Calamansi Juice

Allergies are the worst! This has been a really terrible spring/summer season, what with the flu, catching one cold after the next, pink eye infection, and itching allergy eyes on top of all that. ne thing that has cheered me up though is drinking freshly-squeezed calamansi juice.

Calamansi is a small, citrus fruit native to the Philippine Islands. I just read now on Wikipedia that it is a cross between Citrus reticulata (Mandarin orange group) and Fortunella japonica (Kumquat group). My mom has a tree in her yard which provides us with a bountiful harvest of fruit year after year. She brought some over to me when I caught my most recent cold, and my husband helped me make juice to soothe my sore throat. Calamansi juice, like lemonade or limeade, can be as sweet or as tart as you’d like it to be. Below is a starter recipe which is slightly on the tart side and can be adjusted to your own personal taste.


Calamansi Juice

Makes 1 liter, or 4.22 cups of juice


  • 15 ripened calamansi
  • 1 liter of water
  • 5 tbsp sugar


  1. Slice each calamansi in half. Squeeze the juice into a 1L pitcher. Remove any seeds.
  2. Add 1 liter of water, then add sugar to taste. Stir well and serve over ice.

Healthy & Fresh Hawaiian Pizza! (with Basic Dough & Sauce Recipes!)

Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

I’ve been sick with (yet another) cold, so I haven’t been able to catch up with my “summer in Japan” travel posts, or the food that I have been cooking! But I wanted to share this recipe for a basic pizza dough and tomato sauce from the book Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful series) which you can use with any toppings to make a delicious, fresh, and healthy pizza! The recipe can be modified to make a whole wheat crust, or you can use bread flour to make a more chewy crust. For the pizza you see above, I made a light whole wheat crust using 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour. We had some Canadian bacon in the fridge that needed to be finished up, as well as some leftover pineapple slices from the Hawaiian sweet rolls I made that same week, so we put these together to make a really tasty Hawaiian pizza with plenty of toppings. For the cheese, I used a Mexican cheese blend from Trader Joe’s; and on the side, we ate a salad made with baby arugula from the garden.

Basic Pizza Dough
Recipe adapted from Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful)

Makes enough dough for two 12-inch pizzas.


  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    (for whole wheat pizza, substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour; for a lighter crust, substitute only 1/2 cup to 1 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil


Rising Dough
Dough goes through two risings before it can be shaped and cooked. You can omit the risings if you are in a rush (see notes in recipe). This dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer:

Refrigerating Dough
Punch down the dough after the first rise, then refrigerate dough in a plastic bag (leaving room for expansion) for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before shaping and cooking.

Freezing Dough
Punch down the dough after the rise, then lightly dust with flour and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place into a freezer-proof plastic bag. Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. To use, thaw in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight, and let come to room temperature before shaping and cooking.


  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. Let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour. Pour yeast mixture and olive oil into well. Stir in flour from bowl with your hand or a large spoon to make soft dough. (If you prefer not to knead by hand, you can also mix together the ingredients using a food processor or similar appliance. Process just until the dough comes together to form a wet, sticky dough.)
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add a little bit of flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. (At this point, you can let the dough rest for 10 minutes, omit the risings, and skip over to step 6 for shaping the dough and cooking. I went ahead and proceeded with rising the dough twice as the recipe called for.)
  4. (First Rise) Wash and dry the large bowl from earlier, then coat it very lightly with vegetable oil. Return dough to bowl and coat top with a little bit of oil. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. (Second Rise) Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2 minutes. Return dough to bowl. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  6. Punch down down. Divide in half. Form each half into a ball, then flatten dough out into a disk. Pick up the dough in both hands, holding it along one edge, and turn it as you would a steering wheel. Stretch dough between your hands as you turn it. When it is about 10 inches in diameter, and about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick, the dough is ready. Repeat for second half (unless storing for future use, then see notes above).

Basic Tomato Sauce

Recipe adapted from Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful)

Makes about 2 cups, enough for two 12-inch pizzas.


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

This is a basic sauce, which can be seasoned to your liking. I added fresh basil and dried oregano.

Following steps 1 & 2 will create a basic chunky tomato sauce. For a smoother sauce, follow steps 1 & 2, then process in a food processor or blender until desired consistency is achieved.


  1. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes with juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you want to add.

Use sauce immediately, or cool and store in refrigerator (up to 4 days) or in freezer (up to 1 month).

Baking Directions

When you’re ready to bake a pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the oven rack in the lowest position. If using a pizza stone, then preheat with the stone inside the oven.

When oven is ready, sprinkle pizza stone with yellow cornmeal to prevent sticking. (You can also bake in a cast-iron skillet, baking sheet, etc. whatever you have on hand.) Spread pizza dough onto the cooking surface. Bake on lowest oven rack for 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle your cheese and toppings, leaving a 1/2″ border all around. Bake for an addition 8-12 minutes, or until everything looks heated through and the edge of the crust is browned.

Let pizza stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls


The other night, I made a Hawaiian pizza for dinner using dough and sauce from scratch, Canadian bacon, and canned pineapple slices. We didn’t use the entire can, and I didn’t want to waste the juice so I decided to use it in a recipe I had saved on Pinterest a while back for Hawaiian Sweet Rolls from Yammie’s Noshery.

Yammie’s Noshery has some great recipes, especially for tasty looking bread; see Peeta’s Stuffed Cheese Buns. However, I sometimes find that I’m not getting consistent results and have to modify the recipes by either reducing the yeast or adding more flour.

This time, I followed the recipe exactly (using bread flour, not all-purpose flour), except I used pineapple juice from a can of crushed pineapple, and crushed up a slice or two and mixed it in. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, using only extra flour when kneading and forming the rolls of bread. During the first mix, the consistency was “sticky, but not gooey” just as indicated in the recipe. I punched down the dough, and thought it was fine, until I started to separate the dough into twelve equal pieces.

I had a difficult time forming the balls because the dough began to stick to my fingers and the surface, both of which I dusted in flour. I ended up kneading a little more flour in to make the dough workable, but still had a hard time forming evenly shaped balls. I didn’t want to add too MUCH extra flour since the recipe already calls for four cups, which I thought was a lot! I had been looking over some pan de sal and pan de leche Filipino recipes, and they usually only call for three cups when making about twelve rolls.

I finally managed to form twelve rolls and spaced them evenly, covered them, and let them rise. They more than doubled in size when I checked on them after an hour! And they continued to grow even more during the baking. When I pulled the bread out of the oven, I was afraid I had ended up baking one big tray of bread!

Luckily, I was able to still pull apart the bread, but not without guidance of a butter knife. The rolls are soft and airy, yet dense at the same time. They don’t feel heavy while holding them, but once you start to eat them, you realize that one roll alone is extremely filling.

In the end, a tasty recipe, although I’m not sure I will make these on a regular basis. If you’d like to try it yourself, you can find the recipe here at Yammie’s Noshery.

Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew) Recipe


I know that stews are generally eaten in the winter, but today I am sharing a recipe for a Korean dish called sundubu jjigae (순두부찌개 in Korean, or スンドゥブチゲ in Japanese) because I love it so much that I can eat it any time of year. Sundubu jjigae is a stew made with meat, seafood, vegetables, and uncurdled (extra soft/silken) tofu.

(I know in my picture it looks more like a soup… and that is because I embarrassingly added MUCH more liquid broth to last night’s dinner than I intended to, resulting in a soup rather than a stew. The recipe below has the actual measurements required to make this Korean soft tofu stew.)

I first ate sundubu jjigae with my sister-in-law at a Korean restaurant here in the Bay Area, just before I left for Japan. Then when I moved to Japan, there was a Korean restaurant in our AEON mall food court called 韓菜(ハンチェ)”HAN CHE” which served bibimbap and sundubu jjigae, and I fell in love, and ate there regularly. They served their sundubu jjigae with a bowl of rice and salty, toasted seaweed, which is now the only way I can enjoy this dish.


Today, I will show you how to make sundubu jjigae! This recipe is pretty flexible, in that I’ve seen a variety of recipes online, and each calls for different measurements of different ingredients. When I made this dish for dinner last night, I was simply putting together a meal using only ingredients we had on hand, and so you won’t see any green onion in my pictures, even though the recipe calls for it (and you should use it). I also like to add enoki mushrooms, beech mushrooms (white and/or brown), and clams. In today’s post, you will see that I used thinly-sliced pork loin hot pot meat (frozen leftovers from another night, when I made nabe) and some frozen mussels. You can also add beef, shrimp, or a seafood mix.

Also, the recipe I adapted mine from calls for gochugaru (고추가루, Korean red chili pepper flakes). I actually couldn’t find this in our large Asian supermarket the last time I went (either they were out of stock, or it was labeled in a way that I couldn’t read it… ^^;;;;). I did find gochugaru at a small Japanese market, but it was quite expensive… Around $6 for a small bag, and I’m sure it was marked up, as were all the other items the shop was selling. So, instead I opted to use Red Chile Pepper from Trader Joe’s which is probably not the same thing. If you can get your hands on the real thing, go for it.


Also, while you’re out shopping for ingredients, if you can find barley tea (麦茶 “mugi-cha” in Japanese, 보리차 “boricha” in Korean), grab this too! Mugi-cha is one of my favorite teas and I drank it everyday, all summer long, while I was living in Japan. I bought this big bag of ITO EN (伊藤園) brand mugi-cha at a Japanese market in San Jose, but since I’m really the only one who drinks it, it is lasting forever…! Any brand of mugi-cha is fine, but I like the ITO EN one because 1) it’s the one I always drank in Japan, and 2) I love the mugi-cha man on the packaging and from the commercials!!

Barley tea is grain-based and caffeine-free. It is brown in color, and a little earthy in taste; some people think it has a similar taste to weak coffee, or to ほうじ茶 “houji-cha” (roasted green tea). Some studies say there are some health benefits to drinking barley tea. I’m no expert on the health benefits, but in Japan, it’s a very popular drink in the summer because  it tastes very refreshing and has a cooling effect on the body.

The tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, but in the summer time, I recommend cold-brewing. These bags I bought are “1-liter tea bags”, so you just toss one bag into a 1-liter pitcher, add cold water, and stick it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Now that your tea is prepared, you can start to prepare the anchovy broth required for the stew. You will need dried anchovies and konbu (dried seaweed). Although the Asian supermarket I shop at has a “dried seafood” aisle, I actually found the dried anchovies in the fresh food section near the produce. It was in the same aisle as tofu, packaged sprouts, fish cake, etc.  Konbu is not the same as wakame, which is available in markets both fresh and dried. (Click the links to see pictures on the Wikipedia pages!) Konbu is thick, and usually sold in flat strips or sheets.


Anchovy Broth
Recipe adapted from Korean Bapsang
Makes six cups of broth.


  • 10-12 medium to large dried anchovies
  • 2 pieces of konbu (about 3-inch squares)
  • 6 cups of water


  1. Pour the water into a pot. Soak anchovies and konbu in the water for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a gentle boil. When the water reaches boiling temperature, reduce heat to medium and boil for about 10 minutes. Leave the pot uncovered to let the fishy aroma escape. Do not over-boil, otherwise the broth may become cloudy, and the flavor may change or even become unpleasant.
  3. Drain the liquid to remove anchovies and konbu. Discard anchovies and konbu.
  4. Leftover stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen for future use.

The embarrassing part that I will share with you is that while cooking and taking pictures for this blog, I wasn’t paying attention and I accidentally poured all six cups of broth into my stew, even though the original recipe only calls for one cup of broth… and so, there you have it. That is why I ended up making a soup instead of a stew. Oops! Be careful not to do what I did, because the flavor will become diluted and you will need to increase the seasonings in order to make the soup taste flavorful. (ノω<;)


Meanwhile, during the 20 minutes that the anchovies and konbu are soaking, you can begin preparations for the stew. Wash, chop, or dice your ingredients. Then put a pot on the stove so you can begin making sundubu jjigae!


The original recipe on Korean Bapsang only uses sesame oil and gochugaru to make a flavor. This is what I used to cook the meat, garlic, and onions. However, to flavor the broth, I also added a big, heaping tablespoon of gochujang (고추장, red chili paste), which you can see in the photo second picture above. I did this because, as I mentioned earlier, I accidentally used way too much broth… you can probably omit the gochujang, or maybe you can substitute it for the gochugaru and sesame oil… or go ahead and add both, if you want it to be spicier. Feel free to experiment! I will experiment the next time I make this dish, too.


Sundubu Jjigae
Makes about 2 servings.


  • 1 package sundubu (extra soft or silken tofu)
  • a few slices of beef or pork (rib eye, sirloin, pork loin, or pork belly)
  • a few pieces of seafood (shrimp, mussels, clams, or oysters)
  • 1/2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • green onion, diced, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. gochugaru
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tbsp. gochujang
  • 1 cup anchovy broth
  • 1 egg (optional) — not necessary, but tasty! Also, if your dish is too spicy, the egg helps cut back on the spice.


  1. Prepare your meat and vegetables: Cut the meat into small thin strips. Clean the seafood. Slice zucchini into round pieces, and then slice in half. Dice the onion. Chop the green onion and set aside a little for garnish.
  2. Add the gochugaru and sesame oil to a pot, then place over medium heat. The gochugaru will burn easily, so do not preheat the pot and oil. Stir well until you make a paste, then add meat, onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir fry until the meat and onions are almost cooked.
  3. Pour in the broth. (Be careful to add only the amount you need! ^_~) Boil for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Scoop out the soft tofu into the pot. Cook for two minutes.
  6. Add seafood, green onions, salt, and pepper.
  7. Optional, but recommended for tastiness: Break an egg into the stew while it’s still boiling hot.
  8. Serve with white rice and toasted seaweed.


Yum! Still enjoyable, even though I ended up making a soup. I promise to update with more accurate photos next time I cook this dish!

Homemade Banana Granola

Homemade Banana Granola

I have been munching on this handmade banana granola with Trader Joe’s vanilla yogurt and frozen raspberries all week long. I had a taste of some delicious banana granola from a farmer’s market, but it was expensive and I thought it would be easy to make some at home myself.

Making granola is as simple as mixing together a few essential ingredients in a single bowl, and then popping them into the oven. Unfortunately, I learned after the fact that homemade granola can either come out crunchy or chewy, and the recipe I followed made a chewy granola rather than a crunchy one, which is what I was trying to go for.

However, since this granola  is homemade and doesn’t contain any preservatives, I stored it in the freezer to keep it from spoiling. Straight from the freezer, the granola does get a bit of crunch back to it. Next time, I’ll need to try another recipe though! I read it might be the honey which adds to the chewiness, though I may be incorrect. Anyone care to share their own granola baking tips?

This recipe was originally adapted from The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, but adjusted while taking into account the ingredients list from the farmer’s market granola, and also reviewing a recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.

Homemade Banana Granola


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 overly ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (rolled oats, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut).
  3. Blend together banana, water, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth.
  4. Add the blended banana into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in grape seed oil.
  5. Lay out the mixture in a single layer on a baking tray. (I do not recommend using parchment paper as the granola may stick to the paper and go to waste.)
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the oats turn brown in color. Check the granola every 10 minutes or so and stir to ensure granola is cooked evenly. It will look soggy even when done at 40 minutes, but will crisp up as it cools.
  7. Remove from the oven and let granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread (Bread Machine)

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

Yum! I’ve been experimenting with different flours, different yeasts, and different baking methods. While my ideal bread would be baked in the oven in a fancy shmancy artisan loaf shape, I’ve gotten the best results using this Rustic Italian Bread recipe with a few modifications.

I’m using a mixture that is part white bread flour, and part all-purpose flour. Last week I baked the same bread using all bread flour, and the bread rose too much and ended up collapsing in the bread machine before baking. When I sliced off the top crust, I discovered a gigantic hole! It tasted great, but bread with a gigantic hole is pretty much impossible to make sandwiches with.

Also, I’m not sure if all bread machines have this option, but I’ve been making using the “European” setting. The dough is in the machine for about 3.5 hours, from start of kneading to the end of baking. I’ve tried baking on the “Regular White Bread” setting, and ended up with an extremely tough bread… though, this is possibly due to the instant yeast. I’ve switched brands and am having overall better results in everything I’m baking. I’ve also tried using the bread machine on the “Dough” setting, and then reshaping the loaf and letting it rise a second time. This also produces good results, but the family seems to like the texture of the bread the best when I bake it in the bread machine. Less energy and less dishes too.

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
(using a bread machine) 


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 – 2 jalapeños, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Proof the yeast by mixing it with warm water and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all the ingredients into the bread machine: wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients.
  3. Set the bread machine to the “European” or similar setting then let it do it’s thing.
  4. Enjoy the smell of cheddar and jalapeños floating in the air.
  5. When the bread is done, allow it to cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Or, if you’re impatient like me, slice and enjoy while it’s hot and toasty.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...