Celebrating my imminent departure from Japan with some homemade Japanese styled pizza! Yay! Because nowhere in America is corn going to be a topping option…
1 pre-made pizza bread
Mixed cheese, shredded
1 small green bell pepper
Favorite spaghetti sauce of choice, mine is a tomato and basil mix that can be found in most Kaldi Farms Stores across Japan
Optional: favorite meat, drizzle of Sriracha, etc.
1. Preheat your oven to 210C and preheat for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile spread a layer of tomato sauce and olive oil across the pizza bread. Top with mixed cheese.
3. If your veg is not pre-sliced now is the time to do it. Scatter the green bell pepper, followed by chunks of fresh mozzarella, and finally the corn.
4. At the same temperature set your pizza to bake for the next ten minutes.
::Beanilla Recipe for Home-Made Vanilla Extract::
-What You’ll Need-
1 Homemade Vanilla Extract Infusion Kit (I used the Bourbon-Madagascar variety)
1 cup rum
Some elbow grease (and groovy dance moves)
8 weeks worth of saintly patience
Lots of love ❤
Stumbling across Beanilla was my best piece of luck last year 😉 The aroma of real vanilla is mouthwatering and soothing all at the same time ❤ Until you smell a fresh vanilla bean, you have no idea what heaven smells like… okay, totally one-sided view of heaven. I especially loved how the scent wafted in the kitchen for a good couple hours. I could almost hear Bach’s Hallelujah in the background. It was glorious.
Some might be hesitant to begin making their own vanilla extract but it’s really just that simple: alcohol + sterilized glass bottle + deliciously scented vanilla beans = magical never ending supply of vanilla extract! For $15.00 you will never have to buy vanilla extract again! So long as you keep the vanilla beans in the bottle, just keep topping off your 8.5 fl oz bottle with alcohol of your choice (preferably same alcohol type and brand that was originally used) and you have a practically never ending supply of vanilla extract. And when you run out of alcohol just buy more. No, seriously… it helps out the environment and it’s worth every penny once you do the math:
Great Value Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 fl oz – $2.48
Pure Vanilla: Premium 100% Pure Extract, 2 oz – $4.12
McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, 16 fl oz – $9.98
(And those are Walmart prices; as soon as you run out you have to go buy them again)
And some more Time Machine Archives… the baking adventures before life, work, and school puttered me out of my demanding side job of self-appointed cookie chef and baking experimenter extraordinaire 😉 I used my vanilla extract in souffles, chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, and the gem of gems: Linzer cookies! The flavor came out best in the souffle since it wasn’t competing with anything other than the egg. I still don’t like souffles though… all that eggy-ness.
Hiking in the morning, making jam in the afternoon, and reading heavy fiction in the evening are some nice alternatives for the people who aren’t too beach crazy. The only way to enjoy summer properly is to partake of all its joys, my dear Californians, and yes there is a world outside of our warm, sandy beaches. Fortunately this is also the time of the year that locally grown fruit makes a comeback: lower in price and oh so ripe. The best way to preserve their full flavor and freshness? In jams! 😀
So this recipe is pretty adaptable for the most part, which is great for people who want to cut back on the sugar. My friend Diana is the greatest at coming up with cooking challenges for us to try but this one topped the cake. Not only was it fairly simple and less stressful than some of our other concoctions (pasta sauce… ahaha o.o) but it’s so much fun! Just the idea of making jam instead of having to buy it – makes one feel self suffient! It’s a family friendly recipe that’s a win-win for everyone. I look forward to seeing what else she’ll come up with next 😉
- 2 lbs organic strawberries
- ~1 c water
- 1.5 c sugar (white, brown, raw)
- 1 lemon, squeezed
- Wash, de-stem, and cut all of the strawberries in half. And, of course, eat a couple of them along the way >.> But not all!
- Blend strawberries and water until completely liquefied.
- Pour the liquefied strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice into a saucepan and stir sugar until completely dissolved.
- Boil this mixture for 30-45 minutes and stir occasionally to keep jam from burning. Make sure to skim the thick, white foam that accumulates, which although tasty is not good for the jam. You’ll know it’s ready once it turns a bright and deep red.
- Ladle into properly sterilized mason jars (do not touch inside of the jar) but do not fill to the brim. Carefully seal mason jar and place lid down onto a towel on a flat surface, which will help the jam to seal properly. Once cooled place the mason jars into the refrigerator so that jam can properly congeal 😉
Even so this jam will be a little runnier than the kind you buy at the supermarket because there are no artificial additives. But it holds up well and tastes amazing. The amount of sugar listed in this recipe is just right for those who like a tart sweetness. Two cups of sugar (but no more) recommended for people with a really sweet tooth. All in all it’s a pretty adaptable recipe. Enjoy!
And now for some time machine archives from the old blog – those of you who would like access just drop me a line using the contact page: strawberry picking, otherwise known as いちごかり (ichigokari) in Japanese, is a great day trip to take if you live in the city and want to get out for a couple of hours.
For about 1,000 yen (approximately $10.00) you can pick and eat as many strawberries as you want in the hothouses for a set amount of time. Most places do anywhere upwards of an hour and a half to two and a half hours of wonderful berry picking and eating.