Monday, January 23, 2017

New Year Trip to Costa Rica (2)


Almost every morning, we woke up around 6 pm and had nice big breakfast.

 photo IMG_0051_zps20a50mqn.jpg  photo IMG_0040_zpsmqzd5pqn.jpg  photo IMG_0036_zpsttwc1dij.jpg  photo IMG_0037_zpsmkcq0xqs.jpg
Then, we worked out in the gym, went jogging, and played tennis.

 photo IMG_0041_zpshujxdnsk.jpg  photo IMG_0043_zpsuoioslkt.jpg  photo IMG_0044_zpskk6t3tyl.jpg
Lunch options were also nice at the resort.

 photo IMG_0049_zps6ddtsc5j.jpg
Cocktail before dinner.

 photo IMG_0039_zpsjwa9tbxa.jpg  photo IMG_0046_zps4irntdhv.jpg  photo IMG_0048_zpsxr1mu2fl.jpg  photo IMG_0050_zpsmovmixxf.jpg
We ate a lot of nice local seafood for dinner, too.

 photo IMG_0052_zpsoqqdjtlm.jpg  photo IMG_0115_zpshdgkex8n.jpg
One day, we joined a rainforest tour. We had Costa Rican typical lunch, then walked in the rainforest.

 photo IMG_0114_zps5qwok4gb.jpg  photo IMG_0121_zpsbhrwi77n.jpg
We got hit by the rain, but it was for a short time and we had a lot of fun in the nature.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

New Year Trip to Costa Rica (1)


The first weekend of January, we left for Costa Rica. Our 8-day New year vacation started.

 photo IMG_0001_zpszyylqqm3.jpg  photo IMG_0003_zpsrfg7abif.jpg
It was our first time to visit this country. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Papagoya, about 30-minute drive from Liberia Airport.

 photo IMG_0006_zpssqwg14rx.jpg  photo IMG_0020_zpsmyrou0n1.jpg
Really peaceful. We got a beautiful ocean-view cottage.

 photo IMG_0024_zpsepj3cg9d.jpg  photo IMG_0027_zps6wct80np.jpg  photo IMG_0031_zpsxrerrdpg.jpg  photo IMG_0030_zpsuhf12fjl.jpg
Lunch time on the beach.

 photo IMG_0034_zpsdgaqkkyp.jpg  photo IMG_0033_zpsh5d5ohss.jpg
Since we were members of this resort, we got special access to their lounge all the time. Their little snacks were so good.

 photo IMG_0014_zpsi60idjo6.jpg  photo IMG_0013_zpsznlyktiw.jpg  photo IMG_0016_zps0zokeehh.jpg
First night dinner on the beach-front grill was perfect.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Osechi Dinner at Home (Photo by Emiko)

Happy New Year! I wish everybody a wonderful year of 2017!

 photo IMG_5687_zps1ndiyuzs.jpg
I had such a busy final month of last year. So, I didn't really get to prepare anything for Christmas including even a gift for Jason, my husband! On Christmas eve, I could finally start to relax and actually enjoy the holiday season. We were invited to our friends' home for Christmas dinner. Peggye made rotisserie whole ducks!

 photo IMG_5697_zpsfyzprsig.jpg  photo IMG_5698_zpsebmeaodk.jpg
Kabocha soup by Jody.

 photo IMG_5706_zpsyj25jekg.jpg  photo IMG_5709_zpsanqbiskp.jpg
The duck was so delicious!

 photo IMG_5699_zps4uvcoo5e.jpg  photo IMG_5723_zps0b7fh7jg.jpg  photo IMG_5710_zpslh5loqis.jpg
I made mixed mushroom rice with double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". Then, Peggye sprinkled a generous amount of shaved white truffles and folded into my donabe rice dish. Such a decadent holiday version rice! It was a really nice fun dinner party.

 photo IMG_5730_zpsz9mc0eva.jpg
On the very Christmas Day, Jason and I enjoyed very relaxed home dinner. I roasted chicken in my classic-style donabe, "Hakeme", and it came out really fantastic. This is a recipe I contributed to Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop.

 photo IMG_5732_zpsrchvomrc.jpg  photo IMG_5735_zpsf0mpsrkn.jpg
What's great about living in LA is we can enjoy outdoor BBQ cooking in the middle of the winter. Another evening, we grilled 30-day dry-aged T-bone steak in our Santa Maria BBQ Grill.

 photo IMG_5734_zpsfnzq2os8.jpg
It was sooo good.

 photo IMG_5744_zpsqtgq9ncp.jpg  photo IMG_5757_zpsbxbnbexs.jpg
Then, of course, we did a lot of donabe hot pot dishes during the holidays. With black cod and oysters, I made sake-kasu nabe (sake lees hot pot). On New Year's Eve, I made kamo nabe (duck hot pot), and ended the meal with the shime (final) course of soba (I used black bean soba, made from buck wheat and black beans from Tanba, Kyoto), cooked in the remaining broth. Eating soba on New Year's Eve is a Japanese tradition and we call it "Toshikoshi Soba". We eat soba to pray for good luck and longevity. For kamo nabe, I used my Kyoto-style shallow donabe, "Kyoto Ame-yu".

 photo IMG_5751_zpsnzbpmfix.jpg  photo IMG_5768_zpsq2uqg1hi.jpg
On New Year Day, I spent busy time making "Osechi Ryori", traditional Japanese New Year dishes. Among many dishes, I made a couple of dishes in donabe. Chikuzen-ni is a root vegetable stew, and I made it in my classic-style donabe. Then, I also made roasted beef in my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". I should write the recipe for this dish sometime in this blog.

 photo IMG_0018_zpsruu7enrg.jpg  photo IMG_0019_zpsgxxick2m.jpg
The following evening, we invited a few friends over for our big Osechi Ryori dinner to celebrate the new year.

 photo IMG_0020_zpswurwries.jpg  photo IMG_0022_zpszeybsbrk.jpg
I couldn't take any good photos, but luckily Chago and Emiko sent me some photos they took.

Here's the menu.

  1. Hoshigaki, stuffed with moshio-butter and roasted pine nuts
  2. Kurikinton (puree of satsuma sweet potato, topped with sweet chestnuts
  3. Kamaboko (fish cake) with homemade ponzu and wasabi
  4. Datemaki (rolled omelet with fish cake)
  5. Smoked salmon with ikura (salmon roe) and yuzu yogurt topping
  6. Tazukuri (roasted dried fish with walnuts)
  7. Karasumi Daikon (daikon radish slices, stuffed with bottarga and shiso)
  8. Buri (Japanese winter yellowtail) carpaccio with ao-nori seaweed sauce
  9. Kuromame-ni (premium black beans from Tanba, Kyoto, in sweet broth)
  10. Shichi-fuku Namasu (a variety of root vegetables, sautéed and tossed in walnuts-vinegar sauce)
  11. Sukiyaki of beef and pork belly
  12. Udon "shime"

Hew, I did make many dishes! I go crazy every new year.

 photo IMG_0023_zps3zatuftv.jpg
Then, Yuko, who is a professional pattisiere made a special dessert for everyone. It was matcha "chou cream" cream puffs. It was so delicious.

I had such a wonderful New Year celebration with friends and feel all the good luck for 2017!

Happy donabe life.