2011, the year of the rabbit, skipped by very quickly – its little bunny tail quickly disappearing into the abyss of another 12 year cycle.
Up rose the majestic Dragon, and hopefully, our health and luck continue the upward trend!
This week was a short week starting on Tuesday. I included a little Japanese New Year items in my daughter’s lunch box.
Kimpira gobo, or julienned burdock and carrot slices (cut into matchstick width) that were sautéed and subsequently simmered in a dashi, soy sauce, mirin broth until the liquid is boiled away. I’m guilty of cooking by “eyeballing” my recipes, but here’s a general recipe for this traditional dish:
One burdock (gobo) root – usually, they come in two in a package. I take the non-bladed side of my knife, and shave the skin off. It’s very thin, but very muddy – you can also choose to simply scrub the burdock with a vegetable brush. It’ll be very fragrant – an earthy, herby fragrance that will be released, and the burdock root itself is a gorgeous creamy color. Cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch matchstick pieces, and allow to soak in some cold water. The water will prevent the browning of the pieces. Drain well, right before adding to the pan.
I like a healthy helping of vegetables, so I take three medium-sized carrots, peeled, and cut into similar matchstick pieces.
Into a large frying pan, I add 1 tbs of canola oil, and 1 tbs or sesame oil, heat until shimmering over medium heat, and add the drained burdock pieces and carrot pieces, and saute, coating the pieces well with the oil.
I then add 3 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs mirin, 2 tbs white sesame seeds and 1/2 cup water, and continue sautéing the pieces. I also add 1 tsp of the ground shiitake powder to the pan, and continue sautéing the pieces. Adjust the seasoning accordingly. Alternately, you could add 1/2 cup of dashi – I substitute actual dashi with the water + ground shiitake powder mix.
Once the liquid has cooked away, I remove from the heat, and it’s ready to go.
Also in her bento were cucumber slices, some oden, left over from New Year’s Day, as well as sekihan, or literally, red rice (Sweet rice steamed with adzuki beans, served with a little salt and , which is served on auspicious occasions. The oden included were (my favorite) boiled egg, bamboo sprout slices, and konnyaku (devil’s tongue yam) pieces which have been simmered in a rich, dashi stock for many hours. The egg is stained a lovely, caramel color, and the pieces are seasoned with the savory, slightly sweet oden soup. My winter favorite!
Wednesday, I sent in a thermos container full of oden, as my daughter told me she loved to eat it.
For Thursday, I included:
Roasted chioggi beet stars
Friday was pizza day – and I fell right back into the usual routine.