New Year’s Day Oshogatsu Osechi Ryori 2015

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Happy New Year! Already 12 days in and I’m still feeling the freshness of the new year and all that it has in store for us. 2014 was a great year, lots of amazing opportunities and growth that I look forward to carrying over into 2015. The year began as it should, and has for the last 5 or more years, with Osechi Ryori in my family’s traditional and not too traditional Japanese-style. For us, this is a gathering of love, health, togetherness and family and I hope to always be able to share this time with my family and friends.


The start of the year is a great time for new beginnings, but we can also be reminded that each moment holds a new beginning for all of us, if we so choose to take it. I wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2015! Here are the dishes I prepared for New Year’s Day Oshogatsu and Osechi Ryori.


Here are 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014

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Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Japanese Korokke

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings

Tuna Sashimi



Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello


Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)

Ozoni (New Year Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)


I’m always so excited and happy to be able to prepare this beautiful meal for my family. Though it changes a bit each year, the tradition still lies in the togetherness we share with our family and the traditions we pass down to my nieces.


Love, Peace and Gratitude.






New Year’s Traditions Oshogatsu and Osechi-Ryori 2014


Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you enjoyed some time for reflection, tradition, family and friends during the holidays and carry that hopeful good cheer throughout the year. The first of the year is a special time for my family. We share in the traditions of Japanese New Year or Oshogatsu and since I’ve been little, we’ve had a family gathering eating traditional and some non-traditional foods together as we celebrate the New Year, over food, fun and togetherness.

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These traditions are very important to me. They remind me of my childhood, especially of the times when I used to stay with my Bachan from Christmas until New Year’s. Bachan would spend days preparing different dishes, allowing things to simmer and pickle, while cutting vegetables into different shapes and making food I’d only see on New Year’s Day. Though some of the dishes on the table today are not the same as the ones we had when I was little, I try to incorporate some of those traditional dishes into the Jūbako Japanese stackable decorative dishes and we have a large spread of food and invite friends and family over.


Here are my last three years of Osechi-Ryori: 2011, 2012, 2013, and my 2014 addition.




Beef and Chicken Teriyaki with homemade teriyaki sauce

Chicken Yakitori with peanut sauce

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (mom’s contribution)

Pork & Shrimp Wontons (mom & dad’s contribution)

Bachan Jello (mom’s contribution)


Grilled Salmon

Grilled Sake and Mirin Shrimp

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)

Ozoni (New Year Japanese soup) (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shiitake Mushroom, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

Twice cooked Artichokes with soysauce mayo


I hope each of you had a blessed and beautiful holiday season and have a peaceful, joyful and thankful new year!



Toshikoshi Soba (Year End Soba)

On New Year’s Eve, as young girl I would sit in front of the T.V. and watch Japanese television. I didn’t know what the heck was going on, but every year since I can remember when I was little, we watched this same show. I was in a dark house with beige pull-up blinds, curtains much older than I and avocado-colored carpet. The house always smelled of something sweet and something salty, with the freshness of amazing produce from the hands of a woman who couldn’t pick a bad piece of fruit or vegetable from the market if she tried, my Bachan (Grandma in Japanese).

Bachan would prepare something very simple to bring in the New Year and I’d sit with a hot cup of green tea and a steaming bowl of Soba in a simply flavored broth with spinach and kamaboko (pressed fish cake) and slurp up the New Year in style. At midnight we would say, “Happy New Year!” and within minutes, the phone would ring and my parents would be on the other line saying, “Happy New Year!” and telling me that they would see me in the afternoon for Oshogatsu (the New Year’s Celebration) and Osechi-ryori, which are traditional Japanese dishes for good luck in the new year. We would finish our soup and then make our way to bed knowing this year was already starting off on the right foot.

Year end soba is almost written into the rest of my life. It’s something I must eat at 12:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day and something I just can’t miss out on and need to feel right (AKA I’m addicted). I love these traditions and I hope to keep them the rest of my life.

Toshikoshi Soba


1 package (House Brand) Oden Soup Mix  to 5 cups water (easy)


4 cups homemade dashi (made from Kombu and/or Bonito flakes)

If you want to make dashi this recipe is very helpful. I use the same technique in making my dashi at home.

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon white sugar

8 slices red and white Kamaboko (Yamasa Brand)

1 cup spinach with stems, washed thoroughly

2 ½ bundles of Soba Noodles (Japanese Buckwheat noodles)

Green onion, minced


Place dashi in large pot.

Stir in soy sauce, mirin and white sugar bring to a simmer.

Add spinach to broth and stir until wilted.

Cook noodles according to the package directions, draining one minute earlier than stated on packaging.

When the broth comes to a boil, place cooked soba noodles in pot with broth, and finish cooking for 1 minute.

Ladle hot noodles and broth into bowls for serving and top with kamaboko and green onion. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!








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 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