Welcoming a New year in Japan means welcoming the year with a new god of the year (2013), who takes care of us throughout the year. So, December is the month during which we work busy to finish unaccomplished matters in businesses and at homes, and prepare ourselves so that we can express our thanks to the god of the year (2012) at the end of the year. By doing so, we can start a new year mentally and physically refreshed.
If you are looking for an idea of New Year’s Resolution, I would like to suggest Hiroko’s American Kitchen. Eating through this book for this coming year will introduce you and your family a delicious and healthy year. Bringing Japanese flavors, cooking techniques and the way of eating into an American kitchen with readily, seasonally and locally available ingredients has become very easy with this book. When you try the recipes in the book please be flexible. Always use seasonally and locally available ingredients. During miserably cold winter time there is no reason for us to cook up summer vegetables, many of which simply cool our body and is not suitable. Recently I am enjoying locally grown kale and carrot, both of which have increased sweetness in cold air. Kale also acquire beautiful pinkish purple color on its stem. I rinse them many times in a bowl of changing cold water, drain them, remove their stems or peel them, and cut the leaves and carrot into fine julienne. The robust flavor and texture of kale and carrot are a god-sent match to Spicy Miso Sauce dressing.