Tuesday, September 10, 2019

gluten- and dairy-free cornbread

I gotta be honest with you--this is not your grandma's cornbread. If you need it gluten- and dairy-free, it just can't be. But as a substitute, it's not bad! I like mine with chili.

Jamie Oliver has a good recipe that I finagle a tiny bit. Here's my riff on his version.

You'll need:
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free baking mix (including salt and baking powder)
  • 1.5 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk (I use organic soy)
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed (or other neutral-flavored) oil
Do this:

Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish, mix ingredients together, and pour into the dish. Bake at 180 C for about 23 minutes. The cornbread will turn a bit brown (or fox-colored as they say in Japan) and will be firm in the middle. This is great as muffins too! 

Call me crazy, but I love this leftover, heated up again, and spread with homemade (unsweetened!) peanut butter. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

sausage, bean, and veg soup: enjoying the end-of-summer produce

I have to eat as much zucchini as I can while it's still in the stores this season! (And for many years, we couldn't get it here in Japan at all.)

Along with this summery soup (is that an oxymoron?), I made these delicious savoury gluten- and dairy-free goat-cheese herb muffins (though I use sheep-milk feta now since Costco doesn't carry the goat cheese anymore). 

For the soup, you'll need:
  • zucchini
  • carrots
  • onions (I had purple ones on hand)
  • garlic cloves (use a bunch!)
  • sweet yellow pepper
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • 2 cans of (drained) kidney beans
  • sausages, sliced
  • bay leaves
  • dried mixed herbs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • chicken broth
Do this:

Simmer up and serve with love.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

gluten- and dairy-free pumpkin or banana-chicory muffins: one recipe base

Since my coconut allergy diagnosis a few months ago, I've had to give away my coconut flour, oil, and shredded coconut. We've mostly switched to almond flour, though I don't bake very often because of the high cost of gluten-free products here in Japan. 

I found a paleo pumpkin muffin recipe, which I've adapted to what I can eat and changed into two variations here.

For the pumpkin muffins:

You'll need:
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (lower glycemic index than maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I mix my own and keep it in a jar)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raisins
Do this:

Mix everything in a mixing bowl, spoon into muffin cups, and bake at 180 C for about 14 minutes. 

For the banana-chicory muffins:

You'll need:
  • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large banana)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 4 tablespoons chicory powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 cups almond flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raisins or chocolate chips, if desired
Do this:

Mix everything in a mixing bowl, spoon into muffins cups, and bake at 180 C for about 14 minutes.

Enjoy with a hot cuppa in the Japanese August. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019


I can't remember how I first heard about shakshuka, but I'm guessing it was from our Israeli friends who visited and stayed with us a couple years ago. It's now one of my favorites: a seasoned, flavorful tomato sauce base with delicious clouds of floating eggs cooked right in. I top it with feta cheese and parsley, and serve it over quinoa. The little crunchy summery salad to go with it had yellow tomatoes, cucumbers, purple onion, salt and pepper, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and feta.

This shakshuka recipe was inspired by Tori Avey's

You'll need:
  • 2 cans of diced organic tomatoes (about 400 g each)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • about 6 or 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • green or red sweet pepper, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 eggs
  • pinch of sugar
  • feta and parsley, for topping
Do this:

Saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and mushrooms in olive oil in a frying pan, then add in the spices, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer for a little while, then break each egg individually in a separate small bowl and gently pour each one into the tomato sauce mixture. Bubble till the eggs look set, then crumble some feta cheese and sprinkle some parsley over the top. 

This is the creamiest way to eat eggs--they just melt in your mouth. And the sharpness of the tomato sauce is such a good foil. 

I could probably eat this at least once a week until the end of my days. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

easy gluten- and dairy-free summer lunch

Easy summertime lunch: endou mame (sugar snap peas), Kewpie carrot-orange dressing, grapes, feta cheese (Costco), black bean and quinoa tortilla chips (Costco), boiled egg, and (not shown) an avocado.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

basil-coconut-curry chicken

I don't remember where I originally got this recipe, and I've been making it for years, but of course I've changed it some. It was perfect for when we moved back to Japan and didn't have an oven yet--you just need a rice cooker and a frying pan.

This is a good amount for four people, with a little bit leftover for two kids the next day. 

You'll need:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • one onion, chopped
  • many garlic cloves, minced
  • oil for cooking (I use coconut) 
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch (katakuriko)
  • this spice mix: 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1.5 teaspoons sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon powdered ginger, and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Do this:

Cut up the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and coat with the spice mix. Chill in the fridge for an hour or two. Get your rice going in your rice cooker.

After the chicken has done its thang in the fridge, fry the chopped onion and the minced garlic in the coconut oil, then add in the chicken. When it's cooked through, mix the can of coconut milk with the cornstarch (or potato starch) and pour in. Let it simmer a little bit until it's heated through and thickened, then serve over rice.

Somehow the basil and curry and creamy-sweet coconut milk really work together! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

sweet-and-salty chocolate snacks: potato chips and popcorn

I was inspired by some chocolate-covered potato chips in a canister at the convenience store, but of course they were expensive and the chocolate wasn't fair trade. So I bought some ridged potato chips, and my son helped me melt some fair-trade dark chocolate and coconut oil together, then he dipped the chips in and laid them on a silicone baking sheet before putting in the fridge to set.

They were so delicious that we then tried it with some salted popcorn, too, and my son suggested dried cranberries as well. We used the same chocolate and coconut oil mixture. Yummy!

Friday, January 18, 2019

easy weeknight slow-cooker orange-ginger chicken

This is one of the simplest weeknight meals I make: white and brown rice mixed (in the rice cooker), orange-ginger chicken breasts in the slow cooker, and green beans (organic frozen: I saute them in the frying pan with olive oil and sea salt). 

I borrowed this recipe from Diethood, but of course have made it my own (I'm not sure what's "diet" about it--it's just really good flavors).

You'll need:
  • 4 chicken breasts, with no skin
  • 3/4 c. orange marmalade (I sometimes use Korean yuzu/citron)
  • fresh ginger, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • minced garlic cloves
  • oil for greasing the liner of your slow cooker
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • for topping: toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onions, red pepper flakes
Do this: 

Grease your slow-cooker liner, place the chicken breasts inside, and in a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients except for the toppings. I cooked mine on low heat for about 5 or 6 hours.

Serve over rice with the toppings, and make sure you don't put the red pepper flakes on your childrens' portions. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"dry curry"

This is my version of what Japanese people call "dry curry," which means it's not saucy. Although this one was pretty spunky.

There are no measurements here! 

You'll need:
  • ground beef and pork mix
  • grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
  • carrots
  • onions
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • kabocha pumpkin (I didn't use it this time, but sometimes do)
  • cherry tomatoes, or a can of chopped tomatoes
  • turmeric
  • curry powder
  • cinnamon
  • parsley
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • tomato paste
  • frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • a little water
  • lemon juice at the end
Do this:

Saute the veggies in oil and then steam in a little water to soften. Add in the meat and cook till done, then add the rest of the ingredients (adding in a tablespoon or two of lemon juice at the end). Serve over rice. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

lentil curry: it's what's for dinner

Dinner tonight was a favorite of mine: lentil curry plus some salad-y side dishes, which included super-duper coleslaw (I added cucumbers, sweet red peppers, cabbage, carrots, and homemade coleslaw dressing), cold marinated beets (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt), and boiled eggs with seasoned salt. I took the leftover boiled eggs and made deviled eggs, and golly, they're almost gone--all four of us love those.

Cook the lentils in water with some veggie bouillon, salt, and a bay leaf, add in some diced carrots to soften, and separately, in a frying pan, saute onions and garlic, then add in the cooked lentils and carrots, some salt, curry powder, lemon juice, turmeric, and parsley (I loosely base this recipe off of one in the More with Less cookbook).

I really enjoyed all the textures and flavors in this meal. Gochisohsamadeshita!

Friday, January 4, 2019

extremely easy mexican chicken and rice

This was one of the easiest meals ever, so full of flavor, and a Mamatouille original.

You'll need:

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs (I remove as much of the skin as I can)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • chili powder to taste (about 2 teaspoons)
  • salt
  • powdered cumin to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Do this:

Whack it all in the slow cooker on high for 7 hours, then shred the chicken with two forks and serve over rice.

Our toppings: sliced black olives, salsa, avocado, and soy yogurt that I mixed with peeled and chopped cucumber, cumin, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

new year's black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread

My paternal grandma, Mommee Melt, would've been proud of me today: I made the traditional black-eyed peas, cornbread, and greens that she always insisted on for good luck on New Year's Day. The only thing is, I was two days late. Good thing I'm not superstitious!

I just made up my own recipes for the greens and peas.

You'll need:

  • one small bag of dried black-eyed peas
  • salt and pepper
  • bacon
  • green beans
  • bay leaves
  • plenty of fresh garlic cloves
  • fresh mustard greens
  • one onion, chopped
  • olive oil
Do this:

Bring the dried black-eyed peas to a boil in a pot of water, then turn it off and leave it for an hour or two. Come back later and bring back to the boil and add bay leaves. When they're starting to soften, add salt, pepper, chopped bacon, chopped green beans, and whole cloves of garlic. Simmer till it's kind of soupy.

For the greens, wash and chop them into bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan, saute the onion in olive oil till soft, then add in some minced fresh garlic, the greens, and a little bit of water. Then season with salt. 

Serve with cornbread, and make sure you save some of the pot liquor from the greens and black-eyed peas for the cornbread too. And don't forget sliced tomatoes doused in seasoned salt.

Happy 2019!

homemade pumpkin-pie spice, and coconut-flour pumpkin pancakes

I can't buy "pumpkin pie spice" here in Japan, but I can buy all the separate ingredients, so going on My Baking Addiction's recipe, I made my own and stored it in a jar: 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1.5 teaspoons ground allspice and 1.5 teaspoons ground cloves.

I make my own coconut-flour pancakes with the spice.

You'll need:

  • 10 eggs (yes, really!)
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • a couple pinches of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • about 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin (or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • coconut oil for frying
Do this:

Beat the eggs and mix in all the other ingredients except for the coconut oil, which you'll use in the frying pan to cook these puppies. Watch them carefully because they burn easily! 

My pumpkin puree already had sugar in it (not my choice but the only thing available on iHerb), so I didn't add any sweetener. We ate these just with butter.

corn and black bean salad: the one j-bean loves

Purple onions and cans of black beans are pretty hard to come by in Japan, but when I can find them, this is a versatile side dish/salad that three out of four of us love.

You'll need:

  • a can of corn, drained
  • a can of black beans, drained
  • cilantro (coriander leaves), chopped
  • rice vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet red pepper, chopped
  • purple onion, chopped
Do this:

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge for a bit for all the flavors to meld.