Kaiseki in March

Friday, February 24th, 2012

 

We made some small dishes for Hinamatsuri, or the Doll Festival celebrated on March 3. For this festival, peach blossoms are featured so we used pink items for cooking such as pink radish, pink flower-shaped fu, or wheat gluten, and red rice for sushi rolls. Peaches are said to drive evil spirits away.

 

People display hina dolls along with peach blossoms. The dolls represent members of the ancient imperial court. Originally people prepared doll-shaped white paper and touch the surface of their bodies with the paper to remove bad things. Then the white paper was to thrown into the river. March is the month when people start the year’s agricultural work and people wished for a good harvest for the year.

 

On the lower left there are two kinds of sushi rolls. They are called hosomaki, or thin rolls. To make thin ones we used half-sized laver. We use full-size laver to make futomaki, or thick rolls.

 

On the right down, this is a dressed food called aemono. Boiled Brussels sprouts and boiled squid are mixed with miso, sugar, vinegar, soy source and mustard. I like the plate with Hina dolls on.

 

In the middle, you can see marinated red radish with kelp and yuzu.

 

On the upper left you see grilled salmon. Before grilling it, the salmon was marinated in sake lees for a day. Using sake lees for cooking is getting very popular recently. Sake lees make meat and fish tender and tasty.

 

On the upper right are wild vegetables called fuki, rolled with fried bean curd ones and simmered Shitake mushrooms.

Here is a cup-steamed egg custard decorated with flower-shaped fu. Just before serving, thick starchy sauce seasoned with ginger juice was added.

 

Kaiseki dishes always makes me aware of the change of seasons.

 

Itadakimasu !