Thursday, November 24, 2005

Our Thanksgiving Feast

I think that deep down, Thanksgiving is every American's favorite holiday. It is one of the few holidays where you don't have to worry about giving gifts and it hasn't been taken over by some gimmicky mascot like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

I didn't realized that I would be spending Thanksgiving in Japan until I was literally spending Thanksgiving in Japan. I sort of woke up and just realized that Thanksgiving had snuck up on me.

It is not hard for that to happen in Japan. Thanksgiving does not exist here. Neither does most of the food that Americans like to eat on Thanksgiving. Yet, even with those obstacles, I still managed to somehow pull off a feast.

I spent the afternoon shopping and cooking. I did all of my grocery shopping at the SATY right next to our apartment. Then as soon as Emily got home from work, the two of us chowed down on our Japanese Thanksgiving dinner.

This is what it looked like:

Not bad, huh? Especially considering that I have no idea how to recognize most of the items in the grocery store. In the end I prepared 8 entrees, 2 desserts, and one drink.

See that jar filled with fruit? It is not just fruit; it is filled with vodka. I made it yesterday. If you want to learn more about it you can read about it on -Chopsticks-.

Click HERE to visit -Chopsticks-.

For the entree portion of our meal I made:
  • Braised Curry Pork
  • Teriyaki Chicken Legs
  • Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
  • Edamame
  • Tekkamaki (tuna sushi)
  • Pseudo-Roy's Poke (diced hawaiian tuna)
  • Chamorro Cucumber Salad
  • Smoked Salmon Rice Cakes
You can probably recognize that the only item that resembles anything from a traditional Thanksgiving dinner are the mashed potatoes. I made them from scratch. The only ingredients were potatoes, milk, butter, and wasabi. I simply quartered and boiled the potatoes until they were soft, strained out the water, threw in the rest of the ingredients, and mashed them with a spatula. Yes, a spatula. They don't make those potato mashing things here.

My other big item was the Braised Curry Pork. In the grocery store, which has miles of store space dedicated to meat and fish, I was looking for something resembling a ham. I couldn't find one, but I was able to find something resembling a pork roast. I bought it.

I knew I wouldn't be able to roast it, mainly because our kitchen only has two burners and no oven, so I thought I would try to braise it. I also knew it would need a sauce. Since the only thing I could recognize was curry, I decided to make braised curry pork. It only took me 20 minutes to pick out which packet of curry, out of the entire AISLE of curry, I wanted to buy.

I have never braised anything before, but I have watched the chefs at Roy's in Orlando braise short ribs. They cooked a whole bunch of huge slabs of beef covered in huge pots with what I think was some type of stock. I don't have any of those things in Japan, so I braised my pork roast in a frying pan with some water, curry powder, herbs, and what I hope was chicken stock powder.

After cooking it for three hours on low heat, I was able to cut it with a spoon. I took it off the heat, diced it up with a knife, threw it back in the pan, and added the curry sauce.

It ended up looking like a pulled pork dish, like from a southern bbq pulled pork sandwich, but with an Asian flair. When I put it down in front of Emily she inhaled the whole thing before she would try anything else on the table. It was that good.

I also made a very yummy tuna dish with cubed maguro, soy, lemon juice, onions, hot pepper, and ginger paste. It was probably my favorite.

The only other dish that required preparation was the Chamorro Cucumber Salad. I made it with diced cucumber, soy, rice wine vinegar, and some pepper. It was one of my favorite things growing up and it is so easy to make that I couldn't resist serving it.

Every thing else was prepared at the store and all I had to do was heat it up or put it on a plate and make it look pretty.

Dessert was awesome. I bought apple pie and vanilla Haagen Daaz ice cream. Emily liked the applie pie ice cream so much that she had it for breakfast this morning. We also had Japanese Christmas Cake. It is a white cake with strawberries and the most amazing white frosting. I can inhale that stuff; too bad it costs about $3 per slice.

After we finished eating we cleaned up and polished off the rest of the Winter Starburst Martinis. Don't think we're raging alcoholics though, there really wasn't much vodka in the jar; it was mostly fruit.

When we finished them we dutifully refilled the jar with fresh vodka. It should be ready in time for our festivities this weekend (whatever they end up being).

It was a really fun, romantic Thanksgiving, but I really missed having Thanksgiving back home. This was the first time that I only had one other person to celebrate with. That's just not right. This holiday is meant to be celebrated in groups of at least 10.

Maybe next year we will plan better.

1 comment:

tetricus said...

I need to see a turkey...