Avocado Smash with Yuzu and Poppy Seeds

Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is the size of a mandarin.  It resembles a small grapefruit with uneven skin and is usually yellowish to greenish in color.  It's tart in taste with a delicate accent of grapefruit and lime-like flavors.

Yuzu originates from East Asia and is most commonly cultivated and used in Japan.  It is not eaten like a whole fruit but the juice and the zest are widely used in Japanese and Korean cuisine.  Similar in use as that of the lemon it can be found in pastries, teas, jams, dressings, sauces, beers, etc. 

Try replacing lemon with a dash of yuzu for something different.  It's subtle on the palate and less citrusy.


This is a great simple twist to plain avocado using yuzu juice in place of lemon juice.  Don't forget to sprinkle some poppy seeds for some added texture and decoration.

Avocado Smash with Yuzu and Poppy Seeds


• 1 ripe avocado
• 1/2 teaspoon of yuzu juice, concentrated
• 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
• 1/2 clove garlic (small clove)
• a pinch of coarse sea salt (adjust according to taste)



Halve your avocado and scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a small bowl.

Add your yuzu juice and garlic.

Start to mash the avocado with the back of a fork.  Make sure not to mash it up too much.  It's nice to have bits and chunks in it.

Add your salt and your poppy seeds. Give it a final whirl in the bowl.

I used an ice cream scooper to give this avocado some shape. 

Plop it on a plate and it's ready to be served.



Buddha Bowl #1. Eat Bold and Bloom.

Buddha bowls have been the rage in healthy living in the past year or two.  I never knew what I had been eating actually had a name to it.  I like to think of it as a gratitude bowl.  Now, I'm not trying to get hippy-dippy on you, but it is a bowl of goodness for your health, mind, and body so we should be grateful for what we have on this earth and for what Mother Nature gives to us.

Brown rice and quinoa mix topped with hijiki tofu patties, beetroot, cucumber wakame sunomono, red cabbage, spinach, crushed avocado with yuzu and poppy seeds, and carrot ginger dressing.

Brown rice and quinoa mix topped with hijiki tofu patties, beetroot, cucumber wakame sunomono, red cabbage, spinach, crushed avocado with yuzu and poppy seeds, and carrot ginger dressing.

This is a one meal bowl with an emphasis on plant based foods.  There are 4 basic components to it: grains and/or nuts and seeds, protein veggies, starchy vegetables, and a dazzling dressing or sauce.

You can use plant based proteins such as avocado, beans, nuts, seeds, and tofu.  Other protein substitutes may be egg, sustainable fish and lean meats (for those who need a little more).  Play around with the textures of your veggies which can easily be achieved by the way you cook them (boiled, steamed, sautéed, raw, roasted) or cut them (diced, cubed, sliced, julienned). 

The combination between texture and taste is something you can be mindful to while eating.  A mix of raw vegetables and lightly cooked, steamed, or roasted vegetables add different dimensions to a bowl.  Be generous to yourself and be abundant in your veggie servings.

What's great about it is that you can reincarnate any leftovers and recreate new bowls. 

Buddha Bowl #1

INGREDIENTS// 1 meal bowl

• brown rice and quinoa mix
hijiki tofu patties
• beetroot, raw and grated
cucumber wakame sunomono
• red cabbage, marinated
• spinach or chard
crushed avocado with yuzu and poppy seeds
carrot ginger dressing


Choose a special bowl and assemble all your elements of goodness on top and around your grains.

Top it off with your special dressing or sauce. 

Eat bold and bloom.


Onigiri, Japanese rice balls packed full of wholesomeness.

There was one year during my elementary school years where I brought a bento box lunch as opposed to a brown bag lunch.  I say one year because I went to about 4 or 5 different elementary schools and for some particular reason I really remember lunch time at only one particular elementary school. 

This was the year my uncle, Iichigawa-san from Japan, came to stay with us.  He would make me rice balls stuffed with umeboshi, a Japanese pickled salt plum (my favorite) or fill them with pieces of salmon or ikura (salmon roe) for my bento lunch.  Sometimes they were round like a ball and sometimes they were shaped into triangles. Sometimes they were wrapped with nori (seaweed) and other times just sprinkled with furikake, mixed savory sprinkles.

This is when I had my Molly Ringwald moment from The Breakfast Club  "sushi lunch scene"—so if you can imagine what the kids' reactions were towards sushi in the 80's...I clearly wasn't the most envied one while chomping down into my black seaweed covered rice balls.

Seaweed is a health food and sushi has gone global.  I now make this with flavored rice, experimenting with different grains, beans, and seeds and adding shredded vegetables into the mix.   It's practical for picnics and makes a great snack.  Create your own onigiri according to your own tastebuds!

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)


• 2 cups Japanese short grain rice
• 1/2 cup roasted buckwheat groats (kasha)
• 1/2 cup adzuki bean flakes
•  1 small avocado
• 2 sheets of Korean style roasted seaweed
•  yukari (dried shiso leaf powder)
•  sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon amaranth seed, popped


In your removable rice cooker pot add the rice and rinse with water using your hands to swish the rice and water around.  The water will be cloudy.  RInse until it gets less cloudy.

Add the buckwheat and adzuki beans, and fill the pot with water to the point where indicated for 3 cups of water—I usually add 1/4-1/2 cup water more.

Place it back in your rice cooker and select the mode for cooking rice.

When cooked, using your rice spatula genlty flip through the rice to fluff it up a bit.

Let the rice cool down before handling.

If using a onigiri triangle mold, wet it beforehand so that the rice does not stick to it (remember to do it before each one).

Simply fill the mold with rice just below the halfway point and create a dent in the middle.

Scoop out a quarter of the avocado and place it in the middle.  Be careful not to overstuff.

Fill the top half with the rice mixture press down with the lid onto the rice.

Take the lid off, flip over the mold, and press down on the flexible backside to push out the rice.

You can also use your hands to mold the rice into balls or triangles: Keep your hands wet, spread the rice out on the palms of your hands, place the fillings in the center, fold up the rice around it, pack it tightly with your hands, and form it into the shape you like. 

Sprinkle it with some sesame seeds and/or yukari (adds a tangy and slightly salty taste), and popped amaranth seeds.

Cut your Korean roasted seaweed in half lengthwise, place the rice triangle in the middle and fold up the sides of the seaweed pressing the seaweed into the rice so that it sticks.  Bend the top flaps of the seaweed down along the sides of the triangle so that the rice triangle is entirely wrapped.



I use Korean or Japanese seaweed.  Korean seaweed is more flavorful because it is roasted with oil and salt.  Check the ingredients list making sure it is short and not added with additional salt, sugar or artificial ingredients.