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


Tonyu miso nikomi udon / hot-pot udon wheat noodles in red miso and soy milk broth

A personal-size, sizzling hot pot with udon for cold days. The combination of aka miso and soy milk makes this a mild yet deep and satisfying dish. As it is individually cooked in a small clay pot, goody choices can easily be personalized. Even better, each pot can be prepared at a different time -- when noodles, soup and goodies are prepped and ready for assembly, everyone gets to enjoy hot pot simmered just for them, which is perfect for busy days when family members are on different schedules. This dish warms you up from the inside, but you still need to be careful not to burn your mouth!

With 80 g dried udon wheat noodles per serving:
529 calories (1/2 of recipe); 26.8 g protein; 13.3 g fat; 75.4 g carbohydrate; 67.2 g net carbs; 723 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 214 mg cholesterol; 8.2 g fiber


Fuki no to no amazu-zuke / Japanese butterbur buds marinated in sweetened rice vinegar

Another simple way to enjoy this early spring treasure. Sweet, sour, and faintly bitter. A great little accent for any meal or bento!

Whole recipe (6 fuki no to butterbur buds):
26 calories; 1.2 g protein; 0 g fat; 5.7 g carbohydrate; 2.7g net carbs; 31 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.0 g fiber

1 fuki no to butterbur bud:
4 calories; 0.2 g protein; 0 g fat; 1.0 g carbohydrate; 0.5 g net carbs; 5 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.5 g fiber


Sakekasu okara pan / sake lees soy rolls

Small rolls featuring double soy -- okara soybean pulp and soy flour. These sake lees rolls taste great with savory dishes. Sakekasu's aroma works as a great accent to meals. Low in net carbs and sodium, these are a great option to balance your overall diet on routine basis. And thanks to the high fiber content, one roll can be quite filling.

Whole recipe (6 rolls):
983 calories; 81.5 g protein; 47.9 g fat; 62.9 g carbohydrate; 28.6 g net carbs; 395 mg sodium; 47 mg cholesterol; 28.1 g fiber

1 roll:
164 calories; 13.6 g protein; 8.0 g fat; 10.5 g carbohydrate; 4.8 g net carbs; 66 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 4.7 g fiber


Okara maccha keeki / soy matcha cake

A matcha cake made in the microwave. Taking full advantage of fiber-rich okara soybean pulp as well as calorie- and carb-free erythritol and stevia, it is a friendly companion for those who are watching their net carbs count, glucose level, or simply want something filling for a quick energy boost between meals. The cake tends to be dry on Day 1, so wrap it while still warm and keep in the fridge overnight for best results.

Whole recipe (approx. 230 g):
374 calories; 25.1 g protein; 20.7 g fat; 21.2 g carbohydrate; 8.5 g net carbs; 153 mg sodium; 428 mg cholesterol; 12.6 g fiber

2.5 cm/1" cube (approx. 25 g):
41 calories; 2.8 g protein; 2.3 g fat; 2.3 g carbohydrate; 0.9 g net carbs; 17 mg sodium; 47 mg cholesterol; 1.4 g fiber


Kanso okara / dried soybean pulp

When having more okara soybean pulp than you can eat in a few days, dry it in the microwave, a frying pan or oven, and freeze for later use. When you sift the dried okara, you get a nice, low-fat, fiber-rich flour-like ingredient for baking and more. Although not as fine as packaged okara powder from store shelves, sifted okara works great in a number of recipes.


Seri soba / buckwheat noodles with water dropwort

The refreshing leaves and crispy stems of seri water dropwort, the subtle softness of enoki mushrooms, and the juicy soup released by usuage ... all perfectly match the deep earthiness of soba noodles in broth.
This is what we enjoyed as our toshikoshi soba [year-end buckwheat noodles] on December 31 last year.

With 125 g dried soba noodles per serving
522 calories (1/2 of recipe); 24.0 g protein; 6.7 g fat; 90.8 g carbohydrate; 84.2 g net carbs; 536 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 6.6 g fiber

With 100 g dried soba noodles per serving
436 calories (1/2 of recipe); 20.5 g protein; 6.1 g fat; 74.1 g carbohydrate; 68.4 g net carbs; 515 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 5.7 g fiber


Breakfast, January 1, 2016

Every year, while taking care of final prep for the big breakfast on January 1st, I harvest several camellia leaves in our garden. I plate the glossy green leaves with chrysanthemum-cut kabu turnip served with grilled fish and scallops as a part of the osechi New Year's Day meal.

My parents' house in Japan is surrounded by sazanka [sasanqua] winter-blooming camellia hedges, and their red blossoms give us a striking show during the holiday season. I always loved to see them blooming against a blanket of pure white snow through windows framed with shoji paper screens. Nowadays my parents don't get much snow, and this view of simple beauty with its contrasting colors is largely a memory from the past. So the camellia leaves I pair with kabu are a memento of a lost scene.