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


Fuki no mazegohan / rice mixed with Japanese butterbur

A variation to enjoy fuki cooked in broth. Cut into small pieces, fuki gives a succulent soft crunch to lightly salted sweet rice.


Warabi, tofu, age no akadashi / red miso soup with bracken, tofu and thin deep-fried tofu

Red miso perfectly matches the clinging texture of warabi. Pair with common ingredients such as tofu and usuage for a great simple companion to a meal.


Rescuing wilting vegetables

Before tossing away tired-looking or wilting greens sitting in your fridge, let's see if we can rescue them.



Zukkiini no karashizuke / zucchini pickles with karashi mustard

The sweetness of zucchini is a good match with the pungent spiciness of karashi mustard. A small pickle dish with a clean aftertaste.


Fuki no sattoni / quick-simmered Japanese butterbur in light broth

This fuki dish has a weak flavor at first, and it is a good way to keep cooked fuki for a few days. Fuki slowly absorbs flavor and takes on a full-bodied taste after two days. In the meantime, prepared fuki can be used for a number of dishes.


Asupara no aamondo-age / asparagus tempura with almond slices

Succulent, sweet asparagus and toasty, crunchy almond slices. A must-have spring tempura for me.

Remon soruto / lemon salt

Flavored salt for tempura. It is especially good with firm green vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli (stems in particular).


Garlic marinated calamari saute

An easy appetizer or side dish of calamari marinated in olive oil and garlic. It tastes great with bread and wine or beer.


Warabi no umebitashi / bracken marinated in light broth with pickled plum

A pleasant warabi dish to enjoy the taste of spring from the field. The fruity sourness of umeboshi is refreshing while sesame oil adds aroma and rich flavor.


Breakfast, May 14, 2012

The weather has been sunny and warm lately, and my body seems to retain too much heat even early in the morning. Something cool, along with other simple dishes, seemed a good choice for breakfast.


    Warabi to kinoko no amakara shoyuzuke / bracken and mushrooms marinated in lightly sweetened spicy soy sauce

    A great companion for plain rice, soba or udon noodles. Also good as a topping for hiyayakko tofu.

    Warabi bracken prep

    Parboiling or soaking in alkaline boiling water reduces bitterness and also neutralizes the carcinogenic substance in warabi. Traditionally, wood ash is used to make water alkaline. Baking soda is more widely used today: use only a small amount, otherwise the fibers get too soft and warabi becomes mushy.


    Tom Cooks 6: Mayonnaise

    "Is this it?" Tom said.

    That was another moment when Tom had some sort of culture shock, not about what I do but about what he has been doing since his childhood. The creamy spread of mayonnaise, indispensable in many wonderful sandwiches and a number of yummy dips or potato salad...

    Tom thought mayo was something so complicated to make at home that people had to buy it in jars at stores.


    Karifurawaa to burokkorii no karashibitashi / cauliflower and broccoli in light broth with karashi mustard

    Steam-roasted cauliflower and broccoli marinated in karashi mustard-infused broth. Karashi's invigorating sharp spiciness compliments the soft flavor of cauliflower well.


    Warabi bracken

    Pteridium aquilinum

    A common sansai or mountain vegetable, warabi is a gift of nature that starts to appear here and there in late April in our area. While it is poisonous when eaten raw, the carcinogenic substance (ptaquiloside) is neutralized by parboiling (typically with a small amount of wood ash or baking soda) and soaking in the same water overnight (see warabi prep). Warabi can be preserved with salt, either after quick boiling or raw. When preserved with salt, the poison is neutralized during the preservation process. As with other mountain vegetables, warabi is normally eaten in small amounts, and consumption of cooked warabi should not present a major health problem. However, as an extra precaution, the soft tips containing spores are often removed before preparation.


    Ika to tai bajiru no sotee / calamari and Thai basil sauté

    A quick lunch I used to eat routinely at a local diner in Bangkok. The combination of somewhat sweet sauce with perspiration-inducing hot peppers and Thai basil is addictive. When I asked for four little Thai peppers in the dish after many months of gradually becoming accustomed to the spiciness, chef mom and her assistant daughter cheerfully clapped their hands.


    Asari gohan, aamondo-iri / steamed rice with clams and toasted almonds

    Steamed rice infused with the flavor of clams. Toasted almond slices give a nice contrast in texture and extra aroma.


    Ganmodoki to daikon no nimono / deep-fried tofu patties and daikon radish in broth

    One of my ultimate comfort foods in cool seasons. Soft and fluffy ganmodoki and juicy daikon are simmered, cooled, allowed to rest and then reheated for a deep, mild flavor.


    Moyashi to age no sattoni / bean sprouts with thin deep-fried tofu in broth

    A simple, quick moyashi dish. Usuage thin deep-fried tofu gives this little dish a comforting flavor. Moyashi become soft but still hold some crispness at the end, which is a big plus for a side dish.


    Kinoko no iridofu / scrambled tofu with mushrooms

    The earthy taste of shiitake, the subtly sour and fruity flavor of enoki, and the delicate woody tang of oyster mushrooms turn this easy everyday tofu dish into a rich tapestry of flavors.


    Dinner, May 2, 2012

    Our lunch on the go was factory-made fast food. To conclude a happy car shopping day, I decided to have a light yet satisfying dinner with enough vegetables to make up for our oh-so-unhealthy lunch.


      Hakusai to asari no nibitashi / napa cabbage and clams in light broth

      A quick soupy dish with canned clams. Hakusai's subtle sweetness joins with the deep flavor of clams. Ginger, a great companion for clams, enlivens the overall taste.