Kokoro Care Packages with Products by Japanese Food Artisans
High quality Japanese food products that are not laden with chemicals and coloring are surprisingly hard to find here in the US. That’s why when I find a source who sells beautiful Japanese food products made by artisans and small farms in Japan, I want to shout it from the rooftops!
Recently, Marc Matsumoto from No Recipes (!) reached out and told me about a small business who is doing just that. Kokoro Care Packages offers monthly and seasonal care packages, filled with Japanese food products that are produced by small artisan producers all over Japan. So when they offered to send me a box to try, I was so excited!
This month, the box included six vegan and vegetarian-friendly products, all beautifully packaged and listed out in English in their handy brochure. For breakfast, I’ve been enjoying adzuki bean tartines with sesame and kinako rice jam from just outside of Osaka. And for lunch this week, I prepared a rice ball with pickled melon filling, spring pea soup thickened with okra powder (gluten free!), and natto salad inspired by a recipe I’d been wanting to try by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Here are some photos and recipes with this month’s ingredients from my Kokoro Care Packages box!
Adzuki Tartines with Brown Rice Jam
Makes: 1 serving
Total cook time: 10 minutes
2 slices of baguette, cut on the diagonal
1/4 cup tablespoons canned adzuki beans (or you can make your own like I do to limit the sugar content by using a pressure cooker and Okinawan black sugar)
1 tablespoon sesame and kinako brown rice jam
pinch of flakey sea salt
toasted black and white sesame seeds for sprinkling
Toast baguette slices. Smear the adzuki beans on the tartines with a butter knife or the back of a spoon. Add a dollop of the jam to each tartine and finish with a pinch of sea salt and sesame seeds. Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I really enjoyed this with the naturally sweet hydrangea tea that was included in this month’s package!
Spring Pea Soup
Makes: 4 servings
Total cook time: 20 minutes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup frozen peas (reserve 1/4 cup for later)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 an onion
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons okra powder
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously until translucent and caramelized (about 5-7 min).
Add peas and another pinch of salt. Stir until heated through (2-3 minutes). Add coconut milk, hot water and remainder of salt. Heat until just before boiling (5-7 minutes). Whisk in the okra powder, stir for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into bowls. If you have some left over coconut milk, add a spoonful to each bowl and give it a gentle swirl. Garnish with green onions and peas.
Makes: 4 servings
Total prep time: 20 minutes
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and hand-torn
1 Fuji apple, peeled, cubed and soaked in salt water
1 avocado, cubed
1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cups dried natto, crushed
For the dressing:
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Juice of half a lemon
First, make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together until well-combined. Taste for flavor - it should be quite tangy, salty, and creamy from the mayonnaise. Add in half the crushed dried natto and stir.
Peel and cube apple and place in a bowl of salt water to prevent discoloration.
Rinse bite-side pieces of lettuce by hand, removing a bit of the end if it is discolored. Spin in a salad spinner or pat to dry.
Arrange the ingredients: Place lettuce in each of the bowls, followed by apples, avocado, then cherry tomatoes.
When ready to serve, drizzle dressing atop each salad. Garnish with remaining natto and green onions. Serve with spring pea soup and, if you were lucky enough to receive the Kokoro Care Packages July Nourishing Essentials box, make sure to enjoy your salad and soup with a musubi filled with the delicious sake kasu-pickled melon!
I highly recommend trying out Kokoro Care Packages and am grateful to them for sending me a box to try, and for bringing the work of Japanese food artisans here to the states! If you would like to share Kokoro Care Packages with another Japanese cuisine-loving friend or home cook, check out their gift page. Head here to purchase a monthly subscription, seasonal subscription or one time gift for a loved one!
Thanks so much, Kokoro Care Packages for my beautiful and delicious care package :)
For more great Japanese recipes, check out my dashi recipe post. Dashi is the base of most Japanese dishes!
Or, snag a copy of my Japanese Pantry Essentials freebie and learn the secret to Japanese home cooking!