Archives for March, 2014

Italian cooking: Creamy lobster risotto

 I love seafood. I do not eat lobster frequently, but I like them a lot.

 One of my favorite lobster dishes is lobster bisque;creamy tomato base
soup often times cooked with sherry or brandy. Very flavorful soup.

 The other day, I saw cold water lobster tail at the grocery store, and I
thought I would like to make another version of lobster risotto with it.

 My husband loves risotto and, I make them quite bit of variety.

 My father living in Japan does not get to taste risotto as often as we do, but he does like them. So, I am thinking that I would make this version 2 lobster risotto when he comes over in coming May.

 If you have not made risotto,try make one. It is one pot dish and, they
are 30 minutes meal and great for those who has pressed time and would
like to spend less time cooking.

 Plus,you can put whatever in the fridge/freezer using the same base,
and you can be creative and make your own risotto and have fun with it.

 This lobster risotto is quite tasty and, I think you would love them too.

 Therefore,I will share the recipe with you here.

 If you had leftover risotto, add mozzarella cheese to the leftover risotto,make a meat ball size ball,and dip it in flour, then dip it in lightly beaten egg, then, coat the ball with panko bread crumbs then fry them.

 You can have it with good marinara sauce and it is tasty

 You can of course use shrimp instead. Put the grilled shrimp on top of the risotto would look pretty.

Creamy lobster risotto..

Ingredients for Creamy lobster risotto;

2 lobster tail
cloves of garlic chopped
1/8 C brandy for the seared tail, 1/4C brandy for the risotto making
1 shallot chopped
1/4 red pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper chopped
1.5C Arborio rice
4 1/2C chicken broth
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs frozen green peas
1/4C heavy cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Morton’s Natures Seasons

<Creamy lobster risotto>

0.Prepare lobster tail

** Cut the lobster tail into half length wise, and remove vein if you see them,and rinse under the running water

1. Season the lobster tail with Morton’s Natures Seasons

1.  To the skillet, add 1 tbs butter and let it melt and bubbles a bit

2. When you started see the bubble, add 2 cloves of garlic chopped,and wait till it gets fragrant

3. When fragrant, place lobster tails halves,meat side down and let it sear,and flip
when its meat was nicely seared (about a few minutes later)

4. Stir and cook until shell turns bright red color, and started to curl, meat is firm enough to touch and opaque color

Just like shrimp gets curled up when cooked through, lobster tail gets a
little curled ,and shell color turns to very bright red when cooked.
All you need to do then, is to check the color of the meat being
opaque,not translucent and firm to touch.

5. Just before the lobster tail is done, add 1/8C brandy and let it evaporate and take the tail out and set it aside on small container to cool enough to handle.

 When cool enough to handle, take the meat out,chop it into 1/2″ chunks

6. To the skillet lobster tail was cooked on, add 1C chicken broth and stir,and let it simmer on side

7. In the large surface pan, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil, and add 1 shallot chopped fine, and stir

8. Add 1/4 red pepper chopped, 1/8
green pepper chopped, and season it with Morton’s Natures seasons and add lobster tail shell (meat removed) back in, and stir

9. Add 1.5C Arborio rice and stir

10. Add 1/4 C brandy and stir

11. Add mixture of 1/8C brandy plus 1C chicken broth that was simmering in the skillet that lobster tail was cooked on, to the Arborio rice mixture in the large surface pan and stir

12. Add 1/2 tsp dried thyme and stir

13. Add 1C chicken broth and stir

14. Keep stiring until broth is well absorbed

15. Add another 1C chicken broth and stir

16. Keep stirring

17.  When the rice is almost done, add 1 tbs frozen green peas, 1/4C heavy cream and stir, and take the pan off from the heat

** Taste the arborio rice to see it is cooked to al dente (has still slight bite to the rice,not too mushy),

18. When the rice is done,add 3 tbs grated parmesan cheese,1/2 tbs butter and stir

19. Taste and adjust the seasoning,and take the lobster tail shell out

20. Plate them up and top it with chopped lobster meat

Makes:3-4 serving

** When
you make risotto, one thing to keep in mind is that you must keep
stiring and add liquid 1C or so at a time and wait till liquid is
absorbed and then another 1 cup of liquid is added.

 Usually rice becomes al dente in about 18-20 minutes.

 Since we
are using the tail shell in its cooking, the chicken broth is infused
with intense lobster flavor and, I really like the way it came out.

 If you make Shrimp risotto, here is one secret you can use for your shrimp preparation.

<How to make tender shrimp>

1. In the small container, mix 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tbs corn starch, 1 tsp sake, 1/4tsp Baking soda,3 tbs water well.

2. Add peeled,deveined shrimp and stir and put the lid on and keep in the fridge for 4-6 hours

3. Rinse the shrimp well under cold running water and pat them dry with
paper towel and follow the recipe. To cook the marinaded shrimp, it is
best to cook on the  hot skillet and be careful not to overcook them.

** I usually make this marinade for 10 count of medium size shrimp.

** You can use this marinade for scallop as well to make them tender.


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Mar 30, 2014 | Comments are off | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Pet Penguin “Lala” in Japan goes for shopping for her fish

 Recently,I was browsing through youtube page, and I came across adorable king penguin “Lala” that goes for shopping for his food ;Japanese horse mackerel ( “Aji” in Japanese), sardine (Iwashi in Japanese) , on foot,wearing his backpack so his food will be packed in the bag.Herring is also penguins’ favorite,I read.

I saw the clip, I thought it was cute and at the same time, I was surprised how well she was trained to do so.

 Here is the youtubevideo.

 Pengun “Lala” in Japan going for the shopping for her fish (Aji)

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 In Japan, due to restriction by Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, there are several variety of penguins you cannot have as pet, but apparently, there are some of the variety allowed to have them as a pet.

 They are cute and adorable but it costs you a lot of money,space, and care and I do not think it is easy task to care for them in the environment that we average people could offer.

 As a kid, I did not see anyone who had penguin as a pet, and I did not think people could have penguin as a pet. Therefore, it was a new finding for me as well on this matter.

 Maybe, some people with large pool with their house might be able to afford to have them as companion at home.

 I was wondering what would take to have a penguin as a pet and searched on the Internet.

 First, to get a penguin as a pet in Japan, it looks like penguin can cost you about $5,000 to over $120,000!

 Then, of course, you would need spacious place for them to swim (the pool filled with ocean water), and possibly large freezer to stock up their meal (Japanese horse mackerel), and you would need to take them for a walk for exercise.

 I read that, penguin stops eating for about 2 weeks,in which time, their fur gets changed from old to new from head to toe and, before they goes into that time in the year, they would eat twice the amount of meal they normally would.

 In the wild, they live in the ocean, and when they are not living in the natural place, they tend to have deficiency in sodium.Therefore, you would need to provide salt to them.The website I was looking at suggests to fill the pool with ocean water because of this reason.

 When we go to aquarium, we see staff in charge of care of penguin feed fish to them but do you know how much they eat?

 According to the penguin care website in Japan, penguin eats 10-20 Japanese horse mackerel (Aji) a day.

 They sure cute animal but personally, I feel they would have better life in the environment at the aquarium if not in the wild over the personal residential home.

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Mar 26, 2014 | Comments are off | Cute Animals

Bonefish Grill Menu:Grilled steak with herbed gorgonzola butter Yassy’s version

If you ask my husband what kinds of steaks he likes best, answer will be grilled steak. It is either thick cut of juicy medium rare fillet, or thinly sliced flavorful flank steak.

He likes various types of sauce to go with it from garlic cracked black pepper corn sauce (You can find the recipe here), Gorgonzola dolce sauce (Recipe here), citrus teriyaki sauce (recipe here) etc..

We do not order steak anymore at one of our favorite restaurants “Bonefish grill”, but in the past, we have enjoyed Bonefish Grill’s steak with gorgonzola butter on it.

We liked the steak a lot with the gorgonzola butter on top of the steak but, problem was that the butter was cold and not melted all the way when dish was brought to the table, plus it was too much butter on the steak and, I started making the recreated dish of theirs at home.

After that, I tried recreating some of their side dish,and we have Bonefish Grill meal dinner now and then at home

Recreating the restaurant dish is always fun thing to do because guessing the ingredients are fun, and building your own taste is fun too, and when I could make good one with my twist, sometimes, my husband comments “I like yours better”,which puts a huge smile on me.

Unfortunately, since I am expecting, I cannot enjoy the taste of soft cheese like gorgonzola cheese for now, but I used to make herbed gorgonzola butter ,which my husband loved them very much.

I have so far 2 version of herbed gorgonzola butter sauce.

So,I thought, I would share the 2 version of the herbed gorgonzola butter recipes for the steak plus Bonefish grill’s side dishes; “Garbanzo bean with spinach” , “Succotash”, and “herbed Jasmin rice”.

You can have your own “Bonefish grill dinner night” too!

My version of bean dish is much more saucy. I am fine with how they are cooked with the bean dish, but , the other day, when we visited their restaurant to enjoy seafood dish, our server told us that the bean side dish tends to be “iffy” among diners,and she was asking if it is ok with the meal we ordered.

We told her “It is fine”, and my husband added “My wife has a  good recipe of the bean dish of yours,and we enjoy hers a lot.”

His comment made me happy, but if I had to guess, diners might be “iffy” with their bean side dish because their bean dish is rather dry.

Anyway, when I went to grocery store, I found out that our grocery store carry Gorgonzola Dolce. It is a Gorgonzola cheese imported from Italy, and Dolce is creamier,milder,and not as tangy as regular Gorgonzola cheese, and easy to melt into the sauce so, I decided to use the Gorgonzola Dolce cheese for one of the herbed gorgonzola butter sauce recipe.

However, regular gorgonzola cheese works just fine.

Herbed Gorgonzola butter with succotash, spicy garbanzo bean, and lemon herb rice..

Ingredients for Lemon Herb rice:

1C            Jasmine rice
1 1/4 tbs butter
1/4C        Italian flat leaf parsley chopped fine
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
pinch of Kosher salt

Ingredients for Succotash:

1 tbs butter
1/8 red pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper chopped
1/4 sweet onion chopped
1/4C whole corn kernel
5 oz frozen edamame
Morton’s Natures Seasons

Ingredients for spicy garbanzo bean:

Extra virgin olive oil
1 cloves of garlic grated
1/2 shallots chopped
2 oz hot Italian sausage removed from the casing and broke into small pieces
9 oz drained canned garbanzo beans
Emeril’s Essence
1/4C white wine
2/3C crushed tomato
1 tbs white sugar
fresh basil leaves chopped

Ingredients for Herbed Gorgonzola Dolce butter (version 1):

1/8C pine nuts toasted
1.5 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tbs butter
2 oz Gorgonzola Dolce cheese
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/32 tsp ground black pepper
1/16 tsp kosher salt

Ingredients for Herbed Gorgonzola butter (version 2):

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
4 tbs butter
2 oz Gorgonzola cheese, and 4 tbs toasted pine nuts

Ingredients for grilled steak:

2 tenderloin steaks
Extra virgin olive oil
McCormick Grill mate Steak seasoning

<Lemon Herb rice>

1. To the sauce pan, add 1C Jasmine rice, 1 2/3C water, 1 1/4 tbs butter and stir and let it come to boil on medium heat

2. Once boiled, stir the rice and turn the heat to medium low,cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes, and lower the heat to simmer to cook 10 more minutes

3.Once rice is done, fluff the rice and add 1/4C Italian flat leaf parsley chopped fine, lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, pinch of Kosher salt and stir and adjust the seasoning if needed

Makes; 4 servings


1. In the skillet, melt 1 tbs butter

2. When melted and bubbly, add 1/8 red pepper chopped, 1/8 green pepper chopped, 1/4 sweet onion chopped, 1/4C whole corn kernel, and 5 oz frozen edamame and season it with Morton’s Natures Seasons and stir

Makes; 2 -3 servings

<Spicy garbanzo bean>

1. In the skillet, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil, and add 1 cloves of garlic grated, 1/2 shallots chopped and wait till it gets fragrant

2. Add hot Italian sausage removed from the casing and broke into small pieces 2 oz wt, and cook to brown

3. Add 9 oz drained canned garbanzo beans to the skillet, and season it with Emeril’s Essence and stir

4. Add 1/4C white wine, 2/3C crushed tomato, 1 tbs white sugar, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so

5. Add chopped fresh basil leaves at the very end

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning

Makes; 2 -3 servings

<Herbed Gorgonzola Dolce butter version 1>

1. In the skillet, toast 1/8C pine nuts to fragrant

2. In the food processor, add chopped fresh rosemary spring 1.5 tsp, 1 tsp chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, 2 tbs butter, 2 oz Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/32 tsp ground black pepper, 1/16 tsp kosher salt and toasted pine nuts 1/8C and grind them to combine

3. Form it into log and place them on the plastic wrap and wrap them tightly and twist both ends like candy wrapper

4. Slice about 1/4″ Gorgonzola butter disc off from the log, and place it on top of the cooked steak
and broil until it gets melted and bubbly

** I usually wrap the Gorgonzola butter log again like a candy, and put it in the freezer bag
and freeze it.

Next time,you want to use it,all you need to do is to take it out from freezer when you cook the steak, and by the time steak is cooked and everything, Gorgonzola butter will be soft enough to slice.

<Herbed Gorgonzola Dolce butter version 2>

1. In the skillet, toast 4 tbs pine nuts to fragrant

2. In the food processor, add 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 1/4 tsp ground sage, 4 tbs butter, 2 oz Gorgonzola cheese, and 4 tbs toasted pine nuts and grind them to combine

3. Form it into log and place them on the plastic wrap and wrap them tightly and twist both ends like candy wrapper

4. Slice about 1/4″ Gorgonzola butter disc off from the log, and place it on top of the cooked steak and broil until it gets melted and bubbly

** I usually wrap the Gorgonzola butter log again like a candy, and put it in the freezer bag and freeze it.

Next time,you want to use it,all you need to do is to take it out from freezer when you cook the steak, and by the time steak is cooked and everything, Gorgonzola butter will be soft enough to slice.

<Grilled steak>

1. 1 hour before the actual cooking time, take the meat out to let it come to the room temperature

2. Pat the steak dry with paper towel and,sprinkle steak seasoning both sides

** Wet/Cold steak would not make nice sear on the steak

3. On the skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil,and wait until you see the steam coming off from the skillet

** You would need screaming hot skillet for the nice good sear on the steak

4. Cook 6 minutes, and then flip and cook 5-6 more minutes for 1.5″ thick steak

** Omaha steak website here has cooking time chart based on the thickness of the steak and desired doneness

5. Take temperature of the steak

** For medium rare steak, take the steak out from the skillet when your meat thermometer reads 125F to 130F

** For medium,130F-135F is the temperature to take the steak out from the skillet.

** Temperature of the steak continues to rise while steak is rested about 5F-10F more

6. If the steak temperature was around 120F for medium rare, 125F for medium, place the sliced gorgonzola butter on top of the each steak and broil the steak till cheese gets melted and bubbly and take it off from the skillet

7. Serve

Makes; 2 servings



Mar 23, 2014 | Comments are off | Restaurant Challenge

Palette’s note: Kong

 Have you ever wondered if you could
actually see how other dogs are enjoying the products or maybe hear the
sound of treats so you can estimate the texture of the treats before
purchasing one?

 As you may have noticed, I have started product testing series titled
“Palette’s Note”, which you can read about products detail, and see
video clips from Palette’s taste test/product test.

 This time,it is not about treats. I would like to put out the detail on Kong.


What is Kong?

 Kong chew toys are great interactive non toxic rubber toys with the hole in the center,and they are staple chew toys at many houses.

 In fact, our k9
executive chef “Palette” grew up with this toy, and it has been one of
her favorite chew toys.

 With Kong toys, you can stuff it with biscuits, with
cool down treats recipes from our blog site (You can find the recipes
with series titled “Palette’s treats diary” under Dog Diet category) and
freeze them, or with your dogs’ favorite mixed fresh vegetable puree, fresh meat (grind with food processor) etc and freeze them. You can be
creative with how you stuff this chew toys with.

 These Kong toys will keep your dogs busy and happy for
long time. Dogs will work hard to get to the treats by licking,
chewing, tossing in the air to get to the treats.It helps satisfying
the urge of chewing.

 Kong toys are made of durable rubber and they are very
bouncy toys.

 Due to its odd shape, they bounce to unpredictable
directions and, they are fun toys to play with as well.

 Our k9 executive chef “Palette” loves this Kong chew
toy and she works very hard to get to the treats inside the Kong,and
once they are gone, she likes to toss it in the air and catch them.
Palette and I also like to play fetch game with this toy.

 Sometimes, unpredictable bouncing direction fools her and she misses the catch but she has blast playing with these toys.

Personally, I prefer to stuff the Kong with dry treats because it encourage your dogs to move around and make them “think” how to get the treats out of it.

 If it were stuffed with wet treats such as frozen yogurt/meat treats, dog will be at one spot,simply licking,chewing and there is not much to it.

 In a way, this toy is like a doggy puzzle toy.

 This toy is good to prevent boredom, which can lead to many behavior problems,  and give them mental stimulation.

 How to choose the proper Kong…

 There are several kinds of Kong

Some are made for puppies, some are made for medium chewer, some are for aggressive chewer.

 What we carry are red one and black one.

 The red one is for medium chewer, which is classic/original of Kong and they are more flexible, and the black one is specifically made for aggressive chewer with strong rubber.

 We have recommendation for the size depending on the dog’s body weight to help you decide the proper size of the Kong.

 Also, the maker of the toy has breed specific sizing chart for Kong toy.You can refer the chart to decide the size as well.

 To see the guiding chart at Kong company website,please click here.

 That being said,as any chew toys, it is important for you to check the wear and tear and if it showed wear, replace the Kong with new one.

How to stuff Kong..

Kong has small hole on top, bigger hole on the bottom,and when you stuff your kong with wet treats, close the top hole with bit of peanut butter or cream cheese and then, pour the wet treats inside.

 For the extra protection, you would want to put the Kong in the zip bag to freeze it so it would not leak in the freezer.

 Some people stuff the kong with only peanut butter, but to me, it seems very fatty,high calorie treats. Not only that, it is high in sodium as well.

 Dog loves peanut butter and you can find many treats made with peanut butter from dog bakery to make your own biscuits or cupcake, but be careful how much of peanut butter you would be using.

 Just because dog  loves them is not necessary good choice for the good, nutritious, healthy treats.

 The small Kong can hold 5 tsp peanut butter.However, since peanut butter is roughly 90 kcal per table spoon, if you stuff the small kong all the way up, you are giving your dog 150kcal per small kong, and large portion of the calorie will be coming from fat.

 Example of Kong stuffing ..

** Frozen yogurt treats..

 Frozen strawberry tomato yogurt treats (recipe from July 16th,2010 Palette’s summer treat diary).

Strawberry tomato yogurt treats..

Here is how you make them.

1. To the mixer, add 1 red ripe tomato cut to chunks 4.8 oz, 3 big strawberries 4.8 oz, 5 oz of Stoneyfield organic plain yogurt , and puree them.

** The strawberry used for the treats were big; 2″ high,1.5″ width.

** When you cut tomato to chunks,make sure to use ripe tomato,not tomato that are green,and make sure to take vines,leaves off. Tomato plants; stems and leaves, and green part of tomato are toxic to dogs.

** I would not use tomato as
staple in the frozen treats because night shade family plants such as potatoes,eggplant, peppers, tomatoes could aggravate the inflammation if dogs were arthritis. Palette is not arthritis dog but,she used to limp in the past, and tomato is very rare occasional ingredients in the treat.

2. Pour those onto ice cube tray and freeze for treats or pour it in the Kong after closing the tip hole of the toy with peanut butter or cream cheese

** This will be about 14 blocks of treats in one ice cube tray if you freeze in the ice cube tray for treats

** Frozen strawberry tomato yogurt treats whole ice cube tray is roughly about 153 kcal (you can see more detail here at website). So, each ice cube given is about 11kcal

** Mixed pureed fresh vegetables/meat

** Dog biscuits

 Here is the healthier biscuits idea that has peanut butter in it.

 What I made is “Peanut butter and strawberry jam biscuits”.

 I have tried stuffing the kong with 2″ whole bone shaped biscuit,half the biscuits, smaller bits of biscuits,and whole biscuits cracked on one side tips.

 With whole biscuits this size, it fits nicely and Palette can taste a bit first and it keeps her busy long time, but problem was that the other half had hard time to come out and,she brought the kong back to me for help

 With the whole biscuits one side tip cracked, it worked better than “as is” but some of the biscuits still stuck inside the kong and still needs to be tweaked.

 With cracked biscuits bits, it was too easy and Palette got it without doing much.

 If I use the whole biscuits, I would need to tweak the shape of the biscuit. You can try various shape of biscuits and see if it work for you.

 With the broken into half biscuit, if I put shaped side out, she got it out in matter of minutes and it was too easy for her to get it out.

 With the broken side out, it made the biscuit comes out harder.

 If you have smaller size dog bone shaped cutter, it might work better.

 Here is the video where you get to see how Kong toy works.This one is with whole biscuits with one side tip cracked. You can see Palette is working hard to get the biscuits out.

Palette and Kong

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 It seems I would need the tweaking of the shaping for homemade dog biscuits for Kong, but the biscuit itself was huge hit,and Palette was drooling all over my hands.

 Try make this biscuits and you will be your dog’s best of the best friends in the world,lol.

 To show you how much Palette loves this biscuits, here are two youtube videos. You can see the big drop of drool coming out from her mouth

Palette and Peanut butter strawberry jam biscuits Part 1

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

Palette and Peanut butter strawberry jam biscuits Part 2

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

Now, here is the recipe for the Peanut butter and strawberry jam biscuits.

Peanut butter and strawberry jam biscuits recipe..

Peanut butter and strawberry jam biscuits..

1. Make strawberry jam

** How to make k9 strawberry jam **

1. Cut 3 strawberries (3 oz) into 8 sections, and put them in the sauce pan and stir often and cook them til it gets mushy and thicken and set it aside

2. Mix the strawberry jam with 1 tsp peanut butter in the small container

3. In the small bowl, add 1/2 C whole wheat flour, add 3 tbs plain yogurt,peanut butter-strawberry jam mix and stir

4. Knead for a few minutes on the lightly floured surface

5. Roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick and cut the dough with bone shaped cutter (I used 2″ bone cookie cutter size)

6. Place them on the non stick foil lined baking sheet,brush them with extra virgin olive oil and bake them at 350F for 35-38 minutes til golden and firm enough with slight dip when you press the biscuit

7. Cool it down

8. Serve

Makes: 20 biscuits

 The whole biscuits dough is roughly 311 kcal,which means, each biscuits (2″ bone shape) is about 16 kcal.

 You can find all the nutrition information for this biscuits at nutritiondata website here.

 As you can see, this peanut butter and strawberry jam biscuits recipe is tasty but not so high calorie biscuits treat.

Use for the kong..

 Kong is good toy to give mental stimulation with dry treats inside, and when you are using dry treats inside the kong, you can make the kong time extra fun by playing the “find it” game in the house, or outside the house and let the dog sniff out the kong and reward themselves with stuffed treats inside the kong

 When Kong is stuffed with wet treats, it is good to prevent the boredom which can lead to behavior problems.

 When Kong is empty, fun would not end there. You can play “fetch” with it.

 It bounces to unpredictable direction and makes the fetch game extra fun!

Care for the kong..

 Many people will be wondering what is the best way to clean the kong because it has funky shape and washing the toy is somewhat awkward.

 Therefore, I have contacted the company for the suggestion and here is the answer that we got.

  They suggest that the toys be washed in the sink using a bottle
brush or similar brush to get leftovers out of the inside.

 They do
caution the customers against using the dishwasher for cleaning the
They suggest that if someone would want to use the toys in the
dishwasher that they
only use a cool or warm water rinse cycle, no
drying cycle, and that the toy be placed on the top shelf of the
dishwasher only.

Kong company has a variety of
dog products that are durable and unique.

Besides classic Kong, people loves the tennis ball that squeak called “Squeakair tennis ball“.

Have you tried that too?

 What are your dog’s favorite Kong stuffing?

 Share your Kong stuffing recipe in the comment below.

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Mar 19, 2014 | Comments are off | Yassy's Gourmet Dog Kitchen

Japanese cooking;Ebi pilaf (shrimp pilaf)

 What is your favorite dish you have to have them once in a while?

 For me, since I grew up in Japan,where diet is based around rice along with several side dishes, I crave for rice when I do not get to eat rice for a long time.

 I like all kinds of rice dish but, one of my favorite rice dish is pilaf.

 It is one pot dish and you get to add variety of protein source, variety of vegetables and you can be creative about what kinds of pilaf you will be making.

 As a kid, my favorite pilaf was shrimp pilaf my mother made often. I just loved the plump crispy bite of the shrimp very much.

 In Japan, for the convenience,k you can buy a package of shrimp pilaf in the frozen food section but nothing bets the freshly made shrimp pilaf at home.

 My Pilaf does not use a lot of butter, and it is less greasier pilaf than you would get from some restaurants.

 Now and then,I make shrimp pilaf, and we all love them, and I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Shrimp pilaf…

 Ingredients for the Shrimp Pilaf;

1C Jasmine rice (Recommends Dynasty Jasmine rice)
5 marinaded shrimp chopped to 1″ chunks (Marinade recipe follows)
1.5 tbs butter plus 1 tbs for the finishing
1/2 sweet onion chopped
1/8 red green
pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper chopped
1/8C canned whole kernel corn

1 3/4C chicken broth
Natures Seasons
Green onion chopped

<How to make tender shrimp>

1. In the small container, mix 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tbs corn starch, 1 tsp sake, 1/4tsp Baking soda,3 tbs water well.

2. Add peeled,deveined shrimp and stir and put the lid on and keep in the fridge for 4-6 hours

3. Rinse the shrimp well under cold running water and pat them dry with
paper towel and follow the recipe. To cook the marinaded shrimp, it is
best to cook on the  hot skillet and be careful not to overcook them.

** I usually make this marinade for 10 count of medium size shrimp.

** You can use this marinade for scallop as well to make them tender.

<Shrimp pilaf>

0. Marinade shrimp,chop the shrimp into 1″ chunks

1. In the sauce pan, add 1.5 tbs butter, and when it gets bubbly, add v1/2 sweet onion chopped, 1/8 red green pepper chopped, 1/8 green pepper chopped, 1/8C canned whole kernel corn, and 1C Jasmine rice and stir

2. When the rice center got translucent in color, add, 1 3/4C chicken broth and stir

3. Cover the lid, cook the rice at medium low heat for 10 minutes

4. When 10 minutes passed, lower the heat to simmer,cook another 5 minutes

5. Add chopped shrimp pieces on top of the rice,cover the lid, cook for 5 minutes longer,and shrimp cooks through

6. When time is up, sprinkle a little bit of Natures Seasons over rice and shrimp and stir

7.  Sprinkle chopped green onion, add 1 tbs butter and stir to melt

8. Serve

Makes;3-4 serving


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Mar 16, 2014 | Comments are off | Asian cooking 911

Raw feeding 911 Part 24: Diet of the world’s first dog lived 31,700 years ago

 When you look around the store shelves at pet stores, you will find variety of dog food designed for specific goal from weight management to breed specific food.. and then, there are variety of forms from kibble,canned, dehydrated packaged raw, freeze dried raw and frozen raw diet food..

Palette and Buffalo rib..

 It is undeniable that dog food business is such a big industries.

 When you pick up each bag of dog food, you can find what is the “trend” to entice customers to buy those food for your dogs.

 Some companies use buzz word such as “All natural”, “Balanced”, “premium”,”organic”,”human grade”,”holistic” etc.. along with nice looking fresh food pictures on the front.

 Sometimes, the companies uses slogans that appeal to you.

 Among all those store bought choices, kibble and canned food are highly processed food, supplemented with vitamin mix the companies use to boost up the lost nutrient during the processing.

 With them, you would also encounter the problem that you would have no idea where each of the ingredients are coming from; domestically purchased or sourced from outside the states, and you would not know the quality of the each ingredients.

 Sometimes, uncertainty of origin of ingredients can be found at other types of dog food as well.

 Things that are readily available in the states to use in the dog food sometimes comes from far far away.

 For example, in the past, dehydrated dog food company recalled batch of food sold due to possible contamination of salmonella with parsley imported from Egypt.

 That same company’s vitamin mix coming from Europe.

 After the incident, the company has implemented the new processing step,which is “steaming the leafy green” before going into dehydration process as well as meat and egg they use.

 Now these food gets more processed, and steaming is better than boiling with high heat but if it still goes under more processing step (dehydration,which use gentle heat and air to dry),  where all those organic natural nutrient went?

 To compensate for that nutrient loss, you can find vitamin mix is added to the dehydrated dog food.

 Dehydrated packaged raw food,and frozen raw food are better choice than kibble and canned because they will be less processed, and much more simple ingredients list compared to kibbles.

 However, each company has their own formula/ratio of the products just like kibble and your dog might ,might not do well on them.

 You would not know if the pre selected formula could fit to your own dog,plus they tend to be expensive food.

 If you look around, dehydrated raw patties often contains more carbohydrate (vegetables) than actual protein source you would want to see more of.

 For example, here is the list of dehydrated raw ingredient list.

” dehydrated: Turkey, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, spinach,
carrots, organic coconut, apples
, organic kelp, eggs, bananas,
, rosemary extract*, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride,
zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement,
potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper
amino acid chelate.

 First thing you would look at is “Turkey” and it is on top of the list so you would think it is the great food.

 However,look at the number of fruits and vegetables typed in red.

 Just like label of kibble, ingredients will be listed in order of weight. However, companies can split the ingredients into smaller category and make the other ingredient come to the top of the list.

 This method is called “splitting” in the kibble industry.

 Overall, dehydrated food is less processed is better but if you carefully look at the ingredients, it contains more fruits and vegetables than Turkey itself, plus they include synthetic form of vitamin mix,which you can provide nutrient from fresh food directly if you feed fresh custom made raw diet by yourself.

 Sometimes, you would find it is not great food to feed everyday because each vegetables has pro and con and sometimes, one type of vegetables are not good for particular type of dogs and sometimes, vegetables in the question should be fed moderate amount, not everyday.

 With above ingredient list, potato… if your dog were arthritis dog, night shade family vegetable like that could aggravate the inflammation and you should avoid those vegetable.s

 Next thing that comes to mind is spinach. It is leafy green and great one but if it was fed excess, it could interfere the absorption of calcium, and if your dog were stone former, spinach and kale has high oxalate and you would probably do not want to feed it.

 Kale is, besides oxalate content, if it were fed excess, it could interfere thyroid function and home made diet people often times limit the intake up to 3 day to 4 days a week to feed the dog.

 Last thing is rosemary extract, not vegetable, but you should know that if your dog was EPI dog, since it could trigger seizure, you should avoid the food that contains it.

 Rosemary extract is often used as natural preservatives but this thing is not for dogs with EPI.

 With frozen raw patties,although since ingredients are kept frozen, they tend to have mixture of protein source with vegetables and fruits without added synthetic form of vitamins.

 I find that many frozen raw formula starts with protein source with bone as top ingredients,and many are mixed with pre selected fruits and vegetables.

 With raw diet, bone is what makes stool firmer and, each dog has different amount they need. Some dogs need more bone than others and, if you purchase pre mixed products, you would not know how much of bones are in the products and whether the amount of bones are more or less than what your dogs would need.

 Some big raw food companies that offer fresh cut products also carry frozen raw mixture but with them, you can choose with or without vegetables.

 Often times, they are offered with meat,bones,and organ without vegetables, although ratio of each ingredients are pre selected and you cannot change the ratio of each ingredients so your dogs do well on them.

 Here is the ingredient list of frozen raw patties.

 As you can see, with store bought dog food, you have more blind area than feeding fresh custom made diet;raw or homemade.

  When you start browsing through variety of dog magazines, you would find that the furry furriends’ food choices are more than store bought items, and some people like me feed their own dog custom made fresh raw diet or fresh homemade diet that suits to each individual dog’s need.

 Since you are the one to pick the food for your dogs, you know where the food is coming from, you can tweak the ratio of each ingredient, and you know how it is prepared for your dog (less processed) without added synthetic vitamin mix, which your dog might might not do well on.

 Having so many choices out there to choose from, you may wonder what is the best for your own dog.

 It is interesting though when you think that government in this country is encouraging you to have fresh,less processed food and you would hear a lot about “fresh food”, not “processed food ” on your plate.

 Then, when table is turned to canine furriends, doctors (vets) feel more comfortable with highly processed food a.k.a.kibble,canned,prescription dog food etc..

 It does not help when celebrity chef like Rachael Ray who helps people to cook fresh food for their family often says on her show that she cooks up food for her dog Isaboo, but she promotes processed food..

 I wish she could promote what she really believes in; homemade diet , if she cooks food for her own dog off camera.

 For me, personally, raw diet seemed make sense from nutrition point of view rather than how the ancestor used to eat; nutritious on its own,customize on my own, not processed but fresh all the time and I thought if I learn how to feed this fresh raw diet to Palette the Corgi, it will be the best diet I could provide.

 This is why,I started feeding Palette raw diet 7 years ago.

 To be honest with you, I did not recognize kibble was food when Palette’s breeder handed a bag of kibble to me and I had to ask her what it was for.

 That little nugget did not look like food at all,especiall for people like me who grew up with relatives that feed fresh food off the table to their dog, and I had never seen kibble food on their dog’s bowl,ever.

 Now I go back to Japan and visit pet supply stores, I can spot American brand kibble bags here and there, but there are plenty of homemade diet book at book store that include the ones written by vets and nutritionists, and many people still feed their dog cooked food.

 Some raw diet feeders choose to feed the way they do because they believe that it is what their ancestors used to eat,and mimic the way the wolf would eat.

 It is interesting to think that as years passes by, more new technology is developed and as they developed, our way to eat food changes.

 Dog food did not exist in the states up until 1890.

 To read the previous entry on dog food history,please click here.

 That being said, just recently, I came across interesting article on what the dogs 31,700 years ago used to dine on,and I thought I would share with you..

 According to NBC news article written by Jennifer Viegas, team of international scientists has identified what they think is the very first “dog” that lived on earth 31,700 years ago dined on horse, musk ox, and rein deer.

 The remains for the older prehistoric dog,which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium,suggested that Aurignacian people of the Europe from upper paleolithic period first domesticated dogs.

 The paleolithic dog is said to be most resembled to Siberian Husky in shape, but larger body and analyzing skull revealed that they had wider shorter snout,wider brain cases and skulls were smaller than wolves.

 Isotopic analysis of the animal bones suggested that the earliest dogs consumed horse,musk ox, and rein deer, but not fish or seafood.

 Because Aurignacians hunt big game animals, the researchers think that the dogs were used for tracking, hunting and transporting animals and the dogs enjoyed the share of the hunted games.

 To read the full article by Jennifer Viegas,please click here.

 Choosing the best food for your dog is very important decision based on each individual dog.

 No matter what type of dog food you decide to feed, it is important to take a moment to review what are in your dog’s bowl and learn the pro and cons and not influenced by power of celebrity chef endorsement or marketing buzz words.

 What type of food would support the overall health for your dog?

Mar 12, 2014 | Comments are off | Dog Diet

Japanese unique painting; Suiboku ga (Ink brush painting)

 There are variety of methods to paint and show the beauty of the nature through the paintings in the world.

 Unique to Japanese painting, there is the style of painting called “Su-i-bo-ku ga”. This style of painting was introduced by Zen monks from China and it became very popular during the Muromachi era (1337 -1573).

 The black Ink was made the same way as we use for calligrapher.

 For the Ink color shading, you would first rub the black Ink stick against Su-zu-ri,which is Ink stone.

 Then, dilute the color by adding water to it.

 After that, using the brush dipped in the ink, draw the strokes and start painting.

 They used Ink to draw the painting and used the shading of the Ink color to express the depth and variety. The objects can be human,animals, and nature (landscapes,mountains, plants,and trees).

 Later, the suibokuga started appearing on fu-su-ma (sliding door) at temples, on the scroll along with short poem and it was hung on the wall as decoration.

 Traditionally, suibokuga use only black color and white color and no other colors are used and that also makes suibokuga very unique.

 However, as years passed by, people started the colors but with the same suibokuga technique,and you can find a little bit more colorful suibokuga these days.

 Here is the youtube video to show you how one can draw the suibokuga painting.

 The video shows plum trees with red blossoms and a short tailed brush warbler.

 The painter uses shades and sizes of each blossoms to express the depth of the painting. I thought it was a beautiful painting.

Plum tree with red blossoms and a short tailed warbler; suiboku ga (Ink brush painting)

 If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

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Mar 10, 2014 | Comments are off | Japan

Why do dogs circle before going to potty Part 2

 In the previous entry titled “Why do dogs circle before going to potty?“,I wrote that there are a few theories behind it.

Palette 3 months old with pee pad dress (unused) ..

 If you have missed the entries, here are a few theories behind it.

1. Dogs stomp the grass to have perfect flat potty spot

2. Dogs circle left and right to be able to spot any predators and make sure the spot is safe to potty

3. By circling, leaving their scent from foot ( dogs have scent gland on foot and anus)

 Palette does her circling things every time we take her out for potty. First, she sniffs on the ground and moves on to walk to left,walk to right and back and forth for a couple of times, and then, the distance between the turn gets shorter,shorter as she does that and eventually, it becomes tight circle and she goes right,left,right left and then finally squat to pee or poo.

 If anything interrupted her circling. she has to start over from the scratch and I never understood why she had to do it all over again.

 Just recently, I came across quite interesting article on the very topic about dog’s circling behavior and magnetic sense and, it was the article looking into this dog’s unique behavior from more scientific point of view.

 If you were asked to name an animal that uses magnetic sense,you would soon imagine birds that immigrate from north to south,south to north but you would not have thought of dogs could be one of those animals.

 I thought it was interesting article.

 According to Ellen at dogsheir website, dogs go potty facing toward certain direction based upon Earth’s magnetic field.

 A team of scientists from Czech University of Life science and the University of Duisburg -Essen took several years to study on this very behavior from scientific point of view.

 They observed that the dogs preferred to poop with their body aligned along the North-South axis under calm magnetic field condition, although when the magnetic field was unstable, the dogs did not care which way to face to potty.

 Interesting thing is that, the scientists found out that the dogs tend to avoid to go to potty East-West directions.

 This study was done by measuring the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs,37 breeds, and they observed 1,893 potty #2 , and 5,892 potty #1 times over 2 years.

 Then, they looked at the data along with geomagnetic conditions.

 The scientists concluded that dog’s pooping behavior was predictable based on magnetic fluctuations, although they are still not sure why the dogs prefer to aligned along with Earth’s magnetic field when they go for potty.

 If the dogs has preferred direction to go to potty using magnetic field then, another theory as to why dogs do circle before potty can be added as “Dog circles trying to find and aligned along with the North-South axis using the magnetic field.”

 This also could mean that if the dog got interrupted the circling behavior, they might loose the sense of magnetic field and they have to do the circling all over again to be accurate.

 Now and then, you would hear the dogs came home from far far away from home and scientists thinks that the dogs have orientation ability just like their ancestor “wolf” has, and the reason why they can come home far away from home on their own is that they might be using magnetoreception; sense to detect the magnetic field to perceive the direction,altitude,and location.

 Isn’t it interesting?

 To read Ellen’s full article, please click here.

 To read the study published in Frontiers in Zoology,please click here.

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Mar 05, 2014 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Mexican cooking: Grilled Mexican Flank steak with Mexican red rice

 If you ask my
husband what kinds of steaks he likes best, answer will be grilled
steak. It is either thick cut of juicy medium rare fillet, or thinly
sliced flavorful flank steak.

 Flank steak is budget friendly cut of meat, and 2 lb of Flank steak can feed plenty of people and, you can marinade them in many types of marinade to enjoy.

Tips for cooking a great steak..

 1. Make sure to pick the even cut steak. Do not pick up the stake one side is thicker than the other.

 Even thickness ensure the same cooking time and,you would less likely
to overcook one of the steaks, or uneven cooking with the same steak
(one side of the steak is over cooked).

 2. If you cook up rib eyes etc.. ,pick up the steak with nice pink-red color.

 You may sometime find packaged meat with greyish color in the steak at
the grocery store. As time passes by, since meat is exposed to air for
so long, it changes its color to grey from pink-red,and sometimes, you
will find accumulated blood in the package.

 If you see discolored steak with accumulated blood in the package,it means,it is the old package.

3. Marbling should be thin streaks line of fat,and it should be
distributed evenly. You would find thick line of fat in the steak
sometimes and they are connective tissue and the steak will be tough and

4. Make sure to cook the steak that are at room temperature,not the steak straight out from the fridge

 5. Cook the steak with the skillet that are screaming hot so steak can have a good sear on the side

 6. After cooking the steak, make sure to let it rest for good 10-15 minutes

 If you slice the steak right away, the juice will be running all over the cutting board and you will be left with dry steak

 If you are in hurry, you can also slice Flank steak as thinly as possible and, if you were to use for stir fry, you can soak them in 1 tsp of baking soder with bit of water/soy sauce to tenderize the meat first.

 Then, you can rinse off the baking soda under running cold water ,pat them dry and season them as you want and cook them through.It will give you very tender piece of meat in the skillet dish.

 If you have good marinade, and if you were in hurry, you can slice the Flank steak as thinly as possible and marinade the sliced steak in the marinade for at least good 20-30 minutes before the cooking time.

 Thin cut slice of meat cooks up first and, you can enjoy flavorful piece of steak that way.

 Recently,I made Grilled Mexican steak with Mexican red rice  and my husband gave me thumbs up. It was with my made up rice recipe, made up marinade but all came out tasty.

 Since it was a hit,I thought I would share the recipe with you.

I wanted to add a little bit of “fresh” factor into the red rice, my red rice will be a little different from others you would find on the internet.

 If you have green salsa verde to drizzle over beef, it might go well with the dish as well.


Grilled Mexican Flank steak with Mexican red rice..

Ingredients for grilled Mexican flank steaks:

1 lb Beef Flank steak
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed plus 1 tbs more for finishing touch
1/8 tsp
ground Anchoi chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt plus 1/8 tsp more for finishing touch
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
chopped Cilantro for garnish

Ingredients for Mexican red rice:

1C Jasmine rice
1 2/3C water
3/4 chicken bullion cube
1/2 tbs butter
1/8 chopped jarapano
1/2 tsp Sazon with annato (recommend goya brand)
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp tomato paste

vine tomato seeded and chopped to about 1/4″ chunks
1/8 red onion
1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp chopped cilantro leaves

<Grilled Mexican Flank steak>

1. 1 hour before the actual cooking time, take the meat out to let it come to the room temperature

2. Pat the steak dry with paper towel and, poke the meat with fork

** Wet/Cold steak would not make nice sear on the steak

3. In the small container, make a rub by mixing 1 tsp ground cumin seed, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbs lime juice freshly squeazed, 1/8 tsp ground Anchoi chili powder, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper,1/2 tsp Mexican chili powder

4. Rub it on the steak, and put it into freezer bag and let it marinade over night or at least 1 hour

5. On the skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil,and when you see the
steam coming off from the skillet, put the steak on the skillet

** You would need screaming hot skillet for the nice good sear on the steak

** Stay back and do not move the steak around

5. Cook 4 minutes,flip and cook 5 more minutes or so

6. Take the temperature of the steak

** For medium rare steak, take the steak out from the skillet when your meat thermometer reads 125F to 130F

** For medium,130F-135F is the temperature to take the steak out from the skillet.

** Temperature of the steak continues to rise while steak is rested about 5F-10F more

7. Right before steak is being taken out from the skillet, add mixture of 1 tbs lime juice and 1/8 tsp kosher salt and let it evaporate and then take off the steak from the skillet

8. Put steak onto the plate and cover it with foil.Let steak rest for 15 minutes.

** If you slice steak without it being rested, you will have very dry steak

9. Slice the steak thin,against the grain

10. Serve

Makes:2 -4 servings

<Mexican Red rice>

1. In the sauce pan, add 1C Jasmine rice, 1 2/3C water, 3/4 chicken buillion cubes, 1/2 tbs butter, 1/8 chopped jarapano, 1/2 tsp Sazon with coriander and annato, 1/8 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp tomato paste, and stir

** Sazon is seasoning powder in Latin/Mexican flavor. Often times, Sazon is flavored with Achiote tree seed (annato), coriander, tomato,garlic etc..

I like to use the one with Annato (achiote tree seed) for this dish for the authentic look to it. This annato in the powder is what makes rice orange-ish hue just like tumeric makes rice yellow color.

You can use “Sazon with coriander” without annato as well in place of “Sazon with coriander and annato”.

2. When the water started ripple, cover the lid on, lower the heat to medium low and let it cook for 10 minutes,and when 10 minutes is up, lower the heat to simmer and let it cook for another 10 minutes

3. While rice is cooking, in the small container, add 1 vine tomato seeded and chopped to about 1/4″ chunks, 1/8 red onion chopped, 1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, and let it sit

4. When rice is done, take the pan off the heat, add the fresh ingredients mix;tomato-lime-red onion-salt mixture into the rice and stir and cover the lid on, and let it steam the fresh ingredient mixture in the pan without heat for another 5 minutes

5. Mix in the 1 tsp chopped cilantro leaves and stir

6. taste and adjust the seasoning if needed

7. Serve


Makes: 3-4 servings

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Mar 02, 2014 | Comments are off | Miscellaneous (Cooking)