Yamazaki Home is a 100-year-old Japanese company that offers contemporary home goods for any decor. After nearly five years of looking for it, they have something I really needed.
Hi again, Dear Readers:
No, this isn’t a post from the draft folder–I’ve still got a few in there for you that are, shall we say, “evergreen.” In other words, I can flesh them out and publish them anytime.
Today’s post is about a company I only recently discovered and want to tell you about. Because you or someone you know just might need something. And no, this is not a sponsored post, but the Amazon affiliate links are mine, since you can also buy the products there.
Let’s dive in.
It’s the time of year for watermelon! No, it’s not keto–but it sure is tasty. Watermelons are loved throughout the world and especially in the southern US. They’re grown down here, actually, so you understand why. You can buy watermelons grown in Louisiana all over the place. But occasionally, we also get them from Texas, and even Mississippi.
One of BF’s local car-guy friends has decided to start growing watermelons. He leased some land in Washington Parish and got BF out there with him one day to start tilling and planting seeds. They used equipment, not working it by hand. I’ve not been there myself, but BF did text some pictures from there. It was a bigger operation than our failed gardening attempt last year that included watermelons. That garden was for our own personal use, not for sale. The deer and the raccoons had a field day taking out the corn and some other plants.
The friend, along with his 16-year-old stepdaughter and occasionally one of her friends have been standing on the side of the road selling them. They usually sell out, although this past weekend saw three of them delivered to the Casa de Rurale.
As watermelon is, they are sweet, tasty, and full of seeds. So I did what I would normally do–cut the watermelon into chunks, and add the seeds into a bowl, then spread them out into the garden plot. Now it’s just wait-and-see. We could have watermelons for Thanksgiving!
Ok, I’m just going to go ahead and admit that this was an unintentional and all-around bad idea.
The other day I was making dinner and thought that I would be using the small oven on the left-hand side of BF’s avocado green stove, and turned it on. When I realized that it would be too small, I turned on the big oven. To 400 degrees, no less. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off the small oven.
Because the kitchen in the Casa de Rurale is a bit small, I had the watermelons on the stove while I cooked dinner. One of them was sitting on the back burner that’s above the small oven that is also an exhaust pipe for the small oven.
I kept smelling something but I wasn’t sure what it was. BF had the same thought–what’s that smell? Heading into the kitchen, he found the source:
So, other than being in the blog, this hot mess is our little secret. Fortunately, the guy doesn’t read the blog.
I left it alone for a while, and then cut it open to see what happened:
A closer inspection shows that it really did get badly singed:
What did it taste like? Well, watermelon, but not a very good one. So it was Watermelon Night at The Possum Palace.
Not doing that again.
The Stove-side Shelf
Longtime readers may remember this shelf that I put up in the condo’s kitchen at El Dorado Trace:
This little shelf is from IKEA, and they still sell a similar version, plus this new version. I remember it as about $5 at the time. First, I lacquered it. When I put this up next to the stove, I felt like I had the greatest kitchen invention ever.
Then I moved to the Casa de Rurale.
Working In His Kitchen
It took a while, but I managed to do some organization in BF’s kitchen (as well as the rest of the house.) Unfortunately, many things were broken during the move or after I arrived, like that perfect little bottle for olive oil. That’s what happens during a move, of course.
One thing I planned to do was put that little shelf back up, but there is a refrigerator, not a wall, sitting next to the stove. I had two choices: put magnets on the back of the wooden IKEA shelf, or drill into the refrigerator. The first option seemed the best idea.
But of course, that didn’t work–the industrial-strength magnets I glued onto the back of the shelf just didn’t work at all. Even though I deployed Gorilla Glue–the bolt-it-together polyurethane stuff–it still wouldn’t stay on the fridge, much less hold anything. The olive oil bottle, salt, pepper, and seasoning bottles sat inconveniently on the other side of the kitchen for over 4 years, with the shelf packed away somewhere.
Then I was on Instagram one day and saw something that altered the dynamic.
I start seeing these new things in my Instagram feed. They were sleek, simple, and very functional. Then the company posted this on May 18th:
Finally!! The solution!
It’s Called “The Plate”
Unlike IKEA’s very Swedish names, this shelf comes with a simpler name–and a 3.5-pound magnet, too. I signed up for the company’s emails, and in short order, there was a sale. So of course it moved from the “one-day” list to the “I’m ordering it right now” list.
It only took a few days to arrive, and in true Japanese fashion, it was efficiently and well packed.
A simple but very useful item:
One thing I needed to do is get a smaller bottle for the stovetop olive oil supply. Yes, I do have to refill it more often, but the bigger bottle I’ve used since I moved here would likely be too heavy once it’s full. Once I got the smaller bottle a few days later, filled it, and topped it with a spout I was ready to put up the shelf. Having that handy goes a long way when you’re busy cooking.
You really don’t “install” this shelf, but you do have to make sure the magnet is fully stuck on the side of the fridge. In this case, it involved a thorough cleaning with the infamous “scrubbing bubbles.”
Wiped and scrubbed it clean, then put the shelf on it.
Admittedly, I only put a few things on it at first to see what it would hold. But once I was satisfied that I could put what I wanted on it, I put more:
Just like the original shelf, there’s a bottle of Chipotle Tabasco, as well as some Cajun Land Seasoning that I like. Unless I buy another one, the rest will stay on the other side of the room.
What does BF say? “I’m waiting for it to fall.” Thanks, Honey.
Yamazaki Home has been in business for 100 years, and has only been branching out to other countries recently. They’ve been in the US since 2014, but apparently only crossed my radar on Instagram in May. The company utilizes the Japanese minimalist approach to home goods that are practical, useful, as well as stylish.
In other words: there is no frou-frou, schlock, or kitsch here. Everything WORKS.
Some lifestyle bloggers are calling it “The IKEA of Japan” for its similar approach to home goods. This post from Gear Patrol is the most recent blog I’ve found.
While Amazon and Wayfair do carry many of their products, the newest of the new is only available on their company website. Their website is worth checking out if you’re looking for something you can’t find anywhere else–like IKEA.
Their blog is called “Yamazaki Stories,” and features things like this international-ingredient version of coconut cake. Fortunately, there is an Asian grocery store in Baton Rouge that I have yet to investigate, so I could actually get some of the more unusual ingredients there. Of course, the cake is on the company’s very own cake stand.
You can find Yamazaki Home on:
Follow one or all of their social media accounts so that you can be notified of new products, flash sales, and more.
Now, Yamazaki Home’s items are very well made, judging from what I see online and the Plate shelf. They are also more expensive than IKEA products but are made to last a long time.
The Plate Shelf runs $20, although, admittedly, I bought mine from their website during a 20% off sale in May. I’m sure there will be more in the Casa de Rurale from Yamazaki Home in the future, even if it isn’t their most expensive stuff.
This other magnetic kitchen rack could very well be next, and this little stackable shelf might be useful in the kitchen or other places throughout the house. This self-draining soap dish is probably going to show up in the bathroom as well as the kitchen one of these days–and maybe one in the garage sink for BF. And I do like this butter dish.
Note that there is also a company called Yamazaki that produces a high-end range of flatware. However, Yamazaki Home is not the same company.
Remember my cookbook review of The Southern Keto Cookbook just a couple of months ago? Guess what? Emilie Bailey, aka, The Texas Granola Girl, is about to release her second cookbook, called The Ultimate Simple Keto Cookbook: Easy Ketogenic Diet Recipes. It’ll be released on July 13th, but your faithful blogger was kindly gifted a preview copy–and I’ve been using it! So I’m hoping to make a couple more recipes this week and include them in my review. I’ll also be leaving a very positive review on Amazon, because so far, so good.
Oh, yes, I’ve found one recipe so far that uses turnips. No comment.
Our pantry also needs a clean-out and reorg, and that will also be part of an upcoming blog post. BF just sees stuff he doesn’t understand wonders, “why do we need all this?” More in the blog post.
Good evening, Dear Readers:
Sorry I haven’t written in a while; it’s been busy. Lots to tell, so let’s get started!
Ok, foodies, I have big news—Hostess Twinkies return next week! Along with Hostess Cupcakes (upgraded with dark chocolate) as well as a few other of your favorite Hostess goodies. The new Hostess, LLC, is rolling them out as we speak, and they are due to be in stores on Monday the 15th. Can you believe it?
You didn’t buy a bunch of them on eBay, did you? Well, soon you’ll be able to replace them with fresh ones.
Remember the joke about how Twinkies had a shelf life of “forever?” They really didn’t, but the new Hostess company is working on extending the freshness period. Originally, Twinkies had a shelf life of about 30 days. Are you ready for this? They’re going to deliver some of them frozen, so that stores can stamp their own freshness date on them, and extend the freshness date to 45 days, or longer.
Oh, YEAH!!! Just take some into your fallout shelter, and you can stay there a lot longer.
The new company is also going to start investigating different ways to make a Twinkie, including whole wheat , low-calorie, and yes. . .gluten free. That’s what it says in today’s Wall Street Journal. Woo hoo!
Friend of this blog MK says, “so now when the zombie apocalypse comes, you can be gluten free.” What a guy. The new versions of Twinkies may be available as early as later in the year.
Rest assured I’ll be on the case and report back to you on this important development.
In other news, I discovered a new taste to love. Cold-smoked salmon.
Sunday I did some shopping while in town, and I didn’t plan on getting hungry. Oh, well, I did. While in the area of a number of my favorite eateries (and the location of many more), I ended up having lunch at. . .IKEA. Yes, that Swedish bastion of the flat-pack and Allen wrenches, derided by many (and even parodied in season 10 of British comedy show Red Dwarf, an episode called Lemons.) I needed a couple of things and decided to have lunch while I was there in the café on the second floor. It’s simple Swedish (and some American) food, for the most part, and no, I didn’t have the meatballs. (That was only an issue in Europe, anyway.) Normally, I would have the open-faced shrimp sandwich on multi-grain bread. Topped with a hard-boiled egg, a mayo dressing and a sprig of dill, it’s one of my occasional indulgences that I have in IKEA, and occasionally, one of their interesting chocolate desserts.
Until now. Now I’m gluten-free. No bread. No cake. Now what?
I could get that sandwich and eat just the top of it. But, eat the filling without the bread? Well, that’s half the enjoyment of the sandwich. No, I would have to find another thing to eat, maybe the chicken salad. I didn’t make it that far. The gentleman in front of me went smoked salmon and dill dressing, and I decided to be brave and try something new. I got the one next to it, smoked salmon with a pile of lime-marinated tiny-diced veggies, sitting right next to what he picked up. Called Najad Salmon, this is how it was served:
If you’re not familiar with this kind of thing, it’s a preserved salmon using salt and herbs that’s very thinly sliced crosswise with a flexible thin blade. Honest, I’ve seen Martha Stewart make this kind of thing on one of her early shows, but I’ve never had it before. Just not something that’s part of traditional New Orleans cuisine, you understand. So, I decided to be brave and try something new.
Salmon preserved in this manner is softer than you may be used to. Between the herbs and the salt, it softens the flesh and infuses lots of flavor into it, taking out the “fishy” taste that salmon has when cooked, in the same manner that ceviche does to shrimp. Being from New Orleans, I would have never known what this was without seeing Martha Stewart making it on her show and adding it to one of her many cookbooks. Still, being more familiar with baked/poached/fried salmon and the stuff in a can, this kind of thing just isn’t something that would normally cross my path were it not for Houston being such a diverse and international city. With an IKEA cafe’ right in the middle.
So, you likely have at least once in your life asked someone, what does (whatever they were eating) taste like? You may have heard the old yarn, “Tastes just like chicken.” (In some cases, the individual may have a sarcastic streak.) Well, this cold-smoked doesn’t taste like chicken. . .but it does taste like thinly sliced deli ham. No kidding, that’s what it tasted like to me. Ham, sliced. Go figure. It was salty, a bit sticky and quite delicious.
Guess what? It’s my new gluten free favorite at IKEA! (I hope.)
I did try to roll up the salmon, burrito-style, around the tiny diced veggies and eat it that way. Nothin’ doin’, the salmon was too soft. Ended up being like scrambled eggs at that point, but it was very tasty. Of course, if I had a tortilla, it might have worked, but it wouldn’t have been gluten-free, either.
According to the nutrition information on IKEA’s website, it has less than 300 calories. Not bad!
I added a side salad from the salad bar, which consists of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons and sliced black olives. Added a bit of olive oil and what looked like balsamic vinegar and I was in business. Skipped dessert this time, and went on with my afternoon.
After I’d paid for the other things I went in for, I headed over to Trader Joe’s, where I proceeded to have another DUH moment while looking for almond flour. It’s considerably less expensive there, so I bought extra. I went to where I thought I picked it up last time, where all the bagged nuts are, and just could not find it. Looked around where I was standing, too—nothing. So I asked someone. . .and it was right where I was standing earlier, at knee level on me.
Maybe I should have stayed home. Well, at least I have more almond flour to make some delicious Wheat Belly Biscuits with. Sometime.
Now and again, it’s good to take a chance and find something new. You might even find a new favorite.
THE TWINKIES ARE COMING!! THE TWINKIES ARE COMING!!! GET READY!!!