Tuesday, January 31, 2006

shabam! pow! plop... whizz?


I think we've dicovered one of the goofiest comics-related things ever...this video clip for Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot's 60s song, Comic Strip. Yup, that's Brigitte up there, in a brunette wig and superhero costume (which I find creepy, but Evan says is pretty accurate for French 60s comics most likely). Not to be missed!!

Forgot to say - while you're there, check out the playlist that it comes from, there's some really interesting clips of 60s French pop! I mainly know the Serge Gainsbourg stuff but there's lots more I've never heard of.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

soup for breakfast?

breakfast miso

Yup! Soup for breakfast!! Most days now, Emily and I have a miso soup breakfast or brunch (okay, a lot of the time my breakfast is tea while she has oatmeal, then we have this 2-3 hours later). And it's actually probably the best thing I've found to eat first thing in the day.

I always was fascinated by the idea of the traditional Japanese breakfast after seeing it in enough TV shows -- I'm not so sure about the fish, but soup and rice sounded pretty good to me. I've never been into the whole sweet breakfast paradigm and while the eggs and meat thing works for me, it's heavy and a pain to cook. I always meant to try it but never did, but I've been trying to be more diligent about actually eating breakfast every day.

And finally I got motivated to try it out, after reading Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat(*see more on this book below) and seeing her "Japanese Power Breakfast" idea (basically, miso for breakfast). I didn't even really look at her recipe, since I knew how to make miso soup just fine. But I did use her idea of adding a quartered hard-boiled egg, and her list of vegetables to use made me feel better about adding whatever I had sitting around.

want to make your own?

So here are the basics (feel free to improvise, especially if you have a favorite method for making miso soup):
You will be doing two things at once (can you handle it?)
Start by putting 8-12 ounces of water in a small saucepan (I use 12oz because I'm sharing with the baby!), and at this point add any raw hard vegetable you may have (sliced carrots, daikon, etc) so they cook evenly. (At this point I also add any frozen puree.) Bring water to a boil, and add your dashi powder. Stir to dissolve. Add soft foods like tofu now, and then add your miso paste.
While your water is heating, in a microwave-safe bowl, put whatever frozen and/or leftover vegetables you've got and heat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Top veggie mixture with a quartered hard-boiled egg.
Now to combine! Pour your miso soup over the veggies and egg. Tada! Breakfast! Protein-rich, super-fast, and low, low-fat. (Let's not bring up the sodium, shall we?)
Ingredient ideas - the soup I took the photo of had peas, spinach, daikon, diced sweet potato (leftover, not raw) and a big spoonful of kabocha puree in the bottom of the bowl; I added tofu and some negi (use leeks or scallions, although leeks are probably closer) to the miso. Today my broth had pureed butternut squash and carrots added, and my veggies included edamame, corn and a little spinach for color. I can't really imagine anything that wouldn't work -- in the book, she talks about using cold cherry tomatoes, and while I can't personally imagine doing that, they obviously think it works just fine.
Speaking of the book...I got it from the library on a whim last month. I got the feeling that it was a book that had been long in the making, and got slapped with the unfortunate title because of French Women Don't Get Fat selling so many copies. It's a very nice introduction to Japanese cooking and food culture, but if you are at all familiar with Japanese cooking it's not going to break any ground for you. The weirdest thing for me was getting to some of the recipes and discovering that they were basic dishes with new names - her "Iri Iri Pan Pan" is called "tri-color donburi" in at least 2 cookbooks I have, for example. But there's some good info, and if you're interested in Japanese cooking I would recommend it as a library read. It's not really something you're going to need to keep referring to, I don't think.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

yum yum


Mm, don't those french fries look good? But wait - that's actually dessert! These are deep fried custard sticks, disguised as fries by the new and trendy Mamido Burger stand in Toyko, which styles all its sweets and cakes as fast food. The signature sweet, the "Mamido Burger" is a sponge cake bun, with a chocolate cream "hamburger" and kiwi slice "pickles". Clever, clever!! And of course I want to eat there right now. [From Trends in Japan as seen on Treehugger.]

Monday, January 9, 2006

book club bonanza!

book club book

Last October I wrote up Target's Ready. Sit. Read! book club promotion, but I never got around to the follow-up, which was the awesome stuff that we got for signing Emily up! I was shocked to get a huge box that contained a whole load of stuff, all illustrated by J. Otto Seibold (of Olive, the Other Reindeer et al). First came out the heavy cardboard backpack, with everything else stuffed inside. Parts to convert the backpack into a jetpack or angel wings (or bird wings? not sure), stickers, a book, an electronic bookmark (very cool), door hanger, and book club flag. I'm not sure if they are still sending it all out (they didn't say when I signed her up that she'd get all this stuff!) but it's worth a try. (I'm tempted to get someone to sign up at their address so we can stash extras for Emily!!) Photos of the swag are up at flickr (although it'll take a wee bit of time for that link to be working, I think - in the meantime, click on the photo above and just go backwards through the photos).

Sunday, January 8, 2006


magic mushroom  puzzle

Notice that I did not say "super-cuteness!!" because I just noticed that I've had an exclamation point on every entry for a month. Yeesh! Anyway, this is a wooden puzzle, called "Magic Mushroom" that we got Emily for her birthday (her first wooden puzzle, and she loves it. Well, she loves taking the pieces out, anyway). I spotted it on moolka.com, and fell in love with it and its companion puzzle "Magic Tree" right away. I was happy to see that there was a design credit on the packaging, because I love the art. It's by Nadia Berkane, who I can't find much info on, other than some listings on amazon.fr which appear to be a totally different style (or by a different Nadia Berkane?) and a site with baby items illustrated by this Nadia Berkane which are adorable. I want them all!

Does anyone else know anything about this artist? I love her work and would love to find more stuff by her. That, you know, is actually available for purchase to us Americans, that is...

Thursday, January 5, 2006

leaf pie!


This is one of my all-time favorite treats, leaf pie. I first had it at the Takashimaya Tea Box many years ago, and since I don't come across it often, it's one of my most longed-for treats. My favorite leaf pie of all time is the one on this page, which is the one I had at Takashimaya. But these were pretty good - "Chef Tool" brand, bought from the big Xmas gift display at Mitsuwa. And, half of them were chocolate! That was a new one on me. I think I'm going to be sticking with the classic version though. More leaf pie photos here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Miyazaki goodness!

Timely news: the huge tribute to Ghibli studios going on at TMC this month to celebrate Hayao Miyazaki's 60th birthday starts tomorrow! Every Thursday, a set of films will be shown in both their official (Disney) English dub, and in the original (subtitled) versions. Of special note are the films that haven't been released here yet: My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart and Only Yesterday. (Totoro and Whisper of the Heart are scheduled for a March release, and my guess would be that Only Yesterday comes out in the fall.)

But even bigger news - if you are a Miyazaki/Ghibli fan you probably know all about the amazing Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka, Japan. But did you know that they worked on an exhibit that is currently touring children's museums here in the US? The exhibit Jump to Japan (now in St. Paul) includes lots of Totoro goodness, including a Catbus kids can play in, statues and more (and, unlike the official museum, photo-taking is allowed), along with loads of other neat non-Miyazaki stuff and hands-on activies. Kids (and parents) can try out a tea ceremony, go to a "manga store", try their hand at drawing manga and doing animation, and lots more. It's touring through mid-2008 (we are planning to take Emily after her 2nd birthday!) and is a must-see. It's part of "Go East", a whole group of exhibits exploring various Asian cultures, most of which unfortunately won't be coming to a museum we can get to. Check out the tour schedule for all 7 exhibits here (pdf file!)

Some extra Miyazaki goodness from flickr: totoro cupcakes! a totoro monument (?!) totoro+baby=unbearably cute. totoro bread (I couldn't eat it!)

Monday, January 2, 2006

Happy New Year!

Wow, that month went by fast. Things got busy, (more than a bit stressful) and most of all - our internet connection has been a royal pain, we've barely been able to get online in ages. (Looks like it's partly fixed, when I finish the job we're currently on I'll try and suss out the rest of the problem.)

Also coming once this job is turned in: my tie one on entries, cutie cupcakes made for Emily's birthday (no, she didn't eat any!), Miyazaki goodness and more! Also trying to fix a bunch of techy things, like set up a Technorati Profile for me and one for Evan. Anyway, hope your holidays were great and your new year even better. See you soon!

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