Tag Archives: brooklyn museum

Omu Raisu (Japanese Rice Omelet)

close up omu raisu

I don’t know about you all, but I am so not ready for Christmas and the end of the year! I find myself juggling so many things to begin with, but then there’s presents to procure, work to finish, cookies to bake… Before we left for our travels to the midwest for Thanksgiving, we three enjoyed the Annual Children’s Book Festival at the Brooklyn Museum.  If you are in the area, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet Brooklyn authors.  It’s usually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and it’s free!

It was packed like this all day.  That's me and Jamie on the bottom right.

It was packed like this all day. That’s me and Jamie on the bottom right.

My friend, Claude, took this of us.

My friend, Claude, took this of us.

I also did a book reading, craft, and signing this past weekend at Grace Church School in Brooklyn, where Jamie went to pre-school.  I can’t believe it’s been SEVEN years since we first entered that beautiful building!

Me reading Soup Day

Me reading Soup Day — Jamie doing a great job not looking bored!

It is always very nostalgic going there.  My very first post on this blog was the Rocking Horse Cookies  I made for a Bake Sale there.  Time flies…

As for the Omu Raisu…  This is one of those common dishes that you could find everywhere in Japan — I haven’t been in ages, so I don’t know what it is like now.  It’s a Japanese version of a Western dish.  And as I saw when I lived there, way back in the 90s, “Western” often included ketchup.  I taught a cooking class there with my friend, Elaine, to some of my (adult) English language students.

We decided to do Crunchy Tacos– American style– as in, the kind you get at Taco Bell.  At the time it was pretty impossible to get authentic Mexican ingredients where we were living.  It was really fun, and the students loved the tacos, but the one thing I remember is them saying that it would be good with ketchup. lol

Anyway, one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Tampopo, directed by Juzo Itami, is when this hobo makes Omu Raisu in a deserted ship kitchen for Tampopo’s son.  View here.  It’s so cute!  The hobo’s version is not stuffed– he cooks a perfect omelet and puts it atop a bed of ketchup rice.

Here is a video on how to make a Miffy Lion Omu Raisu!!  I found this while searching for the scene in Tampopo.  OMG.  The Japanese are so good at cute.

Omu Raisu is one of Jamie’s favorite dishes — he’s a ketchup fiend.  I hadn’t made it in awhile, but while visiting my brother, he introduced us to this awesome YouTube channel, “Cooking with Dog”. We  watched numerous episodes on Apple TV while there.  I love that the dog just sits on a stool in the background as the chef cooks.  Here is the Cooking with Dog Omu Raisu episode.

My Omu Raisu is a simplified version.  I don’t use tomato sauce, just ketchup.  You can fill it with whatever meat and vegetables you like, but I like to use the traditional chicken.  I love white rice, but only had brown rice on hand.  As you can see, I have picky eaters to please, so I made different fillings for everyone.  I made a big batch of chicken and onions and rice first; doled out a portion for Denis in a bowl; then added the ketchup, peas, and corn (all things Denis hates); doled out a portion for Jamie; and then added cooked broccoli to the remaining filling for myself.  It was like a logic problem. filling diagramThen I made omelets and filled with with each person’s filling! omu raisu on fork

Before I share the recipe, I just wanted to thank Chef Mimi for giving  me the I Am Part of the WordPress Family Award.

Thank you, Chef!  I usually don’t post about awards because I am extremely busy, and I always have a slight bout of anxiety thinking of gathering other links, notifying the recipients of the awards, and wondering what  they will do.   But I was so touched by Chef Mimi’s no pressure attitude.  Plus, she’s a self taught cook like me and learned along the way while raising and feeding her family.  She has a wonderful collection of recipes in her recipe guide on her blog, so check it out!

omu raisu above
Omu Raisu (Japanese Omelet Rice) For three servings

4 teaspoons oil

Some onion — about 1/2 cup, diced, depending on your taste

about 1/4 cup cooked rice for each serving 1 chicken breast, chopped into small pieces about 1 cup of cooked vegetables

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ketchup, depending on how much you like ketchup 6 eggs (1-2 per person)

1)  Saute onions and chicken in 1 teaspoon oil in a non stick pan.  When it’s cooked, added cooked rice and cooked vegetables and ketchup.  Stir to incorporate.  Remove to a dish.

2)  Using a clean pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil and swirl around.

3) Beat 1-2 eggs in a bowl.  Add to pan.  Move around so that the egg covers bottom of pan.  When it’s almost done, lay filling on one half of egg circle.  Flip other half on top.  Put a plate on pan and flip omelet out onto the plate.  (The cooking with dog chef puts the filling in the middle and folds each side over — you can do this too, but my way is easier!)
4)  Serve immediately, garnished with more ketchup!


Filed under Art Related, Books, chicken, Dinner, Eggs, Uncategorized

Homemade Almond Paste and Pear Tart with Almond Filling

This past weekend I was at the Brooklyn Museum signing copies of my books. If you have never visited the museum, you should if you have the chance — it’s a wonderful space. They have an exceptional collection of Egyptian art as well — we will be making another visit soon to take advantage of this!

Anyway, back to the event — My table mate was Lisa Greenwald who was signing three of her Y/A novels. One book, Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes, involves fortune cookies, so she brought a duffel bag full of fortune cookies to give out at our table.

Lisa Greenwald and me at our table

The organizers at the museum ingeniously devised a game in which kids could collect stamps from each author table onto a sheet of paper.  If they got all the stamps, then they could get a prize. 🙂

Stamping sheets amid fortune cookies!

Me and Kate Hosford

Kate's book, Big Bouffant, and an Annabelle doll I made for her book launch.

The night before the event, we had dinner at our friends’ place.  I decided to bring an Almond Pear Tart. I wanted to make something autumnal that didn’t involve pumpkin or pecan since Thanksgiving is this week!

I love baking with almond paste (not to be confused with marzipan) but it can be difficult to find, and it is also somewhat pricey.  I found a great recipe for almond paste to make from scratch. For a fraction of the price of a 10 ounce can of almond paste, I made 7 ounces from a bit of blanched almonds, confectioner’s sugar, almond extract, and some egg whites.

I bought some pears a few days before the dinner and they were pretty hard, so I stored them in a paper bag.  As the fruit ripens, it emits a gas called ethylene.  When the gas is trapped in a bag, it speeds up the ripening process.  It did the trick!

If you have a melon baller, use it for coring the pears– it makes it a cinch!

This is an amazing recipe. The almond paste filling is very light and creamy and goes perfectly with the baked pears. I served it with whipped cream spiked with apple brandy (I would have used Poire William — a pear liqueur — but I didn’t have any on hand).  The only thing I changed in the recipe are the directions for placing the pears on the filling for baking.  I think placing each slice one and a time from the outside moving in is a better method.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Almond Paste

4 oz. blanched almonds

2 ½ oz. confectioner’s sugar

pinch of salt

½ egg white (I used about 1 tablespoon liquid whites)

½ teaspoon almond extract

  1. Finely grind almonds in food processor.
  2. Add in confectioner’s sugar and salt and process again.
  3. Slowly pour in egg white while processor is running. I eyeballed it and stopped when the consistency looked right.  Add extract and process some more.

Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Makes 6 7/8 ounces of paste


Pear Almond Tart from Bon Appetit 2003

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons apple cider

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons chilled butter

1/2 cup (packed) almond paste (5 ounces)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter at room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 medium Bartlett or Anjou pears

1.  Whisk egg yolks and apple cider in small bowl to blend. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add chilled butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk mixture and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. Roll out dough between two sheets of saran wrap to prevent sticking.  Lay dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; chill while preparing filling. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)
2.  Position rack in lowest third of oven. Preheat to 375°F.

3.  Blend almond paste and sugar in processor until almond paste is finely ground. Add 1/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter and process until thick paste forms. Add eggs and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Spread filling in crust; cover and chill while preparing pears.

4.  Peel pears. Cut each pear in half lengthwise and core. Slice 1 pear half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Press on pear half to fan slices toward wider end. Arrange slices in a concentric circle from the outer rim moving to the center of the pan.  Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Brush over pears.

5.  Bake tart until pears are tender and crust is brown, about 50 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm or at room temperature. (Tart can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar or to taste
dash of vanilla
dash of Pear Liqueur or Apple Brandy
1.  Whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla and liqueur and whip a bit more until peaks are stiffer — be careful not to over whip though!


Filed under Art Related, Children, Desserts

Brooklyn Museum Children’s Book Fair and Roasted Tomato Soup

It’s steadily getting chillier these days.  This means it’s great soup weather.  What’s more comforting than coming home to a toasty kitchen and a hot bowl of goodness?

I’m doing more book events this season to promote my book, Soup Day, which takes place during the cold winter months.  This coming Saturday (November 19) I, along with more than 30 local Brooklyn authors, including Peter Brown (Children Make Terrible Pets), Tad Hills (How Rocket Learned to Read), my friend Kate Hosford (Big Bouffant), will be at the 5th Annual Children’s Book Fair at the Brooklyn Museum from 12-4.  Please come join us if you are in the area!

Last year when Soup Day was released, I mentioned that I had written a sequel that hopefully will be published once I sell a certain number of copies of the book (this provision is an indication of how difficult it is to sell a picture book manuscript these days!  About five years ago this wouldn’t be an issue).  Well, I’ve heard from my editor that I’m only a couple thousand copies away so I’m asking you all to help me reach my goal!  Please support my cause by buying a copy of the book for a budding chef in your life!  it is a great way to introduce young kids to the joy of cooking.

“Back at home we wash the vegetables. Then Mommy chops everything into different shapes. The celery and onions become tiny squares. The carrots become circles. The potatoes become cubes. The parsley becomes confetti.”

The book was designed so well by Patrick Collins at Henry Holt.  The pages are slightly thicker than regular paper and the cover and pages have rounded corners which are perfect for young children — such a thoughtful touch by Patrick!  It also has a lower price point ($12.99 v.s $16.99) than a traditional picture book.

I leave you with a new soup recipe I developed — Sweet Roasted Tomato Soup.  Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness.  I added carrots for flavor and texture — they are  a great natural thickener packed full of vitamins and fiber.  A dash of sugar at the end and optional heavy cream stirred in rounds out the flavors.  I also made Parmesan Croutons with an old baguette.  Enjoy!

Sweet Roasted Tomato Soup

6 Roma tomatoes, halved

2 medium carrots, sliced into ½ -inch slices

kosher salt and pepper to taste

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 large onion chopped, about 2 cups

3 cloves of garlic mashed and minced

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

14 oz. can of diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1-2 teaspoons sugar

¼ cup heavy cream (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss tomatoes and carrots in 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread in a single layer on baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast tomato halves cut side up.
  3. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, stirring carrot pieces halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside.  Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in large soup pot on stove over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and season with a bit of kosher salt, basil, and oregano.  Saute until onions are transparent, stirring often.
  5. Add roasted vegetables to pot along with canned tomatoes and broth.  Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Alternatively, blend soup in batches in a blender (never fill blender more than half full), while covering lid (remove plastic center first) with dish towel.  Hold lid down while blending on low speed. Blend until soup is completely pureed and lump free. Return to pot after blending to reheat.
  7. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  Add heavy cream if desired and stir to incorporate.

Makes 4-6 servings.


Filed under Art Related, Children, Soup, Soup, Vegetables, Vegetarian