Mega Don Quijote

First there was ETWS, now there is Mega Don Quijote (Donki)!!!  OkiHai compares Donki to Walmart and I agree-ish.  Donki is the product of my thought process.  It’s chaos.  It’s colorful.  It’s loud.  It puts a dent in the wallet!

Once you park on the roof, make your way down the aquarium elevator and follow the red rug to Japan Land.  The first section is eye lashes.  Literally 8 rows of eye lashes.  Apparently eye lashes are big business around here!  Around the corner is the over lit area of accessories: purses, sunglasses, and watches.  After you turn the corner- good luck finding your bearing!  Electronics, kitchen tools, car accessories, childrens toys and clothes, hair products, and there’s even a grocery section!

The original intent of my voyage through Donki was to find accessories to our Halloween costume: chefs hat, an apron and an orange shirt.

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

We wore our couples costume to Reebok Crossfit Asia’s Kids Halloween party.  The only person to get it… got it on their fourth try.  Hmph.

Since I was already half way through crazytown Don Quijote I thought I’d wonder through the grocery section.  Holy happiness!!!  I’m on a spice kick as it is- and I was in heaven!

Its no Penzys- but it'll do!

Its no Penzys- but it’ll do!

I’m on my last jar of Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute Spice and have been looking for a replacement.  I have my fair share of spices but it just takes so much time creating spice blends that I really wanted a choice of already blended seasonings.  I went home with “The Oh!Zone”!!!!

Oh!Zone!!

Maybe its the over use of the !… I like it!!!!

The innuendo sold me: A cleansing blend to add a “lift” to stir-fries & curries.  Also delicious in salad dressings, sauces & in place of refined salt as a healthier table condiment.  You can stay in the gutter, if you want 😉

Back to spices: this isn’t the best collection of spices I’ve ever seen but it has done its job of holding me over.  Therefore, I’ve still been on the look out for a company that I love as much as The Chefs Olive Mix for oils and vinegars- but for spices.  Enter the magical potion of friend and Facebook: a friend suggested Savory Spice Shop.  She even let me “borrow” some of her fancy spices: anise and cardamom (Bo Kho and Rogan Josh recipe).  It has a drop down for APO.  Need I say more?  Ok, fine, I will: Roasted Garlic Granules, Raritan River Herb & Chipotle Seasoning,Citrus & Savory Brining Spices and Madagascar Vanilla Extract… my kitchen is ’bout to explode… now we wait!!!

Tootles-

jess

Mean Cuisine Recipes and Review

A fellow foodie, Leah, has started to offer her chef skills to the peeps of Okinawa: Mean Cuisine!  I took advantage of the October special and booked a “Mix it Up” Class.  After a few emails back and forth and a small deposit, my reservation was made!

We met at Awase Fish Market at a designated time plus the 10 minutes it took me to do a u-turn and map study.  We started at the veggie stand.  Leah explained where specific veggies came from with details on taste, texture and recipe ideas.  We picked out some good looking veggies and headed into the actual market.  Inside we notice it was slim picking on the fish front.  3 o’clock was a bit late for a good selection.  We were still able to pick out a few whole fish and turned them into the super quick fish-cleaner-guy fishmonger while we made our way to the sashimi section.

"Yes, Id like the keep the heads"... wait... what?

“Yes, Id like the keep the heads”… wait… what?

When all was said and done, I spent  around ¥6,000 in fresh vegetables and fish- planning to serving 12.

Back at my house we unloaded the groceries and started the first side: Garlic- Chipotle KabochaKabocha is a Japanese pumpkin and available everywhere!!!  I have never cooked with this little guy… this is what I learned: 1.) you’re supposed to eat the peel and 2.) in some cultures it’s an aphrodisiac!!

Kabocha

Kabocha

Galic-Chipotle Kabocha

  • 1 kabocha; stem and bottom removed, deseeded, and sliced into wedges
  • 4 T EVOO
  • 3 T garlic granules
  • 2 t Chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Smother kabocha wedges with EVOO, sprinkle with garlic and chipotle and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 20 more.

Smokey, sweet and spicy... Kabocha!

Smokey, sweet and spicy… Kabocha!

My guests arrived willing and eager to learn and cook– Leah put them to work washing the lettuce for the sashimi salad.  While one side of the kitchen prepped the salad, Leah and I started the Fish Head Soup.  This soup looks complicated… it’s not- promise!!

Fish Head Soup

  • 1 pot of water
  • 3 fish heads
  • 1 yellow onion;  ends cut off and chopped in half (leave the skin)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t marjoram, dried
  • 1 t thyme, dried
    ——————-
  • 1/2 t Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 T coconut four
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
    ——————-
  • 3″ lemon grass, bruised
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and then down to a simmer.
  2. When the fish’s eyes “pop” it’s time to start adding salt, pepper, more salt.
  3. Boil until the soup reduces to half the volume.
  4. Strain everything out so you’re left with only broth.
  5. Mix curry powder, coconut flour and arrowroot in a small dish then add to fish broth and mix with a hand blender
  6. Add fish balls, lemon grass, salt and pepper- soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish heads, water and veggies!

Fish heads, water and veggies!

Volume is down to 1/2

Volume is down to 1/2

Fish Balls

  • 1 raw fish, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ t black salt
  • ¼ t wasabi powder
  1. Mix all ingredients with fingertips in a small bowl.
  2. Form small balls about the size of paintballs.
  3. Drop into fish broth.
  4. Soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Yes, I’m saving the best for last:

Butter-Fried Fish

  • Whole fish: innards, head and scaled removed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • EVOO
  • (optional: garlic granules, herb, etc. of your choice).
  1. Melt butter in pan at med-high heat.
  2. Make paste of oil, salt and herbs or spices that you      choose.
  3. Massage into skin of fish.
  4. Fry fish until it moves easily in the pan.
  5. Flip.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Enjoy.
    Fish and butter, baby!

    Fish and butter, baby!

    Crispy fish!

    Crispy fish!

    Mean Cuisine Review:

Overview: I met Leah at Awase fish market and purchased ingredients to serve 12 for a “fish dinner”.  In my kitchen, we made: fish ball soup, sashimi salad, garlic-chipotle kabocha, three butter-fried fish and 1 oven baked fish.  It took 2 hours from unloading groceries to saying grace.

Pros: Leah’s Mean Cuisine was a great opportunity and I plan on doing it again (Kokasai Street next time!!!)!  She was informative, creative and a pleasure to learn from.  My favorite part was having her in my kitchen.  For example, I have more spices than you can shake a stick at yet I rarely use them.  Leah went through all my spices and gave me some awesome suggestions and pairings.  The laughter that helped build dinner will not be soon forgotten!!!

Cons:  We bought waaaaaay too much sashimi.  Also, I had originally shopped for 12 dinner guests.  Luckily, a couple of husbands didn’t make it and we had just enough for every one.

Prices: Book a cooking lesson before October 31 and pay only ¥1,000 per student per hour (minimum 2 hours) plus materials fee.

Details: Find Leah on facebook or visit her blog!

The dinner party!

The dinner party!

Tootles-

jess

Gate Three Market

Sick of shopping at the commiscary?  Get off base!  Get your mirror dented, use your windshield wipers instead of your turn signals and get lost!!!  I know its overwhelming at first, but you are on an island… you can only go so far!!!

The first and easiest one from Kadena is what I call the “Gate 3 Market”.  I came up with this very catchy name because its easiest to get to coming from… you guessed it: Gate 3!!

Directions:

  • Be on Kadena
  • Go out Gate Three  (Ok, back up.  Get on Douglas, pass Burger King (itll be on your right) and keep going.  Pass the recycling center turn off.  Yes, theres a recycling center on Kadena!!)
  • Go straight through the light.  (Stop if its red… well you can keep going, but put your right hand up, nod your head a bit and hope no one is jumping the gun.)
  • Pass Camp Shields (that’s where Naps is)
  • Pass B.C Motors (Why don’t they use a second period? That drives me nuts)
  • Go straight through the stop light that says turn to go see the Southeast Botanical Gardens (newly opened and now on my to-do list!)
  • Pass a graffeti pachinko parlor (which I think with the right TLC would be an awesome place for RCFA… just saying)
  • Now slow down, turn left when you see this itty bitty sign
turn left at the green sign

turn left at the green sign

Missed it?  Its ok, turn left at the next drive way!!  If you come to a T-intersection- you went too far!

This is actually called a “JA Market“.  They have tons of fresh yummy goodness.  Check it!  Bring your yen or credit cards!  Open 7 days a week.

Tomatoes bright and plentiful, thats goya behind the red heads

Tomatoes bright and plentiful, thats goya behind the red heads

eggs, eggs and EM eggs

eggs, eggs and EM eggs

dehydrated root veggies- oh so crunchy!

dehydrated root veggies- oh so crunchy!

$9 magos, mini pineapples and maybe grapefruit

gorgeous mangos with to die for flavor!

Just to the side of the market is this little nursery: flowers, herbs (couldnt find cilantro), and some veggies

Just to the side of the market is this little nursery: flowers, herbs (couldnt find cilantro), and some veggies

Go on… get lost!!!!

Tootles-

jess

Circuit Shopping

After a great wod at Reebok Crossfit Asia make this little circuit shopping for some yummy goodness!

From the gym- hang a right.  Pass Family Mart (which will be on your left).  Look for the red and yellow flags.  Turn into the parking lot and shop for freshness!

Just a few blocks from RCFA!

Just a few blocks from RCFA!

Freshness

Veggies and fruits!

Veggies and fruits!

From here, take a right… further away from the gym and Kadena.  Its ok, you’re on an island… you’ll find your way back: promise.  At the intersection of 329, take a left.  Pass through the 330 intersection, pass through 85 (the road with Yellow Box) and look for the red and yellow flags on your left- similar to the first markets flags.  If you ran into 74/16 or McDonalds, you went too far.

Same stuff, but different

Same stuff, but different

Try something new!!

Try something new!!

From this fruit and veggie stand, take a left back on 329.  Get in the right hand lane and take a right onto 16.  Go slow, and look for this building on your left.

Pink building, green awning

Pink building, green awning

Okinawas Garlic Chicken.  You will not be disappointed!

Rotisserie

Rotisserie

Chicken stuffed with TONS of minced garlic: TONS!

Chicken stuffed with TONS of minced garlic: TONS!  One whole chicken is 1,500 yen, a half is 800 yen.

From here, continue down 16.  On the left you’ll see a huge pachinko parlor, just past that will be the entrance to the what I call the “egg zoo“.  It’s acutally called the Zukeran Egg Shop- click on the link for better directions.

Local, yummy eggs... enough to get me through the week!!!

Local, yummy eggs… enough to get me through the week!!!

Wait.  I thought he was still at the gym?

With a wod to break my two-week wod hiatus and my shopping circuit complete, I came home and made this post wod salad.  It was a summer time explosion!!!!!

Mango Chicken Salad

Mango Chicken Salad

I apologize for the blurry picture.  Even my new iPhone couldn’t get a good picture through my shakey post-wod hands!!!

Tootles-

jess

GMOs: Cereal. Killers.

15 Apr 2013 2 Comments

GMOs.  What are they?!!?!?  Where are they?!?!?!  I’ve been learning a bit on GMOs since learning about them from my SIL.  Recently, I reflected on my high school biology career… I failed biology 2 years in a row.  Maybe this isn’t the topic for me. But, then again, you can get information in a video- and I LOVED movie day!

Dont have time for 2 1/2 hours of video?  No?  You’re in luck: heres pictures!

gmo2

gmo1

6 months ago in California Proposition 37 (required labeling of food products made from GMOs) was axed.  $47,000,000 (thats MILLION) was donated to oppose this measure.  There has been lots of pictures on facebook with lists of GMO users (the BAD GUYS):

This was sent to Stephanie by her Mom as a pamphlet.

This was sent to Stephanie by her Mom as a pamphlet.

Bad bad guys

snopes says these companies are not owned by “Monsanto” but these companies use products developed by Monsanto.

Potato: Potato.

Heres the happy list:

gmos1

Follow me here- I’m going out on a limb… I started watching a new show: The Following.  The show is about a serial killer, Joe Carroll,  who is the leader of a serial killing cult.

The Monsanto

The Monsanto

I have nicknamed Joe Carroll: The Monsanto.  Monsanto… cereal?!?!  Anyone!?!??  Watch the show, let me know what you think!!!

Ok, back to real life…

Both of my boys are playing organized basketball.  After every game a different parent is in charge of sending the kids home with a snack.  First off: why do we need a snack after 16 minutes of exercise and secondly: chips, Gatorade, doughnuts, and granola bars just doesn’t feel like an appropriate “snack”.  I’ve called on my facebook homies to help me out on a fun and healthy snack… more to follow!

Tootles.

jess

Crossfit Field Trip

03 Mar 2012 5 Comments

An amazing advantage about having the opportunity to be stationed on Okinawa is being awarded the opportunity to embrace the international community.  As most of you know, the Okinawans are considered one of the most healthy and long living people in the world.  Personally, I believe it has a lot to do with diet.  Some locals will say it’s the goya, some say it’s the papaya and theres some that say its in the coral.  Whatever it is I dont think they sell it at the commissary.

We are vey lucky to have the commissary as an option and Im very thankful for being able to scare away my monthly visitor by devouring Reece’s peanut butter cups, however, there are so many more options off base.  I have always been intimidated by shopping off base.  Im always afraid I will offend the locals and I’d rather be the politest person at the commissary than the worst patron at a local grocery store.  So, when I had the opportunity to do a field trip with Crossfit Asia- I jumped!  If I offend someone at least my tour guides could tell me!!

We visited three places. First was the Awase Fish Market.  Super easy to get to: go out gate two, take a left at the AU, take a right at the next light.  Walk in the building that is bubbling with locals!  When we first walked in there was an area of local fruits and vegetables.

This is a type of squash. It can be peeled, seeded, cubed and put into soups to add a starch without being too starchy.

Speaking of starch, here’s a sweet potato (these are actually white on the inside)

One of my FAVORITE things to do with these yummy things is to peel it, cube it, and boil it for about 7 minutes. Then wrap them in bacon, and bake them for about 20 minutes at 375 until they are golden brown. This makes a great dish at a pot luck!!!

sweet potato bacon goodness

Once inside the market we strolled around looking at all of the options.  There were two large fridges that had a lot of different type of fish and the best thing was above the fish was a picture of all of the fish with an English translation of what the fish is called.  Apparently you can pick out a fish, take it to the counter and have the guys cut it up to your liking!  You can also have them cook it there too!!!!

fishies with pictures!

Past this area, there is a glass covered display with an assortment of fish already cut up.  I spied a good strip of salmon and Kaiko helped me call a fish lady over, the fish lady asked me a question (in Japanese) and then Kaiko asked if I wanted it cut up (like shashimi), I shook my head no and threw in an “ah-di-kat-toe” and a smile and made my way to the register.

The next stop was to the Gate 3 Farmers Market… again, easy to get to: exit gate three, go over a bridge, take a left before you run into 329.

veggie galore!

The prices were very reasonable and the selection was pretty awesome!  The first thing that caught my eye was strawberries!!!!  Everything was well displayed and the prices were easy to find.

The last stop was San A.  Theres a lot of these stores around the island.  Their logo is a red and yellow “A’s” in a triangle.  The first thing I really wanted to talk about was the meat section.  I learned quite a few new things!

This is local Okinawan Pig

This is local Okinawan Black Pig

***This is the Holy Grail of Paleo meats… Grass Fed beef from New Zealand!!!****

When it comes to ground meat, Chiaki said it best: white is chicken, pink is pork, red is beef and the large ones are a combination of beef and pork!

ground beef, ground pork & ground beef/pork

this is an iced coffee with no sugar added (the Kanji means “without sugar”)

This is a cheat sheet that Kaiko made to help us read the nutritional facts on packaged goods. The main thing Kaiko pointed out was that all labels are in this same order, so if cant remember the exact Kanji, you can remember that the 6th one is sugar!

This yellow and pink stamp means that it is from Okinawa.

This picture on these eggs make it look like they are something special, but what it actually means is that Marigold has been “added”… Im not sure if the chicken made out with a marigold of if the chicken ate it?!?!

Lastly I wanted to show you what Chiaki had for lunch.  This seems like a great “on-the-go” meal.  Its yakitori and a seaweed salad.  She said the yakitori she chose was without (soy) sauce… looks good to me!

Paleo lunch for bad asses!

Id like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Crossfit Asia for putting this field trip together.  A HUGE thank you to Kaiko and Chiaki for patiently explaining everything, you two are amazing!  I really appreciate Katie, Heather and Kit for putting up with me, my picture taking and my rambunctious princess!!!

Tootles,

jess.