Thursday, April 4, 2013

Japanese Farm Food

Some of my most-beloved dishes are Japanese.  I love the inspired flavors and how intricate the preparation is.  Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu is a wonderful introduction into the world of Japanese food prepared with the best and freshest ingredients.

Japanese Farm Food offers a unique window into life on a Japanese farm through the simple, clear-flavored recipes cooked from family crops and other local, organic products. The multitude of vibrant images by Kenji Miura of green fields, a traditional farmhouse, antique baskets, and ceramic bowls filled with beautiful, simple dishes are interwoven with Japanese indigo fabrics to convey an intimate, authentic portrait of life and food on a Japanese farm. With a focus on fresh and thoughtfully sourced ingredients, the recipes in Japanese Farm Food are perfect for fans of farmers' markets, and for home cooks looking for accessible Japanese dishes. Personal stories about family and farm life complete this incredible volume.
American born and raised, Nancy Singleton Hachisu lives with her husband and teenage sons on a rural Japanese farm, where they prepare these 160 bright, seasonal dishes. The recipes are organized logically with the intention of reassuring you how easy it is to cook Japanese food. 
 Nancy Singleton Hachisu makes cooking Japanese food a real delight.  My husband has always prepared Shabu-Shabu for us, but Nancy's recipe made it more important than ever to source the right and the best ingredients.  Nancy is fortunate to live on a farm which she runs with her family.  She sources the freshest vegetables, meats, fishes and oils from her farm and the surrounding area.  It is a message of sourcing locally that I wholly agree with.  This is not just a cookbook, but an homage to family life and adopting and immersing yourself in a culture.  For me, Japanese Farm Food is both a cookbook and a journal of a life that is deeply interesting and breathtakingly beautiful.

As the weather gets warmer here, I wanted to pay homage to the coming summer (a few months away, but a girl can dream).  I made Teriyaki Burgers and Japanese Potato Salad.  I was inspired by Nancy's words, and made the brave (and successful) attempt to create my own Japanese mayonnaise.  The flavors of both dishes were so savoury, and they definitely took time (I had to make the Teriyaki sauce by hand), but really rather simple in the actual amount of ingredients.  It was just as much about enjoying the process as the end result.

Take a culinary journey to a life that many of us are not familiar with, and enjoy  Japanese Farm Food.

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