Tag Archives: asian

Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

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The year 2013 is quickly coming to a close and I wanted stop and say hello and squeeze in one last recipe for the year.  For so many dumb reasons, 2013 has not been the best year for me and frankly, I really look forward to a clean slate in 2014.  You know, you just have to realize that some years are just like that.  We’ve all had those years. Unfortunately, it is what it is. By late spring of this past year, I knew that I had to just had to put my head down, grit my teeth and push through it. And I did. It was hard. I endured a few bumps and bruises, spilled a few tears but I made it through 2013 in one piece and with my chin held high. This next year I plan on devoting more time to my blog, taking a much needed fly away tropical vacation with Bruce and most importantly, focus on simplifying my life. Oh, and I really would like to take a photography class…  Sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it?

Last week, I was thinking about making a batch of teriyaki sauce for some grilled salmon that I wanted to prepare later on in the work week.  This time, I wanted to prepare something different than the usual (but, delicious) teriyaki sauce that I make for my family.  I wanted a sauce that was sweet, spicy and packed a bit of heat.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce turned out to be just the ticket.  It’s great drizzled over grilled chicken, fish, tofu or beef.  For even more flavor, marinate your protein ingredients in the Spicy Teriyaki Sauce prior to tossing on the grill.  Maybe even use it in stir fried vegetables or noodles.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce is super simple to make and tastes delicious!  With that said, I hope that you will have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add more garlic chili sauce if desired.  Place over medium low heat, cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour in a clean airtight container.  Store refrigerated for up two weeks.  Makes about 2 cups.

Egg Drop Soup

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love it when the leaves on the deciduous trees in my neighborhood turn canary yellow, fiery orange and bright red.  Fresh picked apples, pears and pumpkins are some of the last crops sold at the local farmers markets as the late summer harvest winds down.  Remnants of my little garden will be tossed in a compost bin and added back to the soil next year.  Seeds will be saved.  Pots need to be scrubbed and cleaned and tomato cages need to be stacked.  In a few short months, the seed catalogs for next year will be in my mailbox.  Can you believe it?  I’m already planning next year’s garden.

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On the flip side, fall marks the beginning of the cold and flu season.  People walking around with sniffles and barking coughs become increasingly noticeable.  At the grocery store, over the counter cold remedies and boxes of tissue seem to fly off the store shelves.  Hand sanitizer and constant hand washing does help in the prevention of colds but, sometimes there’s no avoiding it.  Once you got it, you’ve got it.  We’ve all had it.  Unfortunately, most of the time, you just have to let it simply run its course…

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One of my favorite dishes to prepare while dealing with the common cold is Egg Drop Soup.  My Egg Drop Soup is similar to what you may find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.  My Egg Drop Soup is slightly different for I like to add finely chopped carrots, celery and use galangal root instead of ginger.  It’s easy to prepare, mild in flavor and has a wonderful soul soothing chicken soup like quality about it.  I love curling up on the couch with a good book and wrapping my hands around a warm little cup of my Egg Drop Soup.  Egg Drop Soup certainly won’t cure your cold but it may help you feel just a little bit better.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart chicken stock (reserve 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (chopped fine)
  • 1 slice dried galangal root
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 Tbs cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (optional)
  • chives or green onion for garnish

In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat add 3 cups chicken stock, celery, carrot, galangal, and white pepper.  Bring to a slow boil.  Cook until the celery and carrots are tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.  In a small bowl lightly beat eggs.

Now, grab a spoon and stir the boiling soup in a single direction.  Slowly add the egg mixture to the soup stirring gently.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove galangal root.  Add soy sauce if desired and garnish with chopped chives or green onions.  Makes about 4 – 1 cup servings.

Snow Pea Slaw

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Early this morning, barely after finishing my cup of coffee, I grabbed my metal pail off the pot rack and headed straight out the back door to my little garden…  My reason?  My snow peas are finally ready to pick!  Every spring I plant snow peas in March and by mid May I have plenty to add to stir fries and salads.  Sometimes, I may even have extra to share with family and friends.  Snow peas prefer cool wet weather and by the time summer rolls around, they stop producing and the vines quickly wither away.

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My favorite variety of snow pea is the Oregon Sugar Pod II.  It’s a hardy variety of snow pea and is fairly resistant to pests and disease.  It’s a prolific producer of beautiful 3 – 4 inch long pods that taste wonderful raw or cooked.

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This year I planted my snow peas in large pots and I supported them with tomato cages.  Once the snow peas are done for the year, I swap the peas out for my favorite heirloom tomato plants.  Growing below the snow peas are edible yellow pansy blossoms.  Behind the peas in the raised boxes are some newly planted heirloom tomatoes.

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Snow peas climb using their tendrils…  Tendrils grow quickly and wrap around anything that will support them.

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The beautiful white pea flowers quickly produce tender green pods.  Within a couple of days, this pod will be ready to pick.  Sometimes my snow peas never make it into the kitchen.  They taste delicious right off the vine!

A few feet away from my garden I planted some giant allium bulbs.

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The round purple flowers are just stunning!  They grow over three feet tall and bloom from May through June.  This is the third year that the allium bulbs have bloomed.  I hope they come back and bloom again for us next year.

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While I was picking the snow peas, I noticed that some of my purple cabbage was ready to harvest.  I planted only 6 heads of cabbage this year but I am starting to think that it was a bit much…  Fortunately, cabbage has a fairly long shelf life in the refrigerator as compared to other vegetables such as lettuce and spinach.  I picked the largest head and thought it would be wonderful in a Snow Pea Slaw.

My Snow Pea Slaw is a fresh combination of snow peas, purple cabbage and an Asian inspired sesame dressing.  It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound snow peas
  • 1/4 pound purple cabbage
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds (I used black and white mixed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 – 5 drops sesame oil (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Begin by slicing your snow peas lengthwise into this strips.  To make the process go faster, stack two or three snow peas on top of each other and then slice.  Set aside.  Thinly slice the purple cabbage into similar sized pieces as the snow peas.  Add cabbage to snow peas in a medium sized bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the canola oil, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper.  Add dressing to the snow pea and cabbage mixture.  Mix well and serve.  Makes approximately 2 – servings.  Keep refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry

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Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry

I was so thrilled to have my son come home from school to visit last weekend.  I don’t see him too often but we do skype or email to keep in touch. I like using skype because I can actually see him while we talk but sometimes the quality of the connection can be poor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining…  I simply prefer talk to someone in person than use technology to do it.  Good or bad, having a face to face conversation beats a phone or email converstation hands down.

Whenever my son is home he can always bet on home cooked meals surrounded by friends and family.  No sandwiches, pizza, frozen dinners or anything that bears the slightest resemblance of college student food.  I can’t say that I blame him.  I would feel the exact same way.  I know because, I walked in those same shoes many years ago.

I made my Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry for a quick lunch as my son was packing his bags to go back up to the University.  It’s made with chicken, ramen noodles and a large handful of chopped pak choi fresh picked from my garden.  Pak choi is an Asian variety of green leaf vegetable similar to cabbage or turnips.  It cooks quickly and lends a wonderful flavor and texture to many Asian dishes.

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Pak Choi growing in my garden.  I planted two varieties of this Asian leafy vegetable, a small purple leaf Pak Choi and a large white Bok Choy.

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Bok choy.  This grows more than twice the size of the pac choi.  It is also slower to bolt.

Pak choi or bok choy can be found in many grocery stores and at farmer’s markets.  It’s a cool weather crop so it’s more likely to be found in the fall, winter and spring months.  My Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.  What I like about it is that It’s inexpensive and a great option for a quick lunch or weekday dinner.  My son liked it and I hope that you do too!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ramen noodles
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/4 onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 large handful of Pak Choi (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Indonesian soy sauce or Kecap Manis
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Begin by boiling 2 cups of water in a sauce pan.  Add ramen noodles.  Save the seasoning packet for another day.  Cook ramen for only for three minutes.  Remove from heat, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, bring a wok or large fry pan to medium high heat.  Add canola oil.  Now add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion is transluscent (about a minute or two).  Add cooked chicken, ramen noodles, pak choi and Indonesian soy sauce.  Cook another few minutes until the chicken has heated through and the pak choi has wilted.  Don’t over cook.   Remove from flame and serve.  Makes one serving.

Radish Sesame Salad

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Radish Sesame Salad

Every year, early in the spring I plant radishes from seed in my little garden.   Since my garden is so small, I tuck the radishes rows between some of the slower growing vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in order to utilize precious garden space.  Radishes are amazingly fast and easy to grow.  All they need is water and warm spring days.  Within 3 weeks after sowing the seeds, I am able to harvest crunchy little radishes for salads and snacks.

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Thin sliced crunchy red radishes…

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My Radish and Sesame Seed Salad is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh picked radishes from my garden.  It’s vibrant in color and has wonderful Asian inspired flavors.  Next time you plant a garden, try sowing a few radish seeds.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients

  • 3 cups thinly sliced red radishes
  • 2 Tbs Mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • fresh cilantro, green onion or chives for garnish

Thinly slice the radishes with a mandolin or sharp knife.  Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl whisk together the Mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, black sesame seeds, ginger, garlic and salt.  Add radishes and toss.  Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for about 45 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions or chives.  Makes 4 servings.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay.  Now close your eyes and repeat after me.  Saa-taay…  While you are saying it, just imagine hot, juicy, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken on bamboo skewers drizzled with peanut sauce.  Close your eyes and say it again.  Saa-taay…

Did I just catch you drooling?

If you have never had satay before, satay is an amazingly flavorful barbecued dish that is generally of Southeast Asian origin.  It is prepared with many different ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb, fish, pork, goat and even tofu.  One of my favorite ways to prepare satay is with chicken.  I like to use bits of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated for several hours in coconut milk, Indonesian soy sauce and a variety of spices.  I then thread the chicken on to the skewers and cook them on the barbecue.

I like to serve my Chicken Satay with my homemade peanut sauce or drizzled with sweet chili sauce or sriracha.  I also serve it with a scoops of fluffy jasmine rice and fresh sliced cool cucumbers for garnish.  I also make sure that there’s plenty of sambal oelek on the side for those who love fiery hot food.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.  Once the marinade has been blended, add the chicken and toss well to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Take 10 -12 bamboo skewers and soak completely in water while the chicken is marinating.  Soaking the skewers in water prevents the skewers from burning off while the satay cooks on the barbecue.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and cook on medium hot barbecue or grill pan until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Do not brush it on the chicken while cooking and do not even think about reusing it.  Pay attention and turn your skewers occasionally for even cooking.  Be sure not to over cook or under cook the satay.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.

“Stove Top” Baked Beans

“Stove Top” Baked Beans

Late yesterday afternoon Bruce and I were invited to a backyard barbecue at my sister’s home with family and friends.  We never go to somebody’s home empty handed so I offered to make some Baked Beans to share.  My sister made pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw so the Baked Beans were a perfect addition to the feast.  We socialized with friends, played bean bag toss games and competed ferociously at foos ball for hours.  We all had a wonderful time!

I had only a couple of hours to prepare the beans so I thought I’d cook them in a dutch oven on the stove rather than firing up the oven.  And I am pleased to say that the stove top method worked.  My “Stove Top” Baked Beans were delicious and I completely sold out by the end of the evening.  My Baked Beans are an interesting combination of black beans, great northern beans and little sweet aduki beans.  They are similar to a Southern Style Baked Beans but with a distinct Asian flair.  Instead of molasses, I used sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce.  I also added zesty Sriracha and floral scented Szechuan pepper for a bold and unique flavor.  These beans tasted so good that the “carnivores” in the crowd had no idea that the beans were vegan too!  Makes 12 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can great northern beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can aduki beans (drained)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha sauce
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Begin by grabbing a dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid.  Heat dutch oven on stove with a medium flame and add canola oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent or about 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, turn stove down to low and cook partially covered for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally.  Add water if the beans are too thick, or remove the lid and cook longer if the mixture is too thin for your liking.  Taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes 1 1/2 quarts or 12 servings of “Stove Top” Baked Beans.

Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad

Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad

When I got home from work this evening, I stopped at my little garden on the side of our home to see what I could gather for our dinner tonight.  I was surprised to see that my broccoli was ready to pick and that I had a bunch of sugar snap peas on the vines.  The cool wet weather we have had lately here in Southern Oregon has been perfect for my little garden!

Broccoli growing in the garden…

I’ve never been really successful at growing broccoli until this year.  The broccoli heads were beautiful and I did not have any problems with aphids.  I grow everything in my garden organically without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers.  We compost as much of our kitchen scraps as possible and I rotate the plants every year.  I believe that growing organic vegetables is better for you and tastes so much better than chemically treated vegetables.

Fresh picked broccoli

I found it interesting that the broccoli florets that I picked were not as dense or tightly packed as you would see with store bought broccoli.  I’m not really sure why.  Maybe it was the variety that I planted.  Regardless, the broccoli tasted amazingly fresh and delicious!

With my fresh picked broccoli and sugar snap peas I decided to make an Asian inspired Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad.  My Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad has fresh crunchy red bell pepper, bright red onions, sweet shredded carrots and tossed with a sweet and tangy sesame seed vinaigrette.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces broccoli florets (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas (cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 Tbs Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • 1 Tbs each black and white sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Prepare your vegetables and set aside.  Grab a 4 quart pot, fill with water and add a big pinch of salt.  Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.  Get another bowl and fill with ice cubes and water.  Add broccoli to boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to ice water to stop cooking.  Do the same with the sugar snap peas but cook only 1 minute.

Drain broccoli and snap peas and add to a mixing bowl.  Add remaining vegetables.  Grab a small bowl and whisk together the canola oil, Mirin, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, honey, garlic paste, salt and white pepper.  Add to vegetable mixture and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

With all the warm weather we have been having here in Southern Oregon, my little garden is going nuts…  Just a few weeks ago, I planted some bok choy starts and in no time I am completely inundated with bok choy.  As I would say, I have “enough to choke a goat”.  The problem is that there are just the two of us in the home and what do we do when all the heads of bok choy need to be harvested at the same time?  Well, first of all, share with friends, family and neighbors.  Second, share with coworkers.  Third, I start cooking everything I possibly can with bok choy!

For those who do not know what bok choy is, this is what it looks like.  Bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage. It has a wonderful delicate flavor and goes great in stir-fries, soups and main dishes.  I love it because it is easy to grow and it’s super low in calories.  It has crunchy white stalks and beautifully flavored green leaves.

While picking bok choy in my garden this afternoon, I took my camera with me to photograph some of the beautiful plants in my yard.  This is a photo of a red Japanese maple tree.  We have a several Japanese maples planted around our koi pond.  They are without a doubt, my favorite specie of deciduous tree.

Next to my kitchen window I have an arbor covered in tiny pink roses.  I believe they are called “Cecile Brunner”.  You would not know it from the photo but the plant is twenty feet tall and covered with hundreds of blooms!  It’s just gorgeous!

On the back patio I have a big pot of Sweet William flowers.  Sweet William are adorable little biennials that are fragrant and look wonderful cut and placed in vases.  I like the bright pink color and the jagged edges on the petals.

After photographing plants in my yard, I harvested a few heads of bok choy.  One of the heads of bok choy was going straight into a light and tasty Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup for my lunch.  The other head of bok choy that I picked will be used in a dish for tomorrow’s dinner.

Next time you have an abundance of bok choy, be sure to try my Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup.  It’s light, flavorful and really easy to make.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bok choy (chopped)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Szechuan pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 6-8 drops sesame oil (use sparingly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chopped chives for garnish

In a large pan cook onion and canola oil on medium low.  Stir constantly until onion is opaque.  Add remaining ingredients except sesame oil, salt and pepper.  Cook until shiitakes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

 

Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad

During the busy work week I try to make dishes that are quick and easy.  My Asian Cucumber Salad is one of those side dishes that I make quite often for my family at dinner hour.  Cucumbers are always a staple in my refrigerator and it’s extremely rare that I don’t have any in stock in the vegetable drawer.  In the summer months I always plant cucumbers in my little garden so I can just go out the back door and pick whatever I need for the family meal.

My Asian Cucumber Salad is super simple to make and ridiculously quick to prepare.  I use a mandolin to slice my cucumbers thinly and perfectly.  If you don’t have a mandolin, I seriously suggest you get one.  My Asian Cucumber Salad is bright, light, and fat free.  The Ponzu and sweet chili sauce makes my Asian Cucumber Salad pop with flavor.  Serve alongside grilled chicken or beef and a scoop of warm fluffy jasmine rice.  Makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups English cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbs Lime Ponzu (lime flavored soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbs Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • garnish with fresh snipped chives and toasted sesame seeds

Toss all ingredients into a bowl.  Lightly mix.  Refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes or until well chilled.  Garnish with chives and sesame seeds.