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Delux Veggie Ramen
デラックス・ベジラーメン

If you are on the plant-based diet, you may have a similar experience to mine.

You go to a restaurant, find a vegetable dish on the menu, ask if they can make it 100% plant-based, and then end up with a dish that is exactly like what the menu described, MINUS this, this, this, this, this, and that.

And you end up with something… well, what’s the word?

Boring?

So when I was in the mood for ramen for lunch today, I initially thought about trying to find a ramen restaurant that serves vegan ramen.

And then I changed my mind.

Well, I had so many great veggies at home.

So when I asked myself, do I really want to go get ramen with a few pieces of veggies?

My answer was NO!

Making ramen at home is not that difficult.

Especially now I have this noodles that I like to use for my ramen, it has become really fun to make it myself.

So happy with the result.

Love all the veggies.

No subtraction.

Only addition at home.

Today we had our first snow this season.

Well, this is officially the beginning of the Minnesota winter, y’all.

Sunshine Plant Quiche
サンシャインキッシュ

There are many awesome dishes for a weekend brunch.

But quiche makes every brunch a bit special.

Well, when you have a cool French name like quiche, you get treated a bit special, right? (lol)

I don’t make quiche a lot, but I just recently bought a pan that’s perfect for quiche.

I found it at a Polish pottery store, and I fell in love with it.

It was my first time to visit the store, but the place was like a paradise for a blue-white pottery lover like me (lol).

(I’m sure I’ll go back to the store many many times.)

I like my quiche full of veggies.

This time I decided to go with onions, mushrooms, and broccoli.

The main ingredients of the filling are tofu and some chickpea flour.

Last time I made vegan quiche, I made my filling mostly with chickpea flour.

We liked it, but I wanted to experiment a little this time.

This turned out amazing!

I like my crust thick and flaky.

I hope you can tell the texture of the wonderful filling from this picture.

It was perfectly set, but still nice and creamy, just the way I liked it.

I served the quiche with roasted red pepper mayo and salad.

Roasted red pepper mayo.

Arugula, Pink Pearl apple, walnut salad.

I’m still in love with this apple.

This was so tasty!

We both had a second piece.

We finally had a little sunshine today, and we took advantage of it and went for a long walk.

We even visited some artists’ studios today, as a local art crawl was happening.

It was a good day.

Mother Earth Sushi Plate
母なる大地寿司プレート

This lovely sushi plate was our lunch today.

Ideas for food come from various places, but this one came from a very unexpected place.

It all started with these apples.

These apples don’t look that special outside.

But look!

The inside has this lovely pink color.

I found these apples at the grocery store inside the Midtown Global Market.

I’m so glad that they were sampling them, because otherwise I would have had no idea how special they were.

They were being sold as Pink Pearl Apples.

I wanted to make something to really showcase the beautiful color of these apples.

And this is what I came up with.

Nigiri Sushi!

Forming rice into a certain shape sounds easy, but once you try, you quickly realize why sushi chefs have years of training, just to master this skill.

So I use my little tool.

This is definitely not approved by any sushi chefs, but they are perfectly okay at our house(lol).

This tool does a good job at making these rice balls uniformly like little soldiers.

I was going to make just apple sushi, but at the last minute I decided to make other versions too.

Plant sushi.

I just love how they look and taste.

Pink Pearl apple.

Beet.

Radish and Yuzu pepper paste.

Tomato and seaweed.

It was perfect when served with veggie wakame (seaweed) miso soup and hot green tea.

The leftover was made into Chirashi (scattered) Sushi.

Crunchy Arancini
かりっとアランチーニ

Arancini is a great dish that can be eaten as a meal or a snack.

First I make rice balls.

My trusted Panko breadcrumbs make my arancini super crunchy, and I like it.

The rice balls are so tasty as they are, but of course, this is my favorite way to enjoy them.

Tomato sauce, nutty Parm, and fresh parsley.

Orange Melon Buns
オレンジメロンパン

I was at a newly opened Mexican bakery the other day, and I had a Concha for the first time in my life.

As soon as I saw it displayed at the shop, I remembered the melon buns.

(They are, however, quire different. The top of the concha is softer and almost melts in your mouth, but the top of the melon bun is definitely more crunchy and has the texture of shortbread cookies.)

Melon bun is extremely popular in Japan.

The name comes not so much from the flavor, but from the crunchy cookie top and soft bread inside.

People often decorate the surface with lines to make them look like a melon.

My mother used to make them all the time, and she actually made hers melon-flavored, but today many melon buns have various flavors.

Although I ate my mother’s melon buns a lot growing up, I never helped her making them.

This was my very first time making melon buns, and I won’t lie, I was a bit intimidated, mostly by the process where you make two parts, bread dough for inside and cookie dough for outside, and then put them together.

I made mine orange-flavored this time.

That is why you see the orange speckles in the cookie dough.

This was right before going into the oven.

Right out of the oven.

They turned out great.

You want crunchy outside and soft chewy inside.

And I think I was able to achieve that.

I found this recipe on one of the largest Japanese recipe sites, and I’m content with the result.

But next time I hope to make them with my mom’s recipe.

Hers had thicker cookie around the bread, and I wish to re-create that next time.

Napolitan Spaghetti Bento
ナポリタンスパゲッティ弁当

Napolitan Spaghetti may sound Italian, but it has nothing to do with an Italian dish.

It’s a classic Japanese spaghetti dish.

It’s basically spaghetti sauteed with vegetables and some type of cured meat (ham, bacon, etc) and finished with ketchup.

I grew up eating this spaghetti so many times, both at home and at kissa-ten.

You don’t find it at a fancy restaurant, but it’s a must dish on the menu at any kissa-ten, an older type of sit-down cafe.

These are the veggies I used this time.

First you saute the veggies.

Add cooked spaghetti.

Add ketchup.

Salt and pepper.

I like to doctor it up a little, usually with hot sauce and Japanese Worcestershire sauce, which gives a depth and richness to the flavor.

So tasty!!

It’s also a popular dish for bento.

Probably one of the easiest (and cheapest) ones to make.

I sprinkled a little nutty Parm.

And it was perfect.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mille Crepe Spiced Pumpkin Cheese Cake
ミルクレープ・パンプキンチーズケーキ

I’m not thrilled about this quick drop in the temperature.

However, I do feel a little better when I think it as a pumpkin season!

My favorite, Kabocha.

Kabocha plus my plant-based butter plus my plant-based “cheese” equals “tasty”.

Crepes are like pancakes.

The first few never turn out right.

I have to say my first good one was number 6.

Spreading the cream and building the cake with the layers of crepe is a fun part of the process.

Very satisfying.

I decided to dress the cake with dark chocolate and walnuts.

I love mill crepe cakes.

They look so pretty despite the relatively easy steps required to make them.

Happy autumn, everyone.

Tofu Cutlet Wanpaku Sandwich
豆腐カツわんぱくサンド

I was in the mood for a big sandwich, and I decided to make Wanpaku sandwich for the second time.

Wanpaku sandwich is a popular Japanese sandwich.

I’m not sure exactly what is the definition, but basically it’s a sandwich with a LOT of stuff sandwiched.

Like those New Jersey deli sandwiches, as my husband says.

(“Wanpaku” means naughty or mischievous, typically used to describe physically active young boys.)

These tofu cutlets are so delicious!

People say anything deep-fried tastes good, and I do agree (lol).

The first time I made Wanpaku sandwich a few years ago, it was a disaster.

Although I was still not sure how much I could actually pile up, but I wanted something really voluminous.

I’m happy to announce that this time I succeeded.

Inside this sandwich you’ll find spinach, carrots, tofu cutlet with Japanese worcestershire sauce, radish, and purple cabbage.

By the way, I baked pullman bread for this sandwich.

This was not only pretty but also delicious!!

I could eat this everyday.

Yin Yang Pizza
インヤン・ピザ

What do you do when you have two completely different flavor ideas for pizza, yet the pizza crusts you have are quite large, and it has to be consumed only by two persons?

Well, you make a half-and-half!

Prep time.

Herbed garlic tofu.

Some of the ingredients.

I like to prep toppings and sauce (and “cheese”, etc.) in advance, so that actual pizza-making is quick and easy.

We usually make crust, but this time we decided to use this pre-made bread.

(Of course we check the ingredients, and this passed our test!)

Right before going into the oven.

Then, I realized I forgot to add these veggie balls to the red side.

These IKEA vegetable balls are packed with real veggies, which I love.

The pizza was out of the oven, and the both sides were dressed appropriately.

It looks good, doesn’t it?!

The white side: garlic bechamel sauce, herbed garlic tofu, tomatoes, scallion, nutty Parm, a drizzle of Yuzu hot sauce

This Yuzu Hot Sauce from Trader Joe’s is one of my recent favorite condiments.

This brightens up any dish you use so well.

This works particularly well for “cream” based sauce/dish.

The red side: tomato sauce, mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, IKEA veggie ball crumbles, creamy cashew cheese sauce, Japanese basil (Shiso)

Rustic Wabi-Sabi Scones
ワビサビ・ざくざくスコーン

I was in the mood for Japanese flavored scones.

Made two versions.

This one is Kinako (roasted soy bean powder) and black sesame.

This one is Matcha almond.

I added some whole wheat flour, and the results were pretty rustic-looking, just the way I wanted.

They were perfect when served with my homemade plant-based butter.

Recommended beverage: cafe au lait.

Have a great weekend everyone.