Category Archives: Healthy


Colorful lunch

This week summer has finally come. This means it is corn season. I eat mostly seasonally, which means that when something (that I like) is in season I eat it every day. That is especially true for corn. I had it with all three meals yesterday.

In the bento box:

  • green peas (frozen) – This is my favorite brand. Green peas are available in almost every supermarket at the moment.
  • fried zucchini and sausage – Zucchini is also in season so it is cheap at the moment.
  • slices of tomato (also in season) and boiled corn
  • white rice mixed with mentaiko (spicy pollack roe) and edamame

What is your favorite bento filler at the moment?


From the Archives: Daikon Salmon Bites

I found this recipe on the former Japanese food blog ごはん便り from すずキッチン  now called Yunanairo.  I was really excited to make these because of the light flavor of the sauce.  I’ve renamed the recipe as well.

Daikon Salmon Bites (サーモンと大根の甘酢漬け)

ごはん便り from すずキッチン

2cm of daikon sliced 1-2mm thin
75 grams
sashimi grade salmon
1-3 green onions (this depends on your tying prowess – I needed more than three)
dash of salt
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
togarashi (dried hot pepper)
a little more salt

Sprinkle the daikon slices with salt and let sit until limp enough to wrap around salmon.  I was multitasking at the time and left them for about twenty minutes.  Wash off the daikon.  Cut the salmon into as many pieces as you have daikon slices.  Place each piece of salmon in the center of a slice of daikon, wrap the daikon around the salmon and tie with a piece of green onion.  I sadly have no tips for not breaking the green onions mid-tie.  When you have finished all of the tying, put the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat once the sugar has dissolved.  Place the daikon salmon bites on a plate that can hold at least 5 tablespoons of liquid and pour the contents of the sauce pan evenly over the bites.  The outside of the salmon may cook slightly and it gives a good flavor.  The original recipe appears to cool the sauce first but I wanted the slightly cooked salmon flavor.  Serve when ready.  The salmon needs to be eaten that day and should not be left out for any given time.

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crispy parmesan edamame

To Cook List: Crispy Parmesan Edamame

crispy parmesan edamame

I found this beauty on my Pinterest feed and had to share. I can tell by looking at it that it will be delicious. Edamame are beautiful alone but parmesan can only make them better. Head on over to Gastromony for the recipe.

Image: this is a screenshot from Pinterest. The photo is the one from Gastromony.


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Bento lunch 1

Bento ideas

It is the start of the new school year here in Japan and that means bento lunches. I quite like making homemade lunches as most store lunches are lacking in vegetables. Here are two lunches from this and last week.

Bento lunch 1

  • Soramame gohan – boiled fava beans (soramame 空豆) mixed with rice and topped with black sesame seeds
  • Pan fried pork seasoned with herbs de provence, salt and pepper
  • Peas and corn (both frozen) and edamame
  • Mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes

Bento lunch 2


  • Soramame gohan
  • Shaved beef in mushroom gravy
  • edamame, mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes
  • black olives and steamed broccoli

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Perfect Japanese Sweet Potatoes in a Rice Cooker

japanese-sweet-potato-rice-cookerJapanese sweet potatoes can be dry. They are sometimes even dry when they are in soup. I discovered a good way to cook Japanese sweet potatoes so that they are always moist and soft. This way is also really easy and convenient. I used the rice cooker. You can do this with regular sweet potatoes (さつまいも), the golden flesh kintoki imo (金時芋) and the orange flesh annou imo (安納芋).

How to cook Japanese sweet potatoes in a rice cooker

Wash and trim the ends (if necessary) of the sweet potatoes. Put 1-2 cm of water in the bottom of the rice cooker. Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times just to make sure they don’t explode. Cook small or medium sized potatoes in a quick cycle (早炊き or 白米急速). Larger potatoes should be done with a full cycle. That is all.

Note: You can wrap the potatoes in foil, if you prefer. The ones I cooked while wrapped still had a soft skin so I am not sure you can get a crunchy skin in the rice cooker with water.


Paprika-Spiced Cauliflower Soup


This was a gem I found on Pinterest when I searched for cauliflower recipes. Cauliflower is in season right now and I am taking full advantage of the white, yellow and purple cauliflowers at the local farmer’s association store. I eat relatively seasonally so when something I like is in season, I eat it every day.

You can find the recipe here. The changes I made:


  • additive free (無添加 mutenka) chicken (チキンyasai) consomme (コンソメ) –> 無添加チキンコンソメ
  • additive free (無添加 mutenka) vegetable (野菜 yasai) consomme (コンソメ) –> 無添加野菜コンソメ

Iron Chef Serendipity Recap

Sunday was Iron Chef Serendipity and it was really fun.

Iron chef Serendipity ingredients

The ingredients: Gluten free quinoa pasta (order from iherb), Chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms, green peppers, Okinawa black sugar, yuzu, onions, ground beef, dried edamame, tomatoes. A bonus ingredient for one team was a kabocha squash and the other team got pumpkin seeds. I brought most of the contents of my spice cupboard for communal use.


You can see the results below. All of the participants were impressed with what they made. Everything tasted good.

I’ll be running it again in the new year for those of you who missed it. I can’t wait to see what they will make next.

Team Pavess

Team Pavess dishesTeam mamachanTeam mamachan dishes

Kabocha squash dessert pizzasQuinoa pasta with chinese cabbagebuns with pumpkin seeds

Gluten free Meat pieStuffed green peppers Fried gluten free quinoa pasta Curried pumpkin seeds

Repost: Kabocha Soup


It is finally hoodie weather, well, at least in the morning. Time for kabocha. I posted this one in 2009 so it is time to make sure everyone knows about it. It is so easy and satisfying on a cold day.


Kabocha Soup

Serves two.

1/4 kabocha, peeled and chopped

1/4-1/2 small onion, diced

a little oil

1 chicken bullion cube (vegetable also tastes great and makes this a vegan recipe)

2 cups water

fresh ground pepper to taste

milk or soy milk, optional

In a soup pot, saute the onion in the oil until transparent. Add the kabocha, bullion cube and water.  Simmer until the kabocha is cooked – it should break in half when you put a fork in it. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a bit.  Puree everything using a blender, food processor or immersion blender.  Reheat if necessary. This will be on the thick side.  You can thin it with water or milk/soy milk/cream if desired.

Additive free live miso 6

Additive Free Miso

I make my own miso, so I haven’t bought any in years. I was surprised to learn that not all miso still has a live bacterial culture. Some of it has flavoring and additives. Last time I went to the supermarket I snapped some pictures of the ones that were still living and are additive free. As an aside, I didn’t see any that were one or the other.

What to look for:

生 (nama)- live (as in live culture)
無添加 (mutenka) – additive free
酵母が生きている (koubo ga ikiteiru) – the yeast is living
生詰 or 生詰め (namatzume) – “packed with life”, as in the culture is still alive

Note: the miso I make has three ingredients soy beans, rice malt and salt. Some misos will have barley as well.

Continue reading Additive Free Miso