Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

It is a good luck vegetable so Japanese people eat Lotus Roots as part of special New Year meal.  Why is this root vegetable is good luck?  As you can see you can see holes of Renkon as photo shown below.  It is said that you can see the future.  Also, Renkon produces tons of seeds, therefore it means “productivity.”  Kind of clever, huh?


I am fortunate enough to be able to buy Renkon at Asian market in International District so I keep it in my fridge often.  I usually simply sautée it with different kinds of seasonings each time.  Last night, I sliced it in ½-inch thick, sautéed with sesame oil (I love sesame oil by the way, so fragrant), sprinkle of salt, splash of fish sauce and dash of black vinegar.  I am very enthusiastic about black vinegar.  This is one of  several fermented seasonings that I am in love with.  Black vinegar is very smooth, malty and mellow, not stingy.  When you cook vegetables, any meat or fish, your dish ALWAYS come out complex, yet mild, rich and delicious.  If you use black vinegar when making hot and sour soup, your soup would taste divine!

Anyway, here is last night’s magic.  Black vinegar and home-shaved bonito on top of sautéed renkon.  It only takes about 10 minutes to cook.  All you need besides the renkon dish is white rice.  Savory and comforting dinner is ready.


Lazy Blue Sunday: Raining Too

Lazy Blue Sunday: Raining Too

It is raining in Seattle.  I actually get so relieved when I hear sound of the rain.  This one tiny little thing has been bothering me for a while so I decided to have a very lazy Sunday.  Pajama all day Sunday.  My quality life however can’t be affected so I had:

Starbucks Kenya


Almond Cherry Pie from Seattle’s finest, High 5 Pie


And Ginger, my overweight Chihuahua


So I have to say, I still had a lovely Sunday.  I stayed inside all day but I am not regretting a bit. It is raining in Seattle.  I kind of like it too.

Dum Sum in the Evening: 飲茶 Yum Cha

Dum Sum in the Evening:  飲茶 Yum Cha

Silk Road travelers.  They must have traveled under severe and harsh conditions but I can’t stop fantasize about the time period.  Transporting silks, gold, precious stones, fabrics, animal skins, exotic fruit on the back of camels…

飲茶: 飲=drink  茶= tea

Dim sum is linked with the old tradition from yum cha (tea tasting).  Silk Road travelers needed a place to rest and teahouses were established along the roadside. Those teahouses offered food and tea…that’s a short history of yum cha.


Dum sum is traditionally eaten during morning and late afternoon.  In Seattle Chinatown however, Chinese restaurants offer limited dim sum items for dinner as well (thank goodness).  I wanted to eat out but wanted it to be quick and easy.  Dim sum can be the perfect supper.

Dim sum in the evening in Chinatown.  It could be a good place to take your date as well J

Confidence in Happy Cows: Skagit River Ranch

Confidence in Happy Cows:  Skagit River Ranch

Betty said with her doubtful voice, “How can you eat meat you bought at the farmers market?  Is it even safe?”  I don’t know Betty well.  We just dance at the same dance studio and exchange not-so-deep conversations.  We were talking about my favorite farmers market and told her that I don’t shop at giant chain supermarkets anymore because I could find almost everything I need at the farmers market.

There are at least three wonderful butchers at University Farmers Market.  Once I bought a huge beef lamp at Sea Breeze Farm, I asked George, owner of this farm, how I should store the meat and he said “keep in a fridge uncovered and it will last about a month.”  He also advised me “when you start seeing mold on surface, all you have to do is to wipe the mold with vinegar.  You can also enjoy raw.”  He was so right.  I enjoyed his beef in every way for about  3-1/2 weeks.

Yesterday morning, I bought some beef from Skagit River Ranch for the first time.  I asked this super friendly lady Eiko what’s the best way to cook this.  She said, “you just marinade for about a couple of hours then cook 7 minutes one side and 5 on the other.  I like medium.”  I also asked if I can cook with less time because I like medium rare.  She said, “honey, you can eat that sucker raw.”  Now you understand why I love this farmers market.


Eiko also gave me her “Simple Everything Marinade” recipe.  You mix olive oil, soy sauce, honey or brown sugar, garlic and lemon juice.  I marinated for about 4 hours.  I think that was the best steak I have ever cooked at home. Beautiful pink/red inside and came out so tender.  I simmered left-over marinade for a minute and used for dressing over a braised broccoli salad.

It is way “safer” than any meat you can find at Safeway.  These farmers are not only confident what they provide for customers but also offer with pride.  You can actually taste it.  Their care, passion and love for what they do.

Betty, I hope you try the meat at a local farmers market one day.  I promise you, you will enjoy it so much because, “you can eat that sucker raw.”

My Kind of Meditation: Coffee, Cream and Sugar

My Kind of Meditation:  Coffee, Cream and Sugar

When I feel like this (oh, life is so hard).


I translate my body is asking for some happiness injection.  Gentle sugar intake.  I barely use sugar when I drink coffee since I want to enjoy pure flavor and taste of coffee beans but sometimes what you need is good quality sugar and happy cow cream.

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Inner beauty is important but outer beauty is also important.  I don’t know what it is but I have this huge love for mason jars.  Whatever you put in, they all look lovely.  I even put my  quinoa salad in one of my mason jars and bring it as my lunch.  Anyhow, coffee also looks good in that.

I like to use rock sugar or raw sugar because it taste milder and rounder than refined sugar, to me anyways. Sometimes all you need is to take extra few minutes to grind beans, boil the water, and inhale fantastic coffee aroma while pouring water over the coffee.  Your life would be so much better after that.  It is sort of like meditating.


Some tips on making this coffee…use good quality coffee. I tend to like higher acidity beans from Africa.  Use good quality sugar and cream, this makes so much difference.  You can also add vanilla beans (real) to ground beans to it.  Don’t rush to do anything.  Please make sure to taste it.

They Are a Great Start for Problem Solving: Flowers

They Are a Great Start for Problem Solving: Flowers

It is true, flowers actually do not solve any one problem you may have.  However, flowers remind you that you are being thought of by someone, the beauty of life, that you are loved and to smile.  Someone special in your life, whoever that may be, is thinking of you, which lifts you up, not the flowers themselves.  It has been hard to accept that I am special to someone because I grew up convincing myself that I was an ugly duckling and no one cared about me.


My friend Ayako Gordon, (also an artisan jam maker) made this gorgeous bouquet.   Archie goes to see Ayako every other Sunday at Marigold and Mint where she works as a florist.  She knows exactly what I like so he doesn’t have to tell Ayako what kind of bouquet he wants to get for me.  Every time Archie brings me those flowers, my heart gets filled so much and it almost explodes.

The bonus to that is that when you give flowers to someone special, your best friend, your spouse, your boss, your direct report, your mother, your brother’s wife…whoever that is, you will experience the same effect as much as when you receive them.  You will get to feel the beauty of life, how much you love that person, how much you think of him/her.

Flowers=the first step to world peace (at least your inner peace)

A Well Read Woman: and Well Traveled Women

A Well Read Woman: and Well Traveled Women

I love books so I read a lot.  I love traveling and I get out there a lot.

When I was about half of my current age, I was traveling through Thailand.  I was dirty, filthy and broke.  I was hungry.  At one point, a  well-dressed Caucasian couple threw a can of cat food at me when I was sitting street side in Bangkok starving. Two not-well-dressed-at-all kids took me to their home to feed me what they already DON’T have.  This couple seems they had enough money versus these kids’ family who don’t have enough of anything.  These kind of experience opened up my eyes and my heart.  Wide open.

Reading has the same effect on me.  I can be inside of a book and travel though the book.  I get to experience tons and my heart soars.

A well-read and traveled woman is very emotional, opinionated, strong, stubborn, protective of her own space and wants to be alone many times.

On contrary, she is kind-mannered and (most likely) has a fuzzy heart.  She is just afraid of showing that.

If you ever wish to lead an interesting and never-a-dull-moment kind of life, she would be a perfect companion.  I won’t say it is easy but you will never get bored, I promise.

Powder (Power) of Love: Packed Lunch

Powder (Power) of Love: Packed Lunch

12-hours a day.  Once in a while I had to work that long but I havn’t really since moving to the States (in Japan yes, it’s a norm).  Recently I have been working 12 hours a day almost every day.  I am a very healthy person but I feel drained and bone-tired.

Last night, I went out for dinner with my friend and we had Chinese.  It was lovely to see her but all I could think about was going home and lying down on my bed.  When I came home, I was so relieved and couldn’t wait to go to bed.

Please look at this photo.  A very boring and bland glass container with squared tin foil on it is pictured here.  This tin foil contains pure magic.  Archie knew what I have been going though and how exhausted I have been.  So, he packed my lunch for me (spaghetti with simple tomato sauce that he made) and told me the tin foil square was grated parmesan cheese.  Not only did he grate the cheese, thinking I would enjoy my lunch better with cheese, but he couldn’t find a small enough container to put cheese in so he made this “magical” square tin container.  When he told me, I nearly cried.  Does it sound weird to you or you don’t get why I am so happy about it?  It’s totally OK.  It is me getting so silly-happy to realize that I have that kind of person in my life and appreciate the human-being.  I’ve never seen a better container that holds cheese than this square.

This is a true power of love.

Reminder of the Day: My Thought Exacly

Racists are a problem

White people are not

Homophobes are a problem

Straight people are not

Transphobes are a problem

Cis people are not

Sexists are a problem

Men are not

And most importantly, hating an innocent person solely because of their race, sexuality, or gender makes you a fucking asshole


Yep.  Can’t agree more.