Last week, I had the honor of hosting several women colleagues in my home for a tea luncheon. Given my interest in all things Japanese these days, I decided to provide a Japanese-themed lunch. New territory for me!
I used a combination of my own disheware with some items borrowed from a very generous tea friend (thank you JE!). She also provided several Japanese cookbooks and suggestions of menus.
We started with yuzu spritzers, made from club soda and yuzu syrup. Then we moved onto lunch. We enjoyed green beans that had been blanched and dressed with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil and agave (I made this one up) and sprinkled with sesame seeds and seaweed. I purchased a few rolls (California, avocado and cucumber) from the sushi shop down the street. I kept these vegetarian and cooked (the California roll is cooked crab meat) because not everyone loves raw fish.
I also made Japanese pickles, and I was delighted with these! We'll definitely be keeping these around in my household. These are better know as "refrigerator pickles" by my Grandmother, meaning they're fresh and not heat-processed. The pickling solution includes sugar, white vinegar, water and mirin (a cooking sake).
For dessert, I gave my friends a chance to try mochi. These sweets had a chunk of strawberry in the center, wrapped in red bean paste and covered with a sweet rice flour dough. They're chewy and sticky and I like them. My friends were all very good sports! (We also had Rice Krispy treats.)
I very much enjoyed the planning of the event, and of course spending time with my friends! Interestingly, much of this menu is vegan and gluten-free.