In our house, I do the cooking. I didn't really start cooking until we got married, because before then I had very simple tastes. And by simple I mean things like rice topped with a fried egg and soy sauce (still pretty much the best lunch!) but it turns out my husband is not so easily satisfied. And we have been a lot healthier since I've tried to cook every day and do as much as I can from scratch. It's been a little difficult learning how to cook in Japan, where foods are priced differently and there are different things available that I'm not used to cooking with--and at least when it comes to veggies, I think Japanese supermarkets have more variety than U.S. ones! The problem is learning how to use them.
In this post, I list some favorite summer recipes. Now it's at least 20C cooler outside than when I wrote that post, and different foods are in season. Colder temps are for snuggling up with root vegetables! Here are some of my favorite go-to recipes:
This recipe forever changed the way I make chicken soup. I don't know if I've made it exactly like the recipe says except for the first time I tried it (I like to use chicken drummies for soup because I think the bones make it taste richer) and it works great of course with any soup-ish veggies you may have on hand, but now I never make a chicken soup without the secret ingredient: a squeeze of fresh lemon juice! So good. And I love any recipe that gets me eating citrus in winter.
Tonjiru (Pork Miso Soup) Now for a soup of root veggies, Japanese-style! This recipe uses winter vegetables like daikon (giant white radish), gobo (burdock root), and hakusai (Chinese white cabbage), all of which are so cheap this time of year! The thin-cut pork cooked in sesame oil and ginger beforehand is just melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I must admit konnyaku never finds its way into my version of this soup; that's like the one Japanese food I really don't like.
Japan has a thing for this kind of white, creamy Western-style stew. You can get the instant bouillon sauce mix for it at any supermarket (just add water!) but in my efforts to make things from scratch, I found this perfect recipe. I like it because it's light on dairy (no cream and only a little butter) which is pretty expensive here. The cream sauce is so easy to make and doesn't really require any more effort or time than the instant version. I often spice it up a bit with paprika and pepper. The photo shows the time I got some round rolls and made us bread bowls!
Beef and Bok-Choy Stir-Fry Now finally one that's not a soup. I've been making a lot of stir-fries these days, because they're so easy and flexible, and with bowls of steaming rice the meal is complete. I don't think I've used beef in this recipe yet (in case you've not picked up on it yet, I'm pinching pennies where I can) but bok-choy is a great veggie and also very cheap in the winter season, and the sauce became my base for all stir-fries. I like to use soy sauce, an alcohol--usually sake--dried jalapenos cut up, and honey for sweetener instead of sugar. It's great!
I think I enjoy eating in winter more than in the summer. I'm a fan of quick, easy, warming recipes that get me eating winter superfoods like lemon, garlic and ginger. Do you know any good winter recipes?