Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back in Japan (March 2016)...Donabe Night with Nagatani Family

(March 14)

It was a cold rainy day today just like a middle of wintertime. But, something warm and delightful was waiting in the evening.

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I was invited to dinner at Akiyo & Takahiro's home. Akiyo and Isako are among the 4 siblings of Nagatani-en's 8th generation and they live in Tokyo. Takahiro is Akiyo's husband and he is an amazing cook. Every time I come back to Tokyo, they invite me to their home and I always look forward to it so much. Yasuhiro, the oldest of the siblings and the current president of Nagatani-en also came all the way from Iga for tonight. So, there were 3 siblings of Nagatani family's 8th generation (Keishi, the other son was in Iga), Takahiro, Takemura-san (he works for Nagatani-en) and myself, and we celebrated the successful publishing of my DONABE cookbook! We had a toast with rose Champagne by Moet et Chandon.

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And, of course, Gen-chan (son of Akiyo & Takahiro) was with us, too! He is always so cute.

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All the dishes were made by Takahiro. For appetizers, he made mizu-nasu eggplant salad, hotaru-ika (firefly squid) & chick peas sautéed in white wine, and braised chicken organs. They were so delicious.

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Nabe time! I was excited to see what kind of hot pot dish he was making tonight.

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All the ingredients were ready. "Tazeri" was the main ingredient of the night. Tazeri is a very seasonal green related to seri (Japanese dropwort) greens. It's a rare kind and mostly found in the mountains. They were going to be cooked with pemium jidori chicken from Aomori (both thigh meat and minced meat with cartilages), and tofu.

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They were cooked in a deep chicken broth. So rich and so perfect. Great with unfined and unpasteurized sake, too.

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Another round. More drinks...we had some nice red wines.

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"Shime" - finishing course was ramen!

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Then, the second "shime" was "ojiya" (quick porridge)!

Oh boy...the dinner was incredible. I ate sooo much. It was such a fun evening with people I love so much. We always have a great time together.

Happy donabe life.