Really, this post is all about the food porn. I will be writing up the miso udon soup as a recipe, but for now I will talk about New Year's Eve.
In Japan people eat a traditional meal to celebrate the new year, Osechi Ryori. It is generally involved, highly symbolic, and vegan unfriendly. Needless to say, I took this as a challenge and we headed off to Uwajimaya.
Udon is a big deal - there's a special kind that gets made for New Year's with extra, extra long noodles. It is a challenge to try and eat it without breaking the noodle (one long slurp). This represents things like longevity of life, luck, etc. The udon are served in a simple, dashi broth with a few veggies.
Since I'd recently made a quart of vegan dashi (hell, yeah) this was the easiest dish to make. We'd picked up some of Jorinji's amazing red miso (small batch, miso made in Portland) and Christie wanted to include it in the soup.
The result as an amazing miso udon soup. There's a scallion caramelized first, then the dashi added, a few small broccoli florets allowed to poach, the miso added (but never boiled). Udon cooked separately, rinsed, and added to bowls. Top with age (fried tofu, this with bits of sea vegetable & carrot in it) and then add several ladles of the broth & broccoli. Top this with furikake and a piece of baked mochi (thank goodness for the Internet with this stuff... we got it home and discovered that ALL the directions were in Japanese).
So delicious. I chomped a lot of noodles, more than I slurped, it was heavenly.
I did make a salad of carrot & daikon with a little seasoned rice vinegar added to it.
This was our first course of the evening. After enjoying this we moved onto the rest of the dishes for the night.
Next the burdock, a root vegetable that's been recommended to us before. I have always been a little intimidated by it for some reason, but decided to try.
Here you see me already doing the wrong thing - peeling it fully! Apparently I should have lightly scraped off any rootlets, dirt and left the rest. I tried out a fairly simple recipe I found, but the final result was a little gray (maybe the pan, still not sure). It was fibrous and fairly tasty.
Oseschi Ryori seems to have all kinds of little fish cakes. I decided that instead we'd have sushi. I made a mango/sauteed aspargus inside-out roll, cucumber & fried tofu roll, and a shiso & avocado roll. There was some big pieces of fried tofu that I used as pockets to make a kind of inari from the last of the rice, mango & asparagus.
Here I am, looking tired after all that cooking! I'm happy we stayed home.
Some extra mango slices with lime juice for dessert, daikon/carrot salad, burdock root, sushi, and some lovely Sayuri sake