Last night, I had a party for seven people including my family of four. I had a similar party last year, where I made almost all dishes myself, but I wanted to do it in a much easier way this year, so I decided to buy some frozen food. I went to the Ishiuchi Branch of Harimaya, a local supermarket here in Shiozawa, because they have a lot of frozen food for commercial use in the ski season.
Before I decided what to buy, I asked everyone what they would like to have. Results:
My daughter said she wanted to have ikura; my son crab; my wife pickled eggplants(!); brother-in-law braised pork belly; sister-in-law wine; nephew sushi; and me high-quality sake!
Shoyu ikura (salmon roe seasoned with soy sauce):
Crab from Russia:
Tori momo karaage (chicken thigh karaage):
Braised pork belly:
Ebi fries (extra large):
Straight cut potatoes:
Edamame (Kaori Mame):
All the frozen food products shown above were very good, especially the edamame. I have to give more credit to frozen food. Twenty years ago, frozen food was much less tasty.
Two varieties of strawberry for dessert:
Left: Tochiotome (from Tochigi)
Right: Nagasaki Sachinoka (from Nagasaki)
Drinks for children:
Left: Calpis (I know, I know, it's not Cow Piss, it's Calpis!)
Middle: Qoo Tottemo Apple (lit. "Very Apple")
Right: C.C. Lemon
左： カルピス（Cow Piss「牛のおしっこ」ではなくカルピスです！）
右： C.C. Lemon
Kakurei Junmai Ginjo!:
Echigo Sekki Aka (Red) from Echigo Winery
This wine is stored in a room kept at 5C all year round because of the snow collected into the room as described here (Japanese only).
Koshi no Murasaki:
This product contains katsuo dashi (and amino acids, etc.), but can be used just like regular soy sauce.
I made sushi meshi (rice for making sushi). I wanted to check the effect of "zaru kiri" (draining rice after washing and letting stand for some time, usually 2-3 min. but not longer than 10 min., before soaking in water), but I could detect no discernible difference in texture. Some people say that zaru kiri makes nice and firm rice, where each grain of rice stands out.
Neta (toppings) for nigiri zushi (< sushi):
Mebachi maguro chu toro (medium fatty bigeye tuna), salmon, and wild buri (adult yellowtail)
Plate of sashimi for each person:
I ordered the neta and the sashimi from the Shiozawa head office of Harimaya.
Table for four adults:
Table for three children:
My brother-in-law said the braised pork belly was very good.
Leaftover tara jiru (cod soup):
My newphew said he likes shirako very much.
Needless to say, we all had a good time.
March 14, 2010
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Everything looks very tasty, and good to hear you had good time (hope your hangover is gone now ;-))
Very sweet: you made for everybody his favorite food. :-)
Are these real flowers on sashimi edible?
I had my first frozen edamame few days ago and I liked it very much. We had it like you, as snack with little salt and I also made a small dish with my miso-tofu-tsukemono.
Is “kaori mame” for “frozen beans”?
Interesting, I have read Japanese don’t like frozen foods very much, fresh food is preferred?
The wine stored together with snow is amazing!
Amato: I wanted to make every diner happy, so I asked them what they wanted to have in advance.
I don't know whether the kiku flower is edible or not, but it's meant to be an ornament. No one ever eats it.
The edamame I had were incredibly good! They were flavorful and crispy. And, I didn't have to boil them; I just had to thaw them under running water for 2-3 min. I'm thinking of buying two or three packs before the ski season is over.
Sorry for the vague expression. Kaori Mame is a variety of edamame. In Niigata, we have another flavorful variety called Chamame (lit. brown bean). I posted about Chamame somewhere in my blog.
Fresh food is preferred? That's a tough question to answer. I can't speak for all other Japanese... Let me say this: When you go to a restaurant, do you expect they will serve you frozen food? Probably no. That applies to someone invited to a dinner, right? The Japanese are probably more particular about food than other nations, and prefer fresh food to frozen food. But it's also true that frozen food is everywhere in Japan. When a mother makes a bento for her child, two or three items are probably frozen ones... And, when you stay at an inn here in Japan, you will probably served some of those frozen products.
Here in the snow country, we have these words: Kokusetsu 克雪 (conquering snow-related problems) and risetzu 利雪 (utilization of snow). The use of snow to keep wine cold is one example of the latter.
Have you noticed my brief description of zaru kiri in the post? Some people still recommend zaru kiri, but I don't think that's necessary or preferred.
Did you get your wife her pickled eggplants?
Jan: Of course I did! Look at the photo below "Table for four adults", and you can see a small dish containing the pickled eggplants near the far side of the table, at the center.
I always do zaru kiri before I cook the rice--and I sometimes let it drain for an hour! In a cook book called "Seductions of Rice", the authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid say it does make a difference when cooking Japanese rice. I'm no expert, but my rice has gotten compliments from my Japanese friends.
The food at your party looked so delicious. The ikura sure was expensive. By the way, how do you feel about frozen fish? Mackerel, for example. I know of a shop in Tokyo that has a huge selection of frozen fish. But I've been reluctant to buy some. I do love frozen blueberries and frozen peas. I'm also tempted to buy some frozen sanuki udon.
Yes, I noticed (of course) I would like to make a post about washing/cooking rice in near future, because there are so many different methods and every person claims his/hers is the "right" one- I’m a little confused.
Maybe you would like to help us out, Hiroyuki.
Other problem is, we don’t have such fresh rice like you, real good rice(my favorite is tamaki) is pretty expensive.
I bought 10kg nishiki rice 2 weeks ago, and don’t like it very much...Not very flavorful and somehow "dry".
I have read some people add a tablespoon mirin to sushi rice, this way it does not get mushy.
David and Amato: I will post about zaru kiri in more detail in the near future, because now I think it deserves its own post.
David: Because of advances in freezing technology, frozen fish is now as good as fresh fish these days. Do buy frozen sanuki udon! It's much, much better than the chilled version!
Amato: Rice is expensive in Japan, too, although it's Japan's staple, expecially the Koshihikari rice produced here in the Uonuma region of Niigata.
Other items some people like to add to rice include: sake, kombu, and charcoal. Me? None of them.
When I came to visit japan then I used to visit these places just to eat delicious sushi and other yum yum Japanese food. I love it. Here all vegetables are fruits are very fresh.
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