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


Kinokojiru (miso-jitate) / assorted mushroom soup (miso flavor)

A variation on mushroom soup using assorted mushrooms. Sauteing mushrooms first in sesame oil brings out their mellow flavor together with a complex earthy note. White miso enhances the mellowness, and red miso adds a sharp bite.



Shirasu to shiso no mazegohan / steamed rice with young dried sardines and perilla leaves

Quick mixed rice with shiso, myoga Japanese ginger buds and toasted white sesame seeds often appeared at our table during summer in Japan. My myoga buds take forever to come up here; therefore, this is a two-ingredient version instead of the golden triple combination.

1/3 of recipe:
182 calories; 3.7 g protein; 0.5 g fat; 38.6 g carbohydrate; 38.3 g net carbs; 49 mg sodium; 7 mg cholesterol; 0.3 g fiber

1/2 of recipe:
273 calories; 5.6 g protein; 0.8 g fat; 57.9 g carbohydrate; 57.4 g net carbs; 73 mg sodium; 11 mg cholesterol; 0.5 g fiber


Tsuruna / New Zealand spinach

Tetragonia tetragonioides

For years, I have tried to grow this vegetable and repeatedly failed (our unheated greenhouse seems not hot enough or the growing period in our region is too short). I always thought it was tsurumurasaki (Malabar/Indian spinach; Basella alba), which resembles tsurna in taste and texture, and wondered why it didn't climb up the support as Malabar spinach always did at my parents' garden in Japan. One day, upon noticing its English name (New Zealand spinach) when I saw it at a Chinese grocery store, I looked it up and found out that there were tsuruna and tsurumurasaki, and these two vegetables were totally different plants despite all the similar properties they share. The life is full of discoveries. 


Tom cooks 8: Jabara kyuri no pirikarazuke (Japanese cucumber with tobanjan dressing)

This year, I planted three kyuri cucumber plants instead of the usual two, because no other summer vegetable seedlings were ready at that time. The result is too many cucumbers to eat. We’ve taken way too many to our friends, and we are at the point where we might annoy them if we take more. We need to give our friends a break …

Tom likes spicy jabara kyuri. He never hesitated to eat it whenever I made it. After seeing the overflowing cucumber harvest, he decided to make it himself. This willingness to take action is awesome! Just like my fat cat, who recently voluntarily stopped eating her boss cat’s leftover food (not eating is another form of action, right?).  Anyhow, I see a positive attitude going around in this house.



Natsuyasai no kisshu / Quiche with summer vegetables

One of my potluck or party dishes. Even people who usually avoid vegetable dishes enjoy the rich custard and aromatic basil, and finish their pieces!

Pâte brisée salée / crust for savory tarts

Crunchy yet crumbles as you bite in. Among a number of pie/tart crust variations, this slightly salty crust is my favorite for quiches.


Dinner, September 12, 2012

We were totally stuffed after a delicious -- and huge --  Korean lunch at Hosoonyi in Edmonds. So this is what I came up with for a light supper.  


    Benibana gohan / steamed rice with safflower petals

    Cheerful orange-yellow rice accentuated with reddish petals. The slight bitterness of safflower petals is countered by sweet rice.


    Benibana / koka / hong hua / safflower petals

    Petals of Carthamus tinctorius

    The petals are extremely fine, and soaking in cold or warm water immediately releases an orange-yellow color; rehydration does not take more than a few minutes. They taste faintly bitter, sharing the trait of chrysanthemum, as the plant belongs to asteraceae, the same family as chrysanthemum.



    Yakinasu / grilled eggplant

    A traditional favorite. The soft, creamy texture of eggplant flesh is enveloped by a smoky aroma from slightly charring the skin, with grated ginger adding a bright note.