Hanami 2016 花見 2016

japanese cake
Again, Hanami 花見 season has come around. This year it was rather early and our backyard cherry trees were in full bloom on Easter weekend. The only problem for us was that we were out of town that weekend. We came back on Monday afternoon and found these spectacular cherry blossoms in our backyard (We were relieved that they were still in bloom). We have three different cherry trees; one that we planted and two that were already established on the property when we build the house. Usually the three trees reach peak bloom at different times but this year the two main trees bloomed at the same time making it more spectacular than usual. 

The sky was blue and sunny but unfortunately it was chilly and very windy.  We couldn’t sit outside under the trees, so we had hanami looking from inside the house.

Since we just came back, we did not have anything special for Hanami so I made what I could from the cache in the freezer and also from food leftover from the trip. My wife bought these deviled eggs for a lunch on the road. They were not particularly flavorful and the worse for wear from the travel. 

I made the first snack from these sorry-looking deviled eggs. I just defrosted some cod roe or tarako たらこ. I removed the skin and mixed in sake and a small amount of concentrated noodle sauce from the bottle.

I just put the mixture on the deviled eggs (after cleaning them up a bit) and garnished it with finely chopped perilla leaves and chives. This was quite an improvement over the original and was a perfect first bite with cold sake.

I also defrosted some natto 納豆 and mozuku もずくin sweet black vinegar. I made cucumber cups and placed the tarako mixture remaining from the deviled egg course in the cups (left). I put a small dab of wasabi and a light splash of soy sauce on the top. For the natto I used the sauce in the package and added wasabi instead of mustard and mixed well using my natto mixing contraption, then I added an egg yolk (Davidson’s pasteurized egg). For texture I added finely diced nagaimo 長芋 and garnished with nori strips (center). I served mozuki in sweet black vinegar as is (right).

The wasabi on the tarako was “real wasabi“.

Natto with egg yolk is a good combination and the nagaimo dice gave a nice texture contrast.

Mozuku seaweed is famous in Okinawa and perfect with sake.

Using whatever I had, I also made a small simmered dish or nimono 煮物 from nagaimo. grilled tofu 焼き豆腐 and shirataki 白滝.

This may not have been the ideal for hanami; if truth be told I was hankering for some sashimi but at least these drinking snacks were adequate and how bad can it be if you can sip sake gazing at a panorama of cherry blossoms?

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