how-to

How to grow shiso (perilla)

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I posted a photo of my sprouted shiso seeds on Instagram this morning, which led to several people asking how to grow it. Although I’ve written about growing shiso a couple of times before, I have never described the procedure. So, here it is! continue reading...

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Japanese Cooking 101, Lesson 5 - Fish, Part 2: Fish buying tips, plus how to "open" a fish

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More fish! In this lesson: How to suss out a good fish shop, how to gauge if a fish is very fresh, plus ‘opening’ up a whole fish. continue reading...

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How to take care of your rice cooker (video)

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A handy video from a top rice cooker maker shows how to take care of your rice cooker. continue reading...

How to cook perfect rice - in a frying pan

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Here’s how to cook rice quickly and easily using a regular old non-stick frying pan. It’s so easy and foolproof you won’t believe it! continue reading...

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More about onigiri: keeping them fresh and more

In a comment to my Onigiri Revisited post, Jennifer said:

I’ve made fresh onigiri a number of times and would love to be able to make it the night before and take into work with me the next day. How do I do that? (or am I out of luck?) The rice gets all hard and I’ve tried sprinkling water on it in the microwave, but then it falls apart. Suggestions? Do I need a special type of rice? How do I store it after it is made?

Onigiri really are better if made the morning of the day you’re going to eat them. I remember my mom waking up very early in the morning to make onigiri when we had a school outing (which usually meant an obento lunch with onigiri).

That being said, you can make them the night before, but you need to take some measures. There are a few things you can do to have moist (but not wet) rice balls. continue reading...

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Surviving Thanksgiving, a Don't Panic! list for new cooks

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I've been living off and on in Switzerland since 1995, but I think this is the first year that I've actually not been in the U.S. for Thanksgiving. I usually made an effort to go there around that time, even if I didn't always spend it with my family. Of course there is no Thanksgiving celebration in Switzerland. We've already moved directly to Christmas season (which also encompasses St. Nicolas Day on December 6th). There are several Christmas markets on already in the area.

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Japanese basics: the anatomy of a Japanese meal

In this episode of my continuing series exploring Japanese food basics, I'd like to explain the breakdown of a typical Japanese home meal, which differs quite a bit from a Western meal.

In Western culture, a meal consists of a light first course or two, followed by a main course, then smaller following courses. The most basic format is soup or appetizer, main course, then a dessert. The main course itself is centered around the protein part, whether it's meat, fish or something vegetarian, and the vegetables are starch are the side dishes. continue reading...

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How-To: Photographing Food In A Restaurant (and Elsewhere On The Road)

This article is not about the technical aspects of food photography per se: I'm certainly not the best food photographer/blogger out there. It's more about how to take decent photos of food in restaurants and other public settings, in both social and technical respects from my experiences. It should be of interest if you are a food blogger, or just like to share pictures of interesting or pretty food you encounter. I used a lot of these ideas on my recent road trips. continue reading...

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Using del.icio.us to track online recipes

If you're not familiar with del.icio.us, it's a great, very easy way to keep track of bookmarks regardless of your location, and to share them with other people. I've been using del.icio.us to keep track of mostly geeky bookmarks (as in my working life I am a geek), but it just came to me that it's a great way to keep track of recipes too. continue reading...

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How to make apple bunnies, to eat with a Camembert in Calvados

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On Easter, we had a selection of cheeses, one of which was this very interesting Camembert soaked and aged for a while in Calvados. Since Calvados is an apple cider-based brandy, apples seemed to fit well. And, since it was Easter, the apple wedges were transformed into apple bunnies. continue reading...

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