Veg juicing

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Vitamins to fight the horrible weather, it’s fog, pollen, yellow sand, PM 2.5, whatever… With the pea soup outside, I don’t want the same on my table.
(Postscriptum, that was yesterday, 10th, today the sky is blue, the air maybe cleaner, but saddest anniversary of the year. 2 years ago… Vitamins are needed.)

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Let’s take a red Kintoki carrot. I’ve added a little lemon juice. I got a thick paste in the blender, but after I filtered it into a smooth juice :

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And some greens…うまい菜 Umaina. It’s a kind of Japanese beet leaves/Swiss chard. I took only the green parts and some grapefruit juice.

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Japanese New-Year count down (-1)

We arrive at the last step of preparations for the Japanese New Year Osechi Ryouri.
You were thinking there were only small bits and no big piece. That’s true in a way. Japanese meal favor the variety. The more items the biggest luxury.
But there is something else. A roast… well a grilled fish.

Shio-yaki tai (salt grilled tai fish)

Making a traditional meal of Japanese Osechi (New Year good luck food). That was an experiment and I had a lot of fun doing it. As usual, don’t look for perfection. I am no expert…

Read more.

Japanese New-Year count down (-8)

Namasu (raw salad) takes New-Year colors for the Osechi meal…

紅白なます, kohaku namasu is a standard of Osechi Ryori, simply because it is red (ko) and white (haku). The red and white association of color is considered auspicious for New Year in many Asian countries….

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Osechi 2 : kintoki ninjin and daikon for namasu

These carrots are really as red as tomatoes. They are also longer and more slender. I have red they were brought from China in Edo Era. They are now one of the Kyoto vegetables used for kaiseki ryori, and of course, they are ideal for Osechi Ryori
There name is kintoki ninjin 金時人参.

Daikon radishes.

Kohaku namasu

紅白なます, kohaku namasu is a standard of Osechi Ryori, simply because it is red (ko) and white (haku). The red and white association of color is considered auspicious for New Year in many Asian countries. Add to that they are the color of Japan, like in the flag with the red sun on a white surrounding.

Recipe :

It’s easy. Of course, you can use an ordinary carrot. Grate carrot and daikon (more daikon than carrot). Sprinkle a little seasalt, toss well. Let 30 minutes. With you hands squeeze well the water out of the veggies, discard it.
Add a seasoning of rice vinegar plus sugar (1 ts of sugar per cup of vinegar). The normal recipe is white vinegar and white sugar. I don’t have that in stock. So I used black rice vinegar and yellow cane sugar.
No so nice.. but it’s good.
Let the seasoned veggies one day in the fridge before serving. You can keep them about 3 days. Seal well the container as the smell is strong.

I squeezed it again and placed it on a sheet of baking paper inside the box.

Osechi ryori compilation

DIY Classic Osechi Ryori

Making a traditional meal of Japanese Osechi (New Year good luck food). That was an experiment and I had a lot of fun doing it. As usual, don’t look for perfection. I am no expert.

The menu is highly related with Shinto religion. And New Year is the major Shinto event of the year, maybe the only one everybody kind of celebrates in Japan. Everything is symbolic. Most things are displayed to call good luck and prosperity.

Doors are decorated with kadomatsu that contain pine, oranges…

And the main activity of January 1st is hatsumode, the first visit to the Shinto shrine. For most people, that’s the only visit in the year. Look at this shrine. I live nearby and I see people getting in maybe once a month… except today.

I’ll detail the symbolism of the food, and the recipes, in other posts. These preparations are ancient Japanese food. In old times, cooking and serving a hot meal was a lot of work for the housewife and the maids. So, in order to free everybody of work for the celebration, the Osechi Ryori is prepared in the week before the New-Year (from 25th to 31st roughly). Then, it is eaten cold the 3 first days.

First floor (from the left) :
紅白なます kohaku namasu (made of daikon radish and kintoki carrot)
紅白かまぼこ kohaku kamaboko (white and pink colored fish cakes)
鶏松風 tori matsukaze (chicken terrine, topped with poppy seeds and green aonori seaweed)
田作り ta dzukuri (caramelized fish, and caramelized walnuts)

Second floor :
卵 tamago (front left – mosaic omelette)
数の子 kazu no ko (front right – sake flavored fish eggs, from Pacific herring eggs)
栗金団 kuri kinton (back left – sweet potato and chestnut puree)
豆 mame (back right – black and white sweetened beans)

Third floor :
金時人参 kintoki carrots
konnyaku
里芋 sato imo (taro)
shiitake mushroom

Shio-yaki tai (fish salted and roasted)

Mochi topped with a kumquat.
That should be a mikan orange, or a daidai bitter orange, but I have the miniature mochi totem. Mochi are blocks of sticky rice paste.

To be continued…

Osechi ryori compilation

Osechi Compilation : Opening the boxes

Osechi Ryori is Japanese good luck food for the NewYear

NB : click on the text not the photos

For more Japanese New Year traditions click here.

Photo menu :

the lacquer box
the Osechi menu 2011
kuri kinton
kuro mame

Osechi 1 : kazu no ko
Osechi 2 : kintoki ninjin and daikon for namasu
Osechi 3 : building a rice paddy
Osechi 4 : kohaku kamaboko fish cakes
Osechi 5 : chicken matsukaze
Osechi 6 : the vegetable box
Osechi 7 : tamago mosaic

omedetai (lucky grilled fish)