Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

So January 1st is a pretty important day in the Japanese culture. We usually celebrate with traditional New Years Day dishes called Osechi Ryori... I personally love them, mostly for the nostalgia, but it's just full of Japanese flavors!

This year, my mom didn't wanna go all out, so she just served a few of the notorious ones:

The first layer of the "Jubako" (a pretty box that you serve the osechi in) was ::starting in the top right corner; clockwise:: Tazukuri, Kobumaki, Kurikinton, and then more Kobumaki and more Kurikinton...

The second layer of the Jubako was ::starting from the white, going up:: Kamaboko with tree design(?), Datemaki, and Kamaboko with Sakura design...

Plus another one of my favorite side dishes for white rice... Hijiki- it's a kind of seaweed that's simmered in a sweet sauce with vegetables and konnyaku

And another seaweed dish with dried squid and sesame seeds

That was only the appetizer. For the second course, we did a teppan-yaki (Japanese style-Korean BBQ!) with onions, eggplant, carrots, thinly slices pork, beef, and even ::gasp!:: Wagyu beef!

For the main attraction, we did OKONOMIYAKI! It's basically a Japanese version of the pizza. Interestingly enough the word "okonomi" means favorite, so it means you can top these "pizzas" with your favorite toppings! It's extremely healthy considering it's made of like 80% shredded cabbage, 10% batter, and 10% (or more) of the toppings!
Today, we made mixes of thinly sliced pork, shrimp, and squid. D-E-L-I-S-H!

It looks really gross but the sauce is delicious!!! It's Okonomiyaki Sauce (a thicker and sweeter Worcestershire sauce), Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise (it's more tangy and flavorful than American mayo!), Aonori (a powdered green seaweed), and Katsuo Bushi (dried bonito flakes) smothered on top of the hot "pancake".

See, it's like mostly cabbage! Plus a nice plump shrimp!

Dessert was really just so unplanned... I made it an hour before leaving for my New Year's Eve party last night. I looked around my fridge and looked for things I could use.
-Wonton skins
-Apple sauce (I had made it like an hour ago)
-Mascarpone cheese

Hmm.... Apple Pie Wontons!

I filled the wontons with a Honey-Mascarpone cheese mix, sprinkled some raisins, and topped it with the fresh apple sauce.

I placed another wonton skin over that, and formed a pretty little dumpling <3

After egg-washing these bad boys, I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar, and I baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes... I gotta say, with the vanilla ice cream, not bad for a 20 minute dessert!!! Everyone agreed it would be better deep fried... but isn't everything better deep fried? Haha!

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