I was fortunate enough to time my last trip to Kyoto with the blossoming of the Cherry trees (they were quite early this year). Words cannot describe the explosion of blooms that appear, or how ethereal it feels to walk through drifting clouds of delicate pink petals.
This time of year is called hana-mi, or “flower-viewing.” When the cherry blossoms bloom families picnic under the trees, enjoying the surrounding beauty and one another’s company. Parents prepare their loved ones’ favorite dishes for the occasion.
Reflecting on this joyful and restorative time, I also find myself appreciating (as I so often do) the benefits of a natural—and seasonal—diet. As many of you know, the ingredients in TATCHA’s skincare are ingredients found in the Japanese diet. Our skin is our body’s largest organ. It is understandable, then, that what is good for our health is also good for our skin. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you some of our favorite springtime recipes. I hope, as the flowers blossom, you have the chance to enjoy a hanami of your own.
Spinach and Tofu Salad
Superfood: Spinach. Spinach is high in protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K, and is a wonderful source of Folic Acid. It protects against heart disease and memory loss, fights cancer, regulates blood pressure and is healthy for the skin.
-1 14 oz package of firm tofu
- Kosher salt
- 8 cups spinach leaves
- 1 tbs sesame seeds
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
Drain tofu and wrap in paper towels to absorb water. Puree until smooth, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Boil spinach until wilted, about two minutes, then plunge into ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
Toast sesame seeds over medium-low heat until golden, about three minutes. Cool, then grind in a spice grinder. Stir with sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and spinach into the tofu. Season with salt.
Superfood: Salmon. Packed with Omega-3, salmon helps prevent heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. It is also a rich soure of protein, Vitamin D, B2, B3, B6 and B12.
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs hot water
- 2 tbs miso (soybean paste)
- 4 salmon fillets (6 oz, about 1 inch thick)
- cooking spray
- 1 tbs chopped fresh chives
Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, hot water and miso with a whisk.
Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray and arrange fillets in one layer.
Spoon miso mixture evenly over the fish and broil 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.
Sprinkle with chives and serve.
Green Tea Ice Cream
Superfood: Green Tea. One of our personal favorites, Green Tea is incredibly rich in antioxidants, including ones that have been shown to stop free radical damage. It also helps support the immune system and can trigger weight loss.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbs matcha (powdered Japanese Green Tea)
Bring cream, milk and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan and remove from heat.
Whisk together eggs, sugar and matcha in a bowl. Tea will not completely dissolve. Add 1 cup cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking vigorously. Whisk into remaining cream mixture in saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (do not boil).
Immediately pour through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold (at least one hour).
Freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to airtight container and put in freezer to harden.