Friday, January 25, 2008

I Lost My Noodles Over This

I have been waiting for netflix to get Tampopo. I found it today and grabbed it. Loved it! I am so craving a big hot bowl of noodle soup, sex with Iron Chef Morimoto in a cowboy hat, and one raw egg yolk...and maybe some live shrimp dancing on my belly. If you haven't seen this movie, do yourself a favor and watch it with your partner...or with your Hitachi Magic Wand. Whatever. I thought Big Night was good, and it was, but for pure sexyfoodiness, this has it beat. It has 9 1/2 Weeks beat! Did I mention that it is funny too?

"How are my noodles?", Tampopo asks Goro, "well, they've got sincerity but they lack guts..they're bad." So..the quest takes off.

"How to eat a bowl of good noodle soup? Stare at it and smell it to show your appreciation, stroke it lightly with your chopsticks to show your appreciation..pick up the pork and gently slide it into the corner..promising you'll get back to it later".

Tampopo (Dandelion)
English Subtitles (but you won't need em to enjoy the movie)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Me Love Himachi..and other stuff

I happened to be driving down Riverside the other day and finally decided to pull into the little strip mall and try Banzai Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar. It's owned by the same folks who have Edokko, a wonderful Japanese spot in the strip mall across the street! With Plan B, Edokko, Banzai, and Scotts Seafood, things are looking up for good eats in "the pocket". is a smallish kind of spot but cozy enough. There is a little sushi bar up front and about 10-12 tables. The server was prompt and courteous.

I started with some hot tea and the Lomi Lomi roll(avacado and cucumber inside, topped with salmon, yellow onions slices, scallions, chili oil and spicey sauce). It was beautiful and the fish was like butter. It was not overly sauced at was absolutely delicious and very fresh at a cost of only $7.50.

I had some Hamachi (yellow tail) which was as fresh as could be and the dipping sauce was to die for. The sushi chef seemed to be a real pro. They had Uni as well, but decided against it. I have a friend who loves sea urchin so I was going to try it..but I will next time. Honest.

I wanted to try some soup so ordered the Nabeyaki Udon (took most home with me).The noodles were in a broth with chicken, mushrooms,bok choy, and was served in a huge iron pot. There was a perfect poached egg on the top and was served with two shrimp tempura. The broth was lite and lucious. I ate that soup for two more days!

The menu has combination boxes, lots of appetizers, donburi, chicken katsu, kalbi (korean style BBQ ribs) and lots of sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri. In the winter they offer Shabu Shabu..cook at your own table. They also offer some great kids plates like a sushi plate, Tempura udon, Chicken kastsu, etc.


Banzai Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar
6409 Riverside Blvd (in little strip mall behind Shell station)
Sacramento, CA 95831
Tel. 421-4055

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blue Men, British Soccer, Bigfoot, and Mom's Chili

So,my step-son and his wife were here this weekend to escort us to Arco to see The Blue Man Group. The kids had seen BMG in Vegas and were so very impressed that they decided to take us for a late X-mas gift. Blue Man Group was Fabulous! Bill said they were way more polished in Vegas..but whatever. It was an astounding presentation and concert!! Lots o fun.

Before Bill arrived, he asked if we would get the Setanta channel on Dish so that they could watch their Chelsea (British) soccer team go against Burmingham. We arranged we love our kids and looked forward to watching tough,British soccer. To make a very long, and boring story short...Chelsea won by some frickin goal nobody saw. The rest of the 90 minutes seemed to be sweaty guys kicking a soccer ball back and forth....we fell asleep twice! Dave had to watch Gladiator afterward..just to see some bones get crushed.

With regard to most darling step-son gave me books regarding the autobiography of Bigfoot by Graham Roumieu. Here is an excerpt:

"I Am Not Chewbacca"

Me think Chewbacca jerk
He no can act. He ride Bigfoot coat tails. He think
he cool, but he not. He phoney loser with no class. He all messed up
on crack. Me think people think me chewbacca sometimes.
No! Me have job. Bad wookie. Bad.

I say buy Graham Roumieu's Bigfoot books...they are so funny!

My Mom's Simple Everyday Chili Recipe:

Boil two quarts (or more) of water with 2 bay leaves
Add about 2 cups of pinto beans
After boiling beans for about 45 minutes, drain beans and discard bay leaves.

Fill pot with cold water and add beans..bring up to boil and then simmer for about two hours. After beans are tender, add one chopped onion..some garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper, kosher salt, black pepper, green chilies, and cooked hamburger (which has been seasoned with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper). Add about 6 cups of tomato juice, 1 can of diced tomatoes, (I used low sodium V8 juice), 1/2 cup of tomato paste, 1 tsp sugar, some cayenne pepper..and let simmer for 30 minutes).

Take two huge scoops out and put into large bowl...crunch about 10 saltines into the bowl, mix..and eat. Chili is lovely on a cool day. Thanks Mom!

Dave is making his killer chili for the Superbowl. Yummmy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kitchen (Bitch) Tips

I thought the following tips might be useful to the homecooks out there:

1. You can roast a chicken vertically on a tube the innards of a bundt cake pan, know what I mean? You could probably use a bundt pan too..but only if it was a skinny-legged chicken.

2. I am not a baker, but I read that if you want your cakes to look all luminous, smooth and shiny after you frost them, turn your hair dryer on hot and blow the damned thing for awhile...and make sure your cat isn't in the way. No to the mohair frosting.

3. After breading something, and before frying it, let it sit on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. This will keep the breading from falling off. I do this before I fry breaded chicken and it works great.

4. Instead of sticking toothpicks into whore derves, why not use thin pretzel sticks? Hey, save a tree.

5. Who doesn't love deviled eggs? Well, after you make a shitload of them for a might realize you don't have a deviled egg carrier to transport them in. Just grab a sheet of that leftover rubbery shelf liner you just happen to have in a drawer and slap it down onto a plate..cut it round if you must. Eggs won't wobble. Want to cover with plastic wrap but don't want to mess up the tops? No problem. Just strategically stick some toothpicks [you didn't use for those whore derves]..about 4, into a few of those eggs and then cover with plastic wrap. It's like mini-tent poles! Sorry about that tree.

6. Have you ever burnt the bottom of cookies..or anything else for that matter? No problem. Use one of those microplanes to "grate off the burn". No one will be the wiser...unless you wince while doing it.

7. Having a party and don't know where to put all that soda and beer you'll need chilled? No space? Fill your washing machine with ice (or throw some clean towels in the bottom and only fill it half full). Put your beverages there..out of site if you like, or as great "ice breaker" for a fun party. "Where's the beer?" In the washing machine, of course! The ice will melt, then drain the washer, spin, and it is all cleaned up! Caution: Don't forget to unload any bottles first and if you have front-loaders, don't use the dryer by mistake.

Well, that's about it for this evening. Happy fricking cooking already.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do You See A Theme Here?

List of birthday gifts received:

Pot and pan rack
Food Garnishing Book and Kit
Appetite for Life..The Biography of Julia Child
The Apprentice, My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
Secret Ingredients, The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

(I also got new photo frames..for grandchildren pictures)

I was very pleased. However, I didn't get the Hitachi Magic Wand, but am thinking maybe my immersion mixer might a pinch.

Monday, January 07, 2008

One Foot on the Brake and One on the Gas!

Am I kinda scared about turning 55? Yep. Am I kinda excited about what the future holds in store? Yep...and I really can't drive 55. It puts me to sleep.

Seems like everywhere I turn there are advertisements for wrinkle creams, plastic surgery, pills to make one younger and more energetic, etc. I think Joan Baez looks don't think she's had any work done, do you? Not Joan. Oprah has women on her show who are over 50 and damn..they look fabulous. I can hardly believe it. Ya think any of them have had work done? Have you seen Goldie Hawn lately? No wonder I feel like shit on some days...when I begin to believe "the beauty myth".

I was out to breakfast a few weeks ago and this very young hostess asked me if I wanted to see the "senior menu". I should have told her the last time I was a senior was in 1971...and then I graduated. {That wouldn't have been exactly true}. I was sort of horrified...and I don't laugh at "old people" jokes anymore. I declined the menu and suggested that she wait for people to ask for one. If someone is gray or purple haired, has a walker..or walks slowly, smells like roses or old spice..well, then it's a safe bet they are indeed seniors. See? I stereotype as well!

I looked up the definition of senior citizen on two websites. One said, age 62+ and one said 65+. Why did AARP start sending me membership info. as soon as I turned 50?

I do look forward to traveling more, to taking risks, to getting down and comfortable with this journey into "adulthood"....again. I think I'll take up painting, or photography..or maybe I'll take a class or two at Sac City College, just for the hell of it...maybe I'll do it all, and maybe I'll just think about it. I need to make more friends..spend more time with women. I'm not too old to make new friends..but damn, I gotta get out of the house to do it. :0

I don't know if I'm a homebody..or just scared. That's a new feeling for me. I never used to be scared. I guess I feel more scared than I ever have. Hell, I used to be fearless. I started college at the age of 33, got my masters degree at the age of 41. In 1997..ten years ago, I sold everything I owned and moved to Santa Rosa, CA. I can't imagine doing something like that now. Maybe estrogen gives one courage!

Happy Birthday to me (oh, and to Elvis).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Art of Eating

While in the Pearl District of Portland, I visited Powells's Bookstore. I was in hog-ess heaven. Three huge floors of books!

I started in the cooking section, natch, and scooped up M.F.K. Fisher's "The Art of Eating", 50th Anniversary Edition. It includes the following: Serve It Forth; Consider The Oyster; How To Cook A Wolf; The Gastronomical Me; An Alphabet For Gourmets.

Here are a couple of excerpts from "An Alphabet For Gourmets":

"A is for Dining Alone"

{Here Ms. Fisher contemplates why she is not invited to dinner at other people's she learns to dine alone}

"And the kind people-they are the ones who have made me feel the loneliest. Wherever I have lived, they have indeed been kind--up to a certain point. They have poured cocktails for me, and praised me generously for things I have written to their liking, and showed me their children. And I have seen the discreetly drawn curtains to the family dining-rooms, so different from the uncluttered, spinsterish emptiness of my own one room. Behind the far door to the kitchen I have sensed, with the mystic materialism of a hungry woman, the presence of honest-to-God fried pork chops, peas and carrots, a jello salad, and lemon meringue pie--none of which I like and all of which I admire in theory and would give my eyeteeth to be offered. But the kind people always murmur, "we'd love to have you stay to supper sometime. We wouldn't dare, of course, the simple way we eat and all."

"G is for Gluttony"

"I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to the bursting point, on anything from quail financiere to flapjacks, for no other reason than the breastlike satisfaction of his belly."

{and the following from "How to be a Wise Man/Woman from How To Cook A Wolf". I added surely she would do today)

A wise man always eats well....Chinese proverb

"It is not enough to make a child hungry; if he is moderately healthy he will have all the requisites of a normal pig or puppy or plant-aphis, and will eat when he is allowed to, without thought. The important thing, to make him not a pig or puppy, nor even a delicate green insect, is to let him eat from the beginning with thought."

"The ability to choose what food you must eat, and knowingly, will make you able to choose other less transitory things with courage and finesse. A child should be encouraged, not discouraged as so many are, to look at what he eats, and think about it: the juxtapositions of color and flavor and texture...and indirectly the reasons why he is eating it and the results it will leave on him, if he is an introspective widgin. (If not, the fact that what he eats is not only good but will do him no harm.)"

"I feel, even more strongly than I did in 1942, that one of the most important things about a child's gastronomical present, in relation to his future (gastronomical or otherwise)is a good respect for food."

The editor's include wonderful recipes and Fisher insights that are very relevant today. Her writing is witty, honest, and a joy to read. She was a no-nonsense kind of a good way. I highly recommend this book. It is a must for those who love to collect worthwhile cookbooks/books about food.