I am running on autopilot today. I so desperately want to begin a new year on a new page . My wish has been granted even though the circumstances leave much to be desired. The time has come for me to move on.
A natural born busy body, I rarely find myself short on things to do. Yet today, I fear the hours, minutes, seconds that seem to stretch to eternity. I do not want to be left alone with my own thoughts. Cooking may not be the top of my priority list today but the calm of cutting, boiling, kneading, and washing help me get through the day.
As per the last few years, Little Brother and I welcome the new year with our loose interpretation of traditional Japanese feast. Despite my effort to shop for specialty ingredients last week, most of the key items could not be found (all sold out!). No big deal, I bought enough to make a simple savoury ozoni soup and sweet azuki bean soup, both served with grilled mochi rice cakes.
I secretly breathed a sigh of relief that I did not plan anything complicated. I could not work up any enthusiasm in the kitchen. After my morning run and bike ride, I gathered the handful of ingredients for lunch. The azuki bean dessert soup was already made last night. The ozoni consisted of clear kombu broth enriched with daikon, thinly sliced pork jowl, kamaboko, enoki mushrooms, and green onions. It was no different than my typical lazy night dinner.
Grilling the mochi rice cakes was interesting. I usually buy vacuum-packed varieties imported from Japan. Just for kicks, I decided the frozen ones may taste fresher. Bad idea. They took forever to warm up in the oven and instead of browning, they just formed a crust that the molten interior eventually burst through. I rescued enough and ran a torch over them to give them some colour. I was a little disappointed.
Even though the mochi rice cakes did not turn out too well, they did not diminish the rest of the meal. I served the duo of soup with some store-bought tatsukuri (soy glazed dried fish) and a soft boiled egg. Eating the salty fish together with the jiggly egg was particularly enjoyable even though it was in no way traditional.
I hope 2014 will bring you a year full of delicious eats and success in the kitchen. Most importantly, I hope that you will enjoy good health to enjoy all that life has to offer.
More New Year Feasts:
Curious about dessert soup? Here are a few more:
- Poached Pear With Snow Fungus & Jujube 雪耳紅棗燉梨
- Coconut Black Glutinous Rice Dessert Soup with Taro 椰汁芋頭紫米露
- Bean curd gingko sweet soup with eggs 白果腐竹雞蛋糖水