Quick Gyoza Kreplach (Dumpling Soup) for Sukkot

To start the Sukkot meal, I’m making a comforting bowl of chicken kreplach (dumpling) soup. I’ve read that kreplach is a symbolic new year food in some Jewish communities, because the filling is sealed in the noodle like judgement is sealed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur. But my first thought as a Japanese American Jew was: “It sounds like gyoza soup!”

Kreplach soup has been known to be very time-consuming. My addition of store-bought gyoza wrappers cuts the time more than in half, so you can spend more time outside with your family and friends:

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Japanese-Style Apple and Honey Roll Cake for Rosh Hashanah

The most famous dish of all on Rosh Hashanah is perhaps the simplest; apples dipped in honey, an edible prayer for a sweet year. Here's my updated take on a classic apple and honey cake for dessert: Light and airy Japanese sponge cake with whipped cream, spiced apples and honey rolled in. The end result is an unexpected take on a classic with a beautiful presentation and just a touch of sweetness to last all year.

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Obon Interview with Buddhist Priest Elaine Donlin

When I was growing up, I looked forward to a festival at my Japanese school and local Japanese American Buddhist Church, called Obon. Very simply put, Obon is like the Japanese version of Dia de los Muertos. It’s a time when we celebrate and honor the spirit of our ancestors through dance.

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Star Spangled Berry Labneh Dessert for 4th of July

Last year, when my husband Bryan and I visited Israel for the first time, I was naturally very excited about the food. I had heard about how amazing the hummus is there (it is), but what I was really blown away by was the labneh- a tangy Middle Eastern strained yogurt that’s both impossibly smooth and luxuriously creamy. It’s like a way better version of cream cheese! While it’s usually served as a savory side dish, I thought it would make an excellent base for a light summer dessert.

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Travel Guide to Montgomery, Alabama

While a trip to Montgomery may not be high on your list of places to visit (it wasn't on mine), I found it incredibly healing to visit in our current political climate. It's the heart of where so many of the divisions in our country started, and visiting is an empowering way in which we can begin to take ownership and responsibility for our shared history. 

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Squeezing Light Out of Dark in Montgomery, Alabama

How do we get to the core of racism and begin to heal? I think it's through confronting and acknowledging our history. Bryan and I recently visited Montgomery, Alabama- the heart of where so many divisions in our country started. I found it surprisingly healing to visit in our current political climate, and I came back a different person. I know Montgomery is not high on most people's travel lists, but I really encourage everyone to visit.

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Manzanar Pilgrimage 2018

Manzanar was one of many prison camps that the American government sent Japanese-Americans to during World War II, in the name of national security. I recently visited the site- here are photos and reflections of hope from the 49th annual pilgrimage.

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Tahini Butter Mochi

Butter mochi, a staple at Japanese-Hawaiian potlucks, is said to be a combination of Japanese mochi and Filipino bibingka, a sweet coconut rice flour cake. This butter mochi has another layer of complexity- the addition of tahini, one of my favorite Middle-Eastern ingredients.

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Japanese-Style Baked Cotton Cheesecake for Shavuot

Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) is coming up, during which dairy is a symbolic ingredient. Japanese-style cheesecake, also known as baked cheesecake or cotton (for it's light and airy consistency) cheesecake can be incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming to make. This recipe yields similar results, minus the many hours of prep!

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Potluck Cabbage Salad

Looking back on my childhood in Southern California, it seems like my family went to potlucks almost every weekend with our Japanese-American family and friends from Hawaii. As much as I loved seeing my aunties and uncles (some biological, most not), the little foodie in me loved the food most. And there was always ramen cabbage salad.

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