Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve 2010

Every year like everyone else I take time to say good bye to one year and hello to the next. Usually this comes with good food good drinks and my family. So here are some photos of this years goodies. Enjoy.

New Years Eve 2010 Goodies

Corned Beef and Swiss bites (of course on rye with mustard), Grapes, Carrots sticks with dip, Nachos with cheese, Chex Mix (a classic), Special Fruit Punch, St. Julian Sparkling Cider (for later toast)

Corned Beef and Swiss Bites

Always Alcohol Free Celebrating
St. Julian Sparkling Apple Cider

I hope that your New Year's Eve celebration is fun and safe. See you in 2011


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bento #24


This was lunch from Friday. Although it was very tasty I over cooked the egg noodles. I don’t seem to have a lot of progress with egg noodles. It’s always a hit or miss thing for me. Sometimes they come out perfect then others they are soggy and taste like paste. Oh well I’ll keep trying at it.

Ok let’s begin with the bottom part because that has the meal where as the top part has dessert/snack. The bottom part has salisbury steak that has been chopped into smaller pieces, the egg noodles mentioned above with brown gravy and sautéed broccoli.

Now the top part is filled with a bunch of grapes and a Rice Krispies Treats® that I cut in half and spread peanut butter on it. I then cut it in small bights. I think peanut butter on Rice Krispies Treats® is my now obsession but I will try Nutella next.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now I am always up for a good giveaway and this one is a great one for any of my fellow bentoist out there. As I was going through the list of blogs I follow I came across the new post from Emily at Bentobloggy. She is having a giveaway of a wonderful bento set from AllThingsForSale.com. When she talked about the selection being great and the prices being very reasonable she wasn’t kidding. I went over there to check them out myself and have already made a mental list of things I want to buy. It is nice that they are here in the states and that your items don’t take forever to get to you. I have already bookmarked them myself under my bento accessories.

So if you are interested in entering this give away head over to Bentobloggy and while you are there check out her bentos I think you’ll like them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So in my last post I had a picture of the herb packets that I had. I also told you that I was in the process of deciding what herb(s) I wanted to start with. Well I have been doing research on the internet and reading books to help me in my process (I will list them at the end of this post). I found one source that said to start by looking at the herbs and spices you already use and go from there. So that is exactly where I am going to begin. If you are familiar with any of my recipe or bento posts you will know that I love dill and use it a lot.

So I have decided that my first plant will be Dill (Anethum graveolens). I have been doing general research on dill and will begin doing specific research today. The seed packet I have is Dukat Leafy Dill. I’m not sure what the different varieties of dill are but as soon as I find out I will let you know.



I know I may be starting this project at the wrong time as it is fall and I am in Michigan but this is for an indoor herb garden and I didn’t think it would matter. I’ve been looking at the layout of my kitchen to see where I can set up this herb garden because I will have to use a grow light because my kitchen has no windows and I have a cat and I don’t want him chewing on my herbs when I’m not looking. Maybe I will also grow him his own herbs so that he will leave mine alone.

Well there is my update keep checking back to watch my progress.

Till then, happy growing.

My references so far:

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch (Google books copy-read only) (Herbs Chapter 8-begin on page 383)

GardenGuides.com

Renee’s Garden (The seed packets are from Renee’s Garden)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bento #23


I had to work yesterday and the weather was not the greatest here in Michigan. No we don’t have any snow yet but it was cold so I wanted a bento that was very filling. I meant to post this bento when I got home from work yesterday but was just too tired. I’ve been living in Michigan all my life but the cold air still wipes me out.

This was yesterday’s lunch and I must say it was very delicious and filling. It is made up of 3 small yaki onigiri. I think I love yaki onigiri better than regular onigiri but I have been experimenting with different flavors so maybe I can come up with some that I can make my go to flavors. Growing up I always put salt, pepper and a lot of butter on my rice so plain non-seasoned rice or rice only season with salt does not appeal to me. I know that may seem like a very American attitude but I do try foods from all over and then adapt them to my own palate. I feel food is not stagnate it is ever changing and that should be ok. We should always remember traditional recipes or ways of cooking but we also have to remember that people’s tastes are diverse and should be respected. Ok I just ran off on a tangent I do apologize.

Now back to the bento. I also had french cut green beans that were cooked in soy sauce. I first placed them in the microwave with a little soy sauce poured over them then I grilled them on my griddle with a small amount of butter. I was hoping I could come close to the taste I get when I sauté my broccoli but didn’t work this time. Next time I’ll try it in a skillet. I included a bunch of red grapes and that is what is in the top part of the bento.

In the bottom part I have tamagoyaki made with dill and cheese. I am going to have to invest in a real tamagoyaki pan. Right now I make it on my griddle and it seems to come out fine but to be honest I have never eaten one made with an authentic pan in the traditional way. So a tamagoyaki pan goes on my wish list. Lastly I added cut up salisbury steak left over from dinner the night before and there we are.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today is my official blogiversary but there will be no bells and whistles going on here. Although I am happy to have made it through this past year and I have learned a lot in the process I don’t feel that this blog has lived up to its potential yet. All in Good Food will strive to do better in the coming year to fulfill the goals that I have set so stay with me and see the transformation and growth.


Now to the first project of the year for All in Goof Food and that is the Herb Project. What is the Herb project you might ask? Well I realized that I work so much better with goals and deadlines I have created this project to help me learn more about herbs and spice I may or may not be using in my recipes. I find that in my area I am hard pressed to find some of the herbs I need for cooking so I thought why not grow them myself. So is the birth of my Herb Project. I haven’t come up with a catchy name for it yet but I’ll be working on that.

So here is the project. I will be researching, planning, planting, harvesting and creating recipes with the herbs I will be growing. As I have never grown herbs before I am researching what are the best herbs for me to grow and as I live in Michigan I will need to grow them indoors for now. I want to get some plants to start with but they will be hard to find at this time of the year. However I was recently given some seed packets so I will start with them. This project will take you through every step on my process, good, bad and ugly. I will be taking notes as closely as possible so that I may learn from my mistakes as well as my triumphs.

So I ask you to stay with me on this journey and any advice from those who have grown herbs before are welcomed and encouraged, I just ask that you be respectful and positive, nastiness is not necessary or welcomed here at this blog. With that said I already have a plan in mind and will share that with you in the next post.

Till then.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bento #22


When I take my bentos to work I try to keep them very simple and yesterday's was no exception. I made some of my homemade turkey chili the night before so I just cooked up some penne pasta and mixed it together. I love cheese on my chili and my pasta and chili so I put a bit of shredded cheese in the top along with some french cut green beans that were seasoned with soy sauce and black pepper. A very simple lunch.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bento #21


Here is another simple bento I had for my lunch yesterday. I took a steak filet and sliced it into thin slices and then I cut the slices into bit sized pieces and grilled them on my griddle. I cooked the egg noodles in brown gravy that was left over from the Salisbury steak we had for dinner Thursday night. I just added a little water and added the noodles and let them cook till they were soft. I then topped it with two small pieces of bacon that had been wrapped around the steak filet that I cooked along side of the steak. I also had butter sauté broccoli. I love my broccoli this way because I love the roasted taste.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bento #20

This was the simple bento I had for lunch yesterday.

This bento consists of simple white rice seasoned with butter, salt and pepper along with tamagoyaki made with dill and shredded cheese. No not your traditional tamagoyaki but the taste appeals to me. There is French cut green beans which I cooked with soy sauce for seasoning and two pieces of General Tso chicken from dinner the night before. As I said very simple but very tasty.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Bento #18 and #19

Here are a few bentos I managed to take a picture of after my computer crashed. Just thought I’d share them with you.


Bento #18

Bento #19

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wow How Time Flies

As I was trying to decide what my next post would be I looked up and realized that as of November 10th it will be 1 year since I began this blog. Wow how time flies. When I first began I wasn’t quite sure where to start, what to write about, or what was my culinary passion. I have to admit I floundered for a bit until I found a niche which was posting the bentos I had been already creating. But I thought to myself I don’t want to stop there so I began to post my experimental dishes and creations and that felt good.

Cooking I have found has been an evolution of sorts. As I learned more about food and ingredients I became a better cook. When I was younger I dabbled a bit in cooking but other than pastry or dessert dishes I never pursued it seriously. Well now my time has come. No I don’t want to be the “Next Food Network Star” or work in a 3 or 4 star restaurant but I do want to cook the best food I can for me and my family.

I think when I am passionate about something I get very focused and intense about it. That is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. Cooking requires you to be very focused but flexible at the same time and the key to good cooking is finding that balance. So in this new year I have decided to pick 4 key things and focus my efforts on them.

And they are first of all making balanced bentos. I have been creating bentos for about 3 years now and the process has helped me immensely in understanding portion control and balance in my meals. I have struggled a bit but with struggle comes progress. It also helps to have a strong bento community that I am involved with. I have learned about different foods, recipes, techniques (for aesthetics purposes) which is one of the keys to the appeal of bentos. I must also say this community is very supportive and helpful which is great.

My next endeavor is in baking. As a young girl I wanted to be a pastry chef and make all those wonderful delights that most everyone loves, but I think I let fear stop me from pursuing that path but no more. At this point in my life I am not sure if I am up to going to a formal school to become a patisserie but this is the information age and I think I am good at understanding information that I find in books, TV shows and the internet. Don’t get me wrong I do want to go study under some good teachers but I feel that a more intimate and personal setting is for me. I have fallen in love with the Cooking Channel show Rachel Allen Bake. When I watch her I understand what she is telling me. Eventually I want to sign up for her cooking school and keep going from there.

This new year of my blog I am also starting a 365 project. I decided I want to learn more about herbs so I am going to take in the next year and work on my 365 Herb Project. I will also be studying spices and their uses as well. As I want to give this project its fair turn I will wait to explain what I am doing in its own post.

Lastly I will be focusing on my time management. Yes I know that this may not seem to be directly related to cooking but I assure you it is. Without time management foods can burn or not be cooked enough, pastries and desserts can become disasters and over all chaos in the kitchen will ensue. Ok that last bit was a bit over dramatic but as we all know we can never get time back once it is gone so we must use it wisely.

Well that is the update to what is going on here at All in Good Food. As many of you know I had not been posting for sometime because my lovely computer decided it wanted to crash on me. So now that I finally have my new one I will take this opportunity to start a new. New year (blog year), new me. With the understanding I have gained from blogging and cooking I hope to have new and exciting posts for all of you to read. So here’s to a new year.

乾杯 (Kanpai)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm Finally Back

Hi Everyone,

If you followed my blog with any regularity then you know that I have not posted anything new for a while. Back in July I had the unfortunate luck of having both my desk top and my lap top computers fail on me keeping me from being able to do anything. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me tweet about this. It has been a frustrating 3 months but I finally have a new computer and will begin posting again soon.

I thank you very much for your patience and your continued support. Talk to you soon.

Marisa

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ok so I was just sitting here today at my computer looking up recipes and surfing twitter and I came across a giveaway. Now I am always ready to enter giveaways to try and win so when I saw a tweet from someone I had just started following on twitter whose blog I had begun following the other day I decided to check it out. The giveaway is at A Pocket Full of Buttons for Flirty Aprons and it drew my interest.

Now I must tell you I don’t normally wear an apron when I cook because I could never find one that fit me right or because it was not very stylish. However the aprons I saw at the Flirty Aprons website are so cute and stylish I couldn’t resist entering. Flirty Aprons also sales aprons for men and for children as well. As I am torn between two different aprons if I am lucky enough to win I will most certainly be buying the other. But go and check them out yourself.

If you go right over to A Pocket Full of Buttons-Flirty Apron Review and Giveaway you can enter as well. The review of these aprons is very informative and seems very honest and that’s what caught my attention. Below are the two aprons I really liked. So go right over and check them out for yourself.

The design is called Cherry Blossom

This design is called Chic Pink

Good luck to everyone who enters.

*Please note that all attached photos are the property of Flirty Aprons.*

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ok it’s been over a month since I wrote my last post and yes I am well over due for a new one. I have been doing a lot of experimenting on recipes and taking a lot of pictures but did not feel I was ready to write up a post on the various recipes I’ve been working on. Weather it’s because I felt I wasn’t ready or I was not inspired enough to write I have to push past those feelings or I feel I will never write again. So here it goes.

Mini Ham and Cream Cheese Sammys made from rolls made from Grandma May’s roll recipe

Lately I’ve ventured back to the passion I had when I was a teen which is baking but I have been exploring the world of homemade as apposed to semi-homemade and it all began with my Grandma Mary’s dinner roll recipe. Before I ventured into the world of food blogging I had a resurgence of a desire to really cook by learning as much as I could about ingredients, food production and how everything works together. I have had a desire to work more with locally grown foods and products. Although I love making things from scratch I do believe there is a place for pre-made products such as mixes and seasoning packets as much of my readers already know. I choose to embrace both aspects of the food world as I am not a food snob. There’s a place for everything and everything has its place.

So this post will be the introduction to a new aspect of food exploration. I like to find out how versatile a recipe is and how many different ways I can change it and still keep it the same if you know what I mean. Just like Alton Brown feels about multi tasking utensils in the kitchen I feel the same with recipes. I know that not all recipes can be multi taskers but the ones that are will be used more in my kitchen than the others because they are more versatile. I am a simple cook although I am sure I can tackle a complex recipe with no problem. I love to explore the dishes that are from the home and then see if they can be changed in any way to accommodate different tastes or occasion.


Chicken Pancakes made from using a basic home made pancake mix

Most of us have had pancakes at one time or another and most use a prepackage pancake mix, as I used to myself but every since the first time I made pancakes from scratch I have not purchase any pancake mixes. With this simple recipe I was able to come up with my loaded chicken pancakes which I have been told look a lot like a fritter. This is what I am talking about when I say a versatile recipe. What else can I do with it? What other I direction can I take? Can this recipe be used as a substitute for a fancier recipe? Asking questions is my way of exploring the world of cooking and food.

I hope you will stay with me as I post up my explorations.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Bread Art Project

Below is the bread art I created in support of The Bread Art Project by the Grain Foods Foundation to support Share Our Strength. This toast is call Yo-Yo Mania.


This spring the Grain Foods Foundation is teaming up with Share Our Strength® in their efforts to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Share Our Strength helps to close gaps between nutritious food programs and families in need. Join us as we support them in their efforts to end childhood hunger through their program Operation No Kid Hungry™, by creating art at breadartproject.com. The Grain Foods Foundation will donate $50,000 to Share Our Strength and will make an additional $1 donation for every piece of Bread Art submitted and approved, up to a maximum donation of $100,000, now through June 30, 2010.Create Bread Art. We'll donate $1 to Share Our Strength.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bento #17


Bento #17 was from Sunday dinner. I know it was Mother’s Day but we didn’t do anything special. I had been retrying recipes for homemade tortillas and I finally got one that worked for me. So I decided to make a stir fry and have tacos for dinner. The stir fry was very simple consisting chicken, chopped broccoli, chopped red bell peppers and shredded carrots with a little soy sauce.

Now for the bento. In the bottom part I had mini chicken stir fry tacos, mini homemade tortilla chips and tamagoyaki with harvest dill seasoning. In the top part I had watermelon and strawberries for dessert. This dinner was very simple but very filling.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bento #16


Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day here. The sun was out the temp was just right. So I decided to make a lunch that I though would be great for a picnic bento. All the items in the bento are what I think of as standard picnic foods. Normally I would have the broccoli raw with other salad items or a dip but I thought about these broccoli bites I like to make when we have movie night.

The broccoli bites look very much like they are tempura broccoli and in a way they are. I have tried to cook them using a tempura batter but they never came out right. So one day I was frying some chicken strips where I coat them with flour then drench them in an egg and water mix then back in the flour before frying them. Well I wondered if this technique would work on broccoli too. I took several florets out of the freezer and followed my technique and they came out so delicious. If you think about it I am using the same ingredients for the tempura batter only in a different way. I believe in whatever works better for you is how you should cook.

For yesterdays lunch bento I kept it very simple with my picnic food. In the bottom tray I had fried chicken strips, tempura (my way) broccoli, two small square onigiri flavored with Hidden Valley Ranch Harvest Dill Dip Mix. In the top tray I had chunks of sweet watermelon and 4 oatmeal raisin cookies.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Today I want to share with you one of the yummy creations I have made. Sometime early last year I was making pancakes. I had some chicken I was going to shred to make chicken salad and my mind started working. My original chicken pancakes had only chicken and shredded cheese in them. I only added a small portion of the chicken and cheese to the batter so those looked more like regular pancakes then these. Over time I began to experiment and added this and that to it to see what worked. What you see in this post today is what has evolved from a curiosity of what would I get if I put chicken and cheese in my pancake mix. That is the beauty of this recipe you can easily change it for taste or ingredients on hand.


Ingredients

1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tbsp oil
1 medium chicken breast shredded
1/4 cup of chopped cooked broccoli*
1/4 cup of shredded cheese*
2 tbsp of real bacon bits*

* Amounts are an estimate because I usually eyeball these ingredients.

The chicken breast was cooked in my slow cooker. It stays very tender and moist. But any baking method will do that keeps the chicken breast tender and moist.

1. In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder.

2. Add the shredded chicken, chopped broccoli, and shredded cheddar cheese to the dry mixture and mix together. This will coat these ingredients and help them to incorporate in the final pancake batter.

3. In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients of milk, egg, and oil and whisk until mixed.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated but be very careful to not over mix the batter so that the pancakes can be light and fluffy.

5. Let the mix stand for about 3 minutes. This will allow the mix to rest and expand slightly as it sits and that is what gives the pancakes their fluffiness.

6. Heat a pan or griddle on medium heat. I use an electric griddle and heat it between 250 and 300 but check you own settings and heat consistency.



7. Place a small amount of butter or oil in the pan or on the griddle and coat the surface. I personally prefer using butter as I don’t make these on a regular basis. I feel it gives them a better taste but use what you prefer. A butter flavored cooking spray works well too.


8. Cook pancakes on one side until golden brown then flip to the other side and cook the other side to a golden brown. I usually brush a little butter on them when they are finished but this step is optional.


And you’re done. I hope you enjoy them as much as me.

So until the next recipe, Itadaki masu!



Friday, April 30, 2010

Bento #15

Ok now it’s time for lunch. Again I kept it simple. I decided to try out the bamboo steamer I purchased from j-list and it worked out perfect. As you can see I made matching bentos for my daughter and I. These bentos were as purchased from j-list. They are not expensive and not as sturdy as my others but they work.

Now for the contents of the bentos. Both bentos are exactly the same. The main part contains steamed broccoli and steamed onigiri wrapped with chicken. I had rice left over from this morning so I made more onigiri but I wanted something different so I wrapped them in thin slices of chicken and steamed them, then I brushed on a little soy sauce.

The second compartment contains a wedge of laughing cow cheese, red and white grapes and homemade wheat crackers. No I have not found a recipe for making homemade wheat crackers yet but I was able to do the next best thing in a pinch. I had some whole wheat flatbread wraps in my fridge. Using my medium size square cutter I cut out squares from it. I placed them on my griddle with no oil or butter just dry and let them toast until crisp. Then I brushed on a little butter lightly salted them and there you go.

This lunch was very filling and tasted wonderful.

So until the next bento, Itadaki masu!

Bento #14



Hi everyone I thought I would change things up a bit and do another breakfast bento. As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day so I wanted to share this one with you. As you all know I like to keep thing very simple in my bentos and this one is no exception. For this one I pulled out one of my sandwich boxes as I did with my breakfast bento before. I feel you don’t need a lot for breakfast just the right foods will do. I like to have high protein foods in my breakfast to help wake up my brain. So here we go.

This bento consists of simple grilled chicken that has been lightly seasoned with pepper and seasoning salt, red grapes, trail mix and mini yaki onigiri (my way).

You may be asking what I mean by yaki onigiri my way. Well I took my rice and mixed in a little butter (the way I have eaten since I was a kid), a little soy sauce and pepper. Then I micro scramble two eggs and mixed it in. Then I shaped them with my cookie cutters (these are the only cutters I have in my bento stash), place them on the griddle. I fried them on the top flipped them and fried the bottom. Then I brushed on a little soy sauce and flipped them again then brushed on a little soy sauce on the other side. Let it grill for about 1 minute then removed them.

These yaki onigiri are bite size and I love them. They are the perfect size for my smaller bentos. I also have larger cutters that I use for my larger bentos.

This bento was a great pick me up this morning.

So until my next bento, Itadaki masu!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Here is a quick and easy turkey chili that I came up with one day. I had never made chili from scratch before so I didn’t have a recipe to go by. I always loved my dad’s chili but like me he always cooked by taste so he did not have a recipe written down so I was all on my own. This turkey chili has very few ingredients and despite using the slow cooker does not take a long time to make. If you don’t want to use a slow cooker or don’t have one just let the chili simmer in a pot on the stove for about 1 hour. The flavor of this chili gets better the longer it cooks.


Ingredients

1 lbs ground turkey
6 oz chunky salsa
1 packet chili seasoning mix (I use Hot Chili Seasoning for a spicier taste.)
1/2 packet taco seasoning mix
1/2 to1 cup water or chicken broth

Seasoning

Salt
Pepper
Seasoning Salt

Extra – If you like it extra spicy – add to taste
Cumin
Cayenne

1. Preheat slow cooker on high.
2. Brown ground turkey in a skillet and season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.


3. Once the turkey is browned pour in 1 package of chili seasoning and 1/2 package of taco seasonings then mix thoroughly.


4. Add 1/2 to1cup of water or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Note: If you prefer a denser chili leave out the water. For a less dense chili add water to the desired thickness.

5. Turn heat to low, cover and let the mix simmer for 5 minutes.


6. Pour chili mix a long with 6 oz of salsa into the slow cooker.

7. Leave slow cooker on high for 1 hour then turn down to low for 2 hours.


The chili can be made the night before and left to simmer in the slow cooker on low overnight. This will intensify the flavors in the chili.

This chili is very versatile. It can be added to pasta or rice and can be used with nachos. It also freezes well.

Serve it with your favorite topping along with some garlic bread, cornbread muffins or crackers.

I served mine with corn muffins, half and half (Iced Tea and Lemonade) and chocolate chip cookies. The chili was topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bento #13

While I was on my short break from blogging I did continue to make bentos on a daily basis. Some worth photographing and sharing and some that were not. Here is one of those I thought was worth sharing. The bento box I used for this one is one of my favorites. It is in the shape of a fan and I was lucky to find it for next to nothing on eBay an few years ago. I’ve been dying to use it and this time I had my chance.


This bento consists of a few experimental foods and some of the usual. First off I made tamagoyaki sprinkled with cheese, mini farfalle (bow tie) pasta mixed with salsa and cheese. Then I did some experimenting. I used puff pastry and made some broccoli and cheese bundles. I wrapped broccoli florets in thin slices of chicken breast and I made salsa and cheese chicken wrapped bundles.

The items in this bento have now become some of my staple bento items and you will definitely see them in the future either the same or as a variation. I will post step by step instructions soon.

So until the next bento, Itadaki masu!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hi everyone as you all know I have been away for a short while. I just needed to take a short hiatus to recoup, reorganize, reenergize and regroup. I just wanted you to know that I am back and will continue to give you wonderful posts on recipes, bentos and tips.


Before my short hiatus I enter a contest held by Eric Ackerson @My Hungry Tum. I usually don’t enter contests but I really liked his blog and was fascinated by how it was written. The contest was to win a Bob Kramer Series Shun Utility Knife. I have to admit that I had never heard of the knife brand before but when I saw the photo of the knife I fell in love with it. I could tell that it was a high quality knife by the pattern you can see on the blade. That pattern is created by the forging of multiple layers of stainless steel together which creates a strong, flexible and sharp blade. You may ask where I learned something like this well I remembered seeing a program about how a Katana or “Samurai sword” is made and it uses a similar process. After entering the contest I decided to do a search on this knife to learn more about it and came a cross a video here.

Each knife is meticulously crafted by 150 expert artisans to achieve the precise heft, balance and shape of Bob Kramer’s original design. The 3mm steel blade is composed of an SG2 core (64-66HRC) clad with true pattern-welded nickel and Damascus stainless steel for a beautiful, razor-sharp and lasting edge.
Gently rounded and richly grained red and black Pakkawood handle is crafted in Bob’s signature contoured shape, and mirrors the curve of the palm for a wonderfully natural hand-feel.
Use this utility knife for jobs smaller than those that require a chef’s knife.
Made in Japan.

I must say the performance of this knife is wonderful. As you can see the knife is cutting through the chicken like it was butter. I must however let you know that the chicken here has been slightly frozen to make it stiff enough to be able to cut thin slices. Note I learned this trick from watching the last The Next Food Network Star program. In one of the episodes Melissa d'Arabian used this technique to make chicken slices that where very thin. However I must tell you that I tried this same technique with my old knife with not so good results. Although my old knife is sharp and of good quality and it can cut slices of chicken breast just not as good. I found out from my research that keeping your blades honed is a necessary task. So I will be buying a honing tool to use for my old knives but for my Shun I will be sending that into the company to have them hone it for me.


As you can see in the photo above the slices were so thin you are able to clearly see the outline of the knife underneath the slice of chicken. As you can see in the photo below the slices came out beautifully.


This knife has become an intricate part of my cooking. Although I can use it for almost everything from cutting meat to cutting vegetables I don’t like to cross use my knives. So I am looking into buying more of the Shun brand knives for my various cooking needs.

However, I did try it out on vegetables before using it on my meat products and the results were just as wonderful. When I was creating my j-cation bento contest entry I used it to cut the red pepper I used to make various parts of my Maneki Neko. As you can see I was able to cut small then slices that were perfect for the paw.


I must say that winning this knife has been another step in my cooking education which I feel is a never ending process. I want to thank Eric @My Hungry Tum for having this contest. The world of the Shun knife has been introduced to me and I don’t think I can ever go back to the ordinary.




Thursday, April 1, 2010


Ok I have been out of the bento loop to a few weeks but I am now back with my entry for the j-Cation Virtual Bento Box Battle with my Maneki Neko or Beckoning Cat. I have to admit this was a definite challenge for me because I usually don’t do character bentos. I think I needed to accomplish this one to get myself back on track.

This bento is filled with tamagoyaki with nori, mini turkey burgers seasoned with a packet of vegetable dip mix, sautéed broccoli and apple cinnamon flower tarts with craisins. The cat consists of plain white rice for the body, red bell peppers for inside the ear, collar, mouth and on the paw. I used nori on the paw and for the inner eye and fried egg for the outer eye. Angel hair spaghetti was used for the whiskers and a pink edible flower petal for the nose. The collar is decorated with sour cream dot flowers.

From my reading the Maneki Neko are sometimes shown holding a gold coin called a koban which was used during the Edo period in Japan. The koban is supposed to be worth one ryō but because as in any society early monitary units could very. The one I made although not gold has the value of two million ryō as depicted in the kanji written on it. The coin was made of a tortilla cut into an oval. Then I wrote the kanji (千万両) or two million on it using food coloring and a tooth pick which reads . I have to admit that is came out better than expected. I did use Google translator to make sure what the kanji said.

Well there you go. I hope to have another bento posted soon.

Until next time Itadaki masu!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Hi everyone I had all intentions of writing up this post sooner but something always came up and pushed it farther back on my list. I’ve pondered on how I would write this up and was not sure what I was going to say. Well the time has come albeit a little late to introduce you to two other members of my family who are my cats. If you are a Food Buzz friend of mine I know you have seen my BW who is my avatar and if you follow me on twitter you have seen my Remus as my avatar. Both are very special to my family. So you will understand why I said this post was somewhat late in the making. I really wish I could have introduced them at a better time.

This past weekend I had the unfortunate duty of having to put my oldest cat BW to sleep. She had been with me almost all her life which was 20 years. I found her as a stray and took her in and she has been part of my family ever since. I remember the first time I saw her. She came roaming around my house about a week before my daughters 1st birthday. I didn’t take much notice of her because I figured she belonged to someone in the neighborhood. My aunt who has worked with animals told me she could tell that she pregnant but she was a very young cat. A couple of months later she came around again and I could now tell she was close to giving birth. It was around November or December and here in Michigan it is very cold. So I took her in because it was obvious to me that she didn’t belong to anyone because she was roaming around in the state she was in.

Eventually she had her kitten but because of her being so young or just not having the proper instincts her kittens died. I knew that if I had taken her to the Humane Society they could only hold her for a few days and if no one claimed her then you know what happens. That is when she became a permanent part of my family. She grew up along side my daughter as my second child. She sat with us when we were sick or upset, she slept with us, she protected us and she loved us as we did her. I know most people who don’t have a pet as part of their family will never understand the impact of a loss like this and that’s ok. I just needed to write this not so much for telling everyone about my loss but I think more for helping me cope with the loss.


With that said I would like to introduce you to my second and now only kitty Remus Lupin. He will be 6 this year on April 11. When he was given to us we where told that he was a girl so he was originally named Samara. We soon realized that the name would not fit him so we changed it. He was supposed to be my daughter’s cat so as she was really into Harry Potter at the time she decided to name him Remus Lupin after the character that turns into a werewolf. I must say he does not live up to his namesake. He is sweet and playful, loving and very much spoiled and I have to take the blame for that.

When we first got him he was like a ball of fur. We took him with us almost everywhere. As I drove he would lay on my shoulder and sleep. When we went out walking my daughter hold him and cuddle him. As he got older he would ride in the car with us and lie in the back window and sleep, he loves riding in a car. He’s very playful and loves to lie on my legs when I sleep. I don’t mind because it keeps my legs warm. He’s sweet and spoiled and likes to follow me around. He’s still like a little baby sometimes and likes to cuddle up next to me when I am asleep. He’s my special boy.

As I said before I wish I had introduced them earlier but here they are now.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Ok call me crazy but last week I was craving oatmeal raisin walnut cookies and banana nut bread at the same time. So I decided to combine the two into one recipe. For this recipe I went to my tried and true Oatmeal Cookie Jiffy Mix. As you may know from my other oatmeal cookie recipe this mix lends itself to a variety of experimental cookies. You will get roughly 18-20 cookies out of this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 box Oatmeal Cookie Jiffy Mix
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 very ripe medium banana mashed to a baby food consistency
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (can increase if desired)

Directions

Empty box of mix into large bowl, add egg, butter, mashed banana, and chopped nuts and mix well.

Let mix stand for 10 minutes to stiffen.

Drop 1 teaspoon of mix on cookie sheet about an inch apart for expansion.

Bake at 380° for 10-12 minutes. (experiment with your oven) Normally I would cook them at 350° but I increased the temperature due to the added moisture of the banana.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack (if you can stand to let them cool).


There you go, you are done. Enjoy. Next time I will be trying out the recipe with an oatmeal cookie recipe recommended to me by another blogger. This does not mean that I won’t continue to keep my Jiffy Mixes in my pantry. I am rebuilding my recipe book because I won’t always be in a place where the mix is readily available to me.

So until next post Itadaki masu!

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