Happy New Year 2015

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The New Years Eve rituals continued at the Lavender and OLiVE household, starting with assembling the Osechi boxes on the New Year’s Eve at the in-law’s house. We started earlier this year at 9:00 a.m. instead of the usual noon so we could be home in time to prepare for the NYE party with our friends at home.

I took a bunch of photos this time around so I can compile them into one photo book for memory and record. Here are the photos and a short description of each dish:

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Kaki to Daikon no Namasu (柿と大根のなます):

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Matchstick daikon radish and persimmon marinated in vinegar.  This is a new menu added to Osechi this year, thanks to abundant crop of the fruit in grandmother’s backyard.

Renkon no Umezu Zuke (レンコンの梅酢漬け): 

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Thinly sliced lotus roots marinated in plum vinegar.

Kuri Kinton (栗きんとん):

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Mashed chestnuts and yam cooked in syrup, with chestnut on top.  It’s very similar to the Italian dessert, Monte Blanc, and very lovely.

Kawasagi no Nanbanzuke (かわさぎの南蛮漬け):

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Fried wakasagi marinated in sweet vinegar.

Tataki Gobo (たたきごぼう): 

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Pounded burdock roots cooked in dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.  Yes, as the name indicates, these poor little branch-looking burdock sticks are pounded with a rolling pin into submission, but don’t fret, they come back as delicious vegetable dish.

Kouhaku Namasu (紅白なます): 

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Shredded carrots and daikon radish marinated in sweet vinegar.  It’s very similar to the persimmon and daikon sunomono, but the vegetables are shredded much thinly than its red and white cousin.

Tazukuri (田作り): 

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Dried sardines cooked in soy sauce.

Koromame (黒豆):

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Another type of Kuromame (黒豆):

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Soy beans cooked in brown sugar.

Okara (おから):  This is my favorite dish in Osechi, and I don’t know the proper name of this dish!

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Okara mixed with marinated mackerel, radish, and carrots.  This is pure deliciousness.

Kikka (菊花):

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Chrysanths flower made out of radish.

Kouhaku Kamaboko (紅白かまぼこ):

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Red and white fish cakes.

Daikon to Samon no houshomaki (大根とサーモンの奉書巻き):

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Smoked salmon rolled in paper thin radish marinated in vinegar.

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There’s an art in packing each item in the ojyu, or Osechi box.

The top layer is called “ichi no jyu” and typically contains nerimono (fish cakes, etc.)

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The second layer, or “nino jyu,” contains seafood.

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The third layer, or “san no jyu” contains “nimono.”

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So, after we were done with Osechi packing, we headed home to prepare for the shabu shabu dinner party we were hosting. It has become a ritual for the four of us to enjoy shabu shabu on the NYE. Last year, we only make it to 10:00 p.m. before everyone passed out, but we actually make it past midnight this year!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

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Double the Fun: New Year’s Day 2013

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Happy New Year, everyone!

What’s so wonderful about being married to the most amazing guy in the world is joining the most amazing family. And with that comes an introduction to a cool new tradition.

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The first morning of the year was spent at a Japanese temple in Downtown LA to receive the New Year’s blessings!  Hatsumode, or the first shrine / temple visit of the year, was so refreshing as I haven’t done this since I was living in Japan! Visiting a temple on special days (like the New Year, and when people turn 20, etc.) is more of a cultural thing for us Japanese than a religious ritual.

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Little Tokyo was packed with people, hoping for a fresh start of the year! After we gave the offerings (throwing money in a wooden box), we bought some Omamori for ourselves and the family, to protect us for another year.

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After the temple, we all got together at the parents’ house for shabu shabu lunch. I think I ate too much too fast, because by the time we were done, I needed to head straight to the couch to lay down! I have to remember that my stomach is not as big as it once was before Pon Pon occupied the space, and I need to eat much slower to avoid this kind of situation! redface

After taking a nap for a good 30 minutes or so, Kevin and I left to head over to my parent’s house for Party #2! We weren’t able to join them for dinner (we were still way too full) but my mother packed a bunch of delicious traditional food for us to enjoy later.  It was so wonderful to see them on the New Year’s day. It was a little strange to not be spending an entire day with with my folks like I did all my life, but there’s definitely a way to squeeze in double the fun, if there’s a will.

I am very excited for 2013. I know that this is going to be the best year yet.

New Year’s Eve 2011

I spent the afternoon of the New Year’s Eve helping my fiance’s family pack osechi ryori. This was my second year participating in this event and I still can’t seem to improve. I’m still very slow … but I’m learning!

I made a mistake of partaking this on an empty stomach, and ended up eating a truck-load of food there, including three freshly-pounded mochi (rice cakes) with azuki (sweet red bean paste), oshizushi (mackerel sushi), breakfast burrito, and small bites here and there.  Kinda feeling guilty because a small, such innocent looking mochi has as much calories as a bowl of rice!  Eeek.

Then, we were off to Staple Center to cheer on the LA Kings. I can’t believe this was our first game of the season, considering we used to go to so many in previous seasons. We met up with some of my finace’s hockey friends, and my pals Kerry and Carmela, also huge hockey fans. It was so nice to catch up with them! By the way, the Kings beat the Canucks, 4-1! Yippee!  Oh yeah, and I had chicken tenders with fries, bites of my fiance’s nachos, and a glass of red wine. redface

We returned home in time for the countdown and had ochazuke, instead of a traditional noodle. Since we don’t have TV, we had to rely on our partying neighbor to figure out when 2011 ended and 2012 began.

I leave you this post with a quote my Facebook friend, Jerod, posted on his page: You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2011, and looking forward spending another great year filled with good health, love, and prosperity with you!