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Strawberry Red Bean Crepes
苺小倉クレープ

Once in a while I get craving for crepes.

Actually I know exactly when it comes: whenever I hear the name, Julia Child.

At the end of the last year my sister was visiting us from Japan, and the night before she left we watched “Julie and Julia”, and it did it to me.

The reason why I get the craving is probably that I made crepes a lot when I bought her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”; didn’t everyone buy the book after watching the movie?!

I don’t use her recipe anymore because it’s definitely not vegan, but I do have a good vegan recipe for crepes.

I used my crepe recipe, but I used whole wheat flour for the half of the flour.

They turned out awesome!

Well, what else do I need for my strawberry crepe plate?

Here are what I wanted for my plate.

First, homemade vegan butter.

Sweet red beans.

And of course, strawberries.

I happened to find this coconut milk based strawberry ice cream at Trader Joe’s so I decided to add this to my plate as well.

It was finished with a drizzle of salted caramel maple syrup.

I know using beans for dessert may sound a bit strange to westerners, but the combination of butter and sweet red beans is always a winner to me!

French Toast with Paprika Butter and Rosemary Orange Syrup
フレンチトースト、パプリカバター&ローズマリーオレンジシロップ添え

I haven’t had decent french toast for a long time.

Well, the main reason why I wanted to have french toast was that Terry sent me a picture of french toast that his colleague was having at a restaurant during his business trip.

Terry was not able to have the french toast because it was not vegan, but he said he liked the syrup being “rosemary” infused.

So I decided to make rosemary orange infused syrup for our french toast, and it turned out awesome!

But first we need french toast.

I’ve tried a few vegan french toast recipes and I was not thrilled with any of them.

This time I decided to experiment a little.

Since I’ve had some success in creating some egg-like texture with chickpea flour, I used chickpea flour instead of regular flour for the batter.

Look at this!

I was so happy with the result.

I tried with a few different bread, and they both turned out great!

This vegan french toast served with paprika butter and rosemary orange syrup was a big winner!!

The flavor combination was sophisticated and I really really enjoyed this.

French Toast Batter Ingredients – adapted from this recipe

1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
a few sprinkles cinnamon
a pinch of salt
vanilla extract

Stuffed Shells
スタッフドシェル

I was thinking about making something totally different.

But that didn’t happen for so many reasons, and it ended up like this.

But I didn’t complain.

This is what they looked like when the shells were stuffed.

Can you tell what was inside?

Well, the filling was a mixture of different things, but one of the main ingredients was this, Renkon lotus, which was finely minced.

Renkon lotus along with tofu together created an interesting texture and flavor, and initially I wasn’t sure, but I actually really liked it.

Renkon lotus kept the filling lighter than what I would have typically used, like nuts.

Making stuffed shells was actually my first experience, and I really enjoyed the process.

This was what it looked like before going into the oven.

Then later I decided to put some V cheese from Punk Rawk Labs, which is a local vegan cheese maker, and then baked a little more.

These were tasty when just out of the oven, but they seemed to taste even better the next day when I took some to work and re-heated in the microwave oven.

Since my first attempt was a success, I’ll definitely make stuffed shells again.

Veggie Inari Sushi
べジいなり寿司

Inari Sushi is sushi rice packed in a fried soy-curd pouch.

The soy-curd pouch is cooked already in sweet soy-based sauce, and it is tasty as it is.

But I decided to dress them up a little bit.

But first the rice.

I used brown rice.

I just used whatever the veggies I had in the house.

You can certainly cook the pouches yourself (my mom always did), but it’s easy to use pre-cooked ones, and that’s what I used.

These Inari Sushi were not only pretty but also more nutritional with all the veggies.

I almost feel like I’m creating art!

Since it’s easy to eat, it can be a fun party food as well.

Some people dip it in soy sauce, but these are delicious as they are.

Macaroni and V Cheese with Basil Sauce
マカロニ&Vチーズバジルソースがけ

I usually prefer long pasta to short pasta, but I do love macaroni.

Who can resist this combination of adorable-looking macaroni and creamy (V) cheese?!

Well, I can’t.

I like my macaroni and V cheese with a lot of freshly ground black pepper.

It even gets better when you drizzle basil sauce on top.

But this is how my macaroni and cheese usually ends up at my table.

With lots of veggies.

This macaroni and V cheese with basil sauce was served with sauteed spinach, tempeh crumbles, and crispy onions.

Yum!!

Happy Thursday evening everyone!

Ama-Zake
玄米甘酒

This was my first time making and tasting Ama-zake.

The literal translation of Ama-zake is “sweet Sake”, but it does not contain any alcohol.

This is a popular drink in Japan usually served around new year, but I hear that it has become a popular drink and now a lot of people drink it all year around.

To tell the truth, I’ve never been interested in Ama-zake until I saw this at a local Asian grocery store.

This is called “Rice Koji”, one of the key ingredients (there are only three ingredients to make Ama-zake: rice koji, rice, and water).

According to this site, “rice koji” is cooked rice, inoculated with a certain kind of mold, and this mold is used to ferment the rice to create Ama-zake.

This is what rice koji looks like.

To make ama-zake, first you cook rice (I used brown rice) to make porridge.

Puree the rice (it does not need to be pureed, but it is supposed to enhance the sweetening process when you use brown rice instead of white rice).

Add the crumbled rice koji, cover, and let them do whatever they need to do.

At this point, all you have to do is to keep the temperature between 55 and 60 degrees Celsius, for 8 to 10 hours.

It definitely has some unique taste to it, and I can see this is one of those food/beverages you either love it or hate it.

I actually really liked it.

It’s quite sweet as it is, so you usually add some water to it to balance the sweetness.

It is categorized as a beverage, but there are some solids left, so I use a spoon and eat it like soup.

I’ve been having ama-zake for breakfast the last few days, and I’m really liking this new habit.

I add a little flaxseed meal or some kind of spice, like cinnamon, to it.

Ama-zake is supposed to be really good for your health.

My father drinks ama-zake everyday, and my family is convinced that daily intake of ama-zake is the reason why he has such a young-looking skin (he really does!).

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