Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy 2014!

I hope the new year's been treating you well so far. The weather hasn't been great here, more snow on the way (oh I hope those of you who are affected by the snow storms are ok!). But I've been enjoying the feeling of starting anew. I feel like everything is possible. Well I'm gonna make everything possible! :)

New Year's celebrations center around counting down on the new year's eve to the new year's day (and possibly being hungover in the morning, hahaha) in western countries. In Japan, however, they consist of reflecting the year that's going to pass on the eve and celebrating a fresh new start on the first 3 days of the new year with families, relatives and friends. THREE days! (And if weekends are included, it'll be five days this year)

We may not have been able to enjoy long holidays like that, but we celebrated our new year's in Japanese style.

It's a Japanese tradition to eat noodles called toshikoshi soba on new year's eve. This year, though, our son is still avoiding buckwheat (it's a high allergy food) so we instead had udon noodles (although I doubt this was real udon).
I served the noodles in tsukimi style (literally means viewing the moon) with egg, mochi rice cake, shiitake mushrooms and green onions in kelp dashi soup. It's called tsukimi probably because the egg looks like the moon.

I found a great tutorial on how to make dashi soup with kelp (kombu) here by the way.
We also had vegan "duck" I found at a local Chinese grocery store. I just fried it but it tasted pretty good. I served it with hot sauce and lettuce to make lettuce wraps. yum.

And here's our Japanese style new year's meal.
On the top is mashed sweet potato called kinton, vegetable stew called chikuzen-ni, and tempura. The bottom right is zoni soup and the bottom left is agar. The traditional Japanese new year's meal is called osechi which includes several kinds of food. I just made two of those this year. I tried something different and threw in some apple in my mashed sweet potato, which turned out great. Our son couldn't have enough of it :) Kinton represents money. Hope this will bring some good luck in our finance this year!

I made the agar cake in white and red because the combination of the colors red and white is thought to be celebratory in Japan. I used milk for the white and cherry juice for the red. I got some of these ideas from Japanese cooking sites.

I hope you all have a successful year in your chosen field, whatever you do. I'll continue to share more handmade fun so hope you'll stick around!

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