maple and matcha

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beet, kale, and goat cheese pizza | veggies, veggies, veggies…

I love beets and kale.

baked kale and beet pizza

But when we get them almost every week of the summer as a part of our CSA box… well, I had to get a little creative. So here’s a veggie-topped pizza for your using-up-all-the-vegetable needs!

Do you have a favorite beet or kale recipe that keeps them interesting throughout the summer?

Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas)

kale and beet pizza assembly


  1. Cut beets in half, then slice and steam until almost ready to eat
  2. Over medium-high heat, stir-fry onion, kale, and summer squash until slightly crisp. Got more vegetables to use up? Throw ’em in here!
  3. Prepare your pizza pan: use a pizza stone, or a flat baking sheet with a thin layer of oil and flour or cornmeal
  4. Roll out your pizza dough and place on the pan
  5. Spread stir-fried vegetables (onion, kale, squash) in an even layer on dough, then place the beet slices
  6. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle mozzarella
  7. Bake for ~10 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is browned
  8. In the last minute of baking, top with diced fresh basil as desired (in case you’re checking the photos, I added the basil before baking, but this made it come out a little toasty at the end, so I’d recommend you put it in later)

kale and beet pizza


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Bento #1

From left to right:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • blanched mizuna topped with soy sauce, ginger, and bonito flakes
  • carrot and radish pickles – I used radish instead of Japanese daikon
  • nori tamagoyaki (rolled egg with seaweed)


poll for new #bentobuddy

With unimpressed giraffe’s newfound popularity has come a busier photoshoot schedule. As a result, I think he might like the chance to share the spotlight with someone else.

unimpressed giraffe lookin' fancy

unimpressed giraffe lookin’ fancy

Just kidding, unimpressed giraffe, I know you love all the attention! But adventures, both culinary and otherwise, are better with friends. So who would you like to see join unimpressed giraffe as a food taster? Vote below!

#bentobuddy poll

new #bentobuddies

The simple color names below are not final. Please suggest a name for your favorite #bentobuddy in the comments! If I pick your suggestion and you leave your name in the comment (nickname, real name, online name, etc.), I’ll give you a shout-out in the first appearance of our new #bentobuddy.

Update: poll is now closed – get ready to see some photos of Mischievous Monkey! (Since Bear was a close 2nd, he may make an appearance in the future as well.)


enchiladas two ways (chicken & tofu) | lick your fingers

Do you have a dish that you would keep eating forever if your stomach didn’t run out of room? That’s how I feel about these enchiladas.

Even after the meal is over, I find every excuse to have “just a little more” – a bite here as I pack the leftovers into containers, a bit there when I (inevitably) spill some, licking the spatula once the baking dish is empty…

Tofu and chicken enchiladas from Maple and Matcha

In my family we have certain meals that everyone gets to personalize, and enchiladas are one of them. If you are trying to please multiple palates, you can easily make different fillings and bake them all in the same dish (as long as you remember where you put each one). This chicken filling is based on my dad’s recipe, which has a super savory and rich flavor. The tofu filling is based on my mom’s recipe, using mashed tofu and cheese to make it extra soft and creamy. I think the perfect combination is some of each.

Ingredients (makes 20 enchiladas)

  • 20 corn tortillas

Chicken Filling (makes 10)

  • 2 chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
    • Note: these instructions are for uncooked chicken, but if you use cooked chicken you can just mix everything together.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 5 mini sweet peppers (or 1 bell pepper), diced
  • 1 (12 oz.) can black beans
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans red enchilada sauce
    • 1/2 cans for filling
    • 1 1/2 cans for topping
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (recommended: cheddar)

Tofu Filling (makes 10)

  • 1/2 block tofu
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheese (recommended: cheddar)
    • 1 cup for filling
    • 1/2 cup for topping
  • 1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
  • 1 (12 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
    • 4 tbs for filling
    • remainder for topping
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn


Cooking time: 75 minutes (15 min to make each filling, 15 min to assemble, 30 min to bake)

Chicken Filling

  1. Put frying pan over medium-high heat
  2. When pan is warm add chicken, onion, and garlic; stir fry until onion and garlic is tender and chicken starts to brown
  3. Add peppers, cook for another 5 min
  4. Add black beans and enchilada sauce, cook for another 5 min

Chicken enchilada filling from Maple and Matcha

Tofu Filling

  1. Mash tofu
  2. Mix in cheese, green chilies, enchilada sauce, and corn

Tofu enchilada filling from Maple and Matcha


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Using 2 medium baking dishes, just barely coat the bottom of each with enchilada sauce (red for dish that will have chicken enchiladas, green for tofu enchiladas)
  3. To assemble enchiladas: fill center with a rectangle of filling, fold over the edges, and carefully place in pan seam-side down
  4. Add toppings to each pan: first cheese and then enchilada sauce, trying to cover all surfaces to avoid burning
  5. Bake for 30 min, or until top is lightly browned and all cheese is melted

How to make enchiladas from Maple and Matcha


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littleneck clams | family & friends


Happy 2015!

Although the arrival of a new year often focuses on looking ahead, it comes on the heels of the holidays, a time for family and treasuring shared past moments. A few years have passed since I moved away from home for college and then work, but within seconds of pulling into the driveway I almost feel as though I’m back in high school. Hugs from your parents never change!

This year while visiting my mom’s family in Rhode Island, a friend of my uncles happened to stop by. He has known them for a long time, and instantly recalled one time that he took my uncles and mom out sailing. Isn’t it funny how we can remember a single day? Family and friends, no matter how long or short a time we spend together, fill in our reel of memories.

On to food: the family friend generously gave us some littleneck clams that he had collected that day. And by some, I mean a lot. I mean look at this stack of them!


We decided just to steam them and eat them with a simple dipping sauce. Serve them with a side of your choice – we complemented it with rice and roasted vegetables. We managed to finish off almost the entire batch between just three of us! So consider yourself warned.

What is one of your favorite family or childhood memories?

Eat up and stay warm! Cheers, Jen



  • littleneck clams
  • for dipping sauce:
    • 1 tbs butter
    • 1 tbs soy sauce
    • 1 clove garlic – crushed



  • Let clams soak in fresh water for about 20 minutes to release sand, then pick clams out of sandy water and scrub shells until clean.
  • Place a colander in a large pot and fill the pot with water. The water level should not be not above the bottom of the colander – you want to steam, not boil the clams.
  • Heat the water to boiling, then put the clams in the colander.
  • Steam for about 10 minutes, and transfer all clams that have opened to a serving dish. Discard those that do not open. Since we had a large number we removed them in batches as they opened, which took weight off of the clams at the bottom and allowed them to pop open when ready.
  • Reserve some of the steaming liquid at the bottom of the pot to use as a (salty) dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  • Melt butter in microwave, then mix in soy sauce and crushed garlic.

To Serve

  • Dip each clam first in steaming liquid and then the butter sauce.



Japanese dango (rice cakes) | moon festival

Our friend recently invited us over to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival. As a community of graduate students, most of us are far from family and old friends. He told us that Moon Festival is about spending time with your family, so instead of being alone, we spent time together in our new student “family.”

Another friend made these absolutely gorgeous traditional moon cakes! They are orange from the squash, and he used molds to get the particular shape. Well, I don’t know how traditional the car shape is 🙂 (He wanted to distinguish the ones that contained peanuts, in case anyone had a peanut allergy.)


Similar festivities occur in other Asian countries, including Tsukimi (月見 or moon viewing) in Japan. I wanted to contribute a tradition Tsukimi food, so I decided on dango, a Japanese rice cake, in this case filled with sweet red bean paste. They kind of look like little moons, don’t they?


This is a very simple but fun recipe, since you get to shape the cakes by hand. With that in mind…please forgive the uneven appearance!


  • 1 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Adzuki (red bean) paste, for the filling


  • Mix the rice flour and water together and knead. Adjust the amounts as needed so that it becomes the consistency of an earlobe. Don’t laugh – this is apparently the oft-used description for cooking dango!
  • Form a small ball (about 1 inch in diameter) of dough, then press it flat.
  • Spoon a small amount of red bean paste into the center of the circle. Fold the edges around and push together to seal and make a ball.
  • Drop the dango into a pot of boiling water. At the start, they will sink to the bottom. Only add enough so there is some space between each dango.
  • Once they bob to the surface, cook for 2 minutes remove, then remove.
  • The dango will be very sticky and dry out if you leave them a while before eating. To avoid this, store in a container of cold water.



I hope you are enjoying your autumn with the friends and family dear to you!

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white bean and kale soup | fun with veggies

As I mentioned in a previous post, we signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, which means we get a grab-box of veggies every week this summer! We ate a lot of salad last week, and wanted to mix things up this week with a savory soup!

white bean and kale soupIngredients:

  • 2 hot italian sausages (can substitute another type of your liking, or leave out to make vegetarian)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup (dry) or 1 can pre-cooked white beans
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, paprika
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 turnip
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • 1 broccoli stalk
  • 4 medium red potatoes


  • Prep: Finely dice onion and garlic. Cut sausage and remaining vegetables into half-bite-sized pieces.
  • Saute sausage, onion, and garlic until browned.
  • Add broth, kale, and beans. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add carrots, turnip, celeriac, broccoli, and potatoes. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Serving Suggestions: over rice or with a slice of bread on the side!

Eat up!