Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Crazy for Curry

My family loves curry. We eat Japanese Curry, Thai Curry, and Indian Curry. On rice, it's a hit with my kids, and I never get a fight from them about finishing their dinner. I really prefer to make it from scratch, but there are so many mixes and pastes out there that help cut down the prep time. And they are fabulous! Last night I made a very quick Indian curry dish using a bottled curry sauce from Whole Foods. I've forgotten the brand, but I sauted about a pound of diced chicken in 2 T of olive oil. Then I added the curry sauce. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes, and before serving mixed in 1/4 c of heavy cream. In the past I've added a can of kidney beans to the sauce as well. Soooo heavenly.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Denver Kohaku Uta Gossen

As a blast from my past, I spent Saturday at the Denver Kohaku Uta Gossen, which is a competiton between a women's singing team (the Red Team) and a men's singing team (the White Team) for best team singing performances. Sixteen individuals from each team were judged individually by a panel of ten, given points for vocal quality, stage presence, etc. The individuals' points totals were tallied, and the team with the most points won, which in this case happened to be the Red Team (yay!). The competition lasted from 12 to 6pm, but we were there early, of course. Mom sang her signature song, and my children were able to experience something similar to the concert-like experiences I had as a child on Okinawa, tagging along with Mom for most of her performances. The show was held at the Denver Buddhist Temple, right downtown. Here's a picture of Mom holding the Colorado Consul General of Japan Trophy:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Butternut Squash Souffle

Of all the winter squash, my favorite is the flavorful Butternut. It keeps for months, and sometimes even increases in flavor with time. The hard, thick skin varies from creamy white to beige, and the yellow-orange flesh is rich in vitamin A which is important for healthy skin, vision and bones. You can't go wrong with this bell-shaped beauty! My kids' favorite way to have this vegetable is steamed, mashed and served with salt and butter. This week, with all the cold weather, I found an old recipe I pulled from a magazine years and years ago for a butternut squash souffle. I cut the squash into cubes (after removing the skin, fiber and seeds), and steamed it in my wok until I could pierce the pieces with a fork. I then mashed the squash and combined the following into it with an electric mixer:

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I poured this mixture into my lovely Le Creuset, and baked for 75 minutes at 325 degrees. The souffle solidified well, and this was a wonderful mix of the sweet and savory flavors of the squash and seasonings. A bit sweet, it made a delicious side dish!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Shopping Experience Is Progressive

If you're a regular Whole Foods shopper, you know how awesome this store is. I have been won over by their amazing prepared foods department. WOW - you don't have to be a young, hip professional to run in for quick, tasty, and healthful fare. It works for families like mine, too! I have been meeting my brother there for lunch from their sandwich section. Or grabbing a quick cup of lobster bisque with Mom. Just the other evening on the way to basketball practice, the kids and I took a look at the entrees and side dishes, all made with natural ingredients, and our on-the-go-dinner fell into place. This will most definitely be our new 'quick dinner' place. No more yucky fast food that we eat just because we are starving after school and work, in between activities. We love how the entire Whole Foods shopping experience is made to appeal to the five senses. It makes us want to come back for more, even at $7.99 a pound! I had the lamb curry; my daughter had the turkey stroganoff; and my son opted for the mac 'n cheese made out of penne pasta and the best, creamiest cheese ever.

Check out one near you!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!

As always, I’m starting the year out with a ton of resolutions. This time they’re categorized: Health/Fitness, Personal Growth/Interests, Time Management/Organization, Education/Training, Recreation/Leisure, Personal Finance, Career, Family/Relationships, and Home Improvement. Yikes! What was I thinking? Seriously, though, from a food/cooking perspective, one of them is to make sure our family meals are nutritious and delicious. And another resolution from that insane list is to publish to this blog regularly!!

My mom’s in town (on right), and has become very involved with the local chapter of the Okinawan Kenjinkai, which is a group of women from Okinawa who meet together on a very regular basis for socializing. This includes eating! You should have seen the spread at the New Years Party! Talk about sushi…one of the ladies owned a popular sushi restaurant in town, so we got the feast of feasts made by an expert. They had mochi, mochi soup, mikans, udon, sato tempura, shrimp tempura, octopus tempura…the list goes on. We (my siblings and I) were in heaven. Wouldn't you be?