Tokyo Terrace: An Interview with Rachael
She’s a mom, a chef and an American expat living in the land of the rising sun. She’s a lot like Love.Hate.Bake. (except for the mom part). Welcome, Rachael of Tokyo Terrace, a stimulating food blog that takes cooking at home to a whole new level. Complete with mouthwatering photos, Rachael’s wonderful recipes prove that living in a foreign country or working with a tiny kitchen doesn’t necessarily have to be an inconvenience.
LHB: Rachael, you have been creating a lot of deliciously inspirational food while living in Japan. Who or what is your biggest cooking influence?
Rachael: Cooking in Japan has been both thrilling and challenging, just like life as an expat here can be. My inspiration comes mainly from my day-to-day experiences and the thoughts they provoke. I am often reminded of something from my childhood or from life in the U.S. that I am able to combine with food here in Japan.
Rachael: I’m in love with Ruth Reichl right now. Her writing is absolutely seductive when it comes to food. I recently read an excerpt she wrote about the perfect peanut butter and jelly (actually jam) sandwich and I could practically taste it as I read her words. She is fantastic and represents women well in the food world.
LHB: When you’re not busy creating delightful meals at home where is your favorite place to eat in Tokyo?
Rachael: My favorite place to eat in Tokyo has to be a ramen shop just down the street from our apartment. It seats 6 and always has a big line out front. I love sitting on the tiny stools watching ramen noodles being made, scallions being thinly sliced, and listening to the loud slurping the Japanese do so well. This ramen features uniquely thin noodles and is served with pickled ginger on the side that you can put on top. It’s killer.
LHB: Is there an ingredient (Japanese or otherwise) that you feel is underrated or misunderstood?
Rachael: There are many ingredients that are underrated in my opinion, but in general I would say uni (sea urchin). It scares a lot of people that I know because of the way it looks, but the flavor is this beautiful combination of salty sea water and a hint of nuttiness. The creamy texture is beautiful with sushi rice.
LHB: What is your favorite Japanese ingredient to use when cooking?
Rachael: I love using dashi. It’s a broth made with kombu (a type sea weed) and katsuobushi (fish flakes). The result is a delicately flavored, nutrient packed broth that can be added to a wide range of dishes. I always get excited when I use dashi because I know I’m putting something really healthy and delicious into my body.
LHB: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We have one last request, could you share a recipe with our readers?
Rachael: I’d love to share a recipe! Here is one of my favorites and just in time for ice cream season! Wait…ice cream season is all year, isn’t it?
Brown Sugar-Miso Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1 cup whole milk
1 cup light brown sugar (you can also use dark if that’s all you have)
2 tablespoons white miso paste
5 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
Combine the milk, brown sugar and white miso paste in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and break up the miso paste. If there are still chunks, don’t worry- they will break down when it is heated as long as you stir it well.
Pour the cream into a large metal or glass mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Separate the egg yolks and put them in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Take the milk, brown sugar and miso mixture and transfer to a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. You don’t want to heat the mixture too quickly, so this step may take a few minutes. The milk mixture should not come to a simmer, but you may see 2 or three bubbles come to the surface, which is fine. The sign that it is done heating is that the sugar is completely dissolved and steam is steadily rising from the top.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Gradually pour the hot liquid over the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid the eggs scrambling. Return the liquid and egg mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Use a spatula to stir the liquid constantly until it begins to thicken and coat the spatula. This can take about 10 minutes. Again, don’t heat it too fast! Patience, grasshopper…
Now, remove the pan from the heat and take the cream out of the refrigerator. Pour the hot liquid into the cream, stirring constantly until the mixture has cooled down. Cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Take your ice cream base and put it in an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
When the ice cream has reached a soft-serve type of thickness, transfer it to a separate container and freeze for about 1-2 hours before serving.
All images courtesy of Tokyo Terrace