Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkin muffins (!) and other food

Baking is relaxing for me, and comforting as well. I decided early on in my stay here that I wanted to bake. Because so many aspects of the baking process would be unfamiliar to me, I thought I should start with a small manageable project. After locating muffin tins (actually I think they are ぷりん tins) along with baking soda and baking powder, I felt ready to tackle some pumpkin muffins. Kabocha is plentiful here at the house as my father-in-law is growing so much of it that we eat it in some fashion with nearly every meal. Luckily I also brought my pumpkin pie spice with me and I was able to replicate GirlJapan's recommended recipe. They were absolutely delicious! While a little on the sweet side for my taste, my mother-in-law swears she loved it. I had to laugh as I was making them because the oven is so small by American standards that it reminds me of an Easy Bake Oven on steroids. However, I am sure it cooks by convection as those muffins were done in no time. Hooray!

Now I just need to replace some of the spices here in the house. My attempt at a chicken tikka masala the other night was slightly less successful. I didn't realize we have no coriander in the house and after some investigating we found out that my mother-in-law's stash of garam masala is easily over five years old. The spices clearly lacked their *zing* when we tasted the final product. The long and short of it is that I'm learning to use the kitchen and tools in it, and we're slowly finding the supplies we like in the grocery stores. Back in the US, Gboy and I both shared the cooking responsibilities. He likes to cook lots of Japanese food and a little Italian now and then. He is also a master of steaks and homemade sausages. I, on the other hand, like to toy with other flavors - Mexican (or at least Southwestern), Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, etc. As a result, those are the things I know best how to cook and I really enjoy having a wide palette of foods and flavors. I'm willing to adapt to living in Japan, but I don't really want to learn to cook exclusively Japanese foods. I enjoy lots of other foods as well. Luckily, as I said, we're slowly finding the foods we like and are toying with new recipes. It's a delicious adventure! 


  1. Wow.. I had no idea = ) They look great!!! I am so glad the altered recipe I forged came out. I love kabocha = )

    Did you use turmeric, did they have a deep orange or yellow orange
    inside? Fab, fabulous! I hope you don't mind me blogging about this = ) I am so honored you used one of my recipes = )

  2. I used the kabocha but omitted the turmeric (another missing spice from our current collection). As a result, the muffins were a deep orange much like they would look if they were made for American style pumpkin. Delish!

  3. No worries, a trip to Jusco can solve that problem = ) Have you been to Diamond City yet?

    Ooo a deep orange, do you find the Kabocha is a bit more sweet than the orange variety.

  4. April Marie,
    I haven't been to Diamond City yet and I'm not sure where that is....I do find the kabocha to be slightly sweeter than the standard pumpkin in the U.S. I think this is why I found the kabocha muffins to be just *that* much sweeter than pumpkin variety. Still--- yum!

  5. Found you by way of Blogger Bingo. The muffins look amazing! I think its funny that you were able to make these creations in an "easy bake oven" because I have a full size oven and fail at making cake from a box! I'm not so bad at cooking though, this post has me wondering if I shouldnt toss some of my spices to return that "zing" to them, and try to make some new things. Happy Bingoing!