I think one of the things I miss most about living in the US (other than my family and friends, of course) is the GREAT FOOD I grew up on in the south. Simply nothing like it anywhere!! Though I often eat grilled fish, rice, salad and miso soup (made from soy beans) for breakfast now, I still often dream of grits mixed with scrambled eggs and buttermilk cornbread muffins (no joke). My last trip to Atlanta had me giggling like a kid over the HUGE blackberries I had for breakfast at my hotel. I have never even seen a blackberry here...

I couldn't find BBQ sauce when I first moved here so I learned how to make my own. Still, when I go to Memphis, I find myself contemplating whether I'll get rubbed wet or dry. (For those of you who don't live in the south, this has absolutely nothing to do with massages.) Now, I make my own breads, jams, ice creams and pastas. The more I make from scratch, the better! Hope to start working on my own garden one of these days.

By the way, for all my fishing buddies out there (especially you, Dorcheated!!), I just made some crabcakes the other day. In addition to the crab, bread, seasonings and eggs, I added some finely cut broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, onions, mushrooms, fruit tomatoes and garlic. Topped those with a little pineapple-chili sauce and WOW!! Now THOSE were the best crabcakes I have ever tasted.

Finally, to all of ya'll 'old school' folks out there...I made macaroni and cheese for Chaka Khan during one of her concert tours in Japan. She made a stop in my city and a mutual friend gave her stage manager my telephone number. It was during a Memorial Day holiday and she wanted some "soul food." Now, I live sorta out in the boonies here. There are no American restaurants like in Tokyo, so I ended up making a homemade mac & cheese recipe that was a mix of mom's and grandma's. It was complete with sour cream, cream cheese and about 4 or 5 different cheeses. Though that dish probably added 10 pounds to each thigh, it didn't look as though Chaka cared. She ate half a pan by herself and then was able to dance all over the stage. Another truly memorable food moment!!

Being in Japan has given me the chance to put a little 'foreign' spin on some of those old time dishes I grew up with. And for that...I am very grateful! I've had the pleasure to discuss food with a few of you in here and it has been lots of fun. Though we have yet to meet, it truly does feel like we are already a community of family. That being said, I thought it would be nice to share some food ideas that I love with you all. A month or so ago SueBaby asked for my Strawberry Cream Pie recipe, so I am starting with that below.

Anyone else care to invite the shale into your kitchen..? Please feel free to share some of your favorite recipes here with us. To good friends, good food, good conversation...and the spirit of sharing.


(see my page for picture)

* 9-inch baked pie shell (actually, I like to crush my favorite butter cookies, add cinnamon and nuts, butter and sugar to make my own shell. Tastes sooooo much better than those store bought ones!!)

* 1 1/2 quarts of strawberries
* 3/4 cup of sugar
* 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
* 2/3 cup of water
* a few drops of red food color (if desired...I don't add it)

* 1 1/2 packages of cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
* dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Prepare and bake pie shell if needed. Mash enough of the strawberries to measure 1 cup. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in water, food color and mashed strawberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for one minute; then cool.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add spices and powdered sugar. Spread in pie shell. Fill shell with remaining strawberries. Pour cooked mixture over the top. Put in the fridge for about three hours or until set. Enjoy...

PS...I've done this same pie with lemon peels and lemon juice instead of strawberries.

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Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on July 6, 2010 at 23:49
Cathaus...by the way, you simply will not believe me when I tell you that I found purple cauliflower a few weeks back. It was the strangest thing...

I found purple sweet potatoes, which were MARVELOUS, last year. Much sweeter than the pale yellow variety we have here. The purple cauliflower...nope, I didn't really dig that one so well. LOL...
Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on July 6, 2010 at 23:44
Iris: did you ever come up with recipes for the brown rice. To make it even more delicious, you might want to add some of your favorite veggies halfway during cooking (I use Japanese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, grilled lotus root, black beans and/or pickled Japanese plums...somewhat salty!!). Then I have been topping it with crushed seaweed (dry) and slightly salted sesame seeds.
Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on July 6, 2010 at 23:30
Parker...thanks so much again for the dip recipe!! I plan to try it out on my new DIY deck this summer!! I already have a few parties planned...and it may help out my nephew when he comes for a visit. Nothing like food from home!! (My youngest nephew keeps telling his older brother that he'll have to eat raw fish every single day while in Japan. LOL...has 'em terrified!! I already have been asked about McDonalds and Subway.)

I am sooooooo enjoying this "slow life" in regards to cooking. Send some new recipes when you can. Stay blessed, lady!!
Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on April 12, 2009 at 1:53
Gosh...you two need to stay out of the kitchen!! (HAhaha!!) Cathaus, I hope you are feeling better these days. Speaking of steamed cauliflower, I had that this morning in my breakfast salad...right along side broccoli, fruit tomatoes, carrots, raw spinach, cucumbers and lotus root. I was all thrilled about the pineapples, watermelon and strawberries I had....until Parker email me about eating blackberries. If only I could find them here...

Have a GREAT Easter...
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on March 22, 2009 at 11:49
I've got to agree with KB on the power tools, they are a lot more fun to use than kitchen appliances.
I once used a Roto zip to remove a mural, put in new sheet rock, and floated it out. I then repainted it.
The buyers of the house thanked me that they didn't have to paint over the mural. (I didn't mention that it wasn't painted over - it was completely removed. You couldn't see where I patched it if you tried).
I KNOW Y'ALL WILL BE SURPRISE TO KNOW THAT I AM SENTIMENTAL (haha on the surprise), but my best friend had painted the mural for my son before he was born. The buyers had already said that the soft yellow room would look good with their older son's LSU paraphernalia.
To this day, I still have the mural. I don't have a clue what I will ever do with it, but I couldn't bare the thought of it being disregarded.
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on March 22, 2009 at 11:42

Your mention of blackberries had my mouth watering and I had to go buy some the next day. Isn't it amazing that the things that brind back memories of childhood have such a strong hold on us as adults. I can rarely eat blackberries without remembering picking them as a child.
Comment by Cathaus on March 22, 2009 at 8:46
Mr. Cathaus has every power tool and saw known to mankind and I am terrified of using them. Those saws scare me to death. After using one of them, I would be typing with my toes!
Comment by Cathaus on March 22, 2009 at 8:42
I was steaming cauliflower of all things! Trying to have a heart-healthy meal of veggies and baked fish. Eating healthty is one thing but cooking healthy is a different story. I figure that I won't be healthy for at least another 30 days which will give my handy man ample time to permanently remove my stove!
Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on March 22, 2009 at 8:27
Cathaus and KB: any drink recipes you'd like to share (from hot chocolate to that which is stronger!!) would be appreciated as well! Stay blessed...
Comment by Antsu-in-Japan on March 22, 2009 at 8:22
Oh....KB: now that made my day!! Had me cackling like a crazed hen!! Stay well, friend!! Hhhhhmmmmmm...I wonder what kind of dishes we could make with power tools....???

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