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


Gobo burdock root

Arctium lappa
Here is another root vegetable that frequently appears on our table. This long stick-like root has an earthy aroma and is quite filling. It can be cut and sliced in many different ways that suit most individual dishes. Aroma and nutrition are concentrated near the skin, and fresh gobo is best scrubbed and lightly scraped with the back of a knife rather than peeling. Unfortunately, gobo available at stores is often already somewhat wilted and difficult to scrape properly.

Mushi kabocha / steamed mashed kabocha pumpkin

Naturally sweet kabocha pumpkin dressed in small cups.

Biifun / Taiwanese fried rice noodles

My favorite rice noodle dish since my Taiwan days.

Daikon radish prep cooking

Thickly cut daikon radish stays relatively firm when cooked in stew without prep cooking. Boil daikon in water used for washing rice or with rice to make it tender and translucent. Prep-cooked daikon absorbs flavor well in main cooking.

Ingen no kuttarini / soft simmered green beans

Good hot or cold. This dish appears repeatedly on the table during summer.

Onioroshi / grater for chunky daikon pieces

Onioroshi is to grate daikon radish into chunky pieces. Grated daikon is not watery and keeps its crispy texture.

Daikon radish

Raphanus sativus

This is a vegetable we eat almost every day.
While available year around, its true season is winter. The crispy taste and texture in season is unbeatable.

Daikon's taste and texture are different according to section. The greener section on the leaf end has a coarser texture but tastes sweeter, and it is good for grating (mild), soup and stew. The middle section is versatile and good for any preparation. The skin has stronger fiber than the greener section. When softer results are desired with this section, skin thickly. The removed skin can be julienned and made into stir-fry. The tapered end is fibrous but softer and contains more water than the greener section. It also tastes spicier than the other sections, and is good for grating (pungent), pickles, deep-fry, and stew.


Chuka chawan mushi / Chinese savory custard

Makisu, onisudare / bamboo rolling mats

Top: Makisu
Bottom: Onisudare

Rolling sushi probably is the most common usage of makisu. It is also used to stabilize the shape of dashimaki tamago omelet and to form tube-/platform-shaped items. In a more practical use, it is used as a strainer by spreading and placing it on top of a bowl.

Onisudare is mainly used to prepare datemaki rolled seafood omelet for the New Year. The deep notches leave zigzag marks on surfaces for a decorative purpose.


Dinner, July 21, 2011

It's doyo no ushi no hi today -- the "ox day" during the 18-day doyo period before summer equinox day on the lunar calender. These complicated things are usually announced by someone every year so that people know which day doyo no ushi no hi is that year. Why does it matter? Because we eat unagi eel on that day.


Jagaimo to takenoko no pirikarani / potatoes and bamboo shoots in spicy broth


2-3 medium potatoes (handful small new potatoes)
1/2 takenoko no mizuni boiled bamboo shoot
1 green onion
150 cc water
1 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp sake
1/2-1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 red chili pepper (sliced)
1/4-1/3 niboshi dried sardine
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds


Crush niboshi with bottle opener or knife handle.

Dice bamboo shoots into a matching size with small new potatoes.
If medium/large potatoes are used, dice them in 3-4 cm pieces.

Chop the white section of green onion into 3cm, and thinly slice the green section.


Heat sesame oil, put bamboo shoots and potato, and saute.
Add red chili pepper and the white section of green onion, and saute.


When some areas are lightly browned, add water, gochujang, sake, sugar and soy sauce, cover, and cook on medium heat until soft, for 5 minutes or so.


When soft, remove cover and boil down liquid.

Sprinkle toasted white sesame seeds and mix.

Serve and garnish with sliced green onion.

  • Spiciness depends on gochujang. If spicy gochujang is used, red chili pepper can be omitted.


Dinner, July 14, 2011

In the middle of July, the thermometer says it's 60 F or 15 C. What we need is a cozy cool-day meal to warm up our body and soul.

Soramame gohan / steamed rice with fava beans

One of my favorite ways to enjoy the mild bitterness of fava beans.

Kinki no aradaki / channel rockfish in soy sauce broth

Aradaki of bony fish pieces is a cool-season favorite and a standard dish at izakaya pubs.

Kinki no aradaki / channel rockfish in soy sauce broth

Aradaki of bony fish pieces is a cool-season favorite and a standard dish at izakaya pubs.

Breakfast, July 13, 2011

Something decent is always nice even when there is not much time. On a chilly day, a warm soup is essential. Filling rice will keep you going on a 2.5-hour trip to Seattle. And something in season will waken your sense of season.


Ninjin no happa no tempura / carrot leaf tempura

Tender carrot leaves made into crispy tempura.

Dinner, July 6, 2011

Sansho (Zanthoxylum piperitum) leaves have been out for some time now. They have a pungent aroma with a hint of citrus. My sansho tree does not seem to get any taller than a few feet, probably because of this cool climate. Leaves turn yellow relatively early in fall, and we have only a few months a year to enjoy its summery aroma and flavor.

Tara no kinome-yaki / grilled cod in sansho pepper leaf marinade

A seasonal favorite. Marinade with aromatic and peppery sansho leaves, with a hint of citrus.


Basil pesto sauce

Plenty of olive oil and pine nuts but no cheese. Rich yet light enough.

Breakfast, July 3, 2011


Tom's selective hearing of my words ("OK, you can cut down some of the fuki") resulted in total destruction of the fuki patch right outside the greenhouse. I was looking forward to exploring different fuki dishes this summer.