Resolutions and Soup

New Year’s Day?

I’m certainly not climbing Mt. Fuji. No snow, but it will be insanely cold up there. I do want to catch the first sunrise, though, so I will get up for that (not until 6:51! I can sleep in!).

While I’m shuffling towards the sunrise, I’ll think about which of my New Year’s Resolutions I will be able to keep:

  • Be healthier.
  • Be happier.
  • Seriously study Japanese.
  • Read all of the Harry Potter books before the next movie comes out.
  • Declutter.
  • Be a better dancer.
  • Listen more, talk less.
  • Thank my family and friends.
  • Join a volunteer group.
  • Learn how to do a handstand.

As soon as I see that first bit of sun, I’ll send up good wishes for everyone and then go back inside (hey, I think I can see the sun if I just lean out far enough over my balcony….).

N-chan’s family just gave me some ingredients to make my own osechi ryori, and I am terrifically excited. I will start with white miso soup and pounded rice cakes, 白みそおぞうに.

White Miso Ozoni/白みそおぞうに

This recipe comes from The Heart of Zen Cuisine, which, I am learning, focuses on Kyoto-style recipes. Tokyo-style おぞうに is a different recipe. I’m going to pretend for tomorrow that I live in Kyoto.

For 4 servings:

  • 120 mL/½ cup sweet white miso
  • 800 mL/3 1/3 cups stock
  • 4 generous tablespoons parboiled spinach cut in 4-cm (1½-inch) lengths
  • 4 cakes grilled mochi (pounded rice cake)
  • 4 slivers of lemon peel as garnish
  1. Prepare the miso soup: Dissolve the paste into a small amount of hot stock, then pour this into the stock needed for the recipe. The stock should be simmering, then remove the stock plus miso from the heat as soon as it starts simmering again. Boiling causes the miso soup to lose its aroma and flavor.
  2. Place a cake of mochi and a tablespoon of spinach into each soup bowl, then ladle 200 mL/1 cup into each bowl.
  3. Garnish each with a lemon sliver.

After all that….nap time.

What will you do?


I have only a few hours left, and I’m starting to panic.

No no no, not about my New Year’s Resolutions. I have a whole year left for those. Ahem.

What am I supposed to call next year?

Two thousand ten?

Two thousand and ten?

Twenty ten?

MMX? (Roman letters!!)

What will you call next year?



This is my favorite winter meal in Japan. I’m finally going to learn how to make it!


  • 1 cake silken tofu
  • cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1/7 cup water, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce and 1 teaspoon mirin OR tempura tsuyu
  • any other light garnishes you desire

1. Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel for 30 minutes to drain the excess water.

2. Trim the roots from the spring onion and wash well. Shred finely, on the diagonal.

3. Heat the oil to 350° F/175°C in a large saucepan.

4. Cut the tofu into 12 equal parts and coat each piece lightly in cornstarch.

5. Deep fry the tofu until it is light brown and floats up to the surface. Take it out of the pan and drain on a tray or absorbent towels.

6. Put the water, soy sauce and mirin/tempura tsuyu in a small saucepan and bring it to just boiling.

7. Divide the tofu among 4 small bowls, sprinkle each with the green onions and any other garnishes you desire, pour over the liquids, and eat immediately.

from Japanese Vegetarian Cooking by Patricia Richfield and Recipes of Japanese Cooking by Yuko Fujita.

Simple science tricks

Ten simple science tricks.

Great for parties!

Great for school!

Want more? Of course you do! Bookmark Richard Wiseman’s blog right now.

Happy entertaining!

It’s tradition

The Heart of Zen Cuisine states that “no onion of any kind (or garlic) is used in the Donke-in temple shôjin cooking. This is an ancient tradition.”


What tradition???

The Enlightened Kitchen explains only a little bit more: “Strong smelling vegetables such as leeks, scallions, garlic and onions…are prohibited, as these would disrupt the monks’ training.”

I don’t get it.

Ohhhhhh! Now I understand! It’s just like the whole problem with avocados!

Oh my.

Bailey and friends and snow!

Bailey thought he was a reindeer.

Simple pleasures are the best, aren’t they?

I do hope he and Jerry are playing together somewhere.


Want more of that happy music? Of course you do! Check out Harry Connick, Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas.

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