Archive for ‘4th of july’

July 4th, 2011

Jeremy salad

While some people want a piece of tart, I actually made a ‘peace’ tart for the 4th of July.  Just wanted to show off share.

We have a very smart 11 year old nephew, Jeremy.  He already has a stock market account, teaches me about gadgets, and negotiates prices with ‘replica’ vendors in China. Yet with all that sophistication, he still enjoys laughing at bodily sound-effects played from an app on his iPad.  As far as kids go, he’s actually very cool to hang out with.  One night, we were enjoying dinner at his house, and while I don’t remember the main course (sorry, sister-in-law, I’m sure it was something delicious), I never forgot the salad Jeremy made as a side.  It was like an Israeli salad, chopped cucumber, tomato, carrot and radish with squeezed lemon and salt & pepper.  Very refreshing and delicious.  My husband still requests it under its new name, “The Jeremy Salad” from time to time.

You can probably guess that my husband is not just picky when it comes to Asian food.  So if I find a dish he likes, I want to include that in our rotation– And it’s not that simple.  It’s actually a bit tricky.  Let me explain.  Even if he likes one dish one time, it doesn’t guarantee he likes the exact same dish a second time.  Need an example?  Cold ramen (Hiyashi Chuka).  I took a risk making it because I knew he was not familiar with cold noodles, and doesn’t care for them much.  But on a hot 100 degree L.A. summer day, all I craved was cold noodles, as we, Japanese, live on cold noodles (soba, ramen, udon, anything) during the hot months.   Success; he liked it!  Before I could congratulate myself for bridging the gap of pickiness, I made it for a second time and the result– he doesn’t want it.  Annoying, I know!  It’s like dealing with a child with no reason.  You see, my husband eats with his brain.  He over analyzes food before, during and after he eats.  Instead of just accepting a new flavor or texture, his brain goes to work, trying to compute answers to questions like: what is this I’m looking at, what am I chewing, what is this strange flavor/texture in my mouth?  The second time he ate the cold ramen, instead of remembering that he liked it, he defaulted to his “I don’t like cold noodles” rule.  Annoying, right?  Especially when I spend time and effort preparing something that he later, refuses to eat– but there is a fun, entertaining quality to watching him eating completely foreign food and trying to figure out what it is.  I guess they call that ‘love’.  Awwww.

The now famous, “Jeremy Salad,” is in our rotation.  The ingredients change depending on what we have in the fridge, but as long as we have cucumbers and tomato, it earns its name. Here’s one version with tzatziki dressing.

2 servings

  • chopped vegetable(1 cucumber, 1 tomato,1 stalk of celery for today)
  • your favorite plain yogurt   2tbs
  • garlic paste (I love this)   1tbs
  • dill (fresh or dry)
  • lemon juice   1 tbs
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix yogurt and garlic paste, add lemon and dill
  2. add all vegetable but tomato and mix, very little salt to taste
  3. add tomato, mix, and chill in the fridge until serve
  4. great with grilled chicken on a hot day!



July 3rd, 2011

The best hot dog

While enjoying hot dogs during a game at old Yankee stadium (I love the Yankees; my husband loves the Dodgers), my husband disappointed at the condiment selection, described New York as ‘spicy mustard town’.  His choice: plain, regular, middle of the road French’s yellow mustard.  Add one spice or tinge of flavor to the mix and he’ll throw away whatever food it sits on.  So when he first got a chance to try all the best New York has to offer a Jewish guy from California, like hot dogs, knishes, and pastrami, he had to do it without a favorite condiment by his side. Luckily for him, times have changed; Yankee stadium now has yellow mustard, which for my husband, is delightfully neutral in its spiciness, but with a refreshing mild sourness.

In Japan, there are two basic kinds of mustard: Japanese yellow mustard or dijon mustard.  The former is very hot and has a good kick to it.  Just like with wasabi, we use it sparingly.

Whether Eastern or Western, condiments should be used with care so that you can really enjoy the taste of the hot dog itself.  If your hot dog is not impressing you with its fantastic flavor or reminding you of that day at the game with your dad, you need my trick.  But first, the theory:  A $1.50 hot dog from a street vendor and a $6.75 hot dog at a baseball game taste different.  It is not the price making the difference nor is it the ambiance of the stadium.  The secret?  It’s actually the steaming effect of its wrap.  When you buy a hot dog from a street vendor, most likely you eat it right away, but when you are at stadium, it comes wrapped in foil where it’s benefits from a bit more steaming.  You then put on your favorite condiments, wrap it up again and take it to your seat.  Without knowing it, you’ve steamed that dog for an additional 10 minutes or so.  While wrapped, heat radiating  from the hot dog works to blend the condiments and transform a dry bun into a soft and moist, but not soggy, roll.  The flavors have a chance to get acquainted before your first bite.  By the time you dig in, the party is in full swing and everyone’s invited.  To recreate the good times at your place, try this:

1) Grill. (if not available, use your toaster)2) Wrap the hot dog with condiments of your preference on it.  Set the table, take dirty dishes to sink, tell everybody their dogs are ready…3) Plate with side of kale slaw (recipe here),  unwrap, and enjoy your 4th of July!!!