Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
My new neighbors are wonderful. They have heard Jose is gone and are taking care to include me in all of their fun adventures. Yesterday they went to a fabric store in Kamakura and got some knit material to make t-shirts which they drew out a pattern for, for each gal. I was invited but I was not home to pick out the material. This did not stop me from hanging around all afternoon, and even getting my sewing maching fixed by the neighbor's friend.
Today we were sitting outside letting their kids run around, and letting our dog get carried like a baby by three adorable little girls who fought over him and refused to put him down. After a morning where I paid no attention to him, he was in heaven. One of the parents announced that they were doing a communal dinner and I was welcome to join in. I brought black beans and some asparagus. There was salmon, hamburger, lentils, chicken, rice, and salad. Wow! The kids picked at different foods while they ran around and played, and of course dropped enough that Cricket could not have been happier.
Tonight I took Nate to the main base for book club and left Big Boy home all by himself. He loves that.
Jose if you are reading this, I hope you are safe and loving the life on the ship. I miss you!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Like lost souls, we went to the NEX and picked up some new movies: Juno, Cloverleaf (Mom will watch) The Water Horse Legend of the Deep. We picked up a flat of flowers on the base and when we came home, we had a cute 18 month old and some other younguns help by ripping up the flowers and dumping them into shallow randomly placed holes. That is the way a spring garden should be, designed by neighbor kids! :)
I sent Jose an email in case he might get it, but I didn't say anything like hi honey, I'm scared to be here alone with the kids, I can't read or write here, I can't speak the language, I don't know how the navy works, I need you to fix my wireless internet, I cried in the kitchen when the kids were watching cartoons...
Ok, enough of that!!!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Aw, poor Cricket, minding his own business, watching Puffy Ami Yumi and licking his own butt, when he gets scooped up by a crazy lady and lathered up with this shampoo, then made to sit it it for 5 whole minutes! The red eyes are not just a trick of the light but the evil demon Pekingese who takes over when he gets submerged in soapy water :) Since we moved to our new house, Cricket has had some major itching and scratching of himself day and night, and according to the vet does not have fleas of mites but rather some kind of allergic reaction to his new environment. It could be seasonal (join the club!) or it could be something recently sprayed on the lawn by the base housing. He has little yellow pills for five days which unfortunately do not make him tired like the vet promised. He also has a allergy shampoo which I will use on him twice a week until his itching goes away. None of this has slowed down his diva attitude or how he manages his human servants. High maintenence Peke!!!
Petey Petey Bo Beety Banana Fana For Feety Fee Fi Mo EATY, Petey!
Here is a sort of hummus recipie for little nephew Petey to try and see if he likes it. Lil Peter Henry cannot have any peanuts at all, not even a smidge. He could have this yummy stuff as a spread on sandwich, or as a dip. He is the coolest kid at school, just as my other nephew is the coolest kid as his day care.
1 can of chickpeas or great white northern beans or whatever white beans you have
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste) for those who can eat otherwise skip!!! Petey probably not have it, but I put this in just for other people
juice of one lemon
1 or two garlic cloves
a splash of olive oil
a hint of hot sauce, just a hint
salt to taste
Put all in the blender, add a whiff of salt and eat it all in one sitting.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The fun of the class is that we get to take home the recipe, and when the cooking is done, we feast. The chicken was great although the recipe is a bit complicated and does include heavy cream. I made the couscous in my typical shortcut busy mom fashion: stir a bunch of veggies into some olive oil and add instant couscous mix.
Here is the recipe:
Chicken Tarragon in a Sherry Cream Sauce from Chef Clement
1/2 cup flour
10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast pounded nicely
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp shallots
1 tsp tarragon
4 quartered mushrooms, large
3 oz dry sherry
6 oz chicken broth
2 dashes Tabasco
2 dashes worcestershire
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 dashes lemon juice
3 artichoke hearts
3 oz heavy cream
2Tbsp scallions, sliced
2 Tbsp tomato, diced
salt to taste
Dredge the chicken in flour, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken to pan and gently sear for two minutes. Turn chicken over and add garlic, shallots, tarragon and mushrooms, to side of pan. Add the sherry and reduce for a minute. Add chicken broth, Tabasco, mustard, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Reduce liquid by half. Turn chicken over and add cream. Reduce until sauce is thick. Remove from heat. Fold in tomatoes and scallions, and adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
Now I made this on my own the next day, with a few changes. First, I used more tomato and mushrooms and artichoke hearts, because I am not one to put three mushrooms and 1/2 of a tomato in saran wrap back in the fridge, along with a few artichoke hearts. Also, I didn't have heavy cream so used milk and a bit of corn starch. And, since the Ikego base mini-mart didn't have dry cooking sherry but instead had every other kind of alcohol (which makes up roughly 1/3 of the entire stock of the store) I used some cheapish red wine instead. Oh, and of course, I had to remove one plain cooked piece of chicken from the pan and save it on a plate for Prince Pickybelle. Still good! Still lots of work also. And, tastes great the next morning for breakfast.
This is what separates Chef Clement from regular folks like me and other busy moms who look at cooking as a chore and like to make dinner in 30 mins or less: he loves to cook and take the time with it, to make things taste amazing. And he's not opposed to adding copious amounts of olive oil or heavy cream to get the job done properly, or spending the whole day in the kitchen to make a homemade soup stock, starting from the bones.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The final spank, was that they sent a letter to Jose's command reporting my breach, to be sent to him. Jose has been told that he is responsible for my and the childrens' behavior, as we are sofa-sponsored dependents of him. I'm still waiting to be properly punished! ;))) Poor poor Jose!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Well, last weekend we moved into the Ikego townhouse and said goodbye to our house in Hayama. We have been without internet for a bit and that is why I have neglected my blog here. Here is a picture of our house from the back, then the views from the main road going by our neighborhood. Our house is right behind the big white building which is an elementary school, Kamiyayaguchi Shogakko. You can see the mountains and if you look carefully, you can see the trees in their spring blooms. Japan really is beautiful in the spring.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
"Well, I don't know, honey, I don't really think we need a whole moving truck to move...when I moved out of my parents house into the dorm, I just took a couple of loads in the car and it was fine."
"Well, honey, I don't know...I guess I haven't cleaned the refigerator before...I mean, I don't know, I just figured it just naturally cleans itself out over time..."
"Honey, what are you getting so stressed out about?"
I am sure there will many more special quotes from him over time. These are just my most recent favorites. :)
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Ok, I'm done complaining for now, I have to put on a brave face for the boys, and show them that Moms can run the show, and have adventures and travels in Japan too, not just Dads. First step is our trip to Hiroshima, just me and the boys, at the end of May. After that, we will fly to MN for a month. Whoo woo! We can't wait!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
There are still cherry blossoms everywhere! We have had a few chilly days, in the upper 40's and rainy until today, that have apparently made the blossoms last longer on the trees. When the wind blows, petals will begin falling off of the trees. Since the trees are everywhere, my windshield had petals on it by the time I get home. Note the unique Japanese style tree trimming - just cut off the branch where you want it to stop. you will see a hilarious tall tree "stub" in front of our house.
Tilapia with Red Butter Sauce
1 small box of frozen Green Giant spinach
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 minced red pepper
1/2 minced onion
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 c chicken stock
First, season the fish with salt and pepper and cook with a bit of olive oil spray.
Drain the spinach, add 1 Tbsp butter and saute the onions for 3 mins then add the garlic and cook another 3 mins then add the spinach. Lay this spinach in the bottom of your platter. Make popeye sounds.
For the red butter sauce, melt the remaining butter and then add the bell pepper. Saute for 4 mins then add the flour and cook for 2 mins. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook 3-5 mins.
Top the spinach with the cooked fish and add a good spoon of the red butter sauce.
Yell for the kids and threaten them if they do not at least try the fish.