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


Jagaimo to ebi no remon haabu sarada / potato and prawn salad with herbs

This has been my top potluck and party dish for years. Lemon juice and fresh herbs turn this starchy salad into a light dish. No matter how many times I make it, I never get tired of eating it.


Konnyaku no nimono / konnyaku yam cake simmered in broth

A somewhat straightforward, soy sauce-flavored dish that reminds me of dishes that appeared at my grandmother’s house. 

29 calories (1/2 of recipe); 0.9 g protein; 0 g fat; 5.0 g carbohydrate; 3.3 g net carbs;  240 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 468 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 1.7 g fiber
*See Notes for seasonings for a lower-sodium version.


Hakusai to kani no chanpuruu (champuruu) / Okinawan-style saute with crab, tofu and napa cabbage

The sweet inner leaves of hakusai are a great match with crabmeat. Together with tofu and egg, this is a satisfying, flavorful and nutritious dish for an everyday meal. Bonito flakes added at the end give a rich flavor. 


Eringi to burokkorii no sotee sarada / sauteed king oyster mushrooms and broccoli salad

Tender, somewhat chewy eringi contrasts well with crunchy broccoli. Due to the very light saute, this is like a hot salad.


Breakfast, November 21, 2012

It is the day before the buttery-sugary feast. Recent radio shows about how to prepare turkey and side dishes make me feel full already. One of the most recent programs emphasized the importance of butter. We do not use butter excessively even with Western food, but tomorrow’s food is an annual exception. I will have six dishes with butter: panna cotta of beets, gougère, crispy cauliflower salad, baked yams, salmon-potato spread, and pumpkin cheesecake. Some only use less than 1 tsp of butter, but all together they are buttery. To counter the highly likely overdose, we had a butter-less breakfast as usual.


    Oden / fishcake, tofu and daikon radish stew

    With its steam and heavenly aroma wafting up from a large, softly bubbling pot, this dish envelops you in a comforting warmth, and is a mainstay of cold winter months. It is available at specialty restaurants, street stalls and even convenience stores -- and, of course, at home. This is my standard oden as passed down by my mom, with the addition of some techniques adopted from her friend's oden restaurant.


    Daikon to kaki no namasu / daikon radish and persimmon in sweetened rice vinegar

    A fruity affair with sweet persimmon. The sweetness of persimmon, the saltiness from daikon radish and the mild sourness of rice vinegar and lemon juice blend together after some time, resulting in a pleasant little side dish.


    Tori no karaage / fried chicken

    The standard dish for picnics, parties and bento lunch boxes – probably one of the top 10 bento items I made in my high school days. I’m still using the same recipe.


    Konnyaku to tamanegi no itameni / saute-simmered konnyaku yam cake and onion

    Among a number of quick konnyaku dishes, this tastes slightly similar to sukiyaki. A nice companion with a rich punch for mild-flavored dishes.


    Kaki no dote-nabe / hot pot with oysters, broiled tofu and vegetables with miso

    Miso is pasted along the inside edge of the pot so you can adjust the taste as you eat. The combination of oysters, miso and a squeeze of lemon is warm yet refreshing. Vegetables, broiled tofu and other ingredients contribute to the mild broth, making this hot pot very satisfying.


    Kaki to shungiku no kurumizu-ae / persimmon and garland chrysanthemum in sweetened vinegar with walnuts

    “Wow!” Tom said, after his first bite. Sweet orange-colored autumn fruit is paired with aromatic garland chrysanthemum, with lightly sweetened vinegar and walnuts smoothly working as a go-between.


    Ebi to ginnan-iri mushi-renkon manju / steamed lotus root dumplings with prawns and gingko nuts

    Grated lotus root is transformed into soft dumplings by steaming. Prawns add a mild sweet flavor while gingko nuts provide the nutty tang of autumn.