Veterans’ Favorites


Members of the Go For Broke National Education Center Cookbook Committee, from left: Emi Murata, Bertha Shimazu, Beverly Iba, Mildred Ikemoto, Yumi Yukawa, Chiz Ohira, Ellie Ozawa, Teri Fujikawa and Christie Ichikawa. (Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Members of the Go For Broke National Education Center Cookbook Committee, from left: Emi Murata, Bertha Shimazu, Beverly Iba, Mildred Ikemoto, Yumi Yukawa, Chiz Ohira, Ellie Ozawa, Teri Fujikawa and Christie Ichikawa. (Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)



Happy Holidays! For many of us, some of the best memories of the holiday season are related to the food and smiling faces around the family dinner table.

This year, invite the veterans and their wives of the Go For Broke National Education Center to your feast and let them help you create another great memory.

go for broke cook book

To commemorate their 20th anniversary of the organization, GFBKEC’s latest and third cookbook went on sale this summer. Collected and contributed by the 18 ladies of the volunteer GFBNEC Cookbook Committee, the cookbook contains 350 recipes (including the returning favorites from the 1st and 2nd editions) divided into Asian dishes; starters; soup, salads & sides; main dishes and desserts. Its first printing—1,000 copies—was sold out quickly in a few months.

Some of the dishes are contributed by famous chefs, such as Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s) and Chris Yeo (Straits Café), but most of them are easy, simple and delicious homemade meals perfect for your family get-togethers.

“Many of us sort of look for quick and easy recipes. I think this book has many of those types of recipes,” said Teri Fujikawa, a Cookbook Committee member. “Young people are so busy working and raising families, they too probably want quick and easy.”

The Rafu Shimpo recently visited the GFBNEC office in Torrance and joined their weekly potluck lunch. The table was decorated and filled with the delicious dishes from the cookbook, and of course, the faces of the hungry vets. Itadakimasu!

Beverly Iba prepared:

Pumpkin Squares

pumpkin squares


1 (18 oz.) box yellow cake mix (reserve 1 c.)

1 egg

1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted


3 c. pumpkin or 1 (30 oz.) large can

3 t. pumpkin pie spiced

2 eggs

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk


1 c. cake mix

1/4 c. butter, melted

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 c. nuts (optional)

To make crust, combine ingredients; press into 13×9 inch baking pan. To make filling, mix together pumpkin, spice, eggs, brown sugar and milk and spread over crust. Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake at 350 degree for 45 to 50 minutes.

If using glass container, bake at 325 degree. Refrigerate. Cut into squares when ready to serve. Garnish with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

“What can I say, I am not a very good cook from the beginning. I hate to cook!Beverly said. Despite her modest self-review, the pumpkin squares were DELICIOUS!

Christie Ichikawa shared this recipe:

Lime Jell-O Mold

1 (6 oz.) pkg. lime Jell-O

1 c. boiling water

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (16 oz.) carton sour cream

1 (11 or 15 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained (optional)

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Drain pineapple and to the juice add enough water to measure 1 cup. Add mixture to Jell-O. Mix in sour cream (does not have to be completely blended). Put mixture into a shallow pan and refrigerate until the sides are firm and middle is soft. Remove from refrigerator and put into mixing bowl and beat. Add drained pineapple. Pour into 4-cup mold or square pan. Mandarin oranges maybe added if desired. Refrigerate until firm.

“I don’t like to cook that much. But my favorite one is this lime Jell-O mold. I think I’ve submitted that to every cookbook that they asked me to contribute to. It’s very easy,” said Christie.

Mildred Ikemoto prepared:

Pork and Pineapple Stir Fry

pork pineapple

4 ½ t. all-purpose flour

5 t. reduced sodium soy sauce, divided

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut in 1/2” cubes

2 t. cornstarch

1 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. rice vinegar

1/4 c. sherry or additional

reduced sodium

chicken broth

1 t. sesame oil

1/4 t. white pepper

2 t. canola oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced

1 t. fresh ginger root, minced

1 c. fresh pineapple, cubed

1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 3/4” pieces

1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced

Hot cooked rice

Place flour and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a large resealable plastic bag, add pork. Seal bag and coat meat well; refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, vinegar, sherry or additional broth, sesame oil, white pepper and remaining soy sauce until smooth. Set aside. In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry pork in 1 teaspoon canola oil for 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Stir-fry the round onion, carrots, ginger and garlic in remaining oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pineapple, red pepper and green onions, stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add pork, heat through. Serve with rice. Makes 6 servings.

“At first, we called (cookbook) ‘Veterans’ Favorites,’ because we asked the veterans to submit their favorite, each individual veteran’s favorite from their family recipes. That was kind of the nucleus in the first place,” Mildred said, explaining the origin of the cookbooks.

Emi Murata prepared:

Green Onions with Miso Sauce (nuta)


2 bunches green onions, wakame (dried seaweed)

1 t. dry mustard mixed with 1 t. water

1 (6 oz.) can minced clams

3 t. miso

3 t. sugar

3 t. dashi

1 t. vinegar

Wash green onions and remove ends. Parboil for 3 minutes. Drain. When cool, cut in 2-inch lengths. Soak wakame inwater. Cut wakame into thin strips. Drain liquid from clams. Set aside. Combine miso, sugar, dashi and vinegar and cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add mustard. Combine green onions, seaweed and clams with sauce. Clam juice may be used for soup.

String Beans w/ Sesame-Miso Sauce

string beans

1 lb. string beans, sliced diagonally

1/4 t. salt


1 t. soy sauce

1 t. sugar

2 t. sesame seeds, toasted and ground

2 t. mirin (sweet rice wine)

1/2 c. miso (soybean curd paste)

Cook the beans in small amount of boiling salted water until tender. Drain, cool and refrigerate. Combine with sauce and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

“I chose Japanese recipes because I thought Sanseis and Yonseis should know what it is,” Emi said.

Chiz Ohira prepared:

Okra Daikon Salad


2 daikon, julienned

7 okra, cut into rings

2 t. mirin

1 t. vinegar

small amount of yuzu or lemon juice

Mix together. Add salt if desired.

“I thought that Okra Daikon Salad is different,” said Chiz. “I think that we tried to select the recipes that are easyfor Sansei, Yonsei because they are used to buying things that are already prepared. Vegetables that are all washed and cleaned. I think that was part of the idea also.”

Chiz said her father used to own a grocery store across the street from the old Union Church, where East West Players are today.

“He had all these things from Japan, imported and ready for Oshogatsu, New Year’s dinner.”

Ellie Ozawa prepared:

Mexican Cobb Salad



1/2 t. fresh ground pepper

1 c. green chili, chopped

1/4 c. fresh cilantro

2 t. fresh lime juice

1/4 t. salt

2/3 c. sour cream


1 avocado, diced

1 (15 oz.) red kidney beans,

rinsed and drained

1 c. Jack cheese, shredded

1/4 c. red onion, minced

2 large tomatoes, diced

11/2 c. cooked chicken, diced

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

11/2 c. jicama or celery, diced

6 c. Romaine lettuce, shredded

To make dressing, combine ingredients, stir until blended. Layer lettuce, beans, cheese and half the tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Add chicken, avocadoes, onion, jicama, remaining tomatoes and bacon in rows. Toss with dressing and serve. Note: Corn may be added.

“I submitted the recipes I make for my family,” Ellie said. “What I did was for my children to enjoy. It’s very simple, everything I make is simple and easy.”

Bertha Shimazu prepared:

Easy Dump Cake

1 (21 oz.) can prepared apple pie filling

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

2 t. baking soda

1/2 c. salad oil

1 t. cinnamon

2 eggs

1 c. nuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients together, beat 2 to 3 minutes with a mixer. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 24 pieces.

“I am beyond the cooking stage, I forgot how to cook” Bertha said, smiling. “What I submitted are the recipesthat I enjoyed making in the past and came out OK.”

Kimi Taira prepared:

Barbecue Spareribs


5lbs. spareribs, cut in 3-inch length

1 piece ginger, crushed


3/4 c. sugar

1 c. ketchup

3/4 c. shoyu

1/3 c. oyster sauce

Boil spareribs in pot of water with ginger for 1 hour. Remove from water. Marinate the ribs in sauce for at least 1 hour (or leave overnight). Broil on charcoal or in oven. Try it!

Ivy Toma prepared:

Ono Chicken Pineapple

2 pkgs. chicken thighs

1/3 to ½ c. flour

1/2 t. celery salt

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. garlic salt

Canola oil for frying

1/4 c. pineapple juice or syrup of c. chunked pineapple

2 t. shoyu

2 t. sugar, omit if syrup is used

1 medium size can pineapple chunks (or more)

Mix flour, celery salt, nutmeg, salt and garlic salt in a paper bag, add pieces of chicken and shake. Be sure all pieces of chicken are well coated with the flour/spiced ingredients. Fry chicken pieces in canola oil until brown, drain. Combine the pineapple juice or syrup, shoyu and sugar. Add mixture to chicken.

Cover and simmer until tender. Before serving, add pineapple chunks. This dish may be served with rice and vegetables or a salad of your choice.

“I was born in Hawaii,” said Ivy. So we had a different tradition compared to [the mainland].”

“20th Anniversary Veterans’ Cookbook” is available for $20 or, for GFBNEC members, $18, plus $6 shipping. The cookbook committee members include: Teri Fujikawa, Diana Herrst, Beverly Iba, Christie Ichikawa, Mildred Ikemoto, Mary Karatsu, Emi Murata, Amy Nakazawa, Chiz Ohira, Ellie Ozawa, Chuckie Seki, Bertha Shimazu, Kimi Taira, Elma Takahashi, Teresa Takahashi, Sumi Tochihara, Ivy Toma and Sue Watanabe. For more info or to purchase a copy, call (310) 222-5702 or visit the Go For Broke website at

chow hounds


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