Ume plum ‘season’ in the Bay Area

In early May as the first strawberries are getting everyone excited about fruit again my anticipation is instead devoted singularly to ume plums. Ume season in Japan falls around the end of June whereas here in the Bay Area the fruits seem to find their way to market around the end of May or early […]

2 more ways to help Japan

We’re almost a month out from the devastating events in Japan and I still feel a little weird talking about something as lightweight as food. But you probably don’t come to this blog for Japan relief updates, so this week I’m compromising with this quick post on two more opportunities to help, and a full-length […]

Sansho: Pan-Asian pepper

One of the things I love almost as much as eating is taking photos. So it was that I found myself in Kyoto this past summer, snapping pic after identical pic of a stunning sunset. When I finally emerged from my singular focus I realized I’d lost track of my ever-patient translator (my sister). To […]

A call to (bakers’) arms

塵も積もれば山と成る chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru Even dust amassed will grow into a mountain. As I try to wrap my head around the scale of the events in Japan this proverb has been bouncing around in my mind. I think it is fair to say that if you have any Japanese relatives that at one […]

Dekopon: Japanese citrus makes American debut.

Today the planets aligned in my little foodie world. Until a recent trip to Japan, I was completely unaware of the wealth of exclusively Japanese citrus varieties. Most lauded among them was the Dekopon — an orange-like citrus of otherworldly flavor and juicyness — which was, of course, out of season at the time of […]

Kabocha squash soup: Accidentally vegan, intentionally delicious!

For as much kabocha squash as I’ve eaten, I’ve never thought to wonder about its origins. It is easily the most popular squash in Japanese cooking and is used in everything from savory dishes like tempura and stews, to sweet dishes like pastries and even ice cream. It is so popular in fact that, although […]

Matcha truffles: This one’s for the ladies

However tedious I find Valentine’s Day here in North America, I still count my lucky stars that I don’t have to do it up Japanese style. On Valentine’s Day in Japan, all the women give men chocolate. But they don’t just give chocolate to the men they are romantically interested in (who receive honmei-choco, or “love […]

Black sesame adventures

Despite being a big tofu fan and an even bigger sesame enthusiast, I am embarrassed to say that it was not until last summer that I discovered goma dofu (sesame tofu). Goma dofu is made from ground sesame milk and uses kuzu or katakuriko (potato starch) to help the ‘tofu’ set. I discovered it in Kyoto […]

Soba cha

Huddled over my laptop and nursing my cold with a warm roasty mug of soba cha (buckwheat tea) I was all set to write a bit about goma dofu (sesame tofu). I tried and tried to psych myself up to write about cold tofu but instead ended up daydreaming and reveling in the aroma of my tea. […]

Pickle your own ginger

Recently I was lucky enough to come upon young ginger for sale at Marukai — a local Japanese market. Now, when I say “young ginger,” I don’t just mean “really fresh ginger” — like you might find at a regular supermarket. Young ginger, or shin shoga (shin = new, shoga = ginger), still has its […]