Kabocha

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Lately my obsession has been learning how to cook authentic asian foods.  More specifically, Japanese and Korean food.  Since I’m Japanese and my boyfriend is Korean, I feel like it would be good to be able to carry on the traditional foods from our heritages, even if I’m fourth generation.  Plus, Japanese and Korean are two of my favorite types of food, aside from Italian.  My most recent challenge that I decided to take on is kabocha.  If you’ve never heard of kabocha before, it’s a Japanese pumpkin.  It’s typically boiled in a shoyu (soy sauce) sugar sauce and eaten as a side dish.  It kind of reminds me of sweat potato, but not as starchy. Some people also thinly slice it and turn it into tempura, which is probably one of my favorite tempuras.  This recipe that I used is from the Jean Watanabe Hee cookbook, with a few of my Aunty’s tweaks.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb kabocha pumpkin
  • 1/4C sugar
  • 1/4C shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/4C sake
  • 2T canola oil
  • 1 1/4C water
  • 1t grated ginger
  • 1t salt

Step 1: Scrub kabocha thoroughly, and then cut in half and remove the seeds.  Please be careful when you cut the kobacha, they are not easy to cut at first as the skin is pretty hard.  I had to borrow my aunty’s knife since she was convinced the kabocha would break my regular knife.

Step 2: Cut in 1-2 inch pieces and set aside.

Step 3: In a large pot combine all the remaining ingredients.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Then reduce to simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes with the lid on.

Step 4: Add in your pumpkin and cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender.  Make sure you toss occasionally so that all of your pumpkin gets evenly cooked and has a chance to absorb the liquid.

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Step 6: Once the pumpkin is at the desired softness, you’re done.  Remove from heat and enjoy!

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Adventures in Chicago

IMG_51601I recently had to take a trip to Chicago for work.  This was my first trip to Chicago, and I must say that I loved the city.  Maybe it’s because I went during one of the few months where the weather was wonderful, but I love the architecture, the hustle and bustle in downtown and of course the food.  Deep dish pizza . . . oh yeah!    When we went, the weather was perfect, probably between mid 60s to mid 70s, which is cool enough to not break a sweat while I power walked down the streets, but warm enough for me to handle.  While I was there for work, we were able to make some time to see the sights, try the food and of course make it to a Cubs game.  Here are a few snapshots of our week out there

skydeck

{SkyDeck in Willis Tower}

architecture tour

{amazing architecture}

architecture

{love the spiral buildings}

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{Cubs game . . . I love the building top bleachers outside the stadium}

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chicago

{some of our eateries . . . look at all that cheesy goodness}

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{the BEAN}

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{Crown Fountain}

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{Jay Pritzker Pavilion}