Monday, January 01, 2007

foodie new year!

It is the New Year here in Japan. I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! This year's Chinese astrological sign is the inoshishi (wild boar).

Unfortunately, Satoshi had to work today. It's not that he wanted to work on the first day of the New Year, but it is his turn, if you were on a trip and ran into some kind of trouble, you'd want someone to answer your call, right?

This morning we had ozoni. It is a traditional soup that most families have on the first morning of the New Year. I wrote more about this last year, if you'd like a re-cap, check it out here.

For lunch, I didn't feel much like cooking, especially since it was only for myself. But because many of the shops aren't open today, I decided to see what was in my freezer...I came up with croque monsieur--a very fancy name for a ham and cheese sandwich. I sliced some red onion and sauteed them in some butter, then put some butter into the frying pan and toasted both sides of the sandwich. Then I sprinkled cheese on top with some pepper and oregano and put the whole thing under the grill for 5 minutes. Having it with a bowl of cafe au lait made me feel like I was in Paris...

Dinner was our o-sechi (traditional dishes for the New Year). Our rice was a kamameshi type (rice cooked in an iron pot called a kama), with kuri (chestnut), kuromame (black beans) & gomoku (usually five ingredients--carrot, konnyaku (devil tongue jelly), sansai (wild mountain plants--warabi (fern shoots), zenmai (flowering royal fern)), takenoko (bamboo shoots). The rice is cooked with a shoyu (soy sauce) base which is put into the pot along with all these ingredients. Nowadays instead of having a kama (iron pot), you can cook this dish in your rice cooker.

We also had kohaku namasu (carrots and white turnip soaked in vinegar, sugar and mirin).

Kobumaki (rolled kelp), this dish is to bring yorokobu (happiness).

Tazukuri (dried anchovies), which prays for a good harvest.

Hinode cut kamaboko (fish cake cut to look like the sunrise). The fish cake is made in the celebratory colors of white and red.

Nasudengaku-roasted eggplant with a dengaku miso sauce. The miso sauce is a little sweet. I made the miso sauce with 80g red miso (soy bean paste), 1.5 T sugar, 2 T mirin (sweet rice wine) and 1/3 cup of kombu dashi (kelp stock). Since I roasted the eggplant and shiitakes in the oven, they came out a bit dry. I'll try cooking them in the frying pan again soon. This dish isn't part of the New Year celebratory foods, but I thought it would be a good dish to accompany all of our other dishes.

We toasted with a cup of sake (rice wine)--a limited edition ginjo (highly milled rice with or without alcohol added) called Manotsuru Tokimeki made by Obata brewery, from the island of Sado in Niigata prefecture.

During this time of year, you are supposed to warm up the sake, but I couldn't find my tokkuri (bottle to warm up the sake). So I decided to use my reishu (cold sake) ochoko (cups).

Cheers! Here's to a great start of a foodie new year!


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you Kat. May it bring you all you wish for!

Brilynn said...

That looks like a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner! Here's to 2007 bringing you many good things!

Fran said...

Happy New Year! Can't wait to go back & read all of your wonderful posts I have missed.

Anonymous said...

What a way to kick off the year! All the best to you and Satoshi in 2007!

Jann said...

That was some feast you prepared-you could put the saki in the microwave-right? I have.....don't tell!

Rowena said...

I ate very, very well for New Years eve but I just LOVE all of the foods that you got to eat for New Years... you make me want to experience the next one in Japan. I especially like how particular foods are attributed to things like happiness and harvest. Great post Kat!

bourgogne said...

aww! i like your idea of putting many osechi dishes into the kamameshi. that looks so yum. i had to make my own kuromame this year but when i researched the recipe, it said to put an old nail into it. AN OLD NAIL? i left that part out ;-) happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you created quite a marvellous feast for your celebrations! Happy new year hon, and I hope that 2007 is a wonderful one for you :)

Anonymous said...

I think I can try your recipe for egg plant. It looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! It's amazing to see all these traditional Japanese dishes. Incredible how you know how to cook them all too! Best wishes for 2007.

ilingc said...

Happy New Year Kat
What a marvelous meal you created for New Years day. Makes me feel a little bit bad now because all we had for New Year's day (unch and dinner) was the left overs from the New Year's Eve BBQ. LOL

I also read your NY post from last year. It was very interesting how food plays a part in different cultures.

All the best for 2007

K and S said...

Thank you everyone! I hope your 2007 will be a great one filled with new adventures and experiences!

Take care.

p.s. Jann, you need to have a ceramic bottle to put the sake into, or else it will crack.

Anonymous said...

Happy, Happy New Year!

All the best to you,

K and S said...

All the best to you, Paz!


Anonymous said...

So wheres all the recipes for those dishes?

K and S said...

sorry Anon, I didn't make most of these dishes!

Take care.