It was a cold rainy day today just like a middle of wintertime. But, something warm and delightful was waiting in the evening.
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.
And, of course, Gen-chan (son of Akiyo & Takahiro) was with us, too! He is always so cute.
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.
Nabe time! I was excited to see what kind of hot pot dish he was making tonight.
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.
They were cooked in a deep chicken broth. So rich and so perfect. Great with unfined and unpasteurized sake, too.
Another round. More drinks...we had some nice red wines.
"Shime" - finishing course was ramen!
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.