Penne With Octopus And Eggplant

Penne with octopus and eggplantIn Italy, not surprisingly, the book "Code of Pasta" is hugely popular. The Mediterranean country boasts an infinite number of pasta dishes.

"Ingredients that are in season at the same time go well together," says Italian cuisine chef Kuniaki Arima, who chose octopus and eggplant to go with short pasta. A key to the recipe is careful preparation of the sauce, since "sauce with a clear flavor keeps one from using too much salt and oil," he says. Serves two.

Suntory To Release Limited-edition Rolling Stones Blended Whiskey

Suntory to release limited-edition Rolling Stones blended whiskeySuntory Liquors Ltd. will sell a limited-edition blended whiskey--at a suggested retail price of 500,000 yen ($6,300)--to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones, company officials said on July 12.

The whiskey will go on sale on Oct. 30 and will come in a bottle shaped in the band’s familiar tongue and lips design. Only 150 bottles each containing 700 milliliters will be offered.

Stick-shaped Gyoza Dumplings

Stick-shaped gyoza dumplingsStick-shaped “gyoza” dumplings are a boon for novice cooks. They are done in 30 minutes, thanks to the simple wrapping process. The filling that includes cabbage and okra is another key. “The stickiness of the okra keeps the meat juice together,” says Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association. She also advises not to panic when the dumplings stick to the pan while cooking. They will come loose by pouring oil on and around them, she adds. Serves four.

Sake Enhances The Flavor Of Cooked Oysters

Sake enhances the flavor of cooked oystersCooking oysters in sake is a simple way to enjoy their flavor. "They may be enjoyed as they are, mixed in with scrambled eggs or served with noodles," says Japanese cuisine expert Tatsuo Saito. He says ensuring the oysters are thoroughly washed and cooked is key.

Grilled Tomato And Tomato Pasta

Grilled tomato and tomato pastaTomatoes grown in Japan seem to taste zestier these days.

“That’s because (this time of year) the fruit tightens up and the flavor becomes concentrated. Heat it a little, and you get the aroma of the sun,” says Italian cuisine chef Kuniaki Arima who will introduce grilled tomato Roman-style pasta.

To brown the surface of the tomatoes quickly, he suggests sprinkling with sugar. Soft and ripe tomatoes are best for Roman-style pasta.

Soup With Chinese Cabbage Kimchi, Pork And Clam

Soup with Chinese cabbage kimchi, pork and clamWhen you cannot decide what to cook, soup is always an option.

“Soup with lots of ingredients is quite filling and makes a nice main dish,” says cooking expert Megumi Fujii.

For a clearer flavor, clams should be immersed in saltwater even if they are sold with the label “drained of sand.”

French-style Stuffed Whole Cabbage Roll

French-style stuffed whole cabbage rollA whole cabbage steaming in the pot is quite a sight. When cut into wedges, each offers cake-like layers. This is a French home-style dish called "chou farci" (stuffed cabbage).

"After quick preparation, all you need to do is to simmer. Time will enhance the flavor," says cooking expert Masayo Waki. The key is to avoid leaving gaps inside when stuffing the cabbage.

Stewed Dish In Early Summer

Stewed dish in early summerCooking ingredients in dashi stock is not the only way to make simmered dishes. No stock is needed if the ingredients are rich in flavor. For this week’s dish, Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association chose chicken wing flavored with vinegar that will soften the meat and pickled plum that will reducethe oiliness. “This stew can be a main dish,” she says. Wing tips that have been cut off may be used to make soup.Serves four.

Rice With Swimming Crab And Spring Ginger

Rice with swimming crab and spring gingerThe most succulent crab is the swimming crab, says Kimio Tomura, owner of a Japanese restaurant.

Since the female carries egg in early summer and the male grows fat in early fall, the crab is in season twice a year.

Using one's hand to eat freshly-boiled crab with seasoned rice is a real treat.

High-tech Beer Mug Keeps Beer Foaming

High-tech beer mug keeps beer foamingJapanese beer drinkers like a good head on their brews and a new beer mug is promising they will never have to be without foam again.

Takara Tomy A.R.T.S, a subsidiary of toy maker Tomy Co., plans to put its “Jokki Awa” (jug foam) on sale on May 31.

Daikon Sliced As Thin As Ice Recipe

Daikon sliced as thin as ice recipeCold weather makes daikon more tempting. But it is not easy to prepare root vegetables like radishes so that they fully absorb the flavor of the "dashi" broth.

"Slicing the daikon more thinly is a fail-safe way," says cooking expert Atsuko Matsumoto who suggests new ways to make traditional dishes.

She likens the cooked daikon slices to "usurai," thin ice that forms in early winter, and calls this simmered winter dish "usurai-ni."

Marinated Bonito Recipe

Marinated bonito recipeSashimi is not the only way to enjoy fresh fish. Why not try bonito, now in season, Italian style?

Chef Kuniaki Arima introduces a marinade with green vegetables. The bonito is prepared in the fridge to remove excess water and smell. The sourness of the sauce is adjusted with citrus juice. Arima recommends using “lemon and lime juice with higher acidity as a base and adding orange or amanatsu orange juice.” Using more than one sour ingredient gives depth to the flavor. Serves two.

Chicken Meatball With Enokidake Mushroom

Chicken meatball with enokidake mushroomChicken meatball (“tsukune”) covered in sweet soy sauce is a favorite among young and old. But it can turn hard and dry when it cools.

Here, Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association introduces tsukune that will stay moist and soft. The key is the ingredient to hold the mixture together–in this case grated potato–and the way you knead the mixture.

“The salt will make the meat stickier,” Munakata says.