Grace Motoyoshi’s easy fried rice

Grace Motoyoshi’s is my brother-in-law’s mom.

When my sister Kris started dating Den I was a teenager. Kris was nine years older than me and everything about her was fascinating.  I was intrigued. I wanted to know everything about Den.  I would ride my bike to visit Den’s parents to find out more about him and his family.  I just recently found out that Den never knew about these visits.

I think Den’s parents found these visits somewhat alarming at first but then they became amused and resigned and just dealt with me – that teenage sister of their son’s latest girlfriend.

We didn’t have much in common me being at that  annoying age, a teenager who knew it all, I was probably not a lot of fun for them.  I bless them that they tolerated me and didn’t complain to Kris and Den about my visits.

They were thoughtful and knew a teenager would be hungry.  Grace would make me something real quick to eat.  Fried rice not like anything I had ever tasted because Grace had a secret ingredient she used.  Dashi dried soup stock!


Here is her recipe with a very few additions I have made along the years.

You will need cold day old rice (cold rice isn’t  so sticky).

Heat some oil in a pan.  Here you can add some butter and/or some toasted sesame seed oil for extra umami (savory taste).  You can also and some onion or some minced or crushed garlic here and if you do cook for a bit. Then add your cold rice.  Stir occasionally until heated.  Sprinkle with dashi powder to taste.  Here you can also add soy sauce but be careful as dashi powder will also be salty and you will want to taste frequently.  Last add one egg per portion, this is quick fried rice so just crack the egg(s) over the pan in stir in.

Here is Grace Moyoyoshi’s quick fried rice with ebi (shrimp) tempura fishcake and kasuzuke cucumbers.



Recipe Apology

I just realized I don’t put measurements in my recipes.

I apologize for that.  I figured out the reason why my recipes are so vague.


My dad never used recipes and he would just go by intuition.  I can see him now tasting a concoction and adding a little of this or a lot of that to make it perfect.

My mom always used recipes.  She swore that she followed those recipes exactly. But I remember it differently. For example, when she made bread she would have the recipe in front of her.  She would carefully measure out the ingredients.  She would then add more liquid or more flour and I’d ask her how she knew to do that and she would just tilt her head in that Doris fashion and smile but never give me a real answer.

Doris would also, after following any recipe carefully, taste it and add this or that.  Then she’d rewrite the recipe with her “corrections”.

I just realized tonite that Sam and Doris gave me their cooking style, a real gift, but making it impossible for me to follow a recipe….

I have a terrible habit of reading cookbooks like other people read novels. I seriously have at least 100 cookbooks.  My husband had a rule he was trying one summer with the kids about reading as a family for a little while each day.  I would read cookbooks, my step-kids found this hilarious but also curious and asked me more than once, “Are you going to cook anything out of that book?”  It seemed like I never did.

I realized tonight that I often did cook something out of those books but I did it the Sam and Doris way, by taking a recipe and making it mine.  Before even cooking a dish once I had already made changes!

No measurements necessary make that recipe yours!


Horchata and Blue Moon Horchata Ale

Horchata is a traditional Mexican beverage. It is flavored with cinnamon, (and sometimes vanilla, lime, cloves, anise) and sweetened with sugar (or honey). Horchata’s base can be rice, or a combination of rice, nuts and seeds.  The rice, nuts or seeds are ground and mixed with water to make a milky looking drink.  There are many combinations of ingredients to be found when searching the internet for recipes.  Milk and coconut milk are also common additions.

Authentic Mexican restaurants will serve a Horchata beverage, each I have tried is slightly different but equally yummy.

I love the stuff.

Imagine my delight when I found out that the Horchata flavors were recently incorporated by Blue Moon into a wonderful tasting ale!  This is being billed as a “Cinnamon Horchata Ale” and lucky me, one of the test markets is Colorado!  Yippee!!


Here is a sample recipe (the nonalcoholic type ha-ha) but there are tons of them on the internet so go there for more ideas:


  • 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked – raw
  • 2 cups (some recipes skinless) almonds (or 1 cup almonds and one cup coconut flakes)
  • 1 -inch piece cinnamon bark (or ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon)
  • Lime zest to taste – optional
  • 8 cups water (or part milk or coconut milk to taste at finish)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes


Wash and drain the rice. Grind the rice and almonds with some of the water (2-3 cups) in the blender about one minute).  Add cinnamon bark (other spices), lime zest and water until you have about 4-5 cups water and let sit overnight.  Here some of the recipes bring mixture to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.  Here some recipes blend rice mixture a second time until smooth using a blender.  Strain Horchata with a strainer or cheesecloth.  Now add your sweetener, vanilla and more water or milk or coconut milk and blend until sweetener dissolved.  Serve over ice.

There were so many recipes, I think each family and each restaurant has their own.  A few of the recipes did not have the draining step.  I have a Vitamix blender so I am going to try to really blend up the rice and nuts and only use water, no milk or coconut milk.

Kasuzuke Pickles

imageKasuzuke are pickles preserved in a mixture of sake lees (a yeast mash by-product that is left over after making sake), salt, sugar and sake or sweet cooking wine (mirin). They are allowed to cure for anywhere from several days to several years, and the resulting pickles may be slightly alcoholic with flavors that vary from sweet and mild to strong and pungent depending on how long they were cured for.

These are some jars of pickles I bought at a recent Arts & Crafts fair.  The elderly gentlemen selling these pickles proudly told me that it took him two years to make them.


He said to just take out of the jar what I wanted to eat and wash it thoroughly in water.


Which I did and these were some of the best pickles I have had in a long time, very savory or umami.  The flavor of these pickles exactly explains the word umami or the  “fifth taste” after salt, sweet, sour and bitter.


Kasuzuke is made with cucumbers, eggplants, uri (a cucumber-like gourd), daikon (radishes) and pickling melons. Carrots, eggplants, watermelon rind, and ginger can also be pickled in this way. It was made as a way to preserve vegetables for a wintertime food.

There is also a fish kasuzuke, where the sugar is sometimes omitted, and sake, shoyu (soy sauce), pepper and/or ginger may be added. Typical fish include cod, salmon, butterfish, and tai snapper.  (This may be the fermented fish that I remember from my dads pickling refrigerator  from the Recipe page)

Small cucumbers or other vegetables equivalent to 6 or 8 small cucumbers

  • 3 cups of sake lees
  • 3 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • Splash of sake or mirin

Salt vegetables with 2 tbsp of the salt. Place in a container with a weight on the mix overnight.  The weight can be a small plate with a jar of water or some other weight.

In a separate bowl combine sake lees, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar. Mix well. If you are using dry (it will be crumbly) add the sake or mirin to moisten.  It should be the consistency of a thick paste now.

Use two identical shallow containers.  Spread part of the sake lees mixture on the bottom of the first (small bowl or crock or similar) container.  Layer the vegetables that you have squeezed and drained the water from next and then alternate layers of sake lees with the rest the vegetables.  The vegetables should be completely covered.  Top with second container and a weight on top of that the desired length of time.

Some of the recipes I read said you could use the paste up to three times so scrape off the paste and save to reuse in the next batch!  You will have to be patient as these two year pickles were worth the wait!

Recipe for Dog Vomit Stew

This is a real recipe for a meal that was named by my step-children!

I was a new step-mom with picky eaters for new step-children (2 girls and a boy).  One thing they did like was noodles, macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, etc.  I was working full time and wanted them to have a decent meal when I got home from work.  I needed fastsimple, something I could keep the ingredients on hand and something that would taste okay heated up as left overs…..

Voila!  I tried to call it mock hamburger helper but after they looked at it they unanimously voted to call it “Dog Vomit Stew”.  The only three good things were that 1) they would eat it as often as I made it, 2) they would love to request it screaming they wanted “Dog Vomit Stew” for dinner, and 3) it is really easy!  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • Rotini noodles, the tri-color are nice
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of ground turkey, beef or chicken
  • Chopped onions
  • Grated mild cheddar cheese, however cheesy you like it

Start some water boiling and cook about 4-5 servings of the noodles (less noodles if using more meat).  At the same time in a deep fry pan, saute the chopped onions in some oil, then add the ground meat and brown it, then add the cans of soup (not diluted) and stir and simmer.  Check the noodles and when they are slightly underdone add them to the mix and simmer a few more minutes until noodles are done.   Here you might need to add a bit of water and it has to look like, sigh, dog vomit consistency.  Add the grated cheese and simmer till cheese melted and incorporated and you have dinner!  Serve with a vegi of choice, these kids loved steamed broccoli and that goes well with this meal.

I often wanted to dress this up a bit with some spices, maybe some oregano or something but the picky eaters voted no!


Making homemade dog food and bird food tonight! dog food recipe

My very first veterinarian was a vet during WWII for our K-9 troops.  I am truly blessed to have had him in my life.

He once told me that adding fresh food to my dogs’ diet would only be beneficial.

Feeding them dog kibble was like feeding them dry cereal they could survive on that but it wasn’t the best diet.

I feed half home made and half good quality kibble.  I rotate kibble.  Brands, protein sources and grain sources sometimes no grains.

I have three big dogs and right now don’t really have time to cook for them 100% of their meals.

Please research toxic foods that your dog should not eat such as: chocolate, grapes, salt, sugar, onions.

If you cook hundred percent for your dog research “healthy powder” and other nutrition facts to make sure your dog gets the necessary nutrients.

I start with the whole chicken.  I pressure cook it until the bones are soft which means an hour and a half for small chicken or longer for a larger chicken.  Lots of good stuff in those bones and in the bone marrow try to get organic chickens if you can.  Other proteins sources I use in place of the chicken or in addition to the chicken are salmon, beef, pork, ground turkey, eggs, cottage cheese.  I have an older dog and another dog with digestion problems they really can’t digest raw meat so all meat is cooked. Do not feed raw pork.

I then use a blender to dice in water approximately two fruit sources and three vegetable sources.   I usually use what is in season.  My dogs have been eating this way since pups and they have no problem with the variety.  I don’t like doggy toots so I steer clear of too much broccoli cabbage and similar toot creating foods they get just a small small amount.

For example in the fall I stock up on cranberries and freeze them as this is a good addition to the mix.  Earlier this year when organic raspberries blueberries and strawberries were on sale I stocked up and put them in the freezer.

I add the fruit and veggie mixture to my protein mixture and some scrambled eggs if I decide to add that as a protein source (warning warning this might be a toot source) and cook for a bit as my old guy digest better with cooked veggies.  Then add my grains.  This might be a brown rice and wild rice grain mix that I’ve cooked for myself or oatmeal.  I sometimes use exotic grains here if I have time.  I just started with a grain quinoa and they seem to like it.  It was about 1/3 of the grains to that batch.  Here you can add other cooked protein such as the beef pork or ground or beef turkey (or add some appropriate raw protein – no pork if your dogs can handle it) or scrambled eggs or some cottage cheese for extra protein.

Last I add some herbs like a small amount of parsley or a little mint or if my dogs request Italian, oregano or Rosemary. My dogs like different herbs so I add a small amount of different ones each time.  Sometimes even a little cinnamon which they like.  Or carob which is a little like chocolate but is reported to be safe for dogs and my dogs request when they crave a  Mexican flavor as they say it makes the food have a mole flavor!

Another thing you can add is pumpkin which is a good source of fiber and antioxidants.  Another starch is yams or sweet potatoes.

You can be creative the more variety the better. I read once to try to eat 40 different things each day for the best nutrition.

The last couple of things I like to add to my dogs meal which is added right before they eat it and not cooked is yogurt or kieffer.   Plain with no sugar.  And a digestive powder made for dogs.

Experiment to find out what is optimal for your dog please share if you have time is I am interested in anything I can learn to make my dogs healthier!



Home made parrot food recipe

I have four parrots, a Cockatoo, Red-Bellied, Senegal, and Jardine.

They get a warm breakfast in the morning and parrot kibble in the afternoon.   I rotate kibble and also mix 3 or 4 different types together to keep my parrots from getting too picky.

Please research toxic foods that your birds should not eat such as: chocolate, salt, sugar, avocados, onions, mushrooms and caffeine.

I start with a 15 bean soup mix discarding any flavor packet.  I sometimes use a Bob’s Red Mill soup mix.  Here I add other grains such a brown rice, buckwheat and barley.  Different grains each time. Soak the beans and grains in plenty of water over night or while at work.  Drain off soaking water and add the fruit and veggie mix below to cook, cook well on the stove or in a crockpot.

Fruit and veggie mix:  I put water, veggies and fruit in a blender, a total of 4 or five different things.  Whatever is in season is good.  No fruit seeds such as apples seeds or any pits.  Organic if possible skins are okay if organic.  If I am making dog food the same night I make a huge batch and use half for dog food, half for bird food.  Just remember dogs cannot have grapes but birds can.

(I know many people feed raw fruits and veggies but I mix and cook everything together for convenience.)

The beans need to be cooked long enough to be soft  for your birds to eat them and for them to be nutritious.  If when done cooking your mix is a little wet you can either pour off the extra liquid (wasting nutrients?) or add something like oatmeal to soak extra liquid.  I sometimes also use a small amount of dried fruit such as raisons to soak up some of the liquid. Usually I just cook gently until liquid absorbed. My birds won’t eat if soupy.

Last I add some herbs like a small amount of parsley or some cinnamon or some crushed hot peppers.  Birds can get picky if you don’t switch it up so every time I make it different.

I divide the mix up into containers and freeze, thawing a one or 2 day batch as needed.  They have this in the morning and at lunch time I give the kibble mix.

Heat in microwave but make sure there are no spots, should be just warm.  Here I add a very small amount of  coconut oil or Udi’s 3-6-9 oil blend.

Be creative the more variety the better.  As I mentioned in my dog food recipe, I read once to try to eat 40 different things each day for the best nutrition.



Homemade Pet Food!?!

Okay I admit it my pets eat better than I do!

I have dogs and parrots and I cook from scratch for them.

Parrots get a warm home cooked breakfast and bird kibble in the afternoon.

Dogs get three warm meals a day.  Half dog kibble and half home cooked.

I started cooking for my pets because a beloved veterinarian who is now retired told me that kibble was like eating cereal, it could sustain you but wouldn’t home cooked meals be better?

He suggested feeding healthy fresh food and guess what!  He was right….

At that time, I had a dog who had serious health issues and was going to a university teaching college veterinary clinic. I stopped taking him there after changing his care and diet.  They kept sending me letters asking if I wanted to donate money in his memory.  They thought he had passed away.  What they didn’t know was that he was still alive!  I attribute this (his improved  health) to feeding a better diet, a diet that included meals cooked from scratch.

Seriously my pets eat better than me.  Their food is a better quality and more nutritious, I put their meals before mine.  (They are my children…..)  If I get busy cooking their meals I’ll be eating fast food or nothing, sigh, which is tonight, I made a batch of dog food and at 11:30 pm I haven’t fed myself!

Okay, I’ll admit it, my step kids used to ask (really) “Is that dog food or people food?”

I really love these stinkers!  (Step kids and dogs!)

Coming soon how I cook for my pets!  (And a  recipe for people that my step kids fondly named “dog vomit stew”)




The results of pickling with Sam’s gift…

The results of the first pickling adventure with my brothers pickling gift.  I rushed the pickling and the pickles were bland they had a good texture and a good flavor but we’re on the bland side

The secret ingredient is raisins!

I remember my dad using raisins in his pickles all the time.  I think it was for flavor and to feed the good bacteria

I’m working on the supplies for a new pickling adventure. This one takes weeks to prepare the pickle bed.  I’ll let you know the results in a few weeks


I’m also going to try the quicker pickles again and let them Ferment a little longer

How do sansei eat pickles?  As a snack with hot rice!

Surprise gift!

I received a surprise gift from my brother Sam to help me with my pickling adventures!



Unfortunately the instructions are in Japanese, I am Sansei I don’t read Nihongo!


But I don’t want to let my brother down so I tried to make pickles without direction from memory of watching my dad and from my discussions with my brother.


These are couple of cucumbers from a friends garden with some salt a little miso and the secret ingredient.  She and her husband are not Japanese but love Japanese food and are my guinea pigs this go around  This is after about one hour.  The pickles need a slight pressure so you turn the handle and the little platform comes down and applies pressure. The way my dad used to do this is he get a plate, a clean rock, put the plate on top of the vegetables the rock on top of the plate and voila there was the necessary pressure.

Here are the pickles after about three hours!


They turned out a little too salty I had to rinse them off thoroughly add a little mirin (a Japanese sweet wine) and some more of the secret ingredient and let them press for about 12 hours.  I thought this was a pretty good result slightly sweet slightly salty slightly a little of the secret ingredient slightly crunchy.   Perfect for eating with hot rice!  I’ll let you know what the secret ingredient is when I have the results of the tasting from my friend.