Chorizo and Shrimp Rice

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Japanese Shrimp and Sausage Rice
This one-dish recipe with shrimp, sausage, peas, saffron, and ginger provides a hearty meal with remarkable complexity of flavor and fragrance. The result is like a cross between Paella and a delicate Stir Fry. The flavors permeate the rice, but because the pot has not been stirred, there are gradations of taste and fragrance from top to bottom. Does it taste Japanese? Well, I think the Japanese should claim it before someone else does!

Edamame Hummus


Exotic yet familar, this innovative combination of pureed edamame beans, feta, yogurt, and olive oil makes a deliciously distinctive dip. It’s a lovely appetizer, a wasabi-pea-green and salty-not-quite-sour dunking medium for rice crackers or vegetables to snack on while the grill does its magic on dinner.

I learned that too many beans can spoil the dip…

Spicy Sesame Noodles

Snow is falling almost invisibly, like drizzle, yet suddenly I notice the snow is becoming thick on the grass. The mild spice in this Japanese noodle dish is like that: you aren’t conscious of its heat until you realize you are warm from the inside out. While this recipe is usually eaten in the summer because it is served cold or at room temperature, the pepper makes you forget about the chill.

Autumn Chicken and Chestnuts

Chicken and chestnuts simmered in a salty sweet satisfying sauce is a favorite meal at this time of year, enjoyable for dinner guests—even folks who are not familiar with Japanese food). While a French fricassée of chicken might include olive oil, butter, garlic, herbs, and chicken stock or even some white wine, this Japanese recipe is both familiar and exotic with the flavors of saké, sweet mirin and caramelized sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper.
It’s a savory party in your mouth!

Another Thousand Leaf Cabbage

Cabbage does not bring to mind Japanese cuisine! But home cooks have a repertoire of recipes to take advantage of the humble inexpensive tender-sweet cabbages which come to market in autumn and winter. These meals are homely and comforting, warm and rich, and as you can see: they are not necessarily beautiful to the eye. Don’t be deceived. One cannot “judge a book by its cover.”
The “thousand leaves” (mille-feuille in French) in this casserole are layered horizontally with a pork stuffing. The casserole in my previous post involved layering the cabbage leaves vertically. The flavor of this version is also very different from the other. Enjoy!

Thousand Leaves Stuffed Cabbage

I can’t explain why I’ve been craving stuffed cabbage, but there it is. My mother never made it while we were growing up. The only time I ate it as a child was when I went to my friend Joan’s house for dinner. Her family owned the local funeral home, and they lived upstairs. Her mother made stuffed cabbage the evening I visited, and after dinner Joan invited me to go downstairs to comb the hair of their latest “guests.” I declined. But ever since then, I’ve really enjoyed stuffed cabbage in the fall and winter. There are variations of stuffed vegetables, especially stuffed cabbage, all over the world. This recipe is one I made two years ago. The umeboshi adds such a lovely flavor to the rich pork and sweet cabbage that I hope you will try this recipe.

Ginkgo Nut Bleu Cheese Bites

Yesterday, under a sunny sky with golden ginkgo leaves raining down on me, I gathered yet another bucket of ginkgo nuts. Yes, we have several hundred. It must be my squirrel genes! Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been thinking about appetizers to bring to holiday dinners. Hostess gifts! Crackers are good: they can be served immediately or saved to enjoy later. I thought of cheese crackers with ginkgo nuts and found a few recipes which inspired me to try a version of my own.

Beef Donburi


Donburi meals are Japanese comfort food, served in fast food restaurants, available in ready to heat-and-serve packets, or cooked at home for family. Donburi (kanji: 丼; hiragana: どんぶり) are also the over-sized rice bowls themselves. Rice, usually white rice, is topped with meat, seafood, tofu, and/or vegetables. I wanted something a bit more hearty. I used a delicious nutty 6-Grain Rice mixture from Kagayaki.

Comfort Food: Rice Porridge

Early dark evenings make me crave warm comfort food. In Japan, this meal conjures your mother’s consoling touch, a gentle dish to eat when you didn’t feel well, food to soothe an upset stomach, a cozy homey dinner to simply enjoy.
This is the first time I’ve made this recipe for Mr. Tess, and I know he likes brown rice. It takes a little longer to cook, but it has a nice nutty flavor and no doubt more vitamins than the traditional white.

Rosh Hashanah: Chicken Soup for 5772

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For the first Rosh Hashanah in our new house I wanted to make a meal which would reflect the change from summer to autumn. This soup is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of summer in Korea, the theory being that it warms the body so much as to make the outside temperature feel cooler. Yet the dates, chestnuts, and ginseng, and even the rice are fruit of fall. In any season, it is traditionally believed that sam gae tang helps to rejuvenate the body by replenishing essential nutrients while sweating out the toxins, thus promoting a long and healthy life. As we look forward to a sweet new year this soup was a flavorful meal to begin.