MABO CHILI (マーボーチリ) mabo dofu + chili

When Aya and I first got married, one dish she made frequently was mapo tofu, or mabo dofu. From what I understand, it’s originally a Chinese dish, but is a very common dinner meal in Japan. It’s a really simple tasty dish. Even my dad likes it and he doesn’t like tofu! But recently I was on a quest to find a perfect fusion chili recipe. Our school district has a chili cook-off every year and I was curious what would be a good chili that represented our Japanese immersion school. That captured both American and Japanese tastes. My first try was Japanese curry chili (which was fantastic), and now I decided to combine mapo tofu and chili. All the main ingredients of a typical chili recipe, but with all the spices of mapo tofu. The results were pretty good!

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THE BEST VEGGIE BURGER

The best? Really? I know some of you may be thinking the words “veggie” and “burger” are two words that don’t even belong together and especially combined with the word “best.” I used to think that too.

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HUBBARD SQUASH SOUP

We were at the farmer’s market the other day and saw these huge blue colored squashes I had never seen before. When we inquired what they were, they said they were hubbard squash and they’re delicious. She also said since they are so big, it’s best to throw it on the ground to open it up. Hmmm, I love winter squashes and I love smashing things, so why not? Even if it tastes bad, it would be four dollars well spent just to smash it. I decided to make hubbard squash soup to start with.

Cue the Smashing Pumpkin’s song (or in this case Smashing Squash) and let’s break this thing open!

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JAPANESE ROLL CAKE

For Chloe’s first birthday I started researching Japanese style cakes to make for her. I was mainly looking for a lighter style frosting. I had made a rich homemade cake with a heavy cream cheese frosting for Ellie’s first birthday and after one bite she threw up. So for Chloe, I thought she’d appreciate the lighter style Japanese cakes and frosting. During my search I came across these awesome looking roll cakes. Roll cakes that had designs on them. But not only did they have designs on them, they were baked into them. My mind was officially blown. I didn’t know when or how, but right then and there I vowed to one day make that cake. That day had come.

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BALSAMIC VINEGAR DRESSING

We were having friends over for dinner the other day. I had planned this fancy salad with pears, dried cherries, glazed pecans, and goat cheese. I originally planned on using store bought dressing to save some time, but after further pondering, I decided I should up my game and rock some homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. With a fancy salad bursting with all that flavor I couldn’t lame out for the dressing. This balsamic dressing was super delicious and was a crowd pleaser. It kept really well in the refrigerator too. I think using the immersion blender helped keep the oil from separating. Continue reading “BALSAMIC VINEGAR DRESSING”