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December 2011

Monthly Archives December 2011

Lost Tradition, Recovered; Kagami-mochi and Matsukazari

Category: Hiroko's Blog

This year I did not forget to do the proper welcoming- the-New-Year decorations at my home. I neglected this tradition for years after moving to America. Very bad. Welcoming-the-New-Year decorations have to be placed on a specific, auspicious and correct day. It is usually on December 28th. No later than this.

Here are the decorations; one is Kagami-mochi (in a room) and the other is Matsukazar (at the entrance door). We do these decorations in order to properly welcome a New Year God...

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Are you following me to prepare Osechi ryori? Another recipe.

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Here is another recipe of Osechi ryori. This can be prepared in advance and kept frozen. It is Kinton, sweet simmered Japanese sweet potato paste tossed with golden yellow, sweet-braised chestnut. We cook sweet potato with dry gardenia seed pod to naturally color the cooked potato into golden yellow color. If you cannot find the dried gardenia seed pot, substitute it with a little saffron. I have not tried it with saffron, but it should work...

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Very Best Conrad McEwan’s Eggnog

Category: Hiroko's BlogRecipes

Conrad learned how to make the eggnog from a bartender for whom he worked. After the bartender left the restaurant Conrad reproduced it. It was OK, but he wanted to improve the flavor of it. Conrad came up with the very perfect one which we luckily enjoyed at the Christmas Eve Party at a small island resort.

Here is the rough recipe which he gave me;
First steam milk with cinammon, vanila and clove for about 5 minutes; Strain the milk, discarding the spices; In a bowl whisk the egg yolk with sug...

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Humble, but delicious Kobumaki

Category: Hiroko's BlogRecipes

Here is another recipe, Kobumaki, in which reconstituted, dried herring is wrapped up in kelp, tied with kanpyo gourd, and simmered & flavored. The dish has very humble look but the reason why it is included in the celebration meal is the use of kelp. It is play-on-the-words. “-kobu”, which is the part of the word, “kobumaki” means congratulatory. Hence eating herring (winter fish) stuffed kelp is a symbol of auspicious occasion. It assures us good fortune throughout the New Year...

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Again an Iron egg and Kuromame recipe

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Here is my iron egg – showing it here with a large brown egg – which I use to cook black soybeans, kuromame, for my Osechi ryori. Iron egg helps to retain the gorgeous, sleek black color which is a sing of rich anthocyanin (antioxidant) in the beans.

Here is the kuromame recipe, which I am going to prepare it tomorrow. Kuromame is a dish in which black soybeans are tender simmered and flavored with sugar and little soy sauce...

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Sukiyaki dinner – remembering my father

Category: Hiroko's Blog

My father diseased 19 years ago the day before the Christmas eve. To remember him I made sukiyaki dinner at home last night. My Dad never helped my Mom in the kitchen, who cooked meals for my father’s patients and family, including two nurses who stayed with us, almost entire 365 days. But there was one occasion when he took in charge of cooking our meal. It was the sukiyaki meal which my family enjoyed at the end of every year – December 31st...

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Photos of gomame (dry baby sardine) and finished dish

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Here are the Before and After photos.

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Candid baby sardine (Osechi ryori No. 1)

Category: Hiroko's BlogRecipes

Tazukuri is a candied whole baby sardines. To prepare this dish you need gomame (dried baby sardines), which can be found only Japanese food stores. The reason why baby sardines are the part of celebration is that in the past sardines were important fertilizer for rice paddies, so they symbolized good harvest, therefore prosperous year. Cannot find Japanese dried baby sardine? Come up with alternative – which food item represents prosperity in your culture?

Here is the recipe which I inherited f...

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I terribly miss Japanese New Year

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Next year will be my 14th year of living in America. “Kooin Ya no Gotoshi” This is the Japanese version of “Time Flies”...

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FIRST PEAK

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Finally let me slowly give you a peek into my new book, whose name is not yet finalized. It is a book about Japanese meals made easy for American Kitchen by using prepared (home-made) two Japanese stocks (you can substitute them with chicken stock or vegetable stock) and four Japanese sauces (no substitution), Japanese preparation techniques and ingredients which you can find at your local food stores and supermarket. In the next several months I will post here some recipes.

Let’s start with mi...

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