It’s been over four months since the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster rocked Japan. While reconstruction efforts are well under way, it will be years before things are back to normal for the tens of thousands of people who were affected by the disasters.
Not long after the March 11th disasters, Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama along with Rachael Hutchings of La Fuji Mama came up with the idea of creating a charity cookbook for Japan filled with family friendly recipes alongside contributor’s anecdotes of their connection with Japan.
After hearing about what they were up to, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of the team. Together, we gathered 56 amazing food bloggers including PBS contributors Alice Currah and Aviva Goldfarb to contribute recipes and raise money for Japan. Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan is the result of everyone’s efforts, and its pages are filled with mouthwatering photographs and recipes ranging from authentic to inspired.
Some of my favorites include Kat Nishida’s Kinpira Gobo, a sauté of iron rich burdock and carrot; Akemi Spendlove’s Nikumaki musubi, thinly sliced marinated beef wrapped around balls of sesame rice; and Helene Dujardin’s Matcha Green-Tea Macarons with Peach Pate de Fruits.
The cookbook is now available for sale and 100% of the profits ($11.45 of the $29.95 price) is going to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake And Tsunami Relief Fund. Unlike some charities, Global Giving’s relief fund disperses donations directly to organizations on the ground in the effected areas, providing relief to victims of the disaster, many of whom are still living in temporary shelters.
Japanese Pork Soup
- 1 pound pork butt (or pork belly) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 cups water
- one 4-square inch piece of kombu, wiped
- one 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into 8 rounds
- 8 ounces satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1/2- inch cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- one 10-inch length of gobo (burdock root), shredded
- 1/2 onion, sliced 2 tablespoons mirin 1/4 cup miso (white or red) 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- hot cooked short-grain sushi rice, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; add the pork. Stir for about a minute. Drain the meat in a colander and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. This step removes impurities and excess fat from the meat, which gives the soup a cleaner flavor.
- Add the pork, 6 cups of water, kombu and ginger to a clean, large pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours. Remove the kombu and ginger. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, gobo, onion and mirin. Continue to cook until the carrots are tender, about 1 hour.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the miso, stirring well to dissolve completely but taking care not to mash the vegetables. Taste the soup and add more miso if it needs more salt. Add the scallions. Serve in soup bowls with a separate bowl of rice for each person.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.