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


Kyabetsu to hakusai no sakura ebi iri ohitashi / cabbage and napa cabbage in light broth with dried shrimp

The soft green color of cabbage and napa cabbage makes a nice contrast with the pretty pink of sakura ebi. Both vegetables are microwaved for quick preparation, which also minimizes loss of vitamins into water when boiling them. This side dish has a gentle sweet aftertaste with a hint of clear saltiness, and goes well with dishes that have strong flavor or are prepared with oil.

1/2 of recipe: 19 calories; 1.7 g protein; 0.4 g fat; 3.4 g carbohydrate; 2.3 g net carbs; 119 mg sodium; 9 mg cholesterol; 1.1 g fiber; 183 mg potassium


Sakuraba-yaki / grilled fish in cherry leaves

A grilled fish dish for spring. The fish is wrapped with salted cherry leaves for some time before grilling, so that it takes on an aroma that reminds of the season. That said, this would seem awkward outside the cherry blossom season if served as part of Japanese cuisine.

As with many other grilled fish dishes in old-style Japanese cooking, preparation does not use oil, and this works best with very fresh, somewhat fatty white-fleshed fish. Below is an example with lingcod. Lean fish tends to be too dry with this method, but if that is the only kind available, serving with gin-an thickened dashi sauce can be a tasty solution.


Miso yasai raamen / vegetable ramen noodles with miso-flavored soup

Finally, a sodium-savvy ramen with plenty of vegetables and great-tasting soup! More toppings mean more soup going into your mouth, especially when toppings are cut or sliced into small sizes, as a greater surface area is likely to carry more soup into your mouth. So for a reduced-sodium version, having lots of toppings is counter-intuitive, yet we opted for julienned vegetables for the extra flavor they add.

After being on a reduced-sodium diet for more than three and a half years, this is quite salty for us and definitely tasty. The recipe below is at the low end of the sodium content spectrum (soup has a salt level of 0.8% whereas soup at ramen shops averages 1.5%). Feel free to add more seasonings to taste, at your own risk ...

1/2 of recipe (approx. half of soup left in bowl): 
515 calories; 17.0 g protein; 9.3 g fat; 88.1 g carbohydrate; 15.8 g net carbs; 781 mg sodium* (with reduced-sodium miso and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 11 mg cholesterol; 7.5 g fiber; 706 mg potassium 
*Stir-fried vegetable toppings alone contain 100 mg sodium per serving.


Dinner, April 17, 2018

The furled fronds of seiyo meshida [Western lady fern] are already up. Harvesting is as easy as snapping their stems, but they do take some time to clean. Still, they are one of the freshest harvests we can hope for, as they are growing right next to the creek in our field.


Tanpopo no shiraae / dandelions with tofu dressing

The bitter greens of dandelions paired with the faint sweetness of tofu dressing. Tanpopo dandelions may be your enemy when it comes to lawns, but could become an endless supply of leafy greens ... well, maybe not. Still, let's enjoy the stimulating bitterness of spring and get our share of burgeoning energy.

As the leaves are quite bitter, they are soaked in water for 1-2 hours after boiling for 1-2 minutes, and then coated with oil before mixing with the tofu dressing below.

1/2 of recipe:
84 calories; 4.3 g protein; 5.1 g fat; 6.2 g carbohydrate; 3.7 g net carbs; 90 mg sodium; 53 mg cholesterol; 2.5 g fiber; 183 mg potassium