • 2 organic apples
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup organic dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup oil (I used a canola oil)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
    • 1-1/3 cup flour
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    Sage Caramel
    • 1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream
    • 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves plus a few for garnish
    • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup mascarpone

    Apple Crisps
    Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice apples (the thicker slices worked better for me!) and place them on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake them until they are dry to the touch and have begun to curl at the edges. Mine took about 55 minutes. Transfer crisps to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Peel and core apples, then roughly chop them. Place apple in a saucepan with water and simmer until softened, approximately 10 minutes. Drain the mash them with a fork to form a chunky sauce.

    Whisk together eggs and sugar until the eggs are pale and thick. Drizzle in the oil. Then stir in the apple sauce, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Stir until everything is moistened and well-combined.

    Turn the batter out into a parchment paper-lined baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for 38 to 40 minutes. The cake should be well-browned and spring back when you touch it. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. While the cake cools, make the caramel.

    Sage Caramel
    Add the cream and sage to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the sage infuse into the cream for 15 to 20 minutes; the longer you leave it, the more pronounced the flavor. Once it's cool, discard the leaves. In a medium skillet, heat the sugar until it melts and turns a honey color. Swirl the pan to help the sugar dissolve evenly.

    When the sugar is completely dissolved and caramelized, pour in the cream very carefully. It will bubble up violently when the cold cream hits the hot sugar. Use a whisk to incorporate the cream. When everything is smooth, add in the salt and remove from the heat.

    To make the frosting, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until pale and creamy. Add in the mascarpone and beat until smooth. Add in 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the caramel and beat until smooth again.

    Spoon the frosting on top of the apple cake and spread it to the edges. Arrange the apple crisps and sage leaves on top.

    Drizzle with sage caramel and serve immediately.

    Jake said that the caramel should be in the center, too. So, he sliced the cake into two layers and drizzled some inside! It did look good that way.

    That's a wrap for October's #TheCakeSliceBakers. I'm looking forward to November's choices though I haven't decided which one I am going to try. Stay tuned.

    *This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

    Sunday, October 18, 2020

    Fun with Veggies and Thoughts on Real Bento


    I received a copy of Real Bento: Fresh and Easy Lunchbox Recipes from a Japanese Working Mom by Kanae Inoue* when I won a giveaway from Tara's Multicultural Table. Tara and I have been in similar food blogging circles for years and exchange messages every now and then about travel (she and her kids went to Denmark not long after our trip), language, and - of course - food. So, when I saw that she was hosting a giveaway for this book, I entered. I was thrilled that I won...and even more thrilled when it arrived.

    I immediately started perusing the recipes and really loved the idea of creating veggie side dishes that I could place over rice for lunches during the week. Since Jake is plant-based during the week, we've been eating tons more vegetables; it's nice to mix it up and not just have green salads every single day of the week. 

    Plus I had just picked up our CSA box from Robina's Organics and have vegetables still coming out of our garden as well. I picked recipes from the book that aligned with what was in my veggie bin and tried Inoue's recipes for pumpkin (I used delicata squash), cucumber, carrots, eggplant, and bell peppers.

    I loved that her recipes are organized by categories such as 'tasty and salty-sweet' and 'seasoned with curry.' That made making multiple dishes with a single seasoning, such as miso, easy as they were all on one double-page spread. For example, I just opened to that page and made both the Carrot with Miso Sauce and Pumpkin with Miso Butter.

    The downside about this cookbook - for me, anyway - was that she uses the microwave to quickly cook her vegetables and her recipes are portioned for a single serving. First, I don't own a microwave, so I had to adapt the recipes to used blanched or steamed vegetables; second, I am always cooking for a minimum of four servings, sometimes  more if I want to have leftovers. And lastly, I found her recipes a little too salty for my tastebuds. So, I adapted by lowering the amounts of miso or soy in the recipes.

    Here's what I tried, with adaptations noted.

    Spicy Eggplant serves 4
    Inoue doesn't indicate any kind of cooking for this recipe, 
    but I couldn't imagine eating raw eggplant, so I blanched mine before proceeding.

    • 1/2 pound of eggplant
    • salt
    • water
    • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons mustard

    Cut eggplant into batons and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for fifteen minutes before placing the eggplant in a pot. Cover with water and bring water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and let the eggplant stand for 5 minutes.

    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and mustard. Drain the eggplant and add it to the soy-mustard mixture. Toss to coat. Let cool completely before refrigerating.

    Spicy Buttered Pumpkin serves 4
    I used a delicata squash for this instead of a kabocha squash. I substituted vegan butter for regular butter 
    so my husband could eat this during the week. And I reduced the amount of sugar and soy sauce.

    • 2 cups delicata squash, deseeded and cubed
    • 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons butter (I used a vegan butter)

    Place squash in a pot. Add in the sugar, curry powder, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the skin side of the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Add in the butter and stir until butter is melted. Toss to coat. Let cool completely before refrigerating.

    Ginger Cucumber serves 4
    I didn't have mentsuyu sauce, so I substituted sake, mirin, and soy sauce.

    • 4 cups cucumber, sliced into batons 
    • salt for sprinkling
    • 1 Tablespoon sake
    • 1 Tablespoon mirin
    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    Place cucumber in a bowl and toss with salt. Let stand until they are limp, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid and place them in a lidded bowl. Pour in the sake, mirin, and soy sauce, and sesame oil. Toss with ginger until fully-coated. Let marinate for a day or two before eating.

    Celery with Sesame serves 4
    I skipped the crazy salt, mainly because I have no idea what that is! 
    And by 'ground sesame seeds' I was guessing she meant tahini. Maybe not, but it's what I used.

    • 4 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch lengths
    • water
    • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 4 teaspoons tahini (sesame paste)
    • sesame seeds for garnish

    Place chopped celery in a pot. Cover with water and bring water to a boil. As soon as it boil, turn off the heat and let the celery stand for 5 minutes.

    Drain and then toss celery with sesame oil, tahini, and sesame seeds. Toss to coat. Let cool completely before refrigerating.

    Carrots with Miso Sauce serves 4
    I reduced the miso to make it less salty.

    • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
    • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon miso

    Place carrots in a pot. Cover with water and bring water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and let the carrots stand for 5 minutes.

    Drain and then toss carrots with vinegar and miso. Toss to coat. Let cool completely before refrigerating.

    Overall, I enjoyed reading this cookbook and being inspired by flavor combinations. But, as written, Inoue's recipe were not all that useful for me. Still I will keep this cookbook readily available for when I want to try something new or need some inspiration. Besides, I am all for anything that gets people to eat more veggies!

    And I am looking forward to trying some of her meat and egg recipes for Jake's 'animal days.' He does eat meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy three meals a week. Stay tuned...

    *This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice. 

    Click to see what everyone else read in October 2020: here.