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


Breakfast, September 27, 2011

Mornings and evenings are getting chilly, but the days are still warm -- cucumbers, eggplant and tomatoes are still on their way from the greenhouse. Our meals these days are a mixture of summer and fall.

  • Rice with toasted sesame seeds
  • Kenchinjiru / root vegetable tofu and konnyaku soup, garnished with green onion
  • Nasu to piiman no misoitame / eggplant and green pepper saute with miso
  • Kyuri no shiomomi, shiso iri / Japanese cucumber instant pickles with perilla leaves

Before the eggplant season ends, I wanted to eat eggplant saute with miso. It's a dish I have probably eaten hundreds of times in Japan. Such an ordinary dish becomes a delicacy here, as our access to fresh Japanese eggplant is limited. In our greenhouse, Japanese eggplant (compact oblong shape, thin & soft skin, fewer seeds) are slow to grow and their season is short.
This year two ancho pepper plants are growing like trees in the same greenhouse. One small ancho pepper is added to the eggplant saute for texture and color. Eggplant cooked with oil becomes creamy, almost melting in your mouth. Ancho pepper stays firm and crunchy.

On a chilly morning like today's, a warm soup is appreciated. Since miso is already used for the eggplant saute, the soup is flavored with soy sauce. Root vegetables give an earthy flavor to the soup while warming your body from inside.

Cucumber, a summer vegetable, is thinly sliced and made into instant pickles with perilla leaves, a summer herb. Cucumber removes excess heat from your body, so it's not a very desirable thing to eat on a day like this, but fortunately the house is not freezing cold. A small amount works to add a little zing.

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