Nancy Singleton Hachisu's cookbook, Japanese Farm Food, is a celebration of Japanese cuisine with a farm-to-table focus. It features the type of food that one would encounter while wandering around the villages in the Japanese countryside; rather than typical restaurant fare, Hachisu focuses on home cooking.
Unsurprisingly, the recipes are all about simplicity — using the best ingredients and letting them shine. Hachisu says, "A small number of Japanese pantry staples and preparation techniques, and a trip to a farmers' market and fish monger, are all you need to start cooking Japanese farm food."
There are 160 recipes in the book, more than enough to keep any curious cook busy for quite some time. Most of them are fairly simple, with just a few ingredients, but there are a few more challenging ones sprinkled throughout — for instance, ever wondered how to make your own noodles? There are recipes for udon and ramen noodles from scratch.
There's also a handy guide to Japanese pantry essentials in the beginning of the book that offers advice on purchasing soy sauce, seaweed, chiles, tofu, rice, flour, and other staples. And since so much of the book is focused on vegetables and seafood, there's a handy glossary of essential Japanese produce, and also a chart delineating the possible preparations for each type of vegetable, fish, and shellfish.
So what should readers take away from this book? Well, it's not just a cookbook with authentic Japanese recipes; most importantly, it's a story about love — Hachisu's love for her husband, for Japan, and for food. And that's something that will resonate with every cook.
Chicken and leeks grilled on a stick — it's a must at any yakitori stand, and now you can make it at home.
Make sure to use high-quality beef tenderloin for this dish, which is essentially beef sashimi.
This is Japanese comfort food at its finest.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.