My Favorite Bamboo-Shoot (Takenoko) Recipes

Early May means fresh bamboo shoots are in season again here in Ishikawa, and I received not one but three lovely shoots from my friends and coworkers this year! 2012 is apparently a bumper year for bamboo in the forests and in my kitchen. Whether you purchased or received fresh bamboo, one large shoot can…

Roasted Vegetables and My Obsession with 安納芋

Orange sweet potatoes, ubiquitous in the US, are often nowhere to be found in Ishikawa. Depending on where you are in the prefecture, you can usually locate some in one brief part of late winter in the local-vegetable section of the grocery store with the Noto- and Kaga Yasai (heirloom vegetables from Noto  [northern Ishikawa]…

Aka-Zuiki Quick Pickles (Red-Taro-Stem Vinegar Pickles)

Japanese food traditionally includes a lot of tsukemono (漬け物), or pickles. The first thing most Americans will think of when you say pickles is dill (cucumber) pickles that go with sandwiches; however, pickles are any vegetable that has been preserved with brining. Japanese pickles cover a wide range of base ingredients, including carrots, cucumbers, ginger,…

Okara Burgers, Two Ways

I’m back! After a few weeks’ hiatus for moving, I have regular internet access again at my lovely new home in Kanazawa, which means I can stop watching cooking shows on my phone and get back to writing. Japan doesn’t really have much in the way of pre-made veggie burgers, so I’ve taken to making…

Kaga Yasai: Aka-Kabocha with Sesame Sauce

This article will be featured in J. Festa August 2011 edition: “Food in Japan,” hosted at japingu. ほっこりしている (hokkori shiteiru): to be warm and fluffy Traveling around Japan has really widened my understanding of Japan’s local foods. For instance, because dried apricots are nearly impossible to find in my bayside town, I assumed that there…

How to Make Good Brown Rice

I live in company housing at my current job, and the rice cooker (suihanki, 炊飯器)belongs to my employer. It was waiting for me when I moved in, and it will remain after my contract ends. It’s a humble 3-cup cooker with only a few settings: white rice (hakumai, 白米); quick-cook (haya-taki, 早炊); cake (kéki, ケーキ),…

Farewell to Spring: Spring Miso Soup

Bamboo season is pretty much over, but I wanted to share my new favorite miso-based soup recipe. Despite it being a down year for bamboo, I managed to score a couple shoots at a colleague’s bamboo-picking event. In order to avoid turning into a panda, I ended up freezing about half of my yield. After…

Spring is Here: Na no Hana (Brassica napus)

緑黄色野菜 (ryokuôshoku yasai): leafy greens, yellow-green vegetables high in beta-carotene After a cold winter that was only matched in length by the irritatingly hot summer that preceded it, spring has finally come to Hokuriku. The supermarket is filled with spring vegetables, but the easiest and perhaps most inoffensive one (least bitter) to prepare is na…

Fiddleheads

深緑 (shinryoku): deep green Springtime is prime season for going to the grocery store and having no idea what on earth is on the displays in the produce section. One item I did recognize was kogomi (こごみ) or kakuma (かくま),  fiddlehead ferns, but only because I tried them last spring in a soba shop in…