Oshogatsu 2012

New Year’s is just around the corner, and we’ve already completed half of our shopping for the coming year’s Oshogatsu celebration. The centerpiece of the meal is osechi ryori, pictured above, served in antique black-lacquered trays. Osechi is a time-worn, ancient type of cuisine that is heavy on long-simmered vegetables and sweet, sour and savory flavors. As you might have seen in past blog posts about oshogatsu shopping, preparation and cooking, and the long-awaited celebration, the whole process is a lot of work. So much work, in fact, that last year’s Oshogatsu party — one of the biggest and most elaborate we’ve ever thrown — tired us out for three days.

This year, we’re planning to spend a quiet Oshogatsu and will host a smaller party. Part of the menu will include some kind of grilled mochi topped with various colorful and flavorful toppings, as served at Mochikiya, a charming mochi shop at Kyoto’s Nishiki Market.

My husband plans to include a new recipe for mochi topped with Kobe beef and black sesame sauce. We always like to mix a few rich, Western dishes with the light and healthy Japanese ones — in small portions, of course.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy New Year. May 2012 bring you and your family joy, health and prosperity.

See you in 2012!