blog

A tofu making kit on eBay

A question I get asked a lot is where to find the stainless steel tofu mold/press shown in action in my tofu making article. While I don’t have a ready online source for something like that yet, I have seen plastic molds, which should be just as handy.

For example here’s one sold as part of a tofu press kit on eBay. You can also search on “tofu kit” on eBay for other results.

filed under

Pig Pig Pig

Apparently, yesterday (March 1) was National Pig Day in the U.S. Who knew that such a day existed? In any case, Serious Eats outdid themselves with a whole slew of fun posts of a porcine nature. My favorite out of all the bacon homages and so on was actually the one about Paul Gauguin’s ham painting. continue reading...

filed under

Pop-up images

If you visit this site using a browser (this won’t work if you’re using a newsreader), and click on an image, in most cases you’ll be able to see a larger version of the image in popup “window” (it won’t open a separate browser window, but pop up right in your current window.) For all recipe step-by-steps for example, you can click on the small image thumbnail to bring up a better view. Note, this only works for the more recent articles posted since early February , but I’ll be using this feature in all future posts. continue reading...

filed under

Free advice for PR people

Hi there, intrepid PR person who wants to get in on this new “blog marketing” and “viral marketing” thing. I have some free advice for you, especially if you are trying to sell some kind of packaged, manufactured thing that only vaguely resembles real food.

Don’t try to get food bloggers to try your stuff. Or let’s put it this way: the owners of any food blog with a following, a reasonable backlog of articles, and enough traffic and Alexa ranking etc. to matter for you, is likely to be a Food Snob. That’s the kind that your clients dread: they use real food, worry about seasonality (tomatoes in February make them gag), and, worst of all, actually cook. Or if they don’t cook they eat out at places that serve real food. continue reading...

filed under

Everyone's favorite steakhouse is at the Penthouse Executive Club?

Frank Bruni gives the steakhouse at the Penthouse Executive Club a pretty entertaining one star review. “Hmm, where have I heard of this place before” I thought, and rummaged through my stacks of recorded food shows. Ah, celebrated don’t-call-it-molecular-gastronomy chef Heston Blumenthal paid it a special visit on his TV show last year, to show his drooling mostly British viewers er, great looking meat. I mean the aged sides of beef, of course. continue reading...

filed under

Japanese cookbooks in English by a great teacher

book image: Everyday Japanese Cooking

I don’t know how this escaped me until now, but there are actually two cookbooks available in English by one of the best teachers of traditional washoku or Japanese cooking, Tokiko Suzuki. Japanese Homestyle Cooking, published in 2000, is the more recent one, and The Essentials of Japanese Cooking is the other, published in 1995. continue reading...

filed under

Almond Poodle

Japanese people have a long standing tradition of adapting words from other languages when a Japanese word or term doesn’t exist for something. The language most often borrowed from is English, but other languages are freely raided too. Often, the original meaning of the word changes quite a bit (see this post on my personal blog about the use of one such word, “mansion”) which can be confusing for the non-Japanese speaker. continue reading...

filed under

Tips for shopping for Japanese books and magazines

Since there seems to be interest in Japanese cookbook reviews, I will be posting some here periodically!

The question is, where is the best place to shop for Japanese books, magazines, DVDs and such? If you have a Japanese bookstore near you, that’s the best place. One tip for buying magazines: the most recent issue of any magazine has been airmailed to the store, so the price you’ll be charged is for the cost of the magazine plus that airmail cost. However, if there are any issues left after a month, the stores may sell them for a discount. (Kinokuniya in New York and San Francisco both do this.) Since most food magazines are not that timely, this works out well.

If you don’t have a Japanese bookstore near you, the two biggest and most user-friendly online bookstores for Japanese language material are Yes Asia and Amazon Japan. I’ve bought stuff from both, and in terms of customer service and so on both are pretty good. continue reading...

filed under

Non-English cookbook reviews?

Recently, I haven’t been reading a lot of English cookbooks - I haven’t really been inspired by any new ones for some reason. Instead, I have been reading a lot of Japanese cookbooks and food magazines. I’ve discovered a few that are new to me, and re-discovered some old favorites.

I’m not sure if it’s worthwhile to talk about them here since…well, they are Japanese. So I guess I will ask - would you like to read about cookbooks and magazines that aren’t in English? If there’s interest I’ll talk about some of my favorites from time to time.

filed under

Counteracting the bitterness in greens

February is not really a great month for local fresh produce around here, but there is one category of vegetables that is quite abundant around this time - greens. There’s endive, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, chicory, and some less common greens like puntarelle. One problem with many winter or early-spring greens is that they have a bitter flavor.

There are various ways of reducing or counteracting the bitterness; the method you use depends on the kind of greens you are using and how concerned you are about retaining nutrients and such. continue reading...

filed under

Guinness Marmite!

guinessmarmite.jpg

Wow, look at the gorgeous black and white special edition Guinness Marmite jar! Limited to a run of 300,000 jars, this special blend of Guinness and Marmite is on sale in the U.K. right now. I’m not too sure how different it would be in taste from regular Marmite, which is after all a yeast spread. I’m speculating it might taste like the slightly beer-y Cenovis. Now how to get my hands on one… (link via Coolest Gadgets and The Guinness Blog - yes, Guinness has a blog. The portal is a bugger…just say you are from England, and old enough.) continue reading...

filed under

Food Destinations #5 is on!

Food Destinations is back for round 5! This time it’s hosted by Natalia of From Our Kitchen, and the theme is Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Details are here! The deadline is March 18th.

filed under

Video in the kitchen: a critique of video food sites

Recently I’ve been getting several P.R. type emails from new sites that feature videos that they think appeal to food lovers. I do take a look at them, and with very few exceptions I must say that most of them are not worth my time.

I think the people who run all-video sites need to really understand two things before anything else. First is the difference between passive video viewing, i.e. on TV the way many of us still watch TV, and voluntary video viewing. Voluntary viewing means stuff that I must make a conscious effort to choose to view. DVDs fall into this category, as does online video. When I go to YouTube for instance, I need to search, click and then wait a bit to download the video. If the video is crap then I will never view it again, and chances are I’ll try to avoid anything uploaded by that user if I remember to. continue reading...

filed under

Bittersweet Valentine memories, mostly sweet

Happy Valentine’s Day! February the 14th may mean flowers, a romantic dinner, or promises you don’t intend to keep for other people, but to me it will always the Day Of Chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is a very odd and overly commercialized day in Japan, where the giving and receiving of chocolate doesn’t have that much to do with romance. Females are made to feel obligated to hand out chocolates to people they don’t care about, such as teachers and bosses, while males anxiously wait to see if they get ‘enough’ chocolates to satisfy their egos. There are whole lines of inexpensive chocolate products suitable for giving, called giri choco (obligation chocolate). Unlike in the Western world, it’s not a day for men to give something to their female love interests. (March 14th, called “White Day”, has been sort of artificially designated as the males-give-back-to-females day.) continue reading...

filed under

If you're eating or drinking yogurt, you're trendy

According to a recently published study by ACNielsen called What’s Hot Around the World – Insights on Growth in Food & Beverage Products, yogurt (or yoghurt if you’re the Queen of England), especially the drinkable kind, was the fastest growing food product worldwide in 2006. “Spoonable” or regular yogurt didn’t do too bad either. (Coincidentally, we just bought a very cute R2-D2 shaped yogurt maker. I plan to make yogurt in it of course, but I did buy it for another reason…which shall be revealed later. (Hint: it’s very sticky.))

Other findings in the report include: in Europe people wanted more “cooking basics” like oils; North Americans wanted more fresh and/or ‘healthy’ products like pre-prepared salads (I guess at least before the spinach scare); the best selling alcoholic beverage is beer; and in China and some other countries in Asia, baby formula sales increased dramatically. Link to report (PDF). continue reading...

filed under

Flying toasters!

flying_toasters.jpg

Not quite food related, but, uhm, it’s about toasters. And toast. This has been around for a few months but what the heck, I just found it today. Retro Toast is a free (Creative Commons) version of the classic early ’90s screensaver, Flying Toasters! Flying toasters, and other After Dark products like their awesome Star Trek themed desktops, were what converted young bratty “but everyone uses Peecees” spouting self permanently to the light (the world of Macs) forever. That was….7 Macs ago. I feel old now. Retro Toast is available for the dark..I mean, Windows, as well as OS X. continue reading...

filed under

Why is health quackery alive and well?

Unless you live in the UK, you probably don’t know who Gillian McKeith is. I didn’t know much about her even though I do watch British television, since she has a show on Channel 4, which I don’t get here. Apparently she is famous as the host of a diet show called “You Are What You Eat”, bestselling author of diet books, and hawker of herbal pills. She puts a Doctor in front of her name, and she’s regarded as a Health Authority. Yet, she is not a medical doctor or even a properly trained and certified nutritionist. Her only health related degree may or may not come via a correspondence course from a non-accredited American college. continue reading...

filed under

Sugar high, really

Since I started my whole get fitter/lighter process last month, I haven’t ingested much sugar. I didn’t avoid it entirely, but was using quite small quantities - a spoonful of jam here, a bit of honey there, that sort of thing. (It’s also hard to avoid all sugar in Japanese cooking - a bit is often added to enhance the flavor.)

I never had a big sweet tooth to start with, so I didn’t really miss sugary snacks that much in a physical sense. But I did miss the whole idea and process of making something sweet, of the house filling up with those smells. Besides, Valentine’s Day is coming up this week and that means chocolate!

So an afternoon of experimentation followed, which resulted in the spiced chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes were divine, and I overindulged and had three in a row. continue reading...

filed under

Upcoming list

More site housekeeping: I get quite a lot of emails that request certain recipes or ask questions of a general nature. Rather than reply in an email, which helps one person, I usually prefer to reply in the form of an entry here. So (though I may live to regret this!) I’ve made my list of upcoming planned recipes and other articles public. You can take a look there to see what I am working on or planning to write up. (There’s a permanent link to the page from the contact form as well as in the footer about area of every page. continue reading...

filed under

The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

flyingpig_spaghetti_monster.jpg

Not quite edible, but how can one resist an animated paper model of that august diety, The Flying Spaghetti Monster? This is the newest paper model by Rob Ives of Flying Pig, a UK company that makes paper animation and other fun paper model kits. This one is available for download/purchase. I have a few of their models and they are a bit fiddly to make, but once they’re done they make adorable accessories for around the desk or cubicle. (Just be sure you put them in a place where someone won’t sit on it…as happened to my Schoedinger’s Cat.) continue reading...

filed under

Mac and cheese from a box? Not even with cute bunnies

mac_and_cheese_box.jpg

Rebecca Blood has a great post summing up the recent minor brouhaha about a popular ‘quality’ mac and cheese brand that originated with article in Salon magazine, vs. the standard of the genre that comes in a blue box. Rebecca focuses on the actions of the CEO, specifically his comments on a post on megnut, which are funny in the way he assumes that people will just take his marketspeak at face value. continue reading...

filed under

Gobble, gobble, or maybe not

turkeyhead.jpg

The BBC News web site’s Magazine section has an article today about the history of how turkey became fast food. While it’s about turkey production in the UK, it’s probably applicable to any nation that has large scale consumption, and production, of turkey meat. continue reading...

filed under

Space-age indoor gardening kit

In my quest for hydroponics growing options for growing potentially salty tomatoes, I stumbled upon this thing that looks like it belongs on the Jetsons: an Aerogrow Aerogarden Kit. Instead of hydroponics, it uses an aeroponic system, where the roots dangle in moist air. It looks great for growing fresh herb plants through the winter months and things like that…and the web site says it only uses the equivalent electricity of a 60 watt light bulb. I just love that futuristic-retro design too! If anyone has this, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it. continue reading...

filed under

Y or I?

zyliss_peelers.thumbnail.jpg

I was browsing in the kitchenware department of one of the department stores in town today, looking at the huge Zyliss display. Zyliss, as you probably know if you are into your kitchen gadgets, is a Swiss company that makes a lot of useful things. I have a number of Zyliss products in my kitchen, but my favorite one at the moment is the Soft Skin Peeler, aka the Tomato Peeler. This wonderful thing can take the skin off of any soft fruit like tomatoes and peaches with amazing ease. It even shaves truffles very thin! continue reading...

filed under

Pre-salted tomatoes?

I love tomatoes, and I love salt. So this post about growing hydroponic tomatoes with a weak sodium chloride solution on one of my new must-read blogs, News for Curious Cooks authored by Harold McGee, definitely caught my eye.

According to the post, continue reading...

filed under

Lunch, lunch and more lunch

Google’s fancy and free cafeteria has been buzzing the blogs recently, but here are some more lunch links. Mari - Diary has links to some Japanese web pages about shashoku, or company cafeteria food. Some examples: Montblanc in Hamburg, Germany serves what looks like a Dampfnudel (steamed dumpling) filled with cherries and served with custard and cream - as a main course! Softbank, a tech company in Japan, has a cafeteria that looks either terribly kitschy or very chic, depending on your point of view. continue reading...

filed under

Site changes

Just Hungry has had yet another site makeover. This is the fourth incarnation of the site in 3 years, and I think by far the biggest one. Besides a cosmetic facelift, it's been converted to a new backend engine, Drupal. Although Drupal is tad more complicated (for me, not you I hope!) than the blogging platform the site was running on previously, Movable Type (or the version before that which was on Movable Type's sister Typepad), I think it's going to make the site even better. Here are some of the changes that are in place right now. continue reading...

filed under

Top Chef Season 2, Episode 13: Finale

I don't have much to say about the finale of Top Chef. Just this:

WTH??? continue reading...

filed under

Eat Food/Not too much/Mostly Plants in action

Anyone who has any interest in food, nutrition, where our food comes from, and most importantly, how to eat at all, should read the massive (12 pages) article by Michael Pollan in the New York Times, Unhappy Meals. continue reading...

filed under

Top Chef Season 2 Episode 12 (Finale part 1)

I am mildly surprised that Marcel and Ilan won this round, to go through to the final head to head. Though I must admit that at this point I don't really care much about the outcome since I don't care much about any of the four semi-finalists. The whole Elia accusing Marcel of 'cheating' sequence (with zero shown support from Ilan or Sam) was so awkward I'd rather forget it. continue reading...

filed under

The Great Natto Diet turns into the Great Natto Scandal

Following up on the Great Natto Diet story: continue reading...

filed under

MasterChef Goes Large 2007 (Season 3) starts today

Update: The season is over and the winner is announced.

masterchef_presenters_300x193.jpgMasterChef Goes Large, the best competitive cooking show on television today*, starts its third round today. If you live in the U.K. continue reading...

filed under

The Great Natto Diet Rush: The sticky road to weight loss (maybe) (OJFTMHYLW extra)

I was not going to talk about natto as part of my Odd Japanese food that may help you lose weight(OJFTMHYLW) series this week. But coincidentally, natto as a diet aid has been in the news big time in Japan, with claims that a 'magical' substance in this sticky food helps people to effortlessly lose weight. continue reading...

filed under

Easy unit conversions with Google

continue reading...

I own a lot of cookbooks that are published in the world of pounds, ounces and farenheit (mostly the U.S....British cookbooks nowadays have metric or both metric and imperial) and the rest of the world, which uses metric. I also read various web sites and food blogs from all over the world. Converting units from one and the other can be a bit of a bother, so I try to include both in my recipes. I am guilty of using American cup measurements sometimes, but I try to limit that to recipes were the amount doesn't have to be totally exact, such as for bread.

filed under

Top Chef Season 2 Episode 11...should we care?

The recap of this episode is brief, because I want to discuss something else about the show itself. But the recap and review first.

  • Cliff was probably going to get booted anyway. Lentils and beef sounds good as combo, but he didn't execute it right. He was playing it too safe.
  • I did feel really bad for Marcel, and Cliff and the others were incredibly stupid in what they did - especially Cliff, obviously, and he deserved to get kicked off the show. Still...seeing him with a shaved head would have been funny...
  • Why was it up to Padma to yell "you idiots" to the contestant? She has that much authority? If it came from Tom Colicchio fine...but from..Mrs. Rushdie? (I have admitted already that I dislike her more and more, which is why I probably noticed it.)
  • Elia looks great with a shaved head! So does Ilan. They should both keep the look - there's a precedent for sexy bald top chefs.

topchef_baldmontage.jpgI think Chef was bald...

  • Ilan's chocolate truffle with a chicken liver center is a close second to last week's watermelon and 'gnocchi' with gorgonzola sauce by Sam for the "what were you thinking" wacky food award. I do dimly see his logic though, because of the texture of the liver when cooked...but still. Liver. Chocolate.

  • Geez, how did they get Eric Ripert (of a Super Serious New York Restaurant (Le Bernadin) on this mess show? 15 minutes of fame blabla...
  • I always wonder in these situations - did the Romantic Dinner couples have to pay for their dinners? I wonder if I'd pay for a Top Chef dinner myself...there's always the risk of Chocolate Covered Livers...
  • .
  • Apparently (though it was sort of lost in the confusion) Ilan's dish was the winner...demonstrated here by Lee Anne. Looks nice!

So anyway, after the totally unnecessary and condescending tease about which chefs would be eliminated (which was obviously going to be 'none' since Cliff was disqualified for manhandling Marcel), all four remaining chefs jet off to Hawaii for the final rounds.

But there's a bigger question to be asked... continue reading...

filed under

Calling Menu For Hope winner "johanna"!

Quick note: The winners of the Menu For Hope prizes have been announced! If you're the "johanna" that won EU07 (the hamper) please contact me so we can arrange things. :)

filed under

Where I shop for Japanese/Asian ingredients in Zurich

I have always meant to post about this but haven't gotten around to it. This is not an in-depth report with pictures and everything, but just a quick post, since Julie asked :) If you don't live in the Zürich area go ahead and skip to other posts... continue reading...

filed under

A week of (odd) Japanese food that (may) help you lose weight

Dieting is just as popular in Japan as it is in other countries, despite the low obesity rates and things there. Fad diets are very prevalent, as are a lot of dubious diet supplements (sapurimento). But if you look at traditional Japanese food, there are a lot of items that are naturally low in calories, carbs and glycemic indeces, high in fiber, and in some cases even have a lot of beneficial nutrients. These items are being looked at anew as weight loss aids in Japan, which is a great thing I think. continue reading...

filed under

Food Destinations #4 roundup is up!

The roundup for Food Destinations #4: My Favorite Gourmet Shopping Spot is now up on Mango and Lime. Be sure to check it out for some great descriptions of mouthwatering stores. Food and shopping, a great combination!

Top Chef Season 2 Episode 10

Oh, Mikey, we feel bad for you. After your triumphs last week, you are judged to be the worst of the remaining six, all of whom did a mediocre to bad job, and you are jettisoned. We hope that you will open your own gastropub some day. Or at least run your own TGIFriday's.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

To be honest, this season of Top Chef is wearing thin on me. I no longer look forward eagerly to next week's episode. There is no single cause for this, there are several. continue reading...

filed under

De-lurk and tell me about you, and what you want!

continue reading...

I had meant to do something like this earlier but - well I forgot :). But a post on Roger Johansson's web development blog 456 Berea Street (one of the best out there, I might add, for any budding or not-so-budding web developers) which was in turn inspired by web designer Veerle Pieters (her blog is one of the prettiest on the interweb!) prompted me to do this once and for all.

filed under

Final weight loss thoughts: what I'm doing

To wrap up my week long series on weight loss, these are the things that I'm doing, and plan to continue doing, to achieve my goals - as well as some things I am not doing.

  • Tell everyone

    These weight loss posts are part of my plan: I'm telling everyone, friends, family, and even you out there in the anonymous interweb, what I'm doing. In the past I've tried losing weight in secret, and it just does not work because if I give up no one knows either. continue reading...

filed under

Reading in brief: Mindless Eating, plus Black Dresses

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (book site) is a scholary yet very entertaining look at why we eat the way we do. I've already incorporated a few ideas from the Mindless Eating book into my plan, such as using smaller plates and cutting down on desktop dining, a major problem for me. We'll see how it works... continue reading...

filed under

Weight loss and eating out

Continuing my week of weight loss related posts, this time it's about eating out.

When I lived in New York, about 80% of my meals came from outside - restaurants, fast-food places and takeout. Coupled with that and 80-100 hour work weeks, I basically ran myself into the ground. Nowadays I don't eat out nearly as much. This has a lot to do with a change in lifestyle of course, but it I also consciously made the decision to try to cook for myself as much as possible. continue reading...

filed under

Top Chef Season 2, episode 9: Love and Hate

After a two week hiatus, the show returns to our screens big and small, with an extra-longish episode. The theme of the show can be summed up in two sentences:

Everyone loves Michael - even, this week, the judges.

Everyone hates Marcel. continue reading...

filed under

Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

Continuing my week of posts about weight loss, some reflections on how to go about losing weight but still retaining my interest (or..obsession even) in food.

There was an interesting article recently to which I linked in my daily links, about a woman who went on a diet, and a different world. continue reading...

filed under

Blogs and websites about weight loss and exercise

I don't have any plans to turn Just Hungry into a site dedicated just to diets and weight loss. There are however many, many sites that do just this.Here are just a few that I've found interesting. continue reading...

filed under

The first 100 days

Happy New Year! continue reading...

filed under

Food-oriented goals and plans for 2007

In 2006 most of my food-oriented goals were external in nature, oriented towards restaurants and such. This year my goals are quite different. continue reading...

filed under

Looking back at 2006

At the tail end of 2005, I set myself a list of food related things I wanted to accomplish. I didn't get to do all of these things but nevertheless, it was a very good year. continue reading...

filed under

Related sites

Share food, change lives
Play Freerice and feed the hungry

Hello!

Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

About this site

maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

This article is from justhungry.com.