Giant Bean with Ramps | bettysliu.comAfter a week in Crete, Greece, eating the Mediterranean way, with fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple but wonderful flavors, all I wanted to do was get back into the kitchen and cook simply, highlighting the ingredients without masking the flavor with heavy sauces. My workshop in Crete, Greece, was on Milia Mountain Retreat, a truly fantastic eco-retreat completely living off the land. They grew their own produce and go foraging for greens, so that the menu changed everyday based on what was available. We also had legumes at almost every meal, and I already know this is life-changing for me. I never cooked with beans much, and growing up we didn’t eat too many beans, but in Greece we had giant beans with tomato sauce, black eyed peas in salads, lentils in salads and soups – literally every meal had a dish with beans. Plus, they’re incredibly nutritious and filling. I had a week in Boston before I had to take off for Japan (where I am now, hello from Kyoto!!), and I was itching to get in the kitchen to play with beans, namely giant beans with ramps!!!

The bean that I truly fell in love with was giant beans. A little smaller than the size of a quarter, these giant beans are creamy. They’re not crunchy beans or mushy. They will melt in your mouth with all the flavors you’ve melded into them, and I could literally eat just a bowl of it as a meal. In fact, after cooking it in plain water, I snuck 4-5 beans (without salt!).

Giant Bean with Ramps |

So, when GreenPan asked me to be a part of their 10-year anniversary campaign, “Healthy Cooking Starts with Healthy Cookware”, I immediately said yes for two reasons: 1) healthy cooking is always a good idea and 2) I absolutely adore GreenPan. In fact, I’ve had a set of GreenPan for about three years now. And guess what? It’s made guest appearances in my blog!!! My sister gifted me a set as a wedding present – the gorgeous Padova set, in a cream and pale blue. I’ve used the set since then as my go-to nonstick pans. See the pan used in making tea eggs and to cook chive boxes. For three years I’ve used GreenPan, and they have worked perfectly and efficiently, and the nonstick 10” frypan still lives on my stovetop. So, of course, when they reached out to me I immediately said yes!!!!

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  • What a wonderful, sating meal! Ramps are one of my favorite spring things, both for their bracing flavors and the way they bring otherwise simple dishes to life. These beans are a lovely example. (And thanks for spreading the word about Greenpan – they hadn’t been on my radar before.)ReplyCancel

  • I’ve been looking for a new skillet, so I’m going to check greenpan out! After seeing Hayley’s photos and videos from your workshop in Greece I SO want to come to your next one! xoReplyCancel

  • GIRL. I’ve been missing all of those fresh bean dishes from Milia too! I’m so so glad you put this recipe together. I can’t wait to try. Also, I’ve never heard about Greenpan, but now I’m kinda obsessed. Can’t wait to enter the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • You (probably) know that I love everything about beans and ramps. And you definitely know I love everything about GreenPan! This post is just wonderful, Betty. I cannot wait to see your pictures from Japan – living vicariously through you! xxReplyCancel

  • Look at you being soooo productive since we got back from Greece. I can’t seem to finish anything right now. LOVE me some gigantic beansReplyCancel

  • I love giant beans… I too fell in love in Greece. Your take on it with ramps is so fresh and delicious! I’ve been eyeing these skillets wondering how they are, will be stalking your insta for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • i’ll never get over your photography betty. just beautiful at every turn! and giant beans!!!! aka my favourite things to cook with, seriously. i have to make this recipe. there’s nothing better than beans doused in olive oil, lemon, salt and all the aromats. XxReplyCancel

  • you know how much I love gigantes and this lemon/ramp flavor combo has got me salivating! awesome creation Betty and so great that you got to work with a brand that was already a staple in your life! that giveaway is going to be EPIC!ReplyCancel

  • Oh man I’m sad that we can’t get ramps here in Aus & NZ – I just don’t think they grow anywhere! One day I’ll be in the US in ramp season.. And have been loving all your kyoto snaps!! Are you all finished for the year of university then? xxReplyCancel

  • Your photos are absolutely stunning, I’m so impressed!

  • Heather Miller

    Hi Betty, I’ve never cooked these beans before but have had them occasionally. Re. your recipe – I don’t quite get it that you specify 1 tbs crushed red pepper, but your wonderful photos only appear to show the odd red flake? Looks more like a tsp than a tbs to me 😉ReplyCancel

    • :) I think it was a tbsp but I admit I am not quite so precise when cooking, especially with things like salt, pepper, peppet flakes. I would say if you like some heat do 1 tbsp, if not try 1 tsp before adding more!!! I never had these gigante beans before Greece, but these are now my absolute favorite!! So creamy and melty, they absorb flavor quite well!!!ReplyCancel

  • Betty this recipe is everything I love about good cooking. Simple steps that allow the flavours and quality of the ingredients stand on their. And I love white beans – especially the giants ones. Now to get my hands on some ramps. (Been loving your photos from Japan – beautiful as always x)ReplyCancel

  • Fantastic recipe! Being Greeks ourselves, we fell in love with this one right away:) Ramps aren’t available here, so perhaps leeks and some garlic might work as well? Sorry in advance for asking this, since the recipe calls for ramps:) Hope you had a great time in Greece!
    Greetings from Athens,
    Mirella and PanosReplyCancel

Furikake Milk Bread Buns | bettysliu.comHi guys, I’m back and so excited to share with you a recipe for furikake milk bread buns!!!!! Thank you so much for being patient with me as I took a break from this space. It was exactly what I needed and now I’m super excited to be back, because oh boy, do I have recipes and stories to share with you. As you may know, I love the water-roux method of making bread – the “tangzhong method”, because it yields super soft, pillow-y light breads that are a joy to eat. I’ve used this to make a lot of sweets, like black sesame babka and taro milk tea rolls, and it’s about time I used it in a savory bread. This came to me all of a sudden – I love using furikake, a nori + sesame blend for topping rice, and I’d been using it recently with my morning miso oatmeal everyday – why not use it to top bread?! It’s subtle and will be crunchy from the sesame, right? I decided to give it a try, adjusted the salt, etc, and it worked!!

Furikake Milk Bread Buns |

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  • Kelly

    Welcome back Betty!! So glad your break was restful + restorative! These look absolutely scrumptious. Looking forward living vicarious through posts about Japan :)ReplyCancel

  • Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts! These buns look amazing and delicious… beautiful work, always!ReplyCancel

  • Wow, these do look amazing. I’m just getting back to making bread myself and, having only ever tried the “Tangzhong method” once – with amazing results – I think these will be a great place to start.

    I hope you have a fun and peaceful time in Japan – I’m only slightly jealous – and looking forward to your future amazing recipes and photos. 😀ReplyCancel

  • I’ve only just used the tangzhong method to make some wild garlic pesto bread on my blog.

    It was really good, these look delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Tanjat

    Welcome back Betty,
    Japan is on my to do list … hopefully sooner than later
    Because these rolls look so amazing…. I set straight to work on them, love the recipe the end result super delicious
    Thank you for sharingReplyCancel

  • Those look so goodReplyCancel

mushroom and sweet potato japanese-style curryA few posts ago I talked about a new “direction” for this blog – instead of having my life revolve around recipes, I want this year to be more focused on the recipes that revolve around my life – the food that I cook on a daily basis, the ones that are simple, approachable, and nourishing, like the savory miso oatmeal with a poached egg I eat every single day. I’m so excited to share a recipe (also sort of a not-recipe) that has stayed with me since childhood, but actually in a more elevated way (read below)- a mushroom sweet potato Japanese-style curry that is simple and easy to make, based on a spiced dark roux and whatever protein and vegetables you want!! I made a rich mushroom and sweet potato curry, served with plain white rice and a side salad. I eat a variation of this every week. It’s so easy and simple to whip up with anything left in your fridge – chicken, tofu, mushrooms, bell peppers, beef… and served over rice, especially with temperatures dip below freezing yet again, it’s particularly comforting.

ALSO – I have news!!! Truly wonderful news! I somehow ended up as a finalist for Cucina Corriere’s first global blog awards, under “Photography + Instagram” – thank you for nominating me – I honestly had thought it was an Italy-only event, but it’s actually international! There are some amazingly talented folks and I’m so honored to be among such a great list of folks. You can vote and view the rest of the finalists here. 

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  • Such a great recipe, even if you think is a kind of no-recipe :) we all need these type of quick and no-fuss food that is nourishing and comforting at the same time, so thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • tbh i still buy the blocks (and made a batch last week!). i’ve never added grated apple, so that’s kind of a whoaaaa for me (my usuals are just chicken, potato, carrots and onions).ReplyCancel

  • Looks delicious. Perfect for my lunch and a lovely siestaReplyCancel

  • I love the ideas of recipes that revolve around life- I feel like I have been inadvertently trying to to something similar lately. Totally understand your blog stress, but clearly you are killing it because CONGRATULATIONS on your photography award! Seriously so well-deserved.

    I absolutely love the look of this unique curry, especially with that sweet + salty thing going on there. Definitely want to try :) xxReplyCancel

  • totally feel you on posting recipes that revolve around your life and I know that you following your heart will resonate with your readers (there are many! 😉ReplyCancel

  • You know, I like this new direction of your blog! I can relate in the sense that I’m really itching for the more organic, more relatable, more ME stuff as of late, without a care in the world of how it may present itself to be to others. Well, kind of. I still do care a teensy bit but then again I’m human. 😉 If I feel like making croissants then I will! If I want to add yet another (but seriously so good) banana recipe to the interwebs then I will, also! (Which I’m about to do here in a little bit, hah!)

    And Betty….! This is one of my faaavorite not-so-healthy but wholesome and nostalgic dishes ever! I eat it quite often but I’ve always been scared to make it from scratch. Growing up, I’ve always loved eating it with super fermented kimchi because trust me, people. It’s the best combination. I’m wondering if the spices you’re using really give it that authentic korean/japanese curry flavor…? Or does it have a tinge of Indian flavor? Or do those pairings make it taste pretty close to the packaged kind? Whichever the case I do want to try this bad.

    Lastly, this lunch box is too beautiful!!! I think I’d want to put it up on display because it’s too pretty. xDReplyCancel

    • Ahh Ellie! As always thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I am excited to share more everyday recipes (not necessarily healthy…), so thank you for the feedback! Super fermented kimchi addition sounds AMZING. Omg. I must give it a try. As for the spices – thank you for reminding me of the personal tweaks I put on it- I put in a note about how those spices were purely added because of my obsession with them and their combination. Not sure if those are in the store-bought block, but I think the curry powder (a good quality one) will be strong enough to still be the main flavor. It actually tasted remarkably similar to the store-bought blocks, with a bit more heat (paprika!!) :). I’d love to hear your version of it, especially with the kimchi!!!

      PS I want to see all the bananas recipes :)ReplyCancel

  • No one has fresh flowers everyday, in fact, no one needs to! I’ve always been bad with trends, because i don’t get a lot of them.
    This curry sounds and looks delicious, you know how to make even curry look beautiful :)

    P.S.And I seriously love that lunch box! You will enjoy it’s benefits when on rotations, I’m so sure!ReplyCancel

  • Wow, what a fancy lunchbox! I always have to pack a lunch, so I can see the appeal of something sleek like that. This curry sounds wonderful, and I’m excited to see more everyday dishes from you. As long as it’s something YOU think is worth sharing, that’s all that matters. 😉ReplyCancel

  • BETTY!!! AAAAAHHH So happy to find a recipe for a Japanese style curry that I can actually make at home! Love this and will surely replicate it.
    So excited to see you in Milan!! <3ReplyCancel

  • Bunty

    I am writing from India and am a keen cook myself – curry powder and Garam masala are mostly the same ingredients – curry powder is basically a ‘spice mix’ for the non Indian cooks! Apart from turmeric which curry powder has you can use garam masala and curry powder interchangeably. Secondly we in India use onions as a base as opposed to flour – what I do is sauté pounds of onions ginger garlic – blend and make cubes of them – and to make curry – you pull a couple out add spices and vegetables and hey presto – add a little yogurt and the curry becomes creamier. We make the onion masala for several months at a time! We make many kinds of spice mixes – garam masala ( my least favourite) actually, srilankan masala, chaat masala, gond masala etc. Garam masala is used mainly in North Indian Punjabi cooking!ReplyCancel

    • Hi Bunty!

      Thank you for your sweet and educational comment – I’m no expert in Indian cooking, which is why I just use spice blends such as curry powder and garam masala (definitely not legit enough to make my own blends!!!) – I realized there must be an overlap in the spice blends, but I bought them from this truly wonderful little spice shop that makes their own blends, and the curry powder I have is specifically hot/spicy, different enough from their garam masala blend that they go really well together! I can’t even imagine how many varieties of curry powder and garam masala there are- thank you for pointing that out! I’ve updated the notes for others’ reference :). I hope you try this Japanese-style curry, from what I understand it’s vastly different from Indian curries! So classic of the Japanese – got to love them!!!ReplyCancel

  • i don’t know what you’re talking about, this curry is plenty beautiful. how would you recommend serving it with a protein? would you throw chicken in there like a stew or would a panko breaded chicken on the side (like tonkatsu curry) be better?ReplyCancel

    • Either!!! You can brown some chicken or beef and then deglaze with onions (add a splash of sake, who cares?), and then continue, adding those chunks in with the mushrooms, OR you can make the curry and pour it over some crisped up tonkatsu. I’ve had it both ways and they’re equally delicious. Sometimes I do crave tonkatsu and the curry / tonkatsu texture difference is truly delightful!ReplyCancel

  • OMG – I need that lunchbox. So pretty!!! I just have to change jobs, but it’s totally worth it (right now I don’t need lunchboxes). And also, stop being so awesome, leftovers from your root veg pot pies are in my fridge, and I already want to make something else from your recipe index. Like this. Could I also make this vegan? (I’m not a vegan, but like to eat vegan sometimes) maybe just using olive oil and veg stock instead of chicken? And maybe also add an extra splash of soysauce to compensate? Love! EvaReplyCancel

  • hahaha i love your “its BROWN! and ORANGE!”. The worst nightmare of a food blogger but you have absolutely pulled it off and this curry looks incredibly comforting and warming. I’ve never made a curry using a roux before, or a japanese curry, so I can’t wait to give this a go when winter arrives. and I really really like your new direction, of real life food – and I think more readers end up making that food themselves in their own kitchens. And a huge congrats on your awards nomination!!! <3ReplyCancel

  • You make me want to lick my computer screen. It may not be “pretty” but this is truly beautiful food and I am not just talking about your gorgeous photos. Real food that gets my belly growling.ReplyCancel

  • I pull out my garam masala only for Indian cooking. I love that you used it in this Japanese style curry. Kind of opens up possibilities. I think that recipes that come from our life stories are always the best ones. Trends come and go but food that has soul in it will always remain in style … kind of like the LBD :-)ReplyCancel

  • This is so beautiful and inspiring Betty! And congratulations again on the nomination too! xxReplyCancel

  • I always enjoy such hearty curry. It always complete satisfaction with least amount of work. And that lunch box btw .. so cool!ReplyCancel

  • Oh man – overthinking is my entire life in a nutshell. I love this new direction you are going with having recipes that revolve around your life. I often times get wrapped into coming up with crazy flavor combinations and labor intensive recipes only to find out my most popular posts are the things I make for dinner on the regular (chili, tacos, etc). Also, congrats on the nomination!ReplyCancel

  • wish we could have this for lunch now, looks SO delicious :) <3ReplyCancel

  • Curry to me is most comforting meals and we eat curry a lot. But this Japanese style curry looks sooooo tempting. I have to make this for sure. I love your blog :) and many many congratulations on the nomination. Its no surprise to me :) You are awesome.
    That lunch box is super cool. I am in the market for a lunch box, will have to check them out. Quick question on that – does the lunch box has to stay upright for no leeks or its actually leek proof and the curry doesn’t mess up the bag??ReplyCancel

  • Hi Betty,

    I just made this last night (with a few substitutions and improvisations) and it was fantastic! Thanks!ReplyCancel

Soy Marinaded Blistered Shisito over Polenta | bettysliu-9

On Saturday, Alex and I woke up and took our dog running by the beach. This is unusual on several accounts. Alex is not an early-morning riser – in fact, he’d rather stay up late than get up earlier. I’m the opposite. I love waking up early, brewing myself some tea or coffee, making my savory oatmeal, and then getting some work done. And then I go to sleep very early. We don’t run together much – we trained together for a 10K a few years back, but since then I’ve drifted to more yoga, and Alex more resistance training. Finally, at 7:00 in the morning, it was mid 50s. MID FIFTIES. The end of February in Boston with highs in the high 60s and low 70s? This is unreal. Today it dipped back but we’re getting some 75 + drizzly action later this week too. We’ve always had March weddings, and the past two years we saw white snow on the ground (one year up to 3 ft) and we had lovely winter palettes. This year we have a wedding on St. Patrick’s Day (yay Boston!), so we’ll see if we get a more wintry feel or a spring feel (or just a lot of green…):)

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  • totally gorgeous post betty! i LOVE shisito peppers but have never made them before myself??!! definitely need to change that. and i completely understand about the creative rut thing, it happens to me a lot. it’s an awful feeling when you’re stuck in one but it feels so good when you get out and feel so inspired! beautiful! XxReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love charred shishito peppers and the combination of sage & orange sounds incredible! As far as the creative rut, that is a continual struggle for me, but I feel like when I fight through it, I always come out the other side feeling stronger & more inpsired than before.ReplyCancel

  • I just started salivating that the idea of olive oil polenta with these shisito peppers on top Betty! Oh. My. Goodness. And I am totally on the same sleeping sched as you too girl, all about those quiet mornings and early trips to bed :). So happy for you two getting some warmer weather as well! You have us on the west coast beat! It’s still a little chilly here (for us, wink wink). Hope you have the best time playing in the sunshine this week friend, XO!ReplyCancel

  • Betty, these shishito peppers are beautiful! I love that you paired it with the orange sage gremolata.

    I am ever so slowly working my way into becoming an early riser. I absolutely love my quiet mornings with a freshly brewed cup of tea. It’s like giving myself permission to enjoy the smaller things in life!ReplyCancel

  • The orange sage gremolata sounds brilliant! I love me some shishito peppers. I could eat so many of those at onceReplyCancel

  • I’ve never had shishito peppers at all! Sounds like I need to change that – these look gorgeous, especially paired with creamy polenta and gremolata. I hear you about being stuck in a rut – I feel a little tired of taking photos at the moment, and I don’t know if it is because I feel like I’m not making any progress or because I keep comparing myself to others, or both. Maybe I’ll try some still-life shots!ReplyCancel

  • Such a beautiful light and color!
    I’m sticking around your blog Betty, because apparently there’s a lot here for me to learn. Besides beautiful dishes, photography and unknown to me titles/names (shishito peppers, google??), but before all that I’m learning to open up and speak, because there’s nothing like being heard and understood, because we all have troubles and feeling lonely is probably the worst thing that can happen when you’re stuck.ReplyCancel

  • Betty this looks sooooo good!!! And i just love how peppers are so photogenic . Beautiful work as always xReplyCancel

  • Everything about this dish sounds brilliant. I have eaten shishito peppers before but never knew what they were called!ReplyCancel

  • Jeff and I are the same. I’m an early riser (though I don’t like talking to humans for a few hours), and he sleeps in. I used to be a night owl, so it’s a little weird to me, but so is life! This is a lovely way to use shishito peppers!ReplyCancel

  • We got hit with that warm spell here in the Midwest too – so nice but also so bizarre! My spring allergies already started at the end of February! Also, polenta is one of my favorite things to make for a quick dinner and a sage orange polenta? Oh my – need need need!ReplyCancel

  • Rui

    I love your photos! I love shishito peppers, too! They remind me of my home in Japan!ReplyCancel

  • Betty, gorgeous post. I know what you mean by the creative rut! I get in this kind of rut often. I think it’s only normal for people who are always creating to feel stifled creatively. Social Media makes it hard to be in a rut because there is a feeling like we always have to keep up with our story, trends, hashtags days. Kinda exhausting. And sometimes we just want to cook food that is ugly, you know. Not every dish is stunning to look at, right??

    Right now, I’m on an anti-styling thing. I’ve done away with props or use as little props as possible. This gives my photos such a cleaner look. Anyway thank you for talking about this. It’s nice to know others feel the same way!! XxReplyCancel

  • My family has cooked with high quality olive oil my entire life…its too bad so many poor quality foods have brought down the good stuff too! Happy feasting with lots of olive oil!ReplyCancel

Spicy Shakshuka Simon Said | bettysliu-8 copyThe first time I had shakshuka was at a lovely cafe, Tatte, in Boston. I saw a couple next to me being served a wonderful, still-bubbling pot of tomato sauce, and what looked like eggs scattered throughout. I immediately ordered the same thing, and I had my own bubbling pot, and since then, I’ve made shakshuka a staple at home. Read more »

  • This dish looks so yummy. The crusty bread to soak all that good tomato juice and the soft egg yolk. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • This looks so good, Betty! I love shakshuka! Really want to try your version now! Maybe this weekend:)ReplyCancel

  • I grew up eating shakshuka. It was what my mother made when she didn’t feel like cooking up a big dinner. To me, the smell of simmering tomato mixed in with delicious eggs is the best thing in the world.
    Plus, having been to Tatte and seen how they serve it, yours is just as yummy looking.

  • I love how warm this feels Betty! From the dish itself, to the tones and overall vibe. Feels so sunny and happy. Hope you are feeling healthy and full of joy this week friend, 2 months till the workshop! Eeee! xoReplyCancel

  • Maureen Sutherland Weiser

    OMG, I need this in my mouth asap!! I love, love, love shakshuka and can’t wait to try this!

    Oh, and can you please tell me where you got that gorgeous blue blouse?? I love it!


  • I loveeee shakshuka and can’t wait to try this recipe. Adam loves spicy 🌶ReplyCancel

  • Mouth numbing spice is my ultimate favorite flavor in the world!!! And masochistic habit, I guess you could say. 😉 Can you believe I’ve never had shakshuka before? I keep thinking I need to find myself a good restaurant that serves the dish but with your recipe, I might not have to fret so much anymore. You really made it easy for some of us and it looks like my kind of flavor combo. Can’t wait to try it!!!!ReplyCancel

  • This maybe a bit spicy for me, but I’m definitely inspired to try making shakshuka with my favorite ingredients! :)ReplyCancel

New England Food Photography Styling Workshop Recap

One of the magical moments of hosting workshops is waking up early, so that I can make breakfast and coffee before attendees begin to stir. I throw on some clothes and tip toe through to the kitchen, and usually my team is up and about too, with the same intentions. I quietly maneuver through the Paradise Farmhouse, a beautiful mid-century style house located right on a bird sanctuary. Before I reach the kitchen, Krissy of Cottage Farm, my co-host and partner, beckons me over to a sitting room facing the back, overlooking the ocean on a clear day. It wasn’t a clear day. There was mist settling comfortably over the trees, and the sun was just begin to let its rays through, so that the mist looked like it was glowing. Yards from the house, a family of deer grazed, looking at us from time to time, but content to do their thing. I’m very much a city girl, so sights of deer and the such enchant me. The deer brought on a sense of calm, and from then on I was filled with a calm and optimism about this New England food photography workshop (because no matter how many workshops I host, I always get a bout of nerves prior :)).

New England Food Photography Styling Workshop Recap

A huge thanks to the amazing team that brought this together: my co-host Krissy of Cottage Farm, our genius chef Sarah of My Summer St Kitchen, who also has a book coming out you won’t want to miss, and our seriously amazing assistant Jenn of Jenn Bakos Photography, who anticipated our every need and was basically a ninja. You can check out Krissy’s recap post here, as well as the recipe for her delicious shakshuka!

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