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


Uzaku / grilled eel and cucumber in light broth with sweetened vinegar

Rich unagi no kabayaki grilled eel becomes a light dish accompanied by cucumber slices. The combination of warm eel and cool cucumber lets you enjoy the rich mouth feel of eel and refreshing cucumber at the same time.


Nasu eggplant

Solanum melongena

Eggplant is said to have arrived in Japan via China in the 7th or 8th century, and there are at least 100 different kinds of eggplant grown in Japan. They are mostly oblong and slender, and their skin is softer than typical large American eggplant or the small eggplant of Thailand and India. Some small eggplant is especially grown for pickles. Some large, fat ones are the results of cultivar improvement based on American eggplant. Eggplant is basically available all year around at shops in Japan, yet the fresh harvest from summer to early fall is unbeatably delicious.


Jagaimo no shittori amakarani / salty sweet potatoes

An easy potato dish with simple flavoring of soy sauce and brown sugar. The moist, crumbly texture gives this dish a low profile, allowing it to pair with other dishes very well while still having a strong, satisfying flavor.


Gindara no aaru gurei sumooku / black cod smoked with Earl Grey tea

A great appetizer – the faint taste and aroma of Earl Grey tea spreads in your mouth as you munch. The flavor and scent of tea intensifies after a few days in the fridge.


Sakana no tattaage-fu / deep-fried ginger-soy sauce marinated fish

A standard deep-fried dish. The ginger in the marinade adds a refreshing note. With a squeeze of lemon, this becomes a great companion for beer in summer.


Gobo to konnyaku no pirikara irini / spicy saute-simmered burdock root and konnyaku yam cake

A chunky kinpira-type dish full of fiber.  The contrast between firm gobo and chewy konnyaku makes this dish quite satisfying.  A great companion for plain rice or drinks!


Ninjin no surinagashi / miso soup with mashed carrot

Sauteing transforms the humble carrot into a sweet vegetable. With this extra step followed by mashing, carrot adds a pleasant orange hue and mild taste to miso soup.


Nasu no itameni / saute-simmered eggplant in broth

For me, creamy eggplant has a nostalgic flavor that brings back memories of the table at my grandmother's big old farmhouse. This is a lighter version of what my grandmother used to make.


Tomorokoshi to retasu, sakura ebi no itamemono / sauteed corn, lettuce and sakura ebi dried shrimp

The sweetness of corn is brought out by sauteing and by the toasty, slightly salty taste of sakura ebi. Lettuce adds a nice crunch to this quick dish.


Somen / plain cold somen noodles with dipping sauce

A standard summer dish of cold flour noodles. These thin noodles are a great choice on scorching hot days when you have little appetite -- they cool you down from the inside.


Sakana no sotee, tomato to papurika no soosu-zoe / fish saute with tomato and red pepper sauce

Tomato, onion and red pepper combine to make a fruity sauce with slightly sweet and faintly sour notes. This sauce goes wonderfully well with white fish or chicken. Here is an example with sauteed lingcod. Freshly baked bread is a great companion for this dish.


Kabu no kinpira / kinpira saute with Japanese turnip

A simple and spicy saute of mildly sweet, juicy kabu. Saute quickly for a nice crunch, or longer for melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.


Soramame to ebi no marine sarada / marinated fava bean and prawn salad

The sharp taste of lemon softens after several hours. Finely chop onion for a chunky texture with a straightforward flavor, or grate it for a juicy dressing with a milder taste.


Jagaimo to tomorokoshi no misoshiru / miso soup with potato and corn

Juicy fresh corn provides a pleasant counterpoint to the crumbly potato while a tiny amount of butter adds a rich note to this miso soup.