Reviewing Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

A few weeks ago I went bananas at my local Marukai and purchased this Okonomiyaki Kit by Otafuku. I’ve had Okonomiyaki once, maybe twice, but always felt it’s something I can easily make at home. The completely from scratch recipes are well over an hour in cooking time, and for a Spoonie like me, that is sometimes not an option…especially when I have a friend over and we just want to cook something super quick and weeb out with some damn anime. Which is what my friend and I did when I used this kit. We’re watching Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun and it’s hilarious. If you like self-aware slice of life, go for it.


High school student Chiyo Sakura has a crush on schoolmate Umetarō Nozaki, but when she confesses her love to him, he mistakes her for a fan and gives her an autograph. When she says that she always wants to be with him, he invites her to his house and has her help on some drawings. Chiyo discovers that Nozaki is actually a renowned shōjo manga artist named Sakiko Yumeno. She then agrees to be his assistant in order to get closer to him. As they work on his manga Let’s Fall in Love (恋しよっ) they encounter other schoolmates who assist them or serve as inspirations for characters in the stories. – Wikipedia

I decided to film the process of making the Okonomiyaki,and you can watch that video:


I could have left it just as a video, but I wanted to provide photos of some of the steps, and include a recipe for homemade Okonomiyaki sauce. Japanese food companies use a LOT of high fructose corn syrup and I could not find a single commercially available Okonomiyaki sauce that did not include HFC. So, I chose to make it myself.

So, here are (most!) of the step by step instructions.

Step One: Prep the ingredients

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
1/2 head cabbage + 4 smallish scallions

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Thinly sliced meat.


Note: I used shabu shabu pork and did not have to prep beyond opening the package and having it at the ready.

Step Two: Mix Your Ingredients


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

In order: yam powder + 5.4 fl oz water (mix); Okonomiyaki batter (mix to combine); cabbage, green onion, tempura flakes, 2 eggs (fold in these items gently; do not over mix!)

Step Three: Grease & Griddle it up


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

I used a large nonstick pan, but if you’re going to use a griddle or skillet, be sure to grease it well before spooning the first pancake. You’ll want to try to divide the batter up evenly and ladle it onto the hot pan, taking care to keep it in a circular shape and no more than an inch in thickness.

Step Four: Cook for 3-5 minutes, then lay on the MEAT!


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
I used 4 slices per okonomiyaki

Step Five: After meat is secure, FLIP!


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Flip #1

Step Six: Cover & Cook the meat 3-5 minutes, then FLIP! Uncover & cook for 1-2 min


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Make sure your pork is cooked through!

Step Seven: Remove from heat, transfer to a plate, garnish as you please & enjoy!


Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
いただきます~!

The whole process takes less than a half hour, and I not only recommend the Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit, I plan to purchase more in the very near future to have on hand when I find myself at home with a plus one – or just exceptionally hungry for modern Japanese comfort food.

  • Quick ‘n’ Easy Okonomi Sauce Recipe:
  • Mix 3 tbs of ketchup + 1 tbs of Worcestershire sauce + 1 tsp of Soy Sauce.

    There are a variety of other Okonomiyaki sauce recipes floating around there on the internet, and I will be experimenting with them as well as food to toss in and garnish Okonomiyaki with.


    Have you eaten or cooked okonomiyaki? What variation did you eat?

    Confessions of a Serial Entertainer by Steven Stolman


    I have slight addiction to cookbooks, so it is terribly difficult for me to say pass when a publishing house wishes to send me a review copy. I try to be conservative; I say no outright to any cookbooks that cater to speciality diets (gluten-whaaaaat?) or whose primary patron are mothers. I’d rather review kids cookbooks outright rather than a cookbook for “mommy’s.” When Confessions of a Serial Entertainer by Steven Stolman was pitched to me, however, I welcomed the newest addition to my ever-growing collection with open arms.

    “If you saw me in the kitchen, you’d be horrified,” Steven Stolman, author of Confessions of a Serial Entertainer, admitted about his cooking prep skills.

    Speaking a someone who has been cooking and hosting her own parties since the age of twenty, I can more than empathize. When I first began a public food blog, people asked if my end goal is a career in the culinary arts. “Hell no,” I’d answer vehemently. Have you seen me in the kitchen? I’m a cyclone of every professional chef’s nightmare. Nobody wants to see my culinary chaos; there is a magic to the mystery curtain I hide behind, and I suspect Mr. Stolman and I might be cut from the same cloth in this respect.

    Formerly known as the “Prince of Preppy” for his lighthearted use of decorative fabrics in his previous incarnation as a fashion designer, Steven Stolman also served as the president of Scalamandre, the legendary fabric house before announcing his departure in May of last year. Confessions of a Serial Entertainer spans everything a host needs to entertain with style including: dips and cheese spreads for crackers, delicious entrees, breakfast casseroles, and scrumptious desserts.

    Mr. Stolman was kind of enough to answer a few questions I sent him on entertaining:

    The best cat in the world and his mummy

    Me: Potlucks: Love ‘em or hate ‘em? What is your go-to dish to bring, and do you have any host or guest tips?

    Steven: I’m not a big fan of potlucks. Every cook has a different hand when it comes to seasoning, and I think you end up with a very dissonant meal.
    What to bring? No one has ever balked at a small tin of caviar and a some simple toast points, that way, there’s never the issue of bringing home an icky dirty dish or never getting it back.

    Me: When did you first begin to host your own cocktail/dinner parties? Are they very different now from then in terms of food/drinks prepared, or essentially the same?

    Steven: I was a very precocious child. I used to play host at my parents’ parties, so probably around eight or nine. No, they are exactly the same. LOL

    Me: Any potentially kitchen catastrophe’s that you rescued at the eleventh hour? I’m always looking for new ways to put out (figurative and literal) fires.

    Steven: I have no patience in the kitchen. So I do have a tendency to screw things up by being careless and imprecise. The worst thing is a curdled bearnaise sauce – just looking at it all oily and gross makes me nauseous. But it can always be brought back to emulsion with an added egg yolk or two. I should probably always keep an extra dozen on hand.

    Me: If you could suddenly master any one dish – just poof! you know how to make it without ever having attempted to tackle it before – which dish would you suddenly have in your repertoire?

    Steven: I’m really a fearless cook, so there really isn’t anything that I don’t think I could do pretty okay the first time. I mean, I’ve made my own pate de campagne, for godsakes. My mother insists that under no circumstances should I ever tackle homemade gefilte fish, but it remains on my bucket list.

    Me: Living or deceased, pick four famous/known people to play host to at a marvelously intimate dinner or cocktail party (husband Rich is, of course, there already). What would you serve your distinguished guests?

    Steven: I’m obsessed with all of the swells who were a part of the fabulous, oh, so social court created by Babe and Bill Paley in response to being excluded from the WASP world. So I suppose I’d love to host Babe and Bill, Slim Keith, and Truman Capote. I would serve chicken hash, tomato pudding and beautiful bright green peas with pearl onions, on my mother’s Rosenthal “Dignity” china… the classic stuff with the wide cobalt blue rim and gold wheat in the center. And lots of ice cold Pouilly-Fuisse.

    Thank you, Steven!

    Now, onto the main course:


    Recipes from Confessions of a Serial Entertainer

    Recipe: Basic French Salad

    Ease: Stupid easy. You could train a monkey to prepare this salad.

    Tasting: I love butter lettuce, and Steven’s quick ‘n’ easy dressing makes that butter lettuce the belle of the ball. My taste-testers also agree on this and the Cesar Salad dressing (not pictured); which is so good that my friend Annie absconded it!


    Recipes from Confessions of a Serial Entertainer

    Recipe: Scalloped Scallops

    Ease: Deceptively easy. People will look and eat this dish thinking it’s advanced when it really took you all of 10 minutes of hands-on cooking time.

    Tasting: To be honest, I almost do not want to tell you just how delicious this recipe is, because I will invariably confess that I ate the entire dish by myself.

    RECIPES I HAVE MY EYE ON:

    Noodle Pudding Seafood Newburg
    Dr. Nagy’s Pate BLT Dip
    Kinda Cassoulet Nana’s Matzo Balls
    Creamed Spinach Hurry-Up Coq au Vin

    BOOK HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Steven is the prime highlight of this book. I have never met Mr. Stolman personally, but his narrative makes me feel like I am reading the journal of a new friend. There is a reason why I was able to read 80% of this cookbook in one sitting: Steven’s personality.
  • Accessibility. Steven is not shy to state this is no bouji escapade in the land of the 1%; while some recipes are inherently pricey (prime rib), you’re going to find most include ingredients that are not only common staples, but do not break the bank in case they are not in your pantry.
  • Americana Throwback. If you were raised in the 1960s/1970s or were raised by people from this era, as I was, many of these recipes will have a generous pinch of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
  • Confessions of a Serial Entertainer harkens back to a golden age of entertaining in America, particularly when the middle class suburbia took cocktail and dinner parties into their own hands. Were my grandmother still alive, she would not only adore this cookbook, she would proudly tackle a handful of Mr. Stolman’s recipes for the gourmet cooking club she co-founded back in the late 1950s. It had always been a dream of hers to see me take up the ladle and skillet, so to speak. I’d like to think Grandma and I would have bonded tremendously over Confessions of a Serial Entertainer, and we would have tackled many of Stolman’s recipes, one fabulous dinner party at a time.

    PURCHASE: Amazon | Book Depository

    FOLLOW STEVEN STOLMAN ON TWITTER

    Confessions of a Serial Entertainer Header



    Bake Knit Sew by Evin Bail O’Keeffe




    Evin and I met in 2012 via Twitter when I was preparing for my last trip to Cork, Ireland – where she and her husband and their son have made their home. Like Evin, I feel a very strong connection to Cork – call it spiritual, call it kismet, call it The Force; whatever it is that brings me back again and again brought Evin and I together and getting to sneak peek her debut book, Bake Knit Sew is just a perk of friendship.

    Now, I am not a knitter. I can barely sew. Baking is an exercise in forbearance. However, my friend Evin not only revels in these hobbies, but dedicated her first book, Bake Knit Sew, to all three of them!

    Bake Knit Sew features twelve original recipes (one for each month of the year, divided by season), seven original knitwear designs, five original sewing projects, two photocopy-ready templates for sewing projects, and over 80 full-color pages devoted to this seasonal collection of recipes and patterns.


    It was with great honor and privilege that I took my hot off the press e-book with the utmost seriousness and sweated it out in my kitchen to replicate one of her idiot-proof recipes. Here is the end result:


    Honey Orange Loaf Cake - from Bake, Knit, Sew
    Honey Orange Loaf Cake

    Not too shabby a job of chemistry for someone who only made it to Earth Sciences, eh? Even when I substituted orange zest and a tablespoon of OJ for the orange extract, my loaf cake came out fragrant and bold with the harmonious marriage of orange and honey. Baking two loaves allowed me to share with friends and family while still keeping some for myself. I definitely recommend this treat with a good cuppa!



    Festive Bunting


    What inspired you to create Bake, Knit Sew?

    Evin: My book Bake Knit Sew was inspired by my life-long dream to write and publish a book, my passion for food and crafts, and my desire to not put off following my dreams. The combination of content together came about from my longing to have such a book when I first learned to knit. Bake then, I’d have been confident trying new baking recipes, so having something I’m good at and something that something that challenges me in the same volume would have been an ideal way to face new obstacles in creativity without buying an entire book devoted to a craft I had yet to master. The seasonal theme came about from talking it over with a friend and once that was decided, the book fell into place in my mind.

    You have made Ireland your home now; which Irish food products/brands have you really enjoyed working with in the kitchen, or just snacking on in general? (I’m partial to Irish cheese myself)

    Evin: One of my very Irish habits is enjoying tea. I now have a big golden tin of Campbell’s Tea (Dublin) in my kitchen of loose tea from which I make my morning cup. And on days when I’m very tired, there is a mid-day cup as well. And you’ve not tasted mushroom pizza until you’ve had it with Ballyhoura Mushrooms. Of course, what is Ireland without scones. My favourite is at a local restaurant called Fenn’s Quay. I love Kerrygold Butter. I bought a different brand by mistake once and my husband insisted it be relegated for greasing pans and not used as an ingredient or on our toast. My son’s favourite food is actually lightly toasted freshly baked bread with butter. In general, Irish dairy products have a rich flavour and the butter is known for being quite a cheerful shade of butter yellow. This is attributed to the natural grass diet of the cows here. I also love the scallops! My husband swears by Rosscarbery Recipes free-range pork products, though I don’t eat pork myself.

    Any new projects on the horizon?

    Evin: I am working on the second book in the Bake Knit Sew series as well as a few publishing projects by other authors for Anchor and Bee. The second Bake Knit Sew book will have the same format, but focused on gender-neutral children’s patterns inspired by the sea with recipes encouraging families to bake together.



    Falling Petals Lace Shawl


    Evin developed the recipes, created the patterns, had them tried and tested and fool-proofed, snapped the photos, everything. In addition to tackling this momentous project, Evin is also an award winning blogger (2014 Best Craft Blog, Blog Awards Ireland) and launched Anchor and Bee Publishing. I am quite literally amazed by her talents, and consider myself supremely fortunate to call her my friend.

    Bake, Knit, Sew eBook edition is available exclusively through Ravelry, while the paperback edition can be purchased by Anchor and Bee directly! Enter the passcode BLOGTOUR for 10% your entire purchase!

    Follow Evin!
    EvinOK | Anchor & Bee Publishing | EvinOK on Facebook | Evin on Twitter | Evin on Ravelry

    The Raymond Restaurant – South Pasadena

    The Raymond Pasadena


    Long time Pasadena residents and loan operator Rob Levy and his wife Leslie never quite set out to be the owner of one of the most historically rich and subtly acclaimed restaurants in all of Los Angeles. He just wanted a simple piece of property in a quiet, hilly neighborhood straddling the border of South Pasadena and Pasadena. The owner of the property would only sell Mr. Levy the building on one condition: that he purchase the former caretaker cottage of the once illustrious Raymond Hotel along with it.

    The hotel was established in 1886, suffered a horrendous fire on Easter Sunday 1895, and was then rebuilt into a luxurious 300 room haven for the budding Hollywood elite like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. For a more in depth article on the history of The Raymond Hotel, please visit KCET.

    Rob, Leslie, plus business partner Gary Weyand, maintained a reliable if basic fine dining experience for roughly thirty-five years before deciding it was time to elevate The Raymond Restaurant to new heights. An interior revamp to Craftsman style glory, the hiring of chef Tim Guiltinan, the launch of 1886 Bar and a complete menu overhaul has amplified The Raymond House’s reputation from a nice place to go for a special occasion to the top of every local’s MUST EAT list.

    I, for one, have been aching to dine at The Raymond Restaurant since I first moved to South Pasadena in 1997. Once the opportunity presented itself to me, I kind of went…batty. And greedy. Really, truly, madly, shamelessly greedy. We’re talking the personification of deadly sin Gluttony itself. Of course, I dragged my mother along because 1) I could let her take a partial fall for my edacity and 2) I think she would evict me if I didn’t invite her. So gird your loins and ready your appetites, my wee gluttons. You’ll be calling The Raymond House for the first available reservation in no time.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Bonito Crusted Beef Sashimi
    fried garlic | jalapeño salsa | Pitchfork dressing

    Call it tartar, call it sashimi, call it carpaccio – it’s raw (or near raw) beef on a plate; it never fails to beckon a primal, cave-woman appetite that I am more than happy to indulge. Bonus for the fried garlic and jalapeño salsa for that extra punch.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Tale of Two Cities
    rum, apple brandy and eucalyptus

    Mom had a difficult time picking from the rum-heavy This cocktail is split into a duet, with one served up in a coupe glass and the other on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Wild Northwestern Mushrooms
    forest soil | salsify | smoked vinegar | “hay”

    Every time someone declares their hatred of mushrooms, a wood sprite drops dead. Just think about that the next time you wrinkle your nose at fabulously fungi-forward starters like these Wild Northwestern Mushrooms! I was a fan of all of these mushrooms, but I have a soft-spot for enoki. The “hay” was also surprisingly tasty and held its own against the other stars of this appetizer.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Strawberry & Pea Salad
    local chevre | pea tendrils | Creminelli bresaola | lemon dressing

    If salads were more like this one, I would probably indulge more in them. More than a mere palate cleanser, this revitalizing appetizer utilized the best of summer flavors all in one dish. Do not pass up on it!


    The Raymond Pasadena
    French 86
    gin, lemon and Champagne with strawberry liqueur

    I’m a sucker for a solid champagne cocktail. I managed to sip this throughout the appetizers and main course, a far cry from my usual knock ’em back in one swig approach. Good on me.


    Pork, Peaches & Bourbon - The Raymond Pasadena
    Pork, Peaches & Bourbon
    crispy belly | masa pudding | sweet peach salsa | bourbon

    My least favorite of the appetizers, but only because I’m still making an effort to love pork belly as much as the entire world says I ought to. I’m trying, everyone, I’m trying. I loved the masa pudding and sweet peach salsa, though!


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Octopus & Bone Marrow Bruschetta
    radish | carrot | tomato | toasted bread

    This dish is akin to finding a lotto ticket on the ground and finding out said lotto ticket is the sole winning ticket to a seven-figure winning. I love bone marrow, and I love octopus – and it makes me truly believe that I must have a soul mate somewhere out there in this big world of ours that someone could conceptualize and bring this beautiful, triumphant marriage to fruition.


    Beef Cheek Pasta Strappata - The Raymond Pasadena
    Beef Cheek
    pasta strappata | peas + carrots | fried egg

    It was still summer when I ordered this and wound up taking 70% home with me, but from what I ate I positively love. Rich and homey, this dish is 100% comfort cuisine at its finest.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Roasted Duck
    haricot vert | smoked onion | hazelnut | “Flavors of the Forest”

    Believe it or not, I loved my mom’s dish even more. Duck is very hit or miss with me, but this was a knock-it-out-of Dodger Stadium home-run kind of dish for both of us. I would order this in a heartbeat.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Peachy
    roasted peaches | duck fat financier | honey cured & noyaux apricot kernel ice cream

    I do not know how I let our waitress talk us into desserts. I was fine; fine, I tell you! However, between the eager staff and my dessert-greedy mother, we went for it. Knowing I couldn’t handle anything richer than my entree, I opted for this delightfully whimsical and fresh fruit-forward dessert.


    The Raymond Pasadena
    Strawberries n’ Cream
    rose scented vanilla custard | glazed strawberries | almond meringue | creme fraiche ice cream

    Mom went for this, my second option. She wasn’t into the meringue, so we swapped components of our desserts to blend them together in one harmonious medley of summer fare.


    Steeped in glamorous L.A. history and brimming with mouth-watering edible innovation, The Raymond Restaurant is Pasadena’s best poorly kept secret. P.S. Don’t forget about brunch!

    The Raymond Restaurant
    1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91105
    Phone: 626.441.3136
    http://theraymond.com

    Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi – Pasadena

    OSAWA Shabu Shabu - Pasadena

    Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi

    Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi is one of those places I used to walk by frequently, as I used to play trivia at Slater’s 50/50, their neighbors on the corner of Union and Raymond Avenue in Old Town Pasadena. For whatever reason or another, however, be it time, money or forgetfulness, I’ve never managed to go in. I’ve dined on shabu shabu a handful of times in the past, but found I’ve preferred Chinese Hot Pot to its austere, albeit delicious, Japanese cousin. However, Osawa Shabu Shabu offers more than this upscale hot pot, including other traditional Japanese cuisine, flavors and components using preeminent ingredients and techniques.

    Owner Sayuri Tachibe employs Omotenashi, the Japanese art of hospitality, where customers are honored guests and eating at Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi becomes more than just a meal, but an an elevated experience in traditional Japanese dining.

    Last week I was invited to sample the dinner menu at Osawa Shabu Shabu and I took my friend and fellow food fiend, Evan, who would be having his first experience with shabu shabu.

    Continue reading

    Good Housekeeping Family Italian Cookbook


    Good Housekeeping Family Italian Cookbook

    You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” This seems to apply to my life when it comes to the sudden torrential storm of books that was sent for me to review. Most of them cookbooks. There is a pile as high as my cat Otis waiting to be read, tested out, photographed, edited, and written up on. My Party Brazil phrasebook video was time sensitive, so thanks to my friend Nani, we were able to at least get a start on it. Now, it’s time to make an official dent and take on each cookbook. First up: Family Italian Cookbook from Good Housekeeping: 185 Trattoria Favorites to Bring Everyone Together.

    Continue reading

    Fickle – Downtown L.A. (Vlog)



    My friend and fellow food adventurer, Evan, had prompted me to suss out some new places for us to try. We like to keep it fairly local, and without too much trouble, I narrowed it down toThe Boiling Crab and Fickle. I put it to Evan, and The Boiling Crab won out for its proximity to our area. We fell in love with TBC, but that is another story for another day. Fickle had been weighing on his mind, and we wound up giving it a go once our schedules aligned. Though I’m wearing exactly zero make-up, my hair was cute and the lighting was amazing so I felt the inspiration to film another Tastemade episode. Enjoy!






    Here are a couple of snaps I posted on Instagram:




    Buffalo Cauliflower


    The buffalo cauliflower is an item on their special happy hour menu only. On the weekends and after 7pm weekdays, it’s unavailable. It’s made with “tapatio buffalo sauce”, which Evan enjoyed but I thought tasted more like Tapatio rather than a buttery buffalo sauce (like Frank’s or Duff’s). It’s still good, especially with those generous blue cheese crumbles. Mmmmm!




    Roasted Bone Marrow
    Ginger Soy Lacquer | Citrus Basil Gremolata | Pickled Daikon Salad

    My favorite bite of the night, hands down. Though anyone who knows me well enough is not surprised in the least, because I have been writing sonnets about my love for sucking the literal marrow out of life for quite possibly forever and a day. The gremolata added a layer of flavor and texture I never knew I was missing before, but now need to incorporate the next time I decide to roast some bone marrow at home. The daikon salad was refreshing and just the juxtapose to round out the dish.




    Bacon Wrapped Quail
    Mushroom Risotto Filling | Spinach | Pine Nuts | Cranberry Demi Jus



    Evan and I zeroed in on that quail as soon as our eyes fell on the mains portion of the menu. Quail is not something I’ve attempted to cook yet, but not for lack of interest on my part, just a touch of nervousness I have when dealing with poultry. Also, I don’t really remember that I want to work with it until I am wandering the butchery at Bristol Farms, but then I have no idea what to do with it and you know what? Stop hounding me. I’ll get to it eventually; for now let me enjoy the occasional quail dish. Yeesh. This dish had everything going for it: a bed of greens, my favorite nut in the nuthouse, a savory delicious sauce to sop up the meat and spinach with and stunning risotto. My one quibble? The bacon was a touch salty for my palate. Otherwise, a damn tasty dish.

    Though Fickle didn’t completely blow our minds, Evan and I were overall impressed and know we have another spot to check out when the seasons (and therefore the menu) changes. Best of all, Fickle is located just one short block away from the Metro Gold Line!

    Fickle
    362 East 1st Street
    Los Angeles CA 90012
    Tel: 213.628.1888
    http://ficklela.com
    Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 5p-7p