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Beyond Sushi

An American wrote the book on Japanese food.

Kenji Miura

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By Jennifer Reese

In 1988, Nancy Singleton decided to move to Japan for a year. A young woman who'd grown up in Atherton before majoring in American studies, Singleton, '78, planned to teach English and then return to the States and apply to law school. In her very first class, she met Tadaaki Hachisu, a 6-foot, "lanky, handsome" farmer who was scion of his family's organic egg farm.

They married a year later and Nancy Hachisu has lived in Japan ever since, raising three sons—Christopher Kiroku, 22, Andrew Takeshi, 18, and Matthew Saburo, 16—and running an English-immersion school on the family's land in the Saitama Prefecture, two hours by train from Tokyo. Japanese Farm Food (Andrews McMeelPublishing, $35) is her 386-page love note to "the mad country where I live" and a cookbook lavishly photographed by Kenji Miura. Its 165 recipes range from turnip greens with soy sauce to chicken teriyaki to homemade tofu, a process Hachisu describes as "surprisingly painless."

Jennifer Reese, '88, is the author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.

ONLINE ONLY - Carrot and Mitsuba Salad With Citrus

Ninjin Sarada Kankitsu-ae

Japanese love carrots, but for the most part prefer them cooked. I am a salad maniac and think carrots go superbly with Japanese-style dressings. The citrus balances well with the sweet carrots, which the addition of a little heat from the negi [Japanese “leeks”] and spice-fresh taste from the mitsuba [an aromatic herb] makes an irresistible combination. This is an eye-catching salad that has a wonderful symmetry of flavors. Serves 6.

3 cups (750 cc) julienned carrots

2 tablespoons julienned negi or scallions (white and light green parts)

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons mild citrus juice (yuzu, Seville orange, Meyer lemon)

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Handful of mitsuba leaves (substitute lovage, cilantro or chervil)

Place the carrots and negi in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Gently toss. Measure the citrus juice into a small bowl and whisk in the oil. Pour over the carrots and onion and mix lightly to distribute the vinaigrette. Add the mitsuba leaves and toss once.

Serve on gorgeous small plates that show off the bright colors of the salad. Be sure to serve from the bottom, since the dressing quickly drips down, and prop up a few mitsuba leaves on the individual places to add a bit of pop.

Variations: Substitute julienned daikon or turnip with a small handful of chiffonaded bitter green tops instead of the green onion and mitsuba.

Adapted from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012)

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