Thank you a million times over to all of you who jumped in with praise and encouragement at my announcement that I’m writing a cookbook. I have been very reluctant to share this on the blog, mainly because once you say something out loud it becomes real and then there are people to hold you accountable!
I wanted to wait until I had enough of it done to actually begin projecting when it would be finished, which I’m hoping to be around the end of March. The vast majority of the content is written, it’s just down to taking all of the 90+ photographs and enlisting my software engineer husband to help me with the formatting. I currently have about a quarter of the total photos needed, so it’ll be a major crunch to actually cook all of this food and photograph it in time for my self-imposed deadline. At least I get to eat it all too!
As many of you know, my personal cooking style trends heavily toward various asian food styles, most notably Japanese. People hear that and often they say things like,”Oh isn’t that unusual!,” or, “How exotic!” But to me, there is nothing strange or exotic at all in the way I cook. The food I make is typically very homey and comforting and most of all, dead simple to make. With this book, I really wanted to take Japanese cooking and make it accessible. Or rather, not make it accessible, but show that it always was.
I’ve thought for a while that the biggest impediment for people to branch into a new cuisine is not so much the new recipe ideas as the new ingredients. Cooking Japanese may be simple, but it does require you to use a lot of ingredients that are not a typical part of the Western pantry. I can completely understand how this can be intimidating, and I also understand that no one wants to buy a giant tub of miso only to use it once and then just have it take up space in the deepest recesses of the refrigerator.
For this book, I’ve taken 30 common Japanese ingredients and described their appearance, common usage, and flavor; and provided 2 dead simple recipes each that highlight that ingredient. I’ve also made sure that each of the ingredients showcased in the book can be found at either a regular grocery store like Kroger or Publix, or at least at a “gourmet” grocery store such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. No need to head to an asian market 50 miles away, all of the ingredients are relatively easy to find and easy to use.
Not all of the recipes are classically Japanese either. Some are my personal shortcuts to recreating Japanese staples with fewer steps and ingredients. Some are recognizably Western, but with a Japanese ingredient used to give the dish a new spin. So even if Japanese food has never interested you before, there are still sure to be a few recipes in the book that will be appealing and surprising.
Thank you again for all your support. It means a lot to me when someone likes something I made. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do when it’s ready for it’s big debut!