Friday, August 1, 2014

Melon, Dake, Cloud.

Yubari MelonWell as someone who thinks she knows a lot about food, I was surprised to come across something I had never heard of, a Yubari King Melon from Japan. These melons sell for incredible prices, they have been sold at auction for $23,500 a pair. I saw another quote of ¥2 million. Not sure what that translates to but sounds like a hell of a lot of money. Amazon actually sells the seeds – 10 seeds for $1.70, that did surprise me. They reckon you can sell each melon for $12,000. Maybe I should buy some seeds but sadly they won’t ship to Kitchener. Of course, now I want to taste it.

Talking of Japan, we went for our Teppenyaki meal on Wednesday night. No I didn’t take any pictures, I read something recently where customers of restaurants had been complaining about how long it took to get service in restaurants these days. There was a detailed list from waiters which included customers wanting the waiters to take their photos on their iPods and then customers holding up eating to take pictures thus causing the food to cool and returning it to be heated. Sounds to me as though a lot of us are a damned nuisance.

DakeNow to Dake, I was impressed by the decor of the whole place, turns out they have now been there 2 years, I was surprised. We had a very non Asiatic waiter, lively guy, who served us our salad, delicious, and then onion soup, drunk, no spoon. He also served our dipping sauces and drinks and kept Dake 2replenishing the waters. It was very good service. Then the chef came, turned out he was Korean and had been here just over a year. He looked as though his face had been burned badly at some time, we then found out why. He was playing with flames. He put oil all round the bar and Flameslit it, impressive and pretty, then he caused a great big whoosh of flame on the hotplate, that was very warm for a few seconds; i reckon he didn’t get out of the way in time once. Never seen this done before but it was impressive. He did all the tricks with the tools he was using and then proceeded to cook vegetables which were shared among the four of us. Very good. Then he started cooking Flames startingthe main items, I had steak and shrimp, Matt had scallops, friends had shrimp and scallops and calamari and shrimp. Think I got that right. Finally he cooked the rice which had eggs so he spun the eggs and tossed one into his chef’s hat all good to watch and pretty clever. He actually dropped one egg!!! It was all delicious. We two women had warm Sake and Matt had water the other guy had beer. Then we two women had dessert. We had Tempura Bananas with ice cream. Mine was Green Tea Ice Cream, delicious. Wasn’t so impressed with the bananas though. With the tip that came to a little short of $100, so, not cheap but very good.

I had to share this photo with you. National Geographic and I was very impressed with
Underneath it said “Have you ever wondered what makes an award-winning photograph?” This was one if I had ever seen one. Don’t know if this is a lenticular cloud like the one on JoJo’s blog Tahoma Beadworks and Photography.

How’s this for something different? I have been receiving an email from Tastebook and this one appeared today.

Blueberry Cheesecake in Glass Jars

John Barricelli

This is an example of a tried-and-true recipe updated with a clever presentation. I borrowed the idea from Frederic Kieffer, one of our chefs at SoNo Baking Company, and simplified the recipe for home cooks. With a layer of cooked blueberries on the bottom of a glass jar,these individual cheesecakes sell very well at the bakery. They don’t last long at home either. Eight-ounce Ball jars come in two different shapes—tall and slender or more rounded—and you can use either one. Wrap a pretty ribbon around the necks of the jars and place them on decorative plates, and your table will look as if it had been catered by a professional.

Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries Blueberry Cheesecake in Glass Jars photo
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  • 1 In a medium saucepan, combine 1 pint of the blueberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the lemon zest and juice and cook over medium heat until the blueberries pop, 5 to 7 minutes. In a 1-cup Pyrex measure, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add to the saucepan with the blueberry mixture and simmer until thick and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  • 2 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, the salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl and paddle several times, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • 3 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for a water bath.
  • 4 Turn the mixer to low and beat in the eggs one at a time, until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the sour cream until blended.
  • 5 Divide the chilled blueberry mixture among six 8-ounce Ball jars (about 3 tablespoons per jar). Divide the cream cheese filling among the jars (a little more than 1/2 cup per jar) and smooth the tops. Place the filled jars in a roasting pan and put the pan in the oven. Pour in the boiling water to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the jars. Bake until the cheesecakes are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes for the taller jars, 40 to 45 minutes for the rounder jars. (The filling will not brown and the centers will dimple.)
  • 6 Remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and let cool to room temperature. Chill overnight.
  • 7 To serve, top each cheesecake with some of the remaining blueberries if you like.

Egg Tips

Ideally, for all recipes in this book that use eggs, the eggs should be at room temperature. This means removing the eggs from the refrigerator two to four hours before you plan to bake, depending on how hot your kitchen is. Why? The addition of cold eggs to a creamed butter-sugar mixture will cause the mixture to “break” and look curdled, like a broken mayonnaise.
This happens because the cold makes the butter congeal into small, cold lumps. Because the congealed butter will not emulsify properly into the batter, once baked, the texture of the pastry will not be perfectly uniform.
I want busy bakers to be able to make these recipes on the fly, however. And since proper emulsification is somewhat less noticeable in cookies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes and waffles, I don’t call for room temperature eggs in those recipes. (Where it’s important, however, as in this chapter, recipes do call for “eggs, at room temperature.”) If your batter does curdle, add a pinch of flour and keep beating until it smooths out again.

Have a great day – in Canada we have a holiday weekend so I hope everyone has a good Civic Holiday.


  1. Hi Jo - enjoy the holiday weekend .. and whatever foodie treats you'll be eating. Those melons look a little OTT as in very expensive! Delicious dessert .. the cloud looks amazing doesn't it .. while your Japanese meal sounds interesting ... cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary, already done a little too much eating and then more tomorrow. Have a good weekend yourself.

  2. That photo is incredible. If that was descending on me, I'd high tail it for the basement.

    What is it about that fruit that makes it so expensive?

    1. It is incredible isn't it? Very scary too. I wonder if it did become a tornado.

      I don't know why it's so expensive, couldn't find out.

  3. $12,000 for a melon?!? No matter how much I love food, I don't think it will ever be worth that price.

    1. I totally agree Vanessa. Not only that, but you have to eat it. You can't keep it like the people who pay fortunes for wines. Can you imagine putting that much money in your mouth LOL

  4. Sounds like you got the full Japanese Steakhouse treatment. We always enjoy going to place like that.

  5. Sounds like you got the full Japanese Steakhouse treatment! Did he do the flaming onion volcano?

    1. No, never seen that one done Alex. In fact this is the first time I have seen all the flames. As I was saying yesterday though, it's a pity his English was no good because most of the chefs in teppenyaki do a lot of chatting too.

  6. It could be a lenticular cloud although usually those form on or near very tall mountains like Rainier, Fuji, Kilimanjaro, etc. Geez those melons better be good for the price! I might actually try planting them if I can sell them!!!

    1. Didn't know that JoJo. I would have been scared of it anyway. You can certainly get them delivered from Amazon, but do you think you can find buyers at that price? Still you could eat them yourselves and tell the rest of us what's so good about them.

  7. Love that cloud photo, and came over after your comment on JoJo's blog. Thanks also for sharing that recipe, it sounds and looks great.

    1. Love the photo but would have run if I'd been there, not stood around taking pix.

      Thanks for the visit.

  8. The melon would want to be very tasty at that price. It looks just like rockmelon. Love the photo!

    1. It looks just like the cantaloupe I have been eating lately. I cannot imagine what makes it so expensive.

  9. Hi, Jo. That is one expensive melon! Thanks for sharing your experience at the teppenyaki bar.