Green Purslane and Cucumber Gazpacho
Oh the things that summer brings, the lovely verdant world when one can find treasure even in the grass.

Icy summer soups make for easy eating when it’s too hot to cook.

The original recipe called for lettuce and spinach, but I had to try it with my latest leafy discovery: purslane—it’s not your ordinary weed!


Rice Consommé with Umeboshi
japanese rice porridge
Rice consommé is a fair title for this recipe, but it is better described as rice porridge. Porridge connotes comfort and warm pleasure. Picture Goldilocks enjoying the little bowl of porridge—it was “just right!” Porridge is poor man’s food, extending a little grain or legumes with liquid and vegetables. It can be so magical as to offer freedom from poverty and hunger.

From fairy tales to Shakespeare with humor

Chawan Mushi with Ginkgo Nuts

One of the first Japanese recipes I ever made is this savory custard. It’s more unexpected than exotic, soothing and almost familiar. Twenty years ago, I had no idea what dashi was but I must have found an instant dashi soup mix in a store specializing in foreign foods. Ginkgo nuts, lily root, and chestnuts were impossible to find; eggs, chicken breast, shrimp, and soy sauce were easy.

Corn Cream Soup

Toumorokoshi no kurīmusūpu トウモロコシのクリームスープ Corn Cream Soup is a comfort food for many Japanese people who remember their mothers preparing it when they had a cold, felt down, or as a treat. Though the Portuguese introduced corn to Japan in the sixteenth century, it seems that this yohshoku dish became popular much later: Most of the recipes I found online use either canned corn or canned creamed corn and a bouillon cube. This soup is very easy to make (with an immersion blender), but Knorr has packaged a version where you have only to add water…

Niboshi Dashi: dried sardine broth

☛ → night and day
Niboshi are baby sardines (anchovies in some translations) that have been boiled once then dried. Compared to katsuobushi, stock made with niboshi has a fishier flavor. They vary in size from about 1.5″ to over 3″long with the smaller ones having a milder flavor. This stock is used in both Korean and Japanese cooking for miso soup, hot pots (nabemono), and strongly flavored noodle dishes. Some bloggers note that niboshi dashi is more commonly in the Tokyo area than in Osaka/Kyoto; and katsuo dashi is used more in the summer, niboshi in the winter.

Dashi: One, Two… / Ichi, Ni…

Ð → → → → ♥ ♥    ☛ happy valentine’s day! ★ ☆ ★ ☆
Dashi is essential for Japanese cooking. It is usually a clear, non-oily fish stock used for soups, simmered dishes, salad dressings, and marinades. Dashi provides the subtle umami that is the foundation of Japanese cuisine. Dashi can be made with kelp (kombu), dried bonito (katsuobushi), dried baby sardines (niboshi), dried shiitake mushrooms, or a combination of two or three of these ingredients.

Vegetarian Dashi

Ð → → → → ♥ ♥    ☛ happy valentine’s day! ★ ☆ ★ ☆
In Japanese cooking the stock that is the basis for soups, braises, sauces, and dressings is dashi. It can be made with kombu (dried kelp, sometimes spelled as konbu), hoshi-shiitake (dried mushrooms), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), or niboshi (dried anchovies, sometimes called sardines). I have seen references to making dashi with clams (asari or shijimi), dried mackerel flakes (sababushi), or dried young “flying fishes.”

Ebi-shinjo: Shrimp Dumplings




Success!!! I posted about ebi-shijo (shrimp quenelles) quite a while ago, but I was very disappointed in the way they turned out. A suggested that she had eaten ebi-shinjo that were much simpler, so I approached the re-make of this recipe with that in mind.
comment on that postshinjo_5946I think the biggest problem with the original recipe is that there is just too much liquid.
I didn’t care for the chewy texture of the mushrooms, so I left them out.
I wanted smaller dumplings, so I didn’t boil them wrapped in parchment, nor did I try to deep-fry them. I think these dumplings would have held together in the hot oil, and I may try that some other time; they would make a nice appetizer! Shizuo Tsuji, in his book :Practical Japanese Cooking, has a recipe for crab balls in a clear soup (with a variation for shrimp) which looks interesting—his technique uses plastic wrap to keep the (large) dumplings smooth while cooking in the boiling water.
The shiso flavoring was overwhelming in the original recipe, so I used some lovely garlic chives from my garden just for color.