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Sunday, January 1, 2017

A TRULY WONDERFUL OZONI

On this first day of the year, since Pearl passed away, I have continued to adjust the ingredients for what is a Japanese tradition, the making of ozoni, a soup to begin the new year.  But before I go into this and food in general, as I've recently been in a nostalgic mood, here are my postings of this day from the past:
  • 2011:  The Shape of Things to Come in 2011 and Beyond.  Astonishingly, all my predictions came to be:
    • Peak Oil has not occurred
    • Global Warming will be ignored by the U.S. Congress because of the Republicans.
    • There will not be another 8.5 or stronger earthquake for another 20 years.
    • Honolulu will not suffer for a serious hurricane because of natural protective conditions.
    • The U.S. will not totally return troops from Iran or Afghanistan for a long time to come.
    • Our economy will continue to rebound.
  • 2012:  Happy New Year, which reported that I used a whole Peking Duck--after I had skimmed off the skin and tastier flesh--to serve as the base for my ozoni.
Thus and so, this morning I gathered the ingredients for my OZONI OF 2017:


For ozoni you need the color red.  The hokkigai (red clam) and red kamaboko (fish cake) served that purpose.

One of the keys to a great soup base is dried scallops.  Amazon sells a good Japan version for $150/pound.
I  purchased freshly made mochi (pounded rice), but the frozen version works just as well.  I particularly enjoy it fried in butter to a crispy exterior and dousing with kinako (roasted soy bean flour).  This would be a kind of dessert.

In the pot, you are advised to heat the broth ingredients for many hours, adding the mochi and vegetables only at the very end.  My ozoni took 15 minutes to make:


It was a gorgeous morning.  I decided to save the Blue Champagne for dinner tonight.  I forgot to add the  konbu (dried seaweed) to the soup base and to take out the kazunoko (herring roe) to have with the sashimi, so I'll somehow incorporate them for a meal tomorrow with the leftover ozoni.

The past couple of days, incidentally, have been exceptional.  On Friday I went to Shirokiya's Japanese Village Walk intending to have wagyu beef bento.  The whole alley was closed.  So I ended up with Champon from Nagasaki from Chanpontei.  The difference is that the noodles are boiled in the soup and pork dominates:


The beer was a $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon, but the ramen bowl cost around $18.  Chili and vinegar are used instead of shoyu and hot mustard.  Pricey, but okay.  This dish will make you sweat, especially if you too liberally apply the hot pepper powder.

I also snuck in a Chinese bento the other day:  roast duck and cold ginger chicken with a Stanford red and beer:


That evening we had a nice sunset:


For lunch yesterday, I walked into town to Fook Lam, fronted by River Street and Nuuanu Stream, which passes by 15 Craigside on the way downtown.  


A revered figure in the Orient is Sun Yat-sen, who at the age of 13 was sent to Hawaii and graduated from Iolani High School.  He also spent a year at Punahou.  He went on to become the Founder of Modern China.  Looking from the other side, there is the hustle-bustle of gaming just outside Fook Lam:


My Blue Bar Pigeon led the way to the restaurant:


I purchased a Steel  Reserve Beer (it says high gravity, meaning that the alcohol content is high--8.1% versus the standard 5% or 4% light, although Bud Light Platinum is at 6%) and $1.69 whiskey at an adjacent store, went into the restaurant and ordered custard tarts and Shanghai Soup Dumplings:


The way I eat these dumplings, which are dangerously hot with soup, is to make a small hole at the top, then pour in the whiskey (cognac is better if you can afford it):


Ascertaining the temperature is of reasonable temperature, bring the small dish up to your mouth and slurp in the whole dumpling and bok choy leaf, using chopsticks to aid the process.  Then douse the heat  (temperature and spiciness) with some beer.  On the way home I saw a pink flower.

That sashimi dish for my ozoni was leftover for sashimi I bought for my New Year's Eve dinner with neighbors and their family:


We had $8/pound yellow fin tuna and $50/pound blue fin chutoro from Marukai.  The whiter sashimi has a lot more fat.  But is it worth six times more?

Last night our poker group played from 9PM to 12:30 AM to watch the coming of 2017, as we play on the top of 15 Craigside and could watch some fireworks.  Henry, our poker commissioner, brought a wide range of pupus (local appetizers), wine and sake.  

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