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


Warabi, konnyaku, satsumaage no itameni / saute-simmered bracken, konnyaku yam cake and deep-fried fishcake in broth

Somewhat crunchy warabi bracken makes a good contrast to tender fishcake and soft yet chewy konnyaku yam cake. A tasty, low-key companion for plain steamed rice and sake.


Kasetto konro / table-top portable gas stove

The compact table-top portable gas stove is incredibly handy for the nabe hot-pot season. Nabe is all about enjoying food cooking right in front of you with family and friends, and a portable gas stove makes it so easy to have a good time at your table.

These stoves take butane cartridges. Cartridges used to be available only at Asian supermarkets but are now available even at our local outdoor shops.


Arugula to kabocha no gomasoosu-gake / arugula and kabocha pumpkin with sesame sauce

When you want something lighter than gomaae, this is a good option. The sesame-like nutty taste of arugula is a natural with sesame sauce. You just need to counter it with naturally sweet, in-season kabocha pumpkin. Lots of fresh green arugula also helps to lighten up the pumpkin, which could taste a bit heavy because of its starchiness.



Breakfast, October 12, 2012

Tom has been a star in our kitchen lately. He bakes great bread. He is getting really good at pozole and dishes with beans, from soup to salad. He repeatedly made jabara kyuri to use as many cucumbers as possible from the greenhouse. He cooked warabi bracken for the first time, grilled eggplant for the first time, used a tortilla press for the first time, and he tried my new daikon radish grater for the first time – all in the last few weeks.

I get cranky, however, because of an insufficient variety and amount of vegetables. On a deadline-free, stress-free day after a few weeks of a hectic work schedule, one word was echoing in my head – vegetables, vegetables, vegetables….


    Gindara no kareejoyu-ni / black cod simmered in curry soy sauce broth

    A mellow and mild black cod dish accentuated by aromatic curry and soy sauce broth. Semi-steamed cauliflower adds a gentle, sweet note.


    Warabi no shiozuke, shionuki / salted bracken, desalination

    You can preserve fresh warabi bracken in salt for a year-round supply. Salt-preservation is one way to neutralize the harmful substance in warabi. All salt is eliminated before use.
    There are two steps in salting: the first salting is to get rid of the water in warabi, and the second is to preserve it.

    Warabi to age no nimono / bracken and thin deep-fried tofu in broth

    A low-key side dish that brings back memories of the old days. This time prepared with salted preserved bracken, and this dish has a contrasting texture of soft deep-fried tofu and crunchy bracken.


    Saibashi, moritsukebashi, toribashi / cooking, plating, and serving chopsticks

    Once you master the technique of maneuvering chopsticks, they become like a second set of fingers when cooking and serving.
    Saibashi cooking chopsticks

    Cooking chopsticks are longer and sometimes thicker than those used for eating (regular chopsticks are 22-24 cm long). Many are made of bamboo. Wooden and metal ones are also available.


    Ninjin no gomazuni / carrot simmered in vinegar soy sauce with sesame seeds

    Slightly sweetened vinegar highlights carrots’ soft sweetness. Make this dish ahead of time, as the full sweetness comes through after it cools.