While living in Japan, I grew to love sushi, not only for its fresh flavors but also for the playful variety of colors and textures. When I saw Emma Galloway’s vegetarian sushi tutorial on Food52 last week, I decided to get creative and come up with my own variations. Like Emma, I love avocado + sesame seeds + mayo, so I made that one, then looked to other colors and flavors for inspiration. Beets, asparagus, cucumber, carrot, sprouts and baby lettuces also made great sushi fillings, I discovered. Then I wanted to mimic the texture of that orange roe (fish eggs) you often see atop sushi, so I made little carrot juice bubbles, thickening them with some cornstarch and piping out little spheres and letting them gel in the fridge. It was fun getting playful, creating a feast for both the palate and the eyes. Continue reading
“Dumplings taste better when filled with memories.” ~ From an NPR series, “Dumpling Week.”
First it was NPR’s airing of vignettes about dumplings from around the world that got my memories and taste buds stirring last August. Then in October, fellow blogger Amanda from What’s Cooking ~ Fine Dining My Way posted these jaw-dropping delicious photos and description of her Chicken & Chive Pot Stickers with Ginger Chili Soy Dip. You could say I’ve had dumplings on the brain for a long time.
Having lived in Japan for four years, I find miso soup comforting any time of day, any time of year. There is nothing quite like the earthy, rich flavor of miso and dashi combined with fresh vegetables and seafood. One spring during cherry blossom season, my parents visited me, and we toured around Kyoto, the old capital bursting with delicate pink petals everywhere. Chilled by the crisp spring air, we ducked into a restaurant specializing in nabe (pronounced “NAH-bay”), or hot pots of vegetables and seafood in a broth cooked at the table. We ordered a miso-based nabe made in the style of the northern Hokkaido region, and it came with a hearty and colorful array of salmon, shellfish, and fresh vegetables. It warmed and nourished us, and we still talk about that delicious lunch many years later.
We love eating fish in our house, and with as many fishermen as we have in our extended family, we’ve been blessed with ample opportunity to taste fish as fresh as it gets. I particularly enjoyed sampling several varieties of Pacific Northwest salmon Continue reading
I once worked at a tea plantation on a little island in Japan. From dawn to dusk, we harvested the tea leaves, plucking them and gathering them in big baskets, until our fingers were green. Continue reading