To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My journey to Little Tokyo...

Today, my roommate and I journeyed out to Little Tokyo to procure the ingredients and accessories necessary for bento box making - I have decided that making lunches for my roommate and myself would be a healthy, fun, and comparatively inexpensive experiment. She is willing to be my guinea pig in this. :) I love it when people are excited to eat my cooking, even before I've tried making it... Talk about boosting an amateur cook's confidence.

So we wandered off to pick up some basics. Bento boxes, first and foremost. As well as: a sushi rolling kit, brown mochi rice (or brown sticky rice), mirin, dashi stock, miso paste, gomashio, kombu, nori, shumai skins, inauruzashi no moto (bean curd skins), and sushi vinegar. This whole list was remarkably inexpensive at Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo, compared to the price these ingredients would have cost at Whole Foods. Support your local specialty markets!

And while we were down there, we had a most delicious (and enormous) meal at Daikokuya.

We both got combo platters; I had their specialty ramen and a small bowl of teriyaki eel (gosh, but I love unagi) and she had pork cutlets with her ramen. We were both very full by the end of it and had to take half our food home in doggy bags (hello, Sunday lunch).

Yet, we were not so full (I thought) to avoid a trip to Mikawaya for delicious gelato-filled mochi balls. Nom nom nom.

And yes, before you ask, I will be documenting my forays into bento-making. I'm not sure I can promise they will look pretty, but I will make sure to get feedback from my guinea pig as to their edibility. :)

Ja mata!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Saving the World, One Story at a Time

You may or may not know that I played Ophelia last summer in an exceptional Hamlet, directed by Jessica Kubzansky. Now the theater that put us up - Theater 150 - is having a serious financial crisis. This is one of the most innovative places I've worked, full of invigorating, inspiring people who've put their tears, sweat, real and fake blood into producing kick-ass, high-end theater for the masses. If you want there to be more quality, classical and innovative theater within driving distance of Los Angeles, I strongly encourage and gently implore you to give a little or a lot to keep Theater 150 keepin' on.

If interested, please visit Theater 150.

Happy trails!

-Danielle (Irenicerini)

See Hamlet awesomeness:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Second Day Stir-Fry

So, hello!

I have been gone for a while... I haven't stopped cooking; it's just the recording process has gotten a little behind. Cheers to any and all of you who've stuck with me.

For my part, I'll admit I've been going back to some old favorites the last few hectic weeks. Brought my Bad Ass Yamekins to a 5-hour long rehearsal; they were very pleasantly received with the exception of one "gah - they're squishy!" reaction. To which I say this: if something feels squishy, but everyone else is eating it and loving it - just try it. For goodness' sake, it's gluten-free! Also brought those yammies to the killer Relay for Life walkathon, which was so much fun. I'm planning on a full 24-hours for it next year, barring rehearsal schedules as yet unforeseen.

Another treat that I've been revisiting of late are my delicious Green Bean "Chips". They are awesome as a snack during a busy day - hot or cold, they're always yummy. I've also made them as a side for chicken, beef, and fish, and I've chopped them up on top of leftover brown rice. Nom nom.

Speaking of leftover brown rice, here's a nifty new meal for you folks. I'd have taken pictures, but the darned comestibles just disappeared too quickly!

Second Day Stir-Fry
(serves 4-5)

1/2 cup (leftover) brown rice
2 medium-large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and diced
2 blocks firm tofu, cubed (I used Trader Joe's Organic Firm Teriyaki Marinated Tofu, which my guinea pigs and I found to be delicious!)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Add sesame oil to a stir fry pan and set it over medium high heat. Add garlic and onions, sauteeing until the garlic is browned and the onions are translucent. Add celery, stir for ~3 minutes. Add carrots, stir for an additional 2 minutes. Add tofu, stir for another 3 minutes. Add rice, stir so everything is well combined, then add soy sauce. Stir for an additional 3-5 minutes. Ta-da! Dinner! Or lunch. Could be lunch.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve. It was uber-tasty and filled me and my guinea pigs right up. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Watermelon-Strawberry Mint Sorbet, or Momo's Frozen Mash-up

In honor of Mother's Day, I decided to try making something that I think my mother would like. So I took a few of her favorite things - watermelons, strawberries, lemons, and mint - and went mush. :)

Here's what I came up with:

Watermelon-Strawberry Mint Sorbet, or Momo's Frozen Mash-up
(Serves many momos)

juice of 1 lemon, about 2 Tbsp
~1/3 cup date sugar (I used a little less, because that was all I had left)
1 cup pureed, frozen strawberries (5 large strawberries, frozen, then pureed)
4 cups pureed, chilled watermelon
2/3 cup water
~1 Tbsp minced mint (I used the awesome mix of mints that my parents grow at home and dried for me - see picture below - but any mint will do.)

In a food processor, puree frozen strawberries, then set aside in a large bowl. Without cleaning out the processor, puree the watermelon and add that to the bowl with the strawberries. Add lemon juice. Stir until all mixed up. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to chill.

Pour water, sugar, and mint into a small saucepan and set over low heat. The date sugar takes longer to break down than normal sugar - one of the good and bad things about it. It took me about 20 minutes before it finally melted completely, which worked out quite nicely as the mint had really saturated the sugar with its oils by then and smelled heavenly!

(Looks a bit like soup, doesn't it? But nope - it's date sugar water and mint!)

Set to medium heat and let boil for 1 minute. Then pour through a wire-mesh sieve into a heat-safe bowl and mash with the round side of a spoon until nothing else will go through. Save the remaining non-liquid date/mint mixture for later. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Set a timer for ~1 hour. It can stay in longer if you want. I don't think an hour or two will make much difference at this stage.

When you come back after at least an hour, pour the liquid sugar/mint mixture into the strawberry/watermelon mush and stir until well combined.

Pour this into a metal pan (about 8x8 should do), cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 4-8 hours. Scoop all the frozen fruit and sugar out, run it through your food processor until it's chopped up, and pour it back in the metal pan again. Freeze again. In 2-4 hours, it should be crisp, cold, and delicious. Although you may need to let it thaw a bit before serving.

Now if you want to make it extra delicious - take the leftover mint and date sugar mash and stir it thoroughly with ~1 tbsp of fine balsamic vinegar. I used FINI, which if you haven't heard of it is one of the yummiest balsamics around. [I thought of it because it's awesome when drizzled over fresh strawberries.]

The slight sour builds on the sweet and makes it a savory delight on the tongue. Just a little goes a long way. With or without the balsamic, this treat makes a delightful light dessert or a refreshing palate cleanser. Enjoy! And Happy Mother's Day, Momo! Go on, have a peace. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Haiku for May

まつさをな水の惑星五月来る  石田しづこ
massao na mizu no wakusei gogatsu kuru

a planet of water
so blue
May begins
-Shizuko Ishida

from “Haiku Dai-Saijiki” (“Comprehensive Haiku Saijiki”), Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyo, 2006
Yoinked from Blue Willow Haiku World.