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Sriracha Butter

I hope everyone’s memorial day was fabulous! Mine was superbly relaxing and wonderful πŸ™‚ On memorial day, we realized that we hadn’t BBQ’d AT ALL and since it’s the unofficial kickoff of amazing weather, we threw some steaks and corn on the grill. I’d seen somewhere that someone had made sriracha butter, so I decided to make my own πŸ™‚

At first, I half melted the butter and added sriracha until it was the right amount of spice for me, but something was missing and being me (I love garlic), I decided to throw a couple cloves in… PERFECTION. And on the corn….. drool. Literally. Highly recommend πŸ™‚

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Pork Potstickers

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while… I haven’t been cooking anything fun cuz the dude’s been outta town. No sense in cooking up a storm for just yourself, right? Last night, however, I got all excited and decided to make potstickers from scratch (minus the skins). Find the recipeΒ here. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, lots of stuff working on earrings – you can see what I’ve been posting here. Also, I’ll be in a wedding this summer in Hawai’i, so I’ve been working on some goodies for that πŸ™‚

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these are all the ingredients: ground pork, cilantro, shrimp, bok choy (i’m gonna use onions instead next time), and ginger.

 

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here’s everything all mixed together before they got wrapped up!

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delicious fried potstickers!! I used to make these in Japan all the time with my mom, but since she’s a vegetarian, I’ve never made em with meat before! I love love love pork, so this worked out well for me πŸ™‚

 

Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce and Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve been on a steak kick a bit lately – it’s all I’ve been craving. And when I make steak at home, it has to be flank steak. I love flank steak. All steak, really. I love meat.

Generally, when you buy flank steak you end up with way more than you need, so you get a few meals out of it. This week, I opted for steak with chimichurri sauce, and then I’ll be making Pho at the end of the week since it’s been a wee bit chilly here.

I decided that I wanted to try roasted cauliflower with the steak since I’ve been seeing recipes everywhere recently. They both turned out deliciously!! Couldn’t have been happier with the recipes, which are here:

http://www.sagerecipes.com/2012/04/11/grilled-skirt-steak-with-cilantro-chimichurri-sauce/

http://remcooks.com/2012/02/02/roasted-cauliflower-with-red-chile-cilantro-lime/

For the steak, I broiled it for 8 minutes, flipped em, then broiled for 8 more instead of firing up the grill. Β Although delicious broiled, I’d say it probably would have added another dimension if it had been grilled instead. The crispy fiery taste would have been perfect with the chimichurri sauce (as the original recipe says, duh Leela).

Here’s my finished product

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Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub

Originally, my plan was to make dinners on Sunday’s a little fancier. However, we opted to go out for dinner on Sunday, so these got pushed back to Monday dinner. This rub would be amazing on ANYTHING. Even tofu, for those of you who aren’t prone to the carnivorous lifestyle. I apologize for the lack of after picture – this is a habit that I have to work on. The chops smelled so delicious as I was pulling them out of the oven that I started eating right away and completely forgot to take a picture.

Here’s the recipe:

http://www.porkbeinspired.com/RecipeDetail/2558/Grilled_Pork_Chops_with_Basil-Garlic_Rub.aspx

Instead of grilling, I baked at 375F for 30 mins, then broiled for 5mins. I paired my chops with white rice and butter garlic corn. Roasted broccoli probably would also have been delicious, had we had any πŸ™‚

I would highly recommend this recipe!

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Croissants

Now that I’m back from my fun little jaunt to Oregon – it’s back to the simple life in my new sleepy little town πŸ™‚

After a couple relaxing nights catching up on “The Walking Dead” and staying in with the boy, I’m spending today being domestic and catching up on stuff around the house… and squeezing some time in to blog and lay out in the sun! Today’s high says 77, but because of the high altitude, it’ll probably feel above 80 in the sunlight. It’s still in the low 60’s now, with a slight breeze so I don’t feel like I’m too hot just yet.

By the way, the Vampire Weekend Pandora station is amazing, and perfect for a little laying out!

Usually, I leave brunches on Sundays to the boy, since I cook dinners during the week, but we had a little collaborative breakfast today and made scrambled eggs and Raspberry Cream Cheese Croissants (thank you to Shannon, from So Rumbly In My Tumbly for the recipe!)

The recipe called for strawberry, but we had raspberry jam on hand so I decided to try the recipe with that and see how it turned out. It was delicious! A little on the sweeter side for what we’re used to eating for brunches, so I’d recommend it as an afternoon tea snack for those of you who aren’t prone to sweet things for brunch. Mine didn’t turn out quite as nicely as Shannon’s, which is why I won’t be posting a picture today πŸ™‚

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday’s!

All you can eat at Olympia

Where have I been, you say? I apologize for the lack of posts – I’ve been busy eating! Now that it’s not a sauna in Osaka anymore, I’m starting to get my appetite back and I’ve been eating some delicious things ^.^

I went to a pretty well known all you can eat buffet with my mom last week. Apparently reservations need to be made weeks in advance. Plus: they have over 100 menu items!

Needless to say, I was pretty excited! It’s all I could think about at work that day. We picked a day where it wouldn’t be super crowded (weekday) so I went straight there from work.

Here are some visuals to make you jealous of the yummies that went into my tummy:

I started with the Chinese buffet and tried a little of everything: fried chicken, beef, sweet and sour pork, crab tofu, fried rice, shrimp shumai, sushi (not chinese but it was there), ginger pork, salami and brie (also not chinese but still delicious).

 

After Chinese, I opted for some steak. My mom and sister had been here before and my sister raved about the steak so it was at the top of my list of things to try! It was, as promised, amazing. I love steak!

 

After the steak, I went back to the Chinese food to see if there was anything that I missed… turns out, yes. They hadn’t set out all of the dishes on my first round and had shabu shabu pork! Shabu shabu is a Japanese dish where they dip thin sliced meat into boiling water and cook it up real quick. For this dish, they poured a spicy chinese sauce on top – also delicious, but didn’t top the steak.

 

 

After eating my fill of Chinese, I meandered over to the Japanese food area and found Japanese black beef. It’s super expensive and super rare and has always been on my list of things to try! It was slow cooked or something because the meat was so tender and delicious!

 

 

Next in line was: Lobster. Pan fried and seasoned with some kind of spicy pepper. SO GOOD.

 

 

As I was finishing my lobster, my mom appeared holding two cups of soup. Turns out: shark fin soup. It’s actually pretty good but the fin must have been chopped up real small cuz I couldn’t tell what was what. Apparently, good quality shark fin soup they have the entire fin in the bowl and you have to eat it. Gotta say, I’m glad it was chopped up! (also in the rop right of the photo: that’s fois grois).

 

 

I felt a little weird after the shark fin, so I defaulted to a classic: sushi.

 

 

After all that, I was ready to hit the dessert buffet. Pudding flavored ice cream, lemon honey sorbet, pumpkin pudding, pomegranate tart, and a cute lil cupcake.

 

 

 

 

 

While I was enjoying my dessert, there was an announcement that there was going to be a dessert display. Turns out they had a giant mont blanc mountain and were gonna serve little pieces. Look at how big it is!

 

So basically: it was awesome, everything was delicious, and I walked out regretting my choice of pants for the day. I would highly recommend it to anyone coming through Osaka. It’s called Olympia and it’s in the basement level of the Shin Hankyu Hotel in Umeda.

 

life in osaka

I know, I know, I’ve done it again. Every single time, I tell myself that I’m going to set a schedule and stick to it… clearly, notsomuch.

The fun thing is that lots and lots has happened since the beginning of May – to sum it up (in no particular order):

-new job, new hair

-got addicted to shopping

-friends wo do improv comedy shows / morimoto

-getting to know my students / fellow teachers / sports festival

-rooftop bbq

– kobe visit

– crepes

So really… I haven’t been that busy. I’ve actually lied about all of the above and what I’ve really been doing is sitting at my computer all day long and not writing and keeping you in the loop on purpose πŸ™‚

Just kidding. Acclimating to my Β new job and schedule has been quite interesting and has been taking some time to get used to. I’ve been waking up at 5am, leaving my house by 7am, and I get to work just shy of 8:30am. The train ride isn’t so bad, but now that it’s getting hot, the mile walk to / from school / the train station is killing me. I’m sweating off all of the delicious things I’m eating and losing, not gaining weight, so that’s good. Walking at a brisk pace in 30 degree heat (celcius) for 15-20 minutes makes a person perspire! I know you didn’t need that detail, but I really want to paint an accurate picture so you can imagine me melting and get some joy out of it πŸ™‚ Just picture an asian wicked witch of the west who’s not green or wearing a pointy hat. she and I could totally pass for siblings.

I’m not going to talk a lot about this cuz it’s an ever-evolving problem: but i’m creepy addicted to clothes (see my pinterest boards) and am having too much fun buying new items. i really can’t be too crazy because mostly i just work so i don’t need too many “casual” clothes… but the summer brights are calling my name! it’s true love, i tell you. for those of you who have known me for years, you know what a fun new thing this is considering I used to love to wear potato sacks to school.

Oh yeah, I upgraded my look right before starting my new job. new job, new clothes, new look, new experience. i took a page from katie holmes’ book and went for short and sassy!

i absolutely adore my new job. it definitely has it’s up and downs… as you would assume working with close to 300 teenage students! they’re finally learning my name (and giving me random nicknames, such as maria). even the shy ones have started to say hi to me in the hallways. they’re all good kids – and most of em try their darndest when you give em a little extra boost. the level of their english is pretty low, but they really want to talk to us so we get a lot of repetitive phrases.

that’s me with the other native teacher at my school.

soon after starting at school we had a sports festival. i remember them from when i was a kid. the third year students (who i only have one class of) tried so hard and made sure to put their all into it. seeing how hard they tried was inspiring… i wish they tried that hard in class πŸ™‚ they’re soo so cute!

our neighbors across the street are architects and have this epic rooftop terrace. i was telling my aunt one day how jealous i was and that i wished we could do fun things like have rooftop bbq’s. she said why not and got in touch with her friends and set up a rooftop bbq party! it was a blast and i ate my fill of delicious meat. i’ve requested that we have another for my birthday πŸ˜€

i had the chance to get together with a childhood friend and meet her little boy. we hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years! we shopped and ate delicious things. her little boy was too adorable and we had a blast playing with his trains. she’s pregnant with another boy and is due any day now. i bet he’ll be just as adorable as his older brother and i can’t wait to meet him!

i’m enjoying a lot of Β ‘small world’ situations here – i met a friend of a friend and we had crepes and tea. i’m always down to meet new people! look at how yummy the crepes look!

when i went to coldstone this past weekend the girl making mine commented on how rare it was (sweet cream with rainbow sprinkles) and why was my japanese so good. i told her that was all i ate in the states n she asked where i was from. turns out – her aunt lives in eugene and she visits all the time! she was so excited to meet someone who knew oregon. seriously, small world!!

i met some pretty amazing people at training before work started, and it turns out one of them is in a bilingual improv group. i’ve been to 2 shows now, and they are some of the funniest people i’ve ever met. check out their website Pirates of The Dotombori. I even have the same last name as one of em and she’s half japanese, too!

all in all… loving Japan and all of the experiences it has to offer. I’m rarely bored, let alone even home. i feel like i’m wasting time if i’m not running around and seeing new things! to anyone who is thinking about living in or visiting japan: DO IT!!!!!