Tag Archives: Hinamatsuri

Girls’ Day 2012

5 Mar

Just two more sessions until my daughter graduates from her current grade in Japanese school… Hard to believe it has been a year already since I gave up my Saturday mornings!

For Saturday school, I packed:

Whole wheat rotini with roasted red pepper and pecorino sausage in a marinara sauce (with thinly sliced onion)

Boiled egg – star shape

Sautéed zucchini with a drop of soy sauce

Cucumber slices

Blueberries

For dinner, we went to our favorite, local Japanese restaurant, Takumi, where we enjoyed sushi, edamame,  and gyoza (papa).  My understanding is that traditionally, chirashizushi is eaten on Girl’s Day, or Hinamatsuri, but I never fully mastered the concept of making sushi rice at home. 

The girls enjoyed seared toroaji, (served whole, and once finished, the bones were deep-fried for a crispy and savory treat), as well as fluke usuzukuri – the fluke slices sliced thinly, garnished with chopped scallion and a little ponzu to dip the slices.

I spoiled myself with a “Japanese sushi” which included traditional deluxe sushi items, such as uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), kazunoko (herring roe), o-toro, or fatty tuna…  I ordered a separate order of ikura for my girls, who savored each roe, each gem-like sphere carefully placed in their mouths as they slowly (and almost for the parents, painfully) ate each egg.

“Happy Girls’ Day!” we cheered, the girls with their special calpico drinks, Papa with a kirin, and Mama, with green tea.

Another Girl’s Day – here and gone.  They enjoyed special arare or puffed rice candies and rice crackers sent over from Japan from Jiji and Baba.  Photographic evidence flooded their inbox, and I imagined my parents’ delight as they opened each picture.

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Last week of February – hello March!

4 Mar

I was excited to find fresh quail eggs at the Japanese store.  They were tucked away, between the organic chicken eggs and the tofu, little ten-packs of speckled eggs, each egg about 3/4 inches long.  In the past, I would purchase the pre-boiled, canned ones, but something exciting about boiling and peeling these mini-eggs.  I also love that there are ten – two each bento-packing day, and two left over to survive my younger one’s pilfering. 

Over the weekend, I made another batch of turkey meatballs.  The ingredients were the usual mixture (minced onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery, flax seeds and steel-cut oatmeal), except this time, I added a little scallion and a drop of sesame oil as I mixed the meat together.  The meatballs were extremely fragrant as they baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, covered.

Monday’s lunch was:

Sliced red bell pepper pieces.  My older one grabbed this pepper at Makinajian’s and insisted we NEEDED to have it – so I agreed and sliced it up for her lunch.  She loved them.

Turkey meatballs

Sliced roasted beets

Steamed multi-grain rice with black gomashio.  My goal for the coming week is to think of a different seasoning for the rice. 

Boiled quail eggs  

This was the star lunch that was completely finished off.  After dinner, both girls enjoyed some frozen vanilla yogurt while they skyped with their grandparents.

Tuesday’s lunch was:

Grilled salmon fillet, de-boned

Blanched broccoli, drop of soy sauce for seasoning

Quartered beets

Steamed multi-grain rice, black gomashio

Boiled quail eggs

Wednesday’s lunch – to try to mix it up a bit… but the same basics

Turkey meatballs

Boiled edamame

Steamed multi-grain rice with white and black sesame seeds

Quartered beets

Boiled quail eggs

Blackberries

This was also a hit lunch – with the exception of a spoonful of rice, my daughter cleaned out her bento box, and greeted me at her daycare door with a huge grin telling me she finished ALL her BEN-TO!

Thursday, homestretch – the last pair of boiled quail eggs. 

Grilled salmon fillet

Potatoes that were first boiled until fork-tender, then cooked on a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the surfaces were browned.  Finished off with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Beets, quartered

I asked my daughter what else she wanted for lunch – and she insisted, the little eggies, beets, go-han (rice), edamame, ballies and fish.

It might be time for me to start reinventing her lunches! 

TGIF.  Woo Hoo!

One side note.  March 3rd, Thursday, was Hinamatsuri, or  Girl’s Day in Japan.  My parents sent both grandchildren, each, a set of their own beautiful, handcrafted dolls.  Some girls are fortunate to have several platforms for various other dolls (e.g. court ladies, musicians) according to their social hierarchy in the ancient Imperial court during the Heian era, but at our house, we have the first platform with the Empress (ohinasama) and Emperor (odairi sama).

As a child, I looked forward to eating the sweetened puffed rice, bits of pink and green puffed rice mixed with white ones – my mother reminding me not to gobble everything down at once.  A package from Japan arrived this past Monday from Jiji and Baba containing savory arare (small, dime sized rice crackers) and pink and white puffs with a little chocolate.  The girls have been enjoying a little bit each day, after dinner.

I had been so distracted with every other aspect in my life, I realized I had not set the dolls out to display.  I knew my parents would be disappointed, and I put them out after both kids and my husband went to bed last night.  They now adorn our dining room table – a little bit of Japanese culture to celebrate the girls.

P.S.  The key is to now put them away, very SOON!

Younger one's doll set

Older one's doll set