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


Kani to horenso no kaneroni / cannelloni with crabmeat and spinach

A tasty combination of crab and spinach, wrapped in thin fresh pasta and topped with tomato sauce with a little bit of cream.

Simple tomato sauce

Among a number of variations, this simple tomato sauce works very well when used as a supporting ingredient in variety of dishes.


Kateeji chiizu / cottage cheese

Make only the amount you need. It's easy! And, no more expired leftovers buried deep inside the fridge.


Karei no sotee, gaarikku remon soosu / Dover sole saute with garlic lemon sauce

Dover sole with its plain flavor is the perfect choice for meuniere. Cook with canola oil for lighter results, and add extra flavor with garlic lemon olive oil sauce.


Onsen tamago / hot-spring eggs

The boiled eggs sold at hot-spring resorts have a semi-hard yolk and soft egg whites. For people who don’t really like runny yolks (me!), this is a good alternative.


Mugimeshi / steamed rice with pressed barley

Barley was a frugal substitute for rice, once upon a time. Mixing barley in regular rice adds a bright and sunny taste.


Gindara to daikon no pirikarani / black cod and daikon radish in spicy broth

Mild, sweet yet pungent daikon is the perfect companion to rich black cod. Spicy broth adds some punch to this rather commonplace combination.


Kanpyo dried gourd strips

Among the numerous dried ingredients in Japanese cooking, kanpyo is probably the most overlooked, as it is a distant memory for many people. It is something the majority of Japanese have eaten at some point -- it is often found in futomakizushi (“fat” rolled sushi) -- but many people have never paid attention to it as an uncooked ingredient or never cooked it themselves. For me this is an ingredient always found in my grandmother’s kitchen, way back in my childhood. (My grandmother would be 110 years old if she were still alive.) My mom cooked kanpyo too, but only for special occasions, such as holidays and our school events.

Okara soybean pulp

An inexpensive byproduct from making tonyu soy milk or tofu. Okara is crumbly, with a moisture content of 70-80%. Commercially available okara has become drier (75% moisture) as the soy milk extraction process has become more efficient, and some say this is the reason for a decline in okara's popularity as culinary ingredient in Japan. Okara made in the conventional way or at home has more moisture and better flavor even though it is still crumbly.

Okara dishes cooked with vegetables and other ingredients are long-time favorite deli items in Japan. Okara is also often mixed in meat dishes and baked items, mainly to lower calories and cholesterol.


Karifurawaa to kimuchi no tonyu misoshiru / soy milk miso soup with cauliflower and kimchi

A cream-colored miso soup with fresh soy milk. The mild spiciness of kimchi gives a nice twist and warms up your body. A good winter soup.


Kani meshi / crab rice

A simple version of kani kamameshi [crab rice cooked in clay pot]. Fluffy julienned egg crepe adds a soft texture while giving additional flavor to this dish.


Fresh cranberry relish

Cranberries paired with juicy apples and fruity orange preserves. Passed down from a neighbor; the original recipe came from a bed and breakfast in Vermont.


Moyashi bean sprouts

An inexpensive vegetable that is available throughout year. Moyashi literally means the sprouts of grains, beans and vegetables, but it usually refers to mung bean or black gram sprouts. Another common type is soy bean sprouts, usually called daizu moyashi or mame moyashi.

(Mung bean) moyashi

Daizu moyashi

Just like with other sprouts, moyashi is rich in nutrition. In addition to nutrients from seed beans, it has lots of Vitamin C. It also contains amylase and invertase -- digestive enzymes that help the stomach and intestines. Digestion of beans sometimes can be problematic, but bean sprouts have cleared the hurdle.