Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And to begin again...a little bit of nostalgia

Thanksgiving a week ago...another holiday memory to add to my family's repertoire of giving thanks together.  Tried and true dishes on the table, the humorous misadventures of new things we thought we'd try, torn magazine recipes strewn across the counter.  A day marking the end of fall with kids running around the house like crazy, to later join us with clasped hands to express funny and serious thankful sentiments.  Food, family and...to be honest...football.  Great time, as usual.

I went home nostalgic, loving that feeling, and hoping that our children carry on the same traditions when they grow up.  And then I started thinking about their buffet tables...what foods will they have?  Of course, the traditional fare, but it was my generation - my sisters and brother - who grew up on Okinawa, who recognize the textures, the tastes, the flavour of our childhood foods.  Thanksgiving on Okinawa meant that we roasted a couple of turkeys for our aunts and uncles to take home after they came to dinner.  And on that table was more than buttery mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, and pie.  There was konbu, sashimi, rice, okazu, Okinawa donuts (sato andagi), and all kinds of other side dishes.  I remember our first Thanksgiving together when the older of us left home and moved to the States - I was at college and three of us congregated in my little apartment.  Our meal included sushi, teriyaki chicken, and yakisoba, at the very least.  Over the years, those home influences have slowly dissipated. 

So I begin this blog again with renewed vigor to focus on some Okinawan and Japanese dishes and their stories.  The goal...to remind my children of their heritage, to give them a taste of who they are and where they come from. 

And the first entry:  sekihan.

Sekihan is a mixture of sweet rice and regular rice, steamed with azuki beans.  Here's the recipe, so simple:

Equal amount of sweet (mochi or sushi) rice and regular short-grain rice.
The correct amount of water you'd usually add for the amount above.
Drain a can of red kidney beans, or azuki beans.
Mix the beans in with the uncooked rice, in a rice cooker.
Steam according to regular rice cooking setting.
Let sit 20min.  Mix.  Serve.

(finished product pictured in photo below and yes, it was a success (defined as eaten with no complaint) )