parasitegirl: (Default)
Yesterday was a full day of dance: prepping for classes, teaching, napping, prepping my face to perform, restaurant show, and show and sleep. Thus, nothing got cooked.

Today I return to the shiso. I realize my young shiso plants probably can't take much more plucking for a few days but that soon I will my up to my neck in shiso leaves. I may spend 100yen and buy more shiso at the store to complete my week of shiso but it will be worth it.

I made a recipe I used to make often for lunches 2-3 years ago. It's an Edamame Salad with Shiso and Lemon I found here.


I reduced the size of the dish by a third because it's easy to buy a one-cup pack of edamame at the store...but I was generally 'Meh' about it. I will try the shiso and lemon/lemon zest dressing again but I think I want fresher edamame/snap peas/ or something. I'm sure something will arrive in my Tuesday CSA box.
parasitegirl: (Default)
I realize that my shiso adventure may be premature. Shiso is taking over my garden but most of the plants are still rather small. This means that daily shiso leaf eating, while easily possible in a few weeks, might be overkill. Still, it is best to be prepared for the onslaught…besides, I need to scale recipes back anyways due to living alone.

I found the greatest number of English shiso recipes at The Humble Bean Blog which looks to be a great place to check into for fresh, simple, Japanese food. Today's recipe for Tomato & Shiso Salad comes from there.

It claims to serve two, but I don't need to serve two people right now. I want to feed myself so I modified the recipe.

The results including recipe and photo )
parasitegirl: (Default)
As God is my witness, I didn't know shiso was capable of taking over a garden. I should have known. It behaves like mint. Last year's seedpods seem to have contaminated my whole balcony. I am removing shiso sprouts from many a planter . Today I am bringing one shiso-plant to the studio in an attempt to encourage "Take a leaf home..take 5!"

... if I see anyone taking a leaf home I will try to make them take a whole plant.



My original idea was to blog a whole week of shiso uses…but I could see myself growing really annoyed with shiso and having a fridge full of shiso-food item I don't want to contemplate ever again. I live alone.

So, I'm only promising 4 days in the week. If I use it everyday and tell you about it. Hey, think of it as a Bonus. SERVICE FOR YOU!

Day one results, recipe links, and photo )

Snacks

Mar. 9th, 2012 08:51 am
parasitegirl: (Default)
One of the difficulties in going from high schools to elementary schools in 2004 was adjusting to working in places where everyone ate lunch at the same time (and the same school lunch, except me) and there was NO snacking.

Snacking at elementary schools is generally forbidden...same with city hall. It was rough.

I'm more than a week into tracking my calorie/food intake. I've adjusted over the last 8 years but I know now that not snacking in utterly unreasonable for me. I hit a low around 11AM and another one around 4:00 when I head home...even if I've had a protein rich breakfast and a solid lunch.

Without the mid-morning snack I am super hungry and wolf down my food (and if I am at city hall there's the possibility of getting junk food after I've finished my lunch but before I feel full) and that when I am headed home I have a high chance of stopping at a convini for a walk&eat sugary item or eating without thought once home...and feeling the hunger crash probably is not great for my teaching either.

I bought a small, snack-sized bento box to add to my lunch basket. It's divided in half for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks and I keep it on my desk. It's opaque and doesn't scream SNACKS FOR KAYT and feels less illicit than keeping a processed snack item in my drawer to hide and eat when I "can't take it anymore"

I am now eating a small portion of pistachios/ string cheese/ and dried fruits for as a snack and it helps. It helps to do this right before I generally get hungry. It's making lunchtime a space in which I can actually enjoy the food I have made and packed for myself. Having a snack bento also makes it feel more official. Like "I need food, it's normal, so I have prepared myself something instead of needing to go secretly foraging/or graze on whatever I see."

I've also gone back to remembering to fill my waterbottle when I head to teach dance. This keeps me out of convinis when I might be anxious about what I am going to teach...which is when I toss a random snack in with my water purchase regardless of what I've packed or already eaten.

Doing these small things have made my meals more enjoyable...and made the nights when I do pick up the Hagendaz (seasonal flavors! YAY! Chocolate brownies!) more relaxing because I am not inhailing it all before I get to really savor it.

Because I like food. It's yummy.
parasitegirl: (Default)
The bento boxes I ordered while sick have arrived. Ordering COD is so wonderful, really.

Please excuse my lunchtime pictures but I live in Japan. Photographing your meal is a way of life here.

I had to go shopping for some silicone bento partitions/cups but this week I was ready to go.


The bear alone or the green tower (which has three compartments total but you can use or you can use it with one or two) alone are a fine size for packing snacks for between dance classes on Saturday when I don't want a full lunch, and together they work for school. The bear also comes with a bear-shaped ice-pack you can put between the two layers. Behind them is the lunch bag I made with wipe-able interior.

Inside the bento. )

Persimmons

Nov. 3rd, 2011 10:28 am
parasitegirl: (Default)
This year, like last year, I am learning to love and use persimmons.

They are everywhere here. EVERYWHERE! Most of the ones I encounter are the sturdier Fuyu but we have many a Hachiya.

Persimmon output:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2006persimmon.PNG

When I first moved to Japan I didn't know what to make of all the persimmon trees. My first encounter with the fruit kept me off it for years. I think I'd stolen one from the landlord's tree...because it produced so damned many and I was in the habit of, after an evening drinking at an office party or in Tokyo on the weekends, stealing local tree fruits. Drunken picking is also how I learned about Japan's range of citrus fruits. The persimmon wasn't fully ripe. I didn't know it was a persimmon...I knew it was orange and than people ate it. I didn't know how to eat it or what made it ripe or when to eat it...so I bit into it and quickly spat out the unripe-nastiness..and assumed everyone in Japan was crazy.

Now I am far more adventurous in my Japanese produce. Last night I roasted myself some Japanese lily bulbs I'd scored at my local produce place...I grabbed them thinking "There are only two baggies...they have the Japanese name on them...I can figure this out!"

But back to persimmons. I am sick today, and it's a holiday, so I have time to eat well and not do much else. This morning's breakfast was an omelet (with local eggs that are nummy) with a hint of cheddar cheese folded over and topped with persimmon, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime and black-bean salsa.

I am working on a decent persimmon and cinammon topped oatmeal for chilly mornings...but I am really REALLY loving persimmon salsas and salads.

I currently have three local persimmons and 5 rock-hard local kiwis ripening in a paperbag with an apple....and I do not steal from people's fields anymore.

I may decide to get string near the end of the season and dry hachiya on my balcony...dried persimmon are yummy.
parasitegirl: (Default)
The last two nights I've made myself pide (Turkish pizza) from scratch. It is nummers.

Recipe:
http://www.turkishcookbook.com/2010/02/turkish-spinach-pide.php
Pide party! )
parasitegirl: (Default)

Perhaps having LJ and FB blocked at work is what I needed to update and write more.

 

I’ve had a hard time writing this month…about the quake, my life, anything. It’s not so much about being blocked as it is feeling like I don’t have the energy or desire.

 

I shouldn’t be surprised and I shouldn’t feel like less than a writer for it. The quake overloaded me with words and starting points. I had things I needed to write about. It was the sort of writing that transports you to a highly emotional state, it revisited and catalogued difficult emotions, and while the rewards were high (working through/ understanding those emotions and staying connected to the outside world) it was exhausting and unsustainable.

 

Even thought the changes the quake have cause for me and my friends are not over, there is still much to write, in early May I hit a point where I needed to take a break. I needed to be free from words.

 

continued. )

 

parasitegirl: (Drink!)

Don’t ask me how I made pancakes this Monday morning. I woke up and realized that I hadn’t prepped for an easy breakfast…something in my head said “Oh, yeah, you planned to make polenta/swiss-chard/eggs for breakfast….because in the evenings you have illusions of morning competence. Idiot.”

Why I thought this was a good plan for a workday morning I do not know. That sort of cooking is for weekends, after you sleep in, when it can take however much time as it takes.

Pre-coffee I managed to slog through the ratio of one part eggs, two parts liquid, two parts flour, some butter/baking powder/ vanilla extract and make myself pancakes.

I will be more realistic tomorrow.

Peepover

Oct. 28th, 2008 05:27 pm
parasitegirl: (regrets)
Thanks Theo, for the lovely care package of Halloween Peeps.

And...because I have Peep control issues and gorge myself until I can't face a peep for another year...no one needs to try to send me any for Easter.

Feel so bad...but so sugared.

Antsy. Very Antsy.

Body not used to corn syrup.
parasitegirl: (camels)
City Hall and the Milkman's Sister.
The Milkman's Sister has been gone for 3 weeks and isn't expected back for yet another week. I thought she was supposed to be only 2 weeks in the hospital...but it's a month. I think she got an ovarian cyst removed...but with the language barrier and the fact that my other co-workers are men..I really have no clue.
 
I am back to being mostly productive. I write a lesson plan a day (well, an E/J version and a J version) and at this rate I will finish the 5th grade lessons in a week or so...I am mildly burned out.
 
Teaching in real classrooms isn't going to happen until I am back from Seattle...in the last weekend of September schools will all be finished with sports days.
 
Food, money, body:
I've been budgeting my cash so that I can relax about it in Seattle and Portland...eat out and such. I will NOT be going to Fluevogs or clothing shopping anywhere but thrift stores on my trip....but on the 21st I might be visiting the closet of Alimah. I know that closet is full of Bellas in my size range (but a little taller).
 
I now carry a second "food money" wallet with my weekly food budget in it. It has "princess" stitched on it...thank you Daiso/100yen store.
 
Yesterday, I walked to the NGO and bought fresh eggs and grapes. The developmentally disabled workers enjoyed the hell out of one of their assistants practicing her English with me.
 
Today, I walked to the other tiny store with the table of locally grown items. I picked up gnarly red and orange peppers, red onions, onions, and tomatoes. I'll have to pick up some other items at my nearby grocery store (I get what I can as locally as I can...but sometimes I want to use recipes without altering them for Japan life or supply issues...and no one locally is making yogurt for me)...I'll also see if the Shin-Matsudo stand is still selling huge chunks of watermelon...a spicy watermelon cold soup might go well with my lunches.
 
parasitegirl: (sheep)
I don't have a nearby farmer's market...that I know of. Over the last year I have been transitioning more and more to home-cooked meals instead of enjoying ready-made or eating-out options. Admittedly, in a country with very few vegetarian options, this isn't as hard as it would be in America. Furthermore, because I have been living in Japan and cooking a majority of my own meals this transition wasn't a great change, it simply signaled being more aware of what was already going on.
 
At my last workplace, actually the twice a week "on paper school" I found a tiny store, open 3 times a week, that sold seasonal produce from nearby (within a short drive) mini-farms and gardens. That place had THE tastiest eggs ever. Little egg packs with hand written dates on them. Tastiest! Period. The most amazing sulfur color! Perhaps the eggs Dean Mommy and I ate in Cambodia were similarly wonderful, but I cannot describe the eggyness of these eggs, and they were something the few other customers also remarked on.
 
This tiny store became part of my routine on my way home from school.
 
Sadly, it is only open during the week and no longer on the way home.
 
When I started working at city hall I asked the Milkman's Sister if she knew of any place like this, and she didn't.
 
I kept my eyes open and found a place where I change trains, Shin-Matsudo, that sells local produce and eggs and that, and my cloth grocery bags, are part of my trip home every day.
 
The Shin-Matsudo stand occasionally has hard to find produce. Cilantro, nearly impossible to find in a grocery store here, is a regular item at the stand. My guess is that the small farms can easily produce enough for stands and the small amount of demand, but perhaps it is not cost effective to make it in the large amounts needed for distribution through Japan because the general demand is low.
 
Shin-Matsudo sporadically has small baggies of blueberries for about 200yen. Yay!Berries are prohibitively expensive here and I'd grown sad about paying 500 yen and up for a tiny hit of store blueberries a long time ago...
 
Shin-Matsudo has eggs, but they are not as local as I'd like.
 
At lunchtime I quickly eat my packed lunch and then set out to escape city hall. I walk around the empty streets, sometimes to the convini, other times to the post office to mail something or the Ito Yokado to buy something practical. A few weeks ago I hit tiny-store paydirt.
 
Two stores with locally grown produce!
 
One is a tiny open storefront with pictures of the people who grow the handful of items offered that also offers a few organic canned and frozen products. There is nothing glamourous or "cashing in on the eco trends" about it. It is barebones and must somehow survive on neighborhood word of mouth. The location probably has very cheap rents, because there is NOTHING here (except the large Ito Yokado on the other side of the tracks). The other store is a NGO run store run out of what was probably a mini-community center or something, that carries local produce and a strange collection of used rummage-sale worthy items. Profits go to a system for assisted-housing for handicapped (physically, and perhaps mentally...my reading skills and lack of knowledge as to what is Japanese PC code for developmentally disabled leaves me not knowing) .
 
The selection here is limited. The condition of the produce leads me to believe that it all comes from one-to-three gardens, perhaps tended by the assistants and the handicapped occupants themselves. Curly cucumbers, tons of eggplants, leeks, butternut squash, something zuchinni-like but Japanese and eggs! Not as eggy as the form of eggs, but pretty close. This store also has green grapes, which I rarely see in stores (Japan seems to prefer red, blue, and purple varieties)...
 
I haven't eaten the grapes yet, but I will when I get home.
 
Really, in this slow month, I cannot tell you what joy I get taking my sun umbrella out, looking and buying fresh and still dirty produce. I revel in my simple fantasies about tonight's simple dinner and tomorrow's lunch. (I'm thinking fresh squash soup, and making a good babaganoush for sandwiches!)
 
 
 

Soap??!

Apr. 8th, 2008 12:40 pm
parasitegirl: (WTF)
I've found a little stand that sells fresh produce on my way home from the new job.

Late last week I was pleasantly surprised to find fresh cilantro at the stand! Yay! Many of the recipes I use call for it and it is difficult to find in Japan. I usually make due without or with some pretty sad specimins.

Now, I have read about that percentage of people who, due to genetics or tastebud issues, think that cilantro tastes like soap. This always struck me as insane because I've often used and enjoyed cilantro. Now imagine my surprise as I bite into a homemade tahini-quinoa-chickpea salad with red onions and cilantro...and am struck by the sensation that my mouth is full of laundry suds.

I don't know if this is due to some body change on my part, or the sad state of the cilantro I usually have acess to, or the fact that I most often use it in dishes that get heated up thus I might normally enjoy cilantro that has endured some chemical/structural breakdown... but it's crazy making. It literally tastes like I am eating from a bowl that I didn't rinse after washing. This isn't some random description that a select group of people have decided to use to show that they dislike cilantro, like the way I once read a bad cigar being likened to "being orally raped with a toilet scrub brush" ...which I prefered to think was hyperbole and imagination and not the relived trauma of that reviewer.

Today, I finished off the salad. Each time I  ate it I re-lived the "OMG, my mouth is sudsy" feeling, yet every morning when packing my lunch I forgot that...because that's just insane.

Now is time for me to brush my teeth and mouth.
parasitegirl: (momotaro)
The first thing I'm going to have to do at the new job is pump every worker and school for information on tiny stalls or farms nearby that sell fresh eggs and produce. There has to be someplace! That area is boonies! I'll bet that in spring time I'll find a few of those little tables with bags of fruits/veggies and an honor-system box to drop change in. I regress not making more use of those around me at my first apartment.

I won't be near the little place where I now get fresh greens and eggs on Mondays/Weds/Fridays and that's going to be hard to give up. I can't go back to store bought eggs and it doesn't always make sense to go into Tokyo to the organic shop in Ochanomizu (although if I must I'll do it on the way to dance lessons)

I say this because I am totally full of the natural goodness that is a farm fresh baked satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato) with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Really, right now I cannot think of a more decadent natural treat than slowly baked sweet potato.

There is some sort of orchard nearby:http://www.ka1.koalanet.ne.jp/~mizusiro/ 
which upon closer inspection seems to be a 20 minute walk from where I live now, and open every day but Wednesday...might be a good Saturday morning routine.

Score!

Aug. 30th, 2007 09:58 pm
parasitegirl: (dig it)
Major score!

Yesterday, when I went into Tokyo to pick-up and pay for my now repaired bracelet , I scored two large portabella mushrooms for a reasonable price. I just finished eating the first one. MMmmmmmm. Marinated grilled goodness.

I passed on the first whole artichoke I have ever seen in Japan. I cannot justify 7$USD for the smallest artichoke ever. I could have fit the whole thing, stem and all,  in the palm of my hand...and I have tiny hands.
parasitegirl: (Default)
The Puppy and I now meet up about every other week for movies or food and chat. This Sunday, after my hot yoga and his gym-time (running and a humbling hip-hop aerobics class that I'd have paid money to watch) we met up for waffles.



We'd come across The Big Winner diner two weeks ago, but were already well-fed at the time.The Big Winner was all tricked out to look like a small diner from the outside, down to (we suddenly realized) the rusty pick-up truck and bikes parked in front as props. True, the shape of the diner was of a pure prefabricated steel box, but you don't expect much here in Kashiwa. The English on the sign was, for all practical purposes, correct..It promised to be " Original Hamburger Place in Kashiwa" which, as Puppy pointed out, really isn't much of an ambitious promise. It also mentioned waffles. I like waffles. Unlike hamburgers, I can eat waffles.


We met up at Starbucks, Puppy being only 20 minutes late, and sipped coffee and chatted before heading to The Big Winner.



Yes, it seems to be.
parasitegirl: (Default)

Travel tales!

 

I think it has been firmly established that I tend to be a cheap traveler when it comes to accommodations and transport. My mom’s the same way. We’re both happy with small guest houses with minimal comfort located vaguely near, but not in, backpacker locals…bonus if the owner feeds you fruit and baguettes in the morning. I figure if I’m going someplace that I wanna see that place and not the hotel room…and backpackers sometimes make me itchy.

 

I have learned to revise this plan of attack slightly if traveling with someone I intend to be having lots of sex with or if going to some godforsaken-piece-o-hell backwater for reasons beyond my control. Wataguy and I both suffered from my vote for an artsy basic-looking hotel in London*…and in Huddersfield we both simply suffered because it was Huddersfield.

 

Tips and tales for travel in Thailand and Cambodia )


 

 

*Kensington Rooms, where staff may or may not give you the wake-up call you asked for… cruel because the rooms have no clocks. That’s if you managed to get into your rooms, bloody-fucked-up-locks, but if you made it in you soon learned the rooms  contained not much of anything and the items included in the rooms often didn’t work and the shower…I can’t go on … at one point, while in a rush, the doorknob came off in Wataguy’s hand. The soap and bath stuff, however, were a wonderful scented blend of ginseng and something.

 

(Editor’s note: I can’t figure out which kanji on this machine means stop randomly auto-correcting my mistakes, you’re just making it worse. Fetid shower was almost posted as fetish shower…a point which is not up for discussion)

parasitegirl: (Default)

I'm reaaaaaaly tired, so no full update for a few days.

The day started at 4:30 AM, there were some really rough spots at the begining but it came out good and surreal. The show will air on 01/03.

And the costumes? Fucking ugly, on this point each one of us dancers agreed... but we made them work...and no one else involved with the show seemed to think they were ugly and I'm sure they'll look good on tv.

I looked like a silent film star trapped in a horrid costume purchaced in a drunken eBay spree.

Circus girl took photos of us as my battery died (brought new flash card but forgot to bring an extra battery) so I should get those in a few days.

Oh, and American foodies who wish to be able to identify at least one famous person involved with this, you know that mean lil' old lady fortune-teller who was always a judge on Iron Chef whenever they didn't have the mean lil' old lady food critic? The show I was on was HER show.

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