All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kurumi daifuku / soft rice cake with sweetened azuki bean paste and walnuts

Toasted walnuts add a rich taste and crunch to a standard everyday daifuku rice cake. Turbinado in soft gyuhi mochi goes really well with walnuts and tsubuan crumbly azuki bean paste inside. Best on Day 1 for contrasting texture with walnuts, especially while still warm.

1 daifuku cake (1/4 of recipe):
130 calories; 2.8 g protein; 3.0 g fat; 23.4 g carbohydrate; 21.6 g net carbs; 1 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.8 g fiber; 145 mg potassium


Koyadofu no ageyaki to renkon no horenso-an / fried freeze-dried tofu and lotus root with spinach dashi sauce

Rehydrating and frying koyadofu freeze-dried tofu results in a chewy and juicy texture, making a good contrast with crunchy lotus root. A blanket of flavorful dashi sauce brings the two ingredients together while adding a green touch of spinach. Ginger provides a zesty counter-punch to the rich taste from oil used in preparation. A nice side dish for cool days and nights.

1/2 of recipe:
160 calories; 5.2 g protein; 11.9 g fat; 7.3 g carbohydrate; 6.3 g net carbs; 100 mg sodium; 0.1 mg cholesterol; 1.0 g fiber; 267 mg potassium


Osechi New Year's Day breakfast, 2019

Once again this year, a smallish, basic lineup of osechi perfect for a breakfast for two.

Finding good fish is always a challenge in our town despite its location on the seacoast. Yet this year it was a case where a series of problems can lead to an amazing solution. Earlier in December following several days of power outage, we made grilled kasuzuke salmon out of defrosted salted salmon fillets, and it struck me that the taste of the fish, which was a bit dry due to my mistakenly grilling it slightly too long, would probably go really well in ozoni soup. Tom agreed that the taste would be a great match, and we bought a fillet of sockeye salmon for the ozoni. As it was previously frozen, I salted the fillet to extract excess moisture from the flesh and marinated it in sakekasu sake lees for two nights while preparing our ozoni to the semi-final flavoring stage. On December 30th, grilled kasuzuke salmon was added to the soup, which was simmered to blend the flavors, chilled overnight, and simmered again with the last flavor adjustment on the 31st. And after all that, we were rewarded with one of our most successful ozoni ever on the January 1st.


Dinner, November 28, 2018

When I happened to come across information on an exhibition of lacquerware made in Joboji, Iwate Prefecture, it was clear that dinner that day would feature their bowls. Joboji urushi ware was one of the first lacquer tableware I bought for myself back in Tokyo more than 20 years ago.

  • Gohan / steamed rice
  • Gobo to shimeji, menuke no misoshiru / miso soup with burdock root, shimeji mushrooms and grilled rockfish
  • Koyadofu no ageyaki to ebi no horenso-an-kake / fried freeze-dried tofu and shrimp with light dashi sauce with spinach
  • Hijiki no itameni / braised hijiki seaweed
  • Tomato no amazu oroshi-ae / tomato with grated daikon radish and sweetened vinegar


Dinner, November 11, 2018

Last month, I took the opportunity of an unexpected opening in my work schedule to visit my parents. My parents are in their late 70s and early 80s and have some health issues, and I wanted to see how they are managing their everyday routines. Recently, conversations over the phone often have some blank spots or do not really make sense, requiring some effort and imagination to figure out the real story. Seeing them in person was the fastest way to understand the situation.


Kurumafu no katsudon / gluten cake cutlet rice bowl

While normal katsudon features pork cutlets as the main ingredient, this features cutlets made with gluten cakes. As gluten cake cutlets soak up the broth, they become very juicy and take on the texture of fatty meat, but without the actual fat of pork. This dish is filling even when served with a smaller portion of steamed rice, yet it does not overwhelm your stomach and leaves plenty of room to comfortably enjoy other dishes.

It is quick to prepare, if all ingredients are ready, so have other accompanying dishes or soup almost ready before starting to make katsudon, to ensure the optimal serving temperature.

1/2 of recipe (without steamed rice):
302 calories; 13.7 g protein; 17.0 g fat; 20.6 g carbohydrate; 15.1 g net carbs; 450 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 211 mg cholesterol; 5.5 g fiber; 413 mg potassium

1/2 of recipe (served with 110 g steamed rice [made with 1/3 180-cc cup dry rice]):
386 calories; 15.0 g protein; 17.1 g fat; 39.1 g carbohydrate; 33.4 g net carbs; 450 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 211 mg cholesterol; 5.7 g fiber; 428 mg potassium

1/2 of recipe (served with 170 g steamed rice [made with 1/2 180-cc cup dry rice]):
428 calories; 15.5 g protein; 17.2 g fat; 48.1 g carbohydrate; 42.4 g net carbs; 450 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 211 mg cholesterol; 5.7 g fiber; 435 mg potassium


Shishito to eringi, myoga no miso-itame / stir-fried shishito peppers, king oyster mushroom and Japanese ginger buds with miso sauce

Crispy shishito and myoga stand out in this small side dish, which offers the punch of red miso against the soft and chewy texture of eringi mushroom. To ensure crispiness of shishito and myoga, cook eringi on relatively high heat to prevent it from letting out moisture and making everything soggy.

1/2 of recipe:
36 calories; 2.0 g protein; 1.3 g fat; 5.7 g carbohydrate; 3.1 g net carbs; 81 mg sodium (with shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 2.6 g fiber; 252 mg potassium