Archives for November, 2010

“Momo” the police dog in Japan

 When you hear the police dogs, search and rescue dogs, what comes to your mind might be bigger dogs such as German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever,Bloodhound.

 Recently, tiny little long haired 7 years old chihuahua,6.6lb, named “Momo” passed the exam to become a police dog in Nara prefecture ( western part of  main island of Japan).

 Nara prefecture is famous for Daibutsu (statue of Buddha) and Deers that bow to you when you show the Deer cracker treats called “Shika Senbei”. “Shika” means “Deer” and “Senbei” means “cracker” in Japanese. Nara prefecture also has another historical sites and if you had a chance to visit Japan, Nara prefecture might be interesting place for you to visit.

Deers in Nara prefectures..

You will see many Deers resting under shade like this..

If you give Deer Treats to them.. you will see them bowing to you..

Deers in Nara prefecture bow for Deer Treats

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

Daibutsu (Statue of Buddha)…

 “Momo” means “Peach” in Japanese. If you read “Momo” putting accent on first part “MO” like “MO-mo”, it means “thigh” in Japanese. If you read the name putting equal accent on both part like “mo-mo”, it means “peach” in Japanese.

 Sometimes, same letters with different ways of reading them make complete different meaning in Japanese. Rain, for example, is “Ame” in Japanese. If you read the word putting accent on “A” part, like “A-me”, it means “rain” but if you put the accent on “me” part like “a-ME”, it means “candy” in Japanese.

 According to reuters website, she was one of 32 successful candidate dogs out of 70 dogs. Article says that her test was to find a person in 5 minutes after sniffing the cap very briefly.

 “Momo” is scheduled to work from January 2011 in search and rescue team for situation like earthquake. The team hopes “Momo” can search the narrow area where bigger dogs cannot squeeze in to search.

 To read the full article at reuters website,please click here .

 To watch the coverage of the news on “Momo” at youtube website, please click here.

 “Momo” maybe the first police dog in Japan, but did you know there is Chihuahua – Rat terrier mix named “Midge” is also police dog in the states?

 “Midge” is the world’s smallest drug sniffing dog in Ohio state.

 To read the full article on “midge” the drug sniffing dog at cbs news website,please click here .

 It makes sense that when it comes to narrow space to search and rescue, these little police dogs will be able to search better, and become useful.


Nov 30, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Thai/Italian cooking; Thai Chicken pizza

 Every Christmas, I make a few kinds of pizza from scratch for family. It takes a few hours from start to finish, and it is never be a quick cooking category but, I always enjoy planning creative flavors on homemade pizza for big night.

Best part of being part of holiday tradition is that not only I get to have fun being creative with “flavor of the year”, but also I get to see smiles on their face eating my pizza.

Since homemade pizza seems to be a hit among family,I thought I would share the recipe with you one flavor at a time. This time, Thai chicken pizza.

So, how do you make Thai chicken pizza? Here is how.

Thai Chicken pizza…

** To make pizza, if you were pressed with time, you can buy fresh pizza dough or use flat bread instead

<Pizza dough>

0. Preheat the oven at 200F and when it reached to 200F,turn the oven off

1. To a microwave safe bowl, pour 1.5C water, microwave about 45 seconds or so

2. Take a temperature of the water and if the temperature was at 110F-115F, add 2 1/4tsp of dry yeast (one package of dry yeast if you use packaged dry yeast), 1.5tsp sugar, and mix well and let it sit a while (about 5-10 minutes)

** If you use jar of dry yeast, make sure the yeast is at room temperature. Cold yeast would not make your dough rise properly.

** Water to rise the dough (proof the dough) should be at 110F-115F. Lower temperature water would not proof the dough properly, and higher temperature water would kill the yeast and would not proof the dough properly.

You should see the frothy stuff on top like this..

3. To a big bowl, add 2 1/8C Unbleached All purpose flour, 2 1/8C Unbleached bread flour, 1.5tsp salt and mix well

4. Pour the frothy yeast-sugar- lukewarm water mix to flour-salt mixture a little at a time and stir and when dough became to form a ball, toss them onto lightly floured surface, and start kneading the dough

** Using silpat mat is easy to work with

5. Knead the dough until it is not sticky, but smooth surface and elastic. I usually knead for about 8 minutes.

You can test your dough to see if you knead it more. Do the Windowpane test.

What is windowpane test??

Windowpane test is the test the gluten development in the dough.

you do is to cut off small piece of dough,and gently stretch
out/pulling to see if it will hold a paper-thin membrane.If it tore
apart,you would knead a bit more and do the test again.

6. When dough became smooth surface and elastic and not sticky, drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto empty bowl and smear it around side and inside bottom to make easy for you to take the dough out later to roll out

7. Place the dough into the bowl,drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the dough and smear the oil all around the dough

8. Cover the bowl with saran, and place the dough in the oven,set the timer for 90 minutes

** Using the preheated/turned off oven to rise the dough (proof the dough) is perfect weather proof method.

9. 90 minutes later, dough should be double in volume

Dough should be double in volume..

10. Once the dough gets double, punch down the dough to let the gas out from the dough and make the inner/outer dough temperature equal

11. Toss the dough onto lightly floured surface, and roll out the dough to shape you like, and preheat the oven at 425F to 450F

** There are many kinds of rolling pin but I like the French rolling pin

** If you were to make a crispy pizza, roll out thin and bake at higher temperature

12. If you have pizza stone, use the pizza stone to bake it,but if you do not have one,use the cookie sheet

13. To the half sheet pan/cookie sheet,place non stick foil,sprinkle yellow corn meal

** Sprinkle yellow corn meal before placing the dough onto the foiled half sheet pan is a secret to make crunchy bottom

14. Place the dough onto foiled half sheet pan/cookie sheet, make a little wedge around corner using side of your hand

15. Blush the dough with extra virgin olive oil

16. Place the toppings/sauce and let it rest for 5 minutes or so on counter, covering the pizza with saran loosely

17. Bake the pizza at 425F-450F till the edge become brown

<Thai chicken pizza topping>

1. Pour enough cold water into a sauce pan to cover boneless,skinless chicken breast, add splash of sherry and boil

2. When chicken is cooked through, let it come to room temperature and shred them and keep in a Tupperware

3.To a small bowl, add 4 tbs creamy peanut butter, 3 tbs water, 3 tbs rice vinegar, 2 tbs soy sauce,1/8 tsp sambal oelek (sambal oelek is Indonesian style chili paste. You can get them at Asian store), 1/2 tbs grated ginger,1.5 tbs honey and mix well

** Below is a picture of Sambal (Indonesian style chili paste). I like Huy Fong brand with green cap.

Sambal (spicy Indonesian style chili paste)..

4. Mix some of the peanut sauce with shredded chicken

5. Brush the rolled out pizza dough with peanut sauce

6. Place peanut sauce coated shredded chicken, thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced carrot over the dough

7. place small bits of fresh mozzarella (about 6-9 pieces,about the size of your thumb nail) and top it with low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 425F for 18 minutes or until cheese gets melted and edge becomes brown

** You cannot use
fresh mozzarella cheese 100%  because it hold lots of moisture and it
makes puddle of water pool on top of pizza,so it is best to mix with low
moisture shredded cheese with low ratio for fresh mozzarella cheese

** Monterey jack cheese also goes well with Thai chicken pizza

8. When pizza is done, take handful of fresh cilantro and chop fine and sprinkle over the pizza

9. Enjoy!

A slice of Thai chicken pizza..

*** If you had left over peanut sauce, you can cook chicken or beef or shrimp etc along with fresh vegetable you have in your fridge and pour the sauce over and you can enjoy the quick one pot recipe that way.

Hmm.. I smell Pizza!

Did you make Pal’s chicken pizza too,mom?

I need a piggy-back ride to check it myself..


Nov 28, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Playing the “Find it” game

 In the previous entry titled ” Find it” game “, I showed you how Palette and I play the “Find it” game inside the house.

 Then,in another previous entry titled “Picnic in the snow: Dec ’09 “, I showed you how we played the “Find it” game in the snow. Playing the “Find it” game in the snow was quite fun.

 As you see the picture in the entry or bellow, we had quite heavy snow last December, and it was as deep as Palette’s shoulder level and she was bunny hopping in the snow to move forward.

Palette resting in her snow circle tunnel she made.. Dec ’09

 To play the game, I went outside leaving Palette inside the house and hid the bully sticks in the snow (buried in the snow).

 Fun part of playing the game in the snow for Palette was to sniff out the yummy treats in wider area, and when she find the yummy treats, she could dig a little to get to it. If you play the game inside the house, she cannot dig to get the yummy treats, just use nose and find the yummy treats, and I would imagine playing the game outside was more challenging,  more fun for her. She really had to rely on her sense of smell.

 Bad part of playing the game outside in the snow was that, since yard was fully covered with white snow, IF Palette could not find the treats, it would have been a little hard for both of us to locate the treats at the exact spot I have hid the treats. Luckily,she found the treats in the snow and enjoyed the game fully.

 I think that “Find it” game is the game the dogs can use their natural instinct; hunting, and sense of smell and great fun game. Also it is great game for mental exercise.

 With Palette, I play the varied “Find it” game.

1. Inside the house, sniff out the yummy treats

** sometimes,treats are on or under objects, sometimes hidden in the box

2. Inside the house,sniff out one of her toys and exchange with higher valued chews to trade

3. Outside the house, sniff out the yummy treats in the yard

 How to play the ‘Find it” game with your dogs?

 Palette and I are playing the game for 5 years now, and it is fun and easy game and kids can play the “find it” game too. Here is how I taught Palette how to play the game.

1. Take a small piece of treats in hand, and get an attention from your dog and let them sniff at it

2. Place the small piece of treats on visible place possibly one feet away or so (closer distance from your dogs)

3. Point at the treats and say “find it”

4. When your dogs found the treats, praise them big with happy voice

5. For first few times, treats will be on visible place where they can easily see you placing the treats.

6. Then, gradually, hide the treats with close distance but invisible place. They should see you hiding the treats but not being able to locate the treats visually.

7. Then, gradually, do the same as <step 6> but hide more than one piece of treats.

8. As time goes by, you can let them stay at one spot and you go hide the treats in places where they cannot see you hiding the treats, and no hidden treats are visible for them. And then, when you play the game, release your dogs “Find it” and they go run around the house,sniffing out the treats using their sense of smell rather than visual.

** If you hid 3 pieces of small treats, you can encourage them to find the treats by saying”where is the treats?”, “two more,where is it?”
 If your dogs broke “stay” and follow you when you were trying to go hide the treats, just turn around and walk toward them and bring them back to the spot where they were “stay” position.

 When Palette tried to cheat the game in the beginning, I turned around,walked up to her and said ‘back,back,back” with happy voice and she was backing up to the spot where she was at. And then, I said “Try again”. So, we started it over. Eventually, she stayed at the spot and wait for the call “Find it” . She gets so excited and run around the house with her tongue hanging out.

 How to play the ‘Find the toy” game with your dogs?

 When I leveled up the game to “Find the toy” game at one point, here is how I taught her the rule of the game.

1. Pick one toy in hand, and get an attention from your dog and let them sniff at it

2. Place the toy in visible area, with close distance

3. Point at the toy and say “find it”

4. When your dogs found the toy, praise them big with happy voice and give them a small treats

5. For first few times, toy will be on visible place where they can easily see you placing the toy,and they get the treats when they found the toy.

6. Then, gradually,
hide the toy with close distance but invisible place. They should see
you hiding the toy but not being able to locate the toy visually. You will give them small treats right when they found the toy.

7. Then, gradually, encourage them to grab the toy and bring the toy back to you for trade with the treats.

8. Once they know that they will find the toy and bring back to you is the game rule, then, you can move on to next level; go hide the toy while they are at “stay” position at one spot. Then,release them “Find it” and wait for them to locate the toy,grab it and bring it back to you to trade with high valued yummy treats.

** Encouraging your dogs “Where is the treats?” or “Where is the toy?” or “Two more.Where is it?” with happy voice now and then until they can locate the toys or treats is good idea and it can get them more excited to play the game.

** After playing the “Find the toy” game, it is also good idea to play the toy with your dogs.


Nov 23, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

People food for thought Part VII; Cold cut meat

 In previous entry titled ” People food for thought Part VI; Sandwich “, I wrote that sandwich you find in Japan and sandwich you find in the states are somewhat different.

sandwich in the states seems to use a lot of cold cut meat or Deli
meat such as Ham, Salami, Pastrami, Corned beef,Bologna,Bacon along with
slice of cheese and they tend to be saltier than sandwiches in Japan.

 Sandwich in Japan tend to uses more fresh vegetables with much less cold cut meat and cheese.

 I enjoy corned beef with provolone cheese melted on the toasted Italian bread etc occasionally, and yes, it is tasty. However, are the piled high sandwiches with cold cut meat or Deli meat good for you?

 What are the cold cut meats?

 In the super market, cold cut meats are pre-packaged luncheon meat and pre-sliced deli meats.

 According to supermarketguru website, there are 3 types of cold cut meat.

1. Whole cuts of meat or poultry

** cooked with salt,sugar,spice and sliced

2. Sectioned and formed meat products

**being prepared from pieces of meat and bonded to form the piece. Binding agents are non meat additives, non meat emulsion, and extracted myofibrillar proteins.

3. Processed meats

**examples, sausages,hot dogs, bologna etc 

 Some of the cold cut meats contains chemicals and preservatives to keep the appearance of the products attractive to customers or to have longer shelf life.

 You may often find “sodium nitrate” in ingredients list, for example, but do you know what it is for? It is there to prevent the color of the products from changing.

 Nitrate is also known to cause health risk such as cancer.

 How about “BHT”or “BHA”? They are preservatives to keep the products’ shelf life longer. These two preservatives are also known to cause health risk such as cancer.

 Supermarket guru website also has list of common terms used in the cold cut meat ingredients lists and shows you what it is for.

 To read an full article on cold cut meats at supermarket guru website,please click here .

 Cold cut meats and health

According to Tara Parker-Pope from New York Times, there is a study done by Harvard University on processed deli meats and health.

 The study was done by tracking the consumption of  meat, heart disease, diabetes, and the study found that one serving (50 grams/1.8 oz ; 1-2 slice of deli meat or 1 hot dogs) of such processed deli meats (bacon, salami, bologna, hot dogs, sausage and processed deli or luncheon meat) a day was associated with 42% higher risk of heart disease, 19% increase risk of diabetes, and they fond no increased health risk associated with consuming unprocessed red meat.

 This study can show that only difference between the unprocessed red meat and luncheon/deli meats are sodium amount and preservatives. Cold cut meats are cured with salt, and it contains high amount of sodium. High amount of sodium increase the blood pressure and it can causes  heart problem.

 Tara Parker-Pope writes, the processed cold cut meats contains 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives than unprocessed red meat.

 To read the full article by Tara Parker-Pope at New York Times website, please click here .

 You can also read more in detail on the study done for processed deli meats and health at Harvard school of public website here .

 Sandwiches with cold cut/deli meat are tasty but, eating such sandwich frequently  would not be good for your health. I would eat them with moderate level.

 Some sandwich place compete against competitors with piled high deli meat sandwich, but I wish they look at health factor, and I wish they would not compete against each other with size of the sandwiches piled high with processed meats. When you think about health, they are not doing any good for your health.

 Make the sandwich with more fresh vegetables, unprocessed meat slice rather than pile high cold cut/deli meats on bread.You can be creative with sauce to go with it. It is fun to create your own sandwich and it is better for you.

 Next time you grill the Flank steak, use the leftover steak for sandwich. Panera bread used to have steak sandwich with horseradish sauce. That was good. The steak sandwich was discontinued but I hope someday,it would come back to menu again. 

 Preservatives such as Sodium nitrite,sodium nitrate,BHT/BHA are used widely in processed food from canned soup to frozen pizza,not just processed deli meat/cold cut meat.

 This is another reason for you to cooking with fresh food, or try making stuff from scratch without preservatives and eat healthier for your body.


Nov 21, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Palette’s note: Gator Bites updated on June 27th,2012

** Updated area in red.

 When you pick up treats for your
dogs, what would you look at?

 Ingredients? Fancy looking
pictures? Description of the products?

 Have you ever wondered if you
could actually see how other dogs are enjoying them? Not pictures,but in
video so that you can actually HEAR and feel the treats’ textures?

 Some of you may have already
recognized I have been putting up treats’ taste testing video on youtube so that
people can hear the sound,see Palette in action and get more detail on each 

 With “Palette’s note” series,I like to put taste test videos.

 With this entry,I’d like to put out details on dehydrated Alligator meat treats  “Gator Bites“.

 Gator Bites..

 “Gator Bites” are dehydrated American alligator meat made in USA, and they are made from one simple ingredient “American Alligator meat”.
This treat is sold by 3 oz resealable bag.

** Please note that current available package size is 1.5 oz bag. Contents are same and simply different size of package.

 Gator bites 1.5 oz bag can be found here.

treats is easy to cut to small pieces for training with scissors, and
perfect for training treats. I have one pair of scissors that I use only
for cutting treats for Palette’s training.

 When I sit at the table,
cutting one piece to small pieces, Palette patiently lie down on the
floor, and waits for my preparation for her training session. If she were lucky, she gets small piece of “Gator Bites” that dropped to the floor while I was cutting the piece into small pieces.

 Each whole piece of “Gator Bites” is not big size, and if you prefer, you can use it as “Snack before bed”,too. If you do, your dogs may feel like they cannot wait to go to bed each night. Then, after their last potty before bed, you may find your dogs dash to their crate and waiting for you to come with yummy treats with drool around muzzle.

 At our house, Palette gets “Snack before bed” and snack can vary depending on availability but, one thing that never change is that she dashes to her crate as soon as we back from potty before bed, and I find her in the crate lie down with drool bubbles around muzzle.
 She knows the routine, and she knows she gets something yummy before bed. Always “Lets go bed” makes her big ears perk up and get her so excited to go bed.

switching Palette’s diet to fresh diet a.k.a raw diet, I have realized
so many of the dog treats that are sold as “all natural dog Jerky
treats” are filled with sea salt,garlic,sugar,lecithin(additives),rice
flour etc and also some are enriched with other vitamins.

 Some Jerky
sold as wild caught salmon Jerky is gray colored sandy texture although
wild caught salmon is bright orange color, and if manufacturers have used meat as base,it should
be fibrous not sandy texture.
It seemed like they had more
brown rice flour than actual salmon meat.

Jerky is preserved with Vitamin E (Mixed tocopherol) and is delivered
from soybean oil. Some dogs,
including our K9 executive chef “Palette” reacts to natural Vitamin E delivered from soy.
starts chewing paws.

 Some are preserved with rosemary oil. Some dogs (Dogs with EPI) might react to Rosemary in treats because rosemary can be a trigger for seizure for EPI dogs.

 Some Jerky contain fruits,vegetables and may be using more vegetables,fruits than meat itself even though you could find meat as top ingredients in the ingredients list. This happens because you could list ingredients like lamb, ground oats,ground rice, ground barley,molasses etc etc via method called “splitting” and long list of ingredients goes on for Lamb Jerky’s ingredients with lamb as first ingredient.

 I have found that some Jerky use 39 ingredients for one type of “All natural” Jerky treats! All ingredients are really necessary to make one type of healthy Jerky treats?? 

 Ground oats,ground rice, ground barley are all grain and next ingredients you find in the list above is sugar (Molasses) and still lists goes on so, if you add all grain ingredients, and other all extra ingredients amount, amount of grain and extra ingredients may exceed the amount of lamb used in the Jerky, plus when dogs are perfectly happy with just dehydrated Lamb meats,why do manufacturers add extras? More is not necessary be better for all circumstances.

 Many dogs love those Jerky that has sugar,garlic,
salt,smoked flavor added etc.. and price maybe affordable price but are
they really good for them?

 Since garlic is natural,sugar is natural,salt is natural, even if actual key ingredient (meat) are used much less, products can be categorized as so called “All natural Jerky” treats.

 Some dog treats contains Molasses in the ingredients list, unless you ask the manufacturer, you never know what grade of Molasses is used. If the manufacture were just looking for sweetness, they could use Molasses treated with sulfur (preservatives).

 Sometimes, you have to wonder what the “Natural Flavors” is when you find it in the ingredient list. It is never be listed with the name of protein source.

 You never know if it is Lamb or Beef or Turkey or .. And I never understand that why manufacturers need “Natural flavors” to enhance the flavor when “REAL” Lamb meat has all the “REAL” natural flavors.

 What else manufacturers need to add to 100% natural and fresh meat used in the treats?

 We wanted to offer treats made with simple one ingredients without any fillers.  This
treats is one of them.

 Our k9 executive chef “Palette” loves this
treats. She gets excited and really works hard to earn the clicks (She
is clicker trained) from me when I use this treats as training treats.

  Ingredient:American Alligator meat

 Let’s watch Palette in action with Gator Bites taste test. If you are a blog subscriber ,please click here to watch the video.

Palette and Gator Bites

 Can you see she is very  very excited to go get the leash when I asked her to? Can you hear the sound when Palette is eating it?

 You can see how much she loves when you see her follow the treats in my hands when I moved my hands up and down. She follows the treats with huge cow eyes

 You could tell that she knows there is still more Gator Bites pieces on the table and she keeps checking the table, making sure nothing left on the floor or on my hands, and she licks her mouth as if to say “That was yummy! Can I have more,please?”.

 This is one of Palette’s favorite snack/training treats that makes her twirl and jump, and make her nose wet in a second.

 Alligator is low fat novel protein source,and great treats for dogs that cannot have treats made with common protein source,too.

Lets go for walkie, Mom!

Here I come…

You got a wet nose,Palette- Mom

I know. That’s because I know what you have in your hands!-Palette

 To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link below into your browser.


Nov 16, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Zoo in Japan: Asahiyama zoo in Hokkaido,Japan

 As a kid, I remember visiting zoo with my
parents and we had a picnic there. My mother made rice balls ( sticky
white rice is salted and formed into triangle shape and in the
center,you could find salmon flakes or pickled plum called “Ume boshi”
etc.. and triangle shaped rice ball with filling is wrapped with Nori
(Dry seaweed). Sometimes, she made sandwiches and we had cut up fruits, and
tea to go with it.

 I remember we had picnic in front of lake where you can see Swan enjoy water bath.

Swan enjoy water bath..

 I love animals and I loved visiting the zoo.

 Recently, I heard about unique zoo in Japan when my father was visiting us.

 Generally, Japanese schools, companies have school excursion,company
trip once a year,and last year,he and his colleagues visited zoo in
Hokkaido. You would think that zoo for adult might not be as much fun as
visiting foreign countries and enjoy different culture,food,tradition,
but he said it was enjoyable even to adults.

 Hokkaido is northern diamond shaped island of Japan and very famous for
seafood (Crab,squid,scallop,salmon etc), Ramen, Potatoes etc. Now, to
that famous list, zoo in the Hokkaido could be added.

 The name of the zoo is “Asahiyama zoo”, and what set them apart from
other zoo is that the way they show animals are different from others.

 According to my father, if you visit giraffe area, you will be standing
right at the level about giraffe’s head, and you can see how they enjoy
meals very well. If you visit other zoo, you would probably looking up
the giraffe’s head from ground and not that interesting to watch.

 Another interesting way they show animal is, for example, there is a
section (capsule) you can pop the head up from bottom of the polar bear
section to experience view point of the seals and, you can see the polar
bear up close and you can also be standing at bellow the water level
around polar bear so you can see how they swim in the water up close

 At the penguin area, there is tunnels and penguins swim above you. I
read on their website that if you visit the zoo when they have snow, you
get to see penguin march.

 Isn’t  it  cool?

 You can read more in English at Asahiyama zoo website here .

 You can also read more in detail  and see more pictures from the zoo
via an article written by Sanada Kuniko at Nipponia Web Japan website here.

 Bellow is youtube video of Asahiyama zoo.

Asahiyama zoo in Hokkaido,Japan

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click  here to watch the  video.

 I have never been to
Hokkaido but one of my dreams was to visit snow festivals there so,
maybe, someday, I hope I get to visit this zoo too!

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Nov 14, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Amazing Golden Retriever “Carrie”

 Have you ever heard of Canine freestyle competition?

 According to Canine freestyle federation website (click here to read more on canine freestyle at Canine freestyle federation website), it is a choreographed performance organized with music, illustrating the training and relationship between dog and handler team.

 It is kind of like dog version of “Dancing with stars”.

 I love to watch Canine freestyle performance a lot and enjoy watching handlers and dogs both having great time together, and always amazed by their performance.

 Recently, I came across youtube video on amazing dog dancing with her handler and, I thought I would share with you. Look at Carrie’s face. She really look like having great time with her handler and, handler seems to be having fun with his dog and their performance is jaw dropping!

 I watched the video clip over and over and tried to see how this amazing dancing dog “Carrie” can remember the dance routine so well. I wonder if the handler is giving cue when dancing movement change, or Carrie mirror the movement of the handler or simply remember the routine to music itself, but there is a part Carrie perform her routine with her handler behind her etc.. and I never be able to figure out how Carrie can dance all the routine very smoothly.

 What are your theory on this??

 Anyway, she dances so well.

Amazing dancing dog Golden Retriever “Carrie”

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch video.

 Do you dance with your dogs?

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Nov 11, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Creamy garlic spinach risotto with seared garlic scallop and shrimp

 One of my favorite dishes to cook
is risotto. It is quick and easy one pot dish and, just like pizza, you can come up with your own flavor and be creative with it. Creating your own flavor is fun, and with just a little bit of tweaking, you can make thousands of flavors with risotto.
 Another good thing about risotto is that not only quick and easy dish but also it does not call for lots of ingredients. So, I can cook
with whatever vegetables I can find in our fridge.

 Before you will try out your own flavor search, it makes easier if you know how to make the basic risotto. So, here is the recipe for basic risotto. When you make risotto with your own flavor, all you need is to match the wine for deglaze the pan with protein source you would use or key ingredients of risotto’s flavor and build your own risotto.

 <Basics risotto recipe>

1. Cook vegetable,and when vegetable gets soften up, add kosher salt and black pepper

2. Add arborio rice

3. Cook rice till center of rice grain gets translucent
4. Add wine and stir rice and vegetable in the pan and let the wine evaporate and add broth and keep stirring until aldante (until you have a little bit of bite to it,not mushy)

turn off the heat,remove from the heat source, and add about 1 table spoon of butter and grate Pecorino Romano cheese with microplane grater over the pan

6. Enjoy!

Usually,it takes 30 minutes from start to finish.Very easy,very tasty.

 I have mentioned it makes easier if you know what wine would work for what key ingredients of flavor or protein source above. Personally,if I use beef,I would use red wine and beef broth pair, if I use chicken or sea food or vegetable, I go for white wine or sherry with chicken broth pair.

 Recently, I had some baby spinach I wanted to use up in the fridge, and I have made spinach risotto and it came out real good so,I thought I would share the recipe with you.

 So, how do you make Creamy garlic spinach risotto with seared garlic scallop and shrimp? Here is how.

Creamy garlic spinach risotto with seared garlic scallop and shrimp..

1. Add 2 handful of baby spinach, 1C of chicken broth to food processor and puree them

2. Set the heat to medium high and,to the big wide pan, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil and grate 1 clove of garlic over the pan and stir

3. When the pan is fragrant, add chopped 1/2 yellow onion and stir and cook the onion with the garlic in the pan

4. Add 1C of Aborio rice and stir

** My
favorite arborio rice is Della’s Italian style Arborio rice. It is
gluten free, cholesterol free,fat free,and it comes out very creamy and
love this brand.
Risotto made with 1C of Arborio rice would yield about 3 adult servings.

5. When rice gran center had translucent look, add splash of white wine and stir and let the wine evaporate

6. To the rice in the pan, Add 2 1/4C of chicken broth and keep stirring

7. Add spinach-chicken broth puree into the rice pan, and keep stirring

** Taste the rice and see if you need more cooking time.

** Add more chicken broth and keep adding it if needed more.

8.When risotto is at good texture, add 1/4C heavy milk and stir

9. Take the pan off from the heat and add 1tbs of butter,grate the pecorino romano cheese over the pan and stir

10.Risotto part is done.

<Seared garlic scallop>

** When you cook scallop, pick sea scallop not bay scallop. For me, personally, bay scallop is easy to over cook and tough and chewy and I prefer to cook sea scallop which is tender,sweet,tasty scallop.

** When you cook scallop, a few things to consider.

1. Make sure scallop is fully thawed, and be at room temperature. This apply to cook steaks too.

2. Make sure scallop is not wet.

When I cook scallop, I usually place a paper towel over the plate and place scallop on top and place another piece of paper towel to take moisture out from the scallop. By cooking moisture free scallop, you can cook scallop with nice seared mark on it.If the scallop was wet,you would not get any seared mark.

3. Make sure the skillet is hot enough.

 ### Now is the recipe for seared garlic scallop.. ###

1. Place the skillet on stove medium high and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 tbs butter wait till skillet is hot enough.

** To check if the skillet is hot enough, you can splash a tiny bit of water into the pan.If you hear the sizzling sound,it is hot enough and time to cook the scallop

2. Make sure the scallop is not wet. And also make sure duct is removed.
** To take moisture out from scallop, place
a paper towel over the plate and place scallop on top and place another
piece of paper towel to take moisture out from the scallop.

3. Sprinkle Grill mate steak seasoning via McCormick over the scallop

4. place each scallop onto hot skillet and heat up to high heat and cook roughly 1-1.5 minutes per side.

5. Scallop part is done. Take scallop out from the skillet.

<Garlic butter shrimp>

1. Set the heat to medium high, and to the same skillet scallop was cooked, add extra virgin olive oil and 1/2tbs butter and grate 2 cloves of garlic over the skillet and wait till it gets fragrant.

2. Add peeled shrimp onto the skillet and cook slightly under-cook on both side

3. Add 1/8C of water to the skillet and cook through

** This will ensure to cook through without brown color on nice pink colored shrimp. Since Scallop is brown color a little on green colored risotto,I wanted shrimp retain pink color not brown. This is just for garnish reason.You can cook all the way on skillet if you like without adding water.

4. So, the shrimp comes out with hint of garlic flavor and you can eat it as is or you can serve cocktail sauce on the side to dip.

<How to assemble to plate>

 Put risotto onto plate,place seared scallop on top of risotto, and place shrimp on risotto and sprinkle ciffonade spinach leaves

What is ciffonade??

Ciffonade is the term to be used to describe especially green leafy herbs such as Basil cut into long thin strips. What I usually do is to stack whatever you want to make thin strips with and roll them up and cut with scissors or kitchen knife.


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Nov 09, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Palette’s fall treats diary; November 7th,2010

 In the previous entry titled “Palette’s summer treats diary;June 13th,2010 “, I wrote about how excited our dog, “Palette” becomes when she hears the command “Go get leash” for walk. And, get excited about her cool down treats. Palette really loves my cool down treats, and when we come back home,she literally right pass over me and position herself in the kitchen and wait in her imaginary line for the treats with bubbles around her mouth.

 With “Palette’s summer treats dairy” series, I thought it would be interesting for you to tour around our kitchen to see what kinds of cool down treats she is getting, and we have introduced her cool down treats’ recipes.
 Since we go for walk daily except on rainy days or snowy days, cool down treats are actually given after each walk or each bathing time all year round. So, we will have the series all year round and keep introducing new recipes of her cool down treats. Now, I will pass a pen to Palette to write her diary here.

 November 7th,2010

 Dear diary,

 As always, I woke up earlier than mom and waited for my mom get up and ready for walkie, and called me from bottom from the stairs. “Palette, go get a leash”.

 Today,I feel different, very very excited for today’s walkie. Why, you may ask?

 It is because her dad would join in our walkie. He flew 14 hours to see my mom and dad and, of course, me included. So,I gotta show what’s out there on our walkie. I know I got tonz I would love to show him.

Are you two ready for walkie,mom?

 I took her dad for walkie with my mom. I was so excited and forgot walkie manner We went regular route of walkie, but I made sure we would walk by my very best friends Mr. Miniature Schnauzer’s house. We get along so well and, when he see me on walkie,he whine from window and I look for him and give him butt wagging greet with my ears folded back.

 Mom’s dad saw woodpecker and tried to take a picture of him but,he was so shy that he flew away and mom’s dad did not succeed to get a good picture of the woodpecker. However,he got to see the squirrels. That was a giant squirrel running across the street..

 It was very fun walkie. Mom’s dad even ran with me to home on the straight street close to home. I ran looking up mom’s dad now and then, and ran with my tongue hanging out. And we headed home..

 So…Now is the time for..? Frozen Yogurt Treats!?!  

 Today,I got Frozen Asian pear butternut squash yogurt treats that has hint of beef flavor to it.

Frozen Asian pear butternut squash yogurt treats..

 Here is how you make them.

1. To the mixer, add cored,peeled and rough sliced Asian pears 9 oz, steamed butternut squash 9.7 oz, Redwood Hill Farm plain Goat milk yogurt 9.5 oz, and add 2tbs of beef short rib flavored water (from  the sauce pan that you used to steam the butternut squash) to the mixer and puree them.
** This time, when I steamed butternut squash,I poured water to sauce pan, drop short rib bone (raw) into the water, place steamer and add cut up butternut squash on top of the steamer and steamed for about 15-20 minutes..

** I did not have any plan as to what I would use for treats but, since I had leftover raw butternut squash from garlic butternut squash risotto, I decided to use it in her treats.

** I normally use cow milk yogurt but since I spotted the Goat milk yogurt at the grocery store,I thought I would like to try it and Palette went nuts. So I decided to use it for a change this time.

** For me, I feel that goat milk yogurt has a little bit of aftertaste but adding preserve to the plain goat milk makes nice flavored yogurt and my father loved it too.

2. Pour those onto ice cube tray and freeze

** This will be about 21 blocks of treats in ice cube tray with my mom’s

** Frozen Asian pear butternut squash yogurt treats whole batch is roughly about 371 kcal (you can see more detail here at website). So, each ice cube given is about 18kcal

** Mom wanted rough kcal to be as close to real one, and she usedNutrition fact food label on the back of yogurt she used. She typed inthe information provided in the nutrition label on the yogurt..

 “Can I see what you made this time?” I asked mom when she was taking picture of the treats for this series. Mom said “Of course,Palette. Just a look.”

Ohh…. Just a look, but the frozen treats saying “Eat me,eat me”..

 Then.. the frozen treats’ talk was so tempting that I became naughty Palette..

“Hey mom, what is that?” -Palette

“Hmm?” -Mom

“Thank you,mom.” S.l.u.r.p!!-Palette

I know I am a lady,but cannot hide how tasty it was.

Sorry for my drool string.. It was just really good!

All mine! Yes,I ate 3 frozen treats today..

 The treats were so yummy. This is the best part when I go for walkie I always wait nicely in front of the freezer door.I know where they sleep in But sometimes, I get talkative and lead my mom to the kitchen herding dog “Corgi” style

 When my mom was trying to bagging the frozen treats for later, I told her “Just a look,please.” So,my mom let me see the ice cube tray. She thinks I cannot pick the treats up that are still in the cube tray. Do you think so?

Hello, frozen treats! I can see you still left in the tray.. slurp!

Oops! I got caught… You saw

 So, afterall, I did some lick and got caught by mom. It was just that tasty.

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Nov 07, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

People food for thought Part VI; Sandwich

 In previous entry titled “Bento box culture in Japan “, I wrote that parents get up early and make Bento box for kids to bring to school. School usually have Bento box day once in a while and when they have special events like sports festival, parents bring the Bento box for family members and when kids got lunch time break from events, kids and parents sit around the Bento box and eat them.

 Depending on each family, menu for the Bento box is different but,generally, you would find either bed of white rice or pasta or rice ball with 2-4 kinds of side dish (meat,vegetables), and kids usually bring second small container that contains cut up fresh fruits. Sometimes, sandwiches.

 Recently, I was reading local newspaper about school lunch sandwich. The newspaper article was suggesting variation of school lunch sandwiches for kids, and it got me thinking that sandwiches you find in Japan and sandwich you find in the states are somewhat different.

 How different you may ask?

 As you already know, Japanese diet are based on rice (sticky white rice) and we do not eat a lot of sandwiches but when we do, what you would put in the sandwich is different. I find that sandwiches in the states seems to use a lot of cold cut meat or Deli meat such as Ham, Salami, Pastrami, Corned beef,Bologna,Bacon along with slice of cheese.

 Cold cuts or Deli meat are tasty,yes, but are they good for you? In the next entry, I will write about Cold cut or Deli meat. Here, I thought it would be interesting for you to see what kinds of sandwiches you can find in Japan or at our house.

 I remember now and then, when I was a kid, my mother used to make sandwich for lunch. Bellow are some of the sandwiches she has made for me and some are what I make now and then.

<Tomato Cucumber Sandwich>

** Smear mayo on bread,place thinly sliced fresh cucumber and fresh tomato

<Tuna Sandwich>

** To small bowl, put drained Tuna and add mayo,dash of Worcester sauce,mix and spread on bread

<Egg Sandwich>

1. Make boiled egg and peel off shell and break into half and put cooked egg york part into the small bowl and chop the cooked egg white to small pieces.

** How to make fool proof boiled eggs**

1.Place a couple of eggs in the sauce pan and pour cold water to the depth that are enough to cover the egg and turn the stove on-medium high.

2. When water is boiling,move the eggs around a bit.This is to ensure Eggs would not crack during the process of making boiled eggs.

3.After moving around the eggs in the sauce pan,put the lid on and turn off the stove. Keep the pan at where it is. Then,set the timer “10 minutes”.

After 10 minutes, pour all the hot water out and pour cold water in and if you are not going to use it right away,keep in the pan until eggs becomes not so hot to touch.

If you are going to use it right away, hold the egg under cold running water to temperature down and when it becomes more easy to handle with temperature wise, start peeling off the shell under the cold running water. Peeling under the water makes easy to peel.

2. Mash the cooked egg york and add chopped cooked egg white and add mayo and add dash of Morton’s Nature’s Season and add touch of paprika and mix well and smear on bread.
<Ham and cucumber sandwich>

** Smear butter and smear a bit of mustard on bread, and place thinly sliced cucumber and place a couple of Ham slices

<Potato salad sandwich>

1. ** Make potato salad**

Mash the Russet potatoes and add mayo,and add Morton’s Nature’s season, add sliced thin ham strips,add cooked carrots, add sliced cucumber and well and add touch of mustard and done.

2.Smear potato salad on bread

<Potato croquette sandwich>

Potato Croquette…

Potato croquette burger..

** Above is how my husband enjoyed potato croquette. For mine,I smeared ketchup as my mother used to make…

Now,here is how you make the potato croquette sandwich.

** Make Potato croquette **

1. Mash the 3 Russet potatoes and add Morton’s Natures season and  about 2tbs of heavy cream

2.Chop about half onion and cook with butter in skillet, add about half pound of ground beef and add hint of nutmeg to onion,ground beef mixture and add these to mashed potatoes

3.Form the patties and dredge the patties to flour, shake off excess flour and dip them into lightly beaten egg and roll the patties on panko bread crumbs and deep fry them to golden.

Smear ketchup on bread, place lettuce and put potato croquette

 Sometimes, sandwiches are made without ears (edge of bread). If you visit Japanese grocery stores early in the morning on certain day of the week, you could find bagful of bread ears. They are sold for dogs.

 My mother used to go get a bag or two of bread ears. We did not have dogs but she used it to make fresh bread crumbs out of it or kids’ snack or used it to make moist hamburger patties…

 What are the secret for moist hamburger??

 My mother taught me to add grated onion and bread ears that were soaked in a little bit of milk. When you add the bread ears soaked in a bit of milk,you need to squeeze out the milk so that you would not get very loose patties.

 AND.. sometimes when you cook the hamburger patties, if you did not know one little secret for burger patties, you may end up bulged up burger patties.

 How you can make nice flat burger patties?

 When you make patties, after forming the patties, stick your second finger onto center of the burger patties all the way.It would have patties that has hold on the center.

 After skillet comes up very hot, place the patties gently and cook through.

 My mother’s another little secret to know when the burger is done is that poke the burger with toothpicks and see if you see clear juice coming out from the hole or red or pink juice coming out. If you see the clear juice running from the hole,the burger is cooked through.

 Or you can use the meat thermometer and take off the burger when it reaches to 160F.

 I know some celebrity chef often say that make a dimple on the burger and then cook and I used to do that,but now I don’t. I find that making the hole all the way was much better success for perfect flat patties.

 Recent favorite sauce for burger for me is Jack Daniel sauce I just made today. I used ketchup, Worcester Sauce, Mirin (Sweet rice wine), Black Angus Steak sauce,touch of Jack Daniel Whiskey and heat through and put the cooked burger onto the skillet to coat the burger with sauce. At this moment, I did add this,add that to come to agreeable flavor and I did not take note to myself. Next time, when I make the same sauce,I will take notes and share it with you.

 The Jack Daniel Whiskey burger patties came out so good! 

 What was our snack my mother used to make with bread ears??

 Very easy,but just cut to manageable size and deep fry them and drain the oil on paper towel. Then,as soon as it comes out from the hot oil, she sprinkled white table sugars. It was good!

 Here is the local newspaper article I was reading recently on variation o f sandwich.

 What are your favorite sandwich to make?

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Nov 03, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized