Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sailing In The Snow

We have a wood block print by Kawase Hasui showing a fisherman at lake Hinuma in snow.   It is kind of interesting that Kawase, who traveled a good deal,  witnessed such a snow since in only occurs once or twice each year. 

In the wee hours of Monday we were awakened by heavy rain.  A little later, things grew very quiet and the air (our house is not heated at night) became very cold.  When daylight came the reason became clear - it was snowing.

We've been sailing in the rain several times. I've been up to the lake to work on Bluesette the day after it snowed (see The Snows of Lake Hinuma Feb. 2010). But we had never been sailing while snow was falling. It might be lovely - as peaceful as sailing in the rain, or more so, and the beauty of the flakes drifting down...

What!? You think we're nuts? (Don't answer that.)

 No, on this day, K waited until several cars had gone by, helping to make a path, then went off to work as usual, and I turned to warmer pursuits. Such as cooking. How about a nice "inside out lasagna"?

Since my adventures in hospital land last year, I've eliminated all animals and animal products (read: fish and cheese in my case)  from my diet, along with all oils (no, Virginia, olive oil is NOT a health food).   I have not sacrificed the enjoyment of cooking and eating, however.  No worries there.   (This plant based diet is also the secret to my dramatic weight loss of over 40 pounds.)

Here's the recipe for "inside out lasagna".  Enjoy it knowing that it won't land you in a hospital bed.  I even put in English measures to make it easy for you American and UK based folk:

8 ounces uncooked whole grain (rice, wheat, spelt) pasta (I used organic whole wheat penne)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms
14 ounces chopped tomatoes
14 ounces cannellini (or other white) beans, cooked
1⁄2 cups fat-free pasta sauce
10 ounces chopped spinach

Several dollops tofu ricotta (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place a large pot of water on to boil and cook pasta according to package directions, just until barely tender. Drain and set aside. 

Meanwhile, dry sauté (no oil) the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a large skillet until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, beans, pasta sauce and spinach. Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and mix well.    Ladle into a large covered casserole dish, add dollops of tofu ricotta cheese on top and bake covered for 30 minutes.

Tofu ricotta cheese:

1 12.3 ounce package silken tofu 
1 pound fresh water-packed tofu  
1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast (I don't have this available to me, but it is easily had in the USA)
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1⁄4 cup soy milk 
1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Several twists freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mash with a bean masher for a nice texture.

And while this is cooking, enjoy a video.  No, not another Bluesette video.  Surprise!

This one features a steam locomotive in the snow and the song "Crow's wife" from a favorite old detective show of mine, Hagure Keiji Junoha (Rogue Detective), sung by Takao Horiuchi.  For any rail buffs out there, the locomotive is C11 171 manufactured in 1940 and belonging to JR Hokkaido and in service until 1975.  It was restored in 1999.  The town shown in the video is Kurashiki, Okayama, on the Inland Sea.

So stay warm, bon appetit, and of course,

until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nobuko Kojima

Nobuko Kojima at a Halloween party singing Bluesette.   Shigeharu Mukai is on trombone and Natsuko Furukawa on piano. 

Until next, sweet sailing.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Honey Phoebe

Cool arrangement of "Bluesette" - well sung, well played...

Not often do we get to see groups with eight musicians performing live in  these tight economic times.  Wow, they even have a trombonist.  (Old joke: What do you call a trombonist with a pager?  Answer: An optimist.)

Honey Phoebe has a homepage here: Honey Phoebe

Looks like they were active in 2009 and 2010 in the Kanto region (which includes Tokyo and surrounding prefectures).  I hope they are all still playing and doing well.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Geadh-Glas

It was January 4th, and in Japan that  means many businesses are starting up again after the New Year holidays.   With a birthday in her family coming up, K decided it would be a good time to head back to our favorite farmer's market, "Pocket Farm Dokidoki" to purchase some fabulously fresh and locally grown food for gifts.

Dokidoki is a special place with a large market area, gardening and flower shop, and restaurant.  It features local products and so the foods are super fresh.   Sometimes, in the market and the restaurant, one gets to talk directly to the grower or chef - sometimes one and the same person.   Our part time crew member Martin gave it a great review after we took him there for the first time in 2009: http://martinjapan.blogspot.jp/2009/10/five-stars-for-ja-ibaraki-pocket-farm.html (was it really over three years ago?).

We don't go often, perhaps once or twice a year, as it takes an hour to get there from home.  This time, the weather was beautiful, if cool, so we just enjoyed the sights along the way, even if we disagreed at times about whether or not to follow the Navi's instructions.   Pulling up to the parking lot it seemed rather quiet....and that chain across the entrance...uh oh.   They were still on holiday.   We surmised that since Dokidoki is a food business, it takes a day of work for suppliers to gear up and get the produce to the market and restaurant, so they would reopen the next day.   Sigh.

As it was past noon and I was starting to get peckish, I wondered aloud if Mama's Kitchen might be open this day.  So K reprogrammed the Navi and off we went toward Mama's, which was only 20 minutes away.

As we approached, like the beacon from a light house, the signs in front of Mama's shouted "welcome home".    Inside, lunch was vegetarian and on the stereo was Parisian singer Clémentine singing Bossa Nova songs, the album being "Café Aprés-midi" from 2001.   Clémentine was born in France, but lives in Japan.  Bossa Nova is her favorite style.  Though we had not gone sailing this day, we knew were home.

The potato with veggies cakes were deep fried, a cooking technique very much not on my diet these days, but  I decided to make an exception.

I also remembered that K had ordered some earrings from Mama's.  Mama started making jewelry as a side line last year, and I have bought a few things for K.  The earrings were originally of the clip on type, but K needed pierced type, so Mama had agreed to change them.  (Such service).   So K came home with a full stomach and sporting new earrings to boot.  Fair compensation for Dokidoki being closed.

Along the way home we stopped at supermarket we often visit.   Happily, they have a section featuring locally grown produce and would you believe it? K was able to find gifts for the birthday person in the family, and I found local veggies for "seven herb rice gruel" - a traditional New Years food in Japan.  (see Martin's wonderful post on that topic here: http://martinjapan.blogspot.jp/2013/01/seven-herb-rice-gruel.html ).

Successful day all around - despite the odds.   We must be blessed.  And indeed, we are.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Title of this post: Celtic Church term for Spirit; lit: ‘the Wild Goose’.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Year of the Snake

Happy New Year - 2013

Wishing you all the best in the new year - peace, health, love, abundance, and great sailing.

~ Pandabonium and K