Happy New Year! I can’t believe its almost 5 days in already. Time really does go by fast.

Osechi-Ryori and Kagami mochi

I’ve been taking a break from writing but now it feels like I’m good to go. More focused less tired and have that nice motivation I need.

The new year has a lot in store for me personally, professionally, and all together I feel like lots of awesome things are happening and not just cause its a new year. I don’t really do all the hype that people put on new years, I’ve never been happier and I’m really glad that my food has been coming along so well.

New Years is a huge huge deal for me food wise.

When I was little I used to stay with my Bachan (Bachan is Japanese word for Grandma its my dads mom) from Christmas day till New Years Day. I would get away from my other siblings and mom and dad and just hang out watching Shirley temple movies, japanese tv which i had no idea what was going on, and the sound of music. Along with honing my crafts of sowing, knitting and crocheting. I would eat all kinds of fun Japanese food that was so delicious, home style, and simple. Things i crave all the time. Some of them i explore often cooking them over and over again others I just don’t even want to try, the memory is just good enough for me. But during this time of the year i would wait till new years eve to start getting ready for a big food feast. Mostly watching and remembering i could always smell the wonderful scents of seaweed, dashi, soy sauce, and sweetness of mirin and sake would fill the house. All these strange vegetables would be cut into these strange shapes and marinated and cooked in a wonderful broth. I would peel dikon and carrots and cut them into 5 sided flowers and shave thin strips of this funny looking thin root called gobo to make Kinpira Gobo. We would candie small sardines called tazukri. I would cut small slices of Kamaboko and Bachan would make California roll and chicken Teriyaki. On new years eve Bachan would always hand me a warm bowl of Soba that was in this wonderful broth with Kamaboko and spinach and maybe a little green onion. Toshikoshi soba we would have it before the new year and i would watch the japanese count down on tv. the next morning we would finish preparing the colorful foods together and my family would come to food and to pick me up.

My Bachan will be 88 in July. She is one of the biggest inspiration I have for being a chef and learning whatever i can about food. There is a huge amount of work that goes into making osechi-ryori. Which is the Japanese name for the colorful new years food that is put in jabako tiered containers served for Oshogatsu (new years). So i’ve taken on making most of everything for new years from all the best things i can remember a long with some other items to add my syle to the plate.

I love this tradition it is my very favorite. I worked two days on the food and my Bachan was sick so she couldn’t make it. But my brother sister mom and dad and my brother and sister in law and grandma all came by as well as a couple of my friends to share the day with me. It was a really beautiful time to share with everyone but i missed my Bachan and i was really glad everyone could be together. The next day i packed up the rest of the osechi and took a trip to my Bachans to give her the food i prepared. It was honestly the best feeling I’ve had cooking for anyone in a long time. She was just so proud and happy with what I made and I was really just over joyed to see her smile even though she wasn’t feeling well she seemed so happy.

All the food means something though the meanings are a little blurry to me I know in my heart they bring me closer to my heritage and that’s a wonderful feeling.

This is an extremely sentimental entry for me thank you guys for sharing in it.

Happy New Year again!

toshikoshi soba

Kimpira, Sato shoyu Snow peas, Namasu (pickled carrots and Daikon)

jabako boxes with varying japanese vegetables5 sided carrot, 5 side daikon, kombu (rolled seaweed), takenoko (bamboo shoots), shitake mushrooms, Satoimo(tarro root), Renkon (lotus root) Konnyaku (jellied yam)

Char siu style pork tenderloin, Korokke ground beef and green onion  breaded and fried potato dumplings, and Sweet Soy Ginger New York

Wagashi I didn’t make these they are bought from Mikawaya in Little Tokyo http://www.mikawayausa.com/mochi that is flavored and filled sometimes with red beans or white sweet beans. Some of my favorite Japanese confections.

Zōni  this is a japanese soup that’s made from a seasoned dashi and 7 different ingredients for good luck. This Zoni has Kamaboko (pressed fish cake), Kombu (seaweed), 5 sided carrot, shitake mushroom, mochi(glutenous rice cake that’s toasted), sato imo (taro root), rekon (lotus root)

Salmon and Tuna Sashimi, fried shrimp, and  tazukri (candied dried sardies)

Inari (fried tofu skins stuffed with sushi rice) , jabako boxes with varying japanese vegetables dikon, carrot, kombu, shitake mushrooms, Satoimo(tarro root), Renkon (lotus root) Konnyaku, Kimpira, Sato shoyu Snow peas, Namasu (pickled carrots and Daikon)

My mom made dessert

we all had a really good time.

If New Years day is an example for the rest of the year. I’m having a really amazing year to come, I hope you all are as well.

Happy 2011

7 thoughts on “Osechi-ryori

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