March 3, 2008

girls *heart* hearts

in a spirit of hinamatsuri, or Japanese Girls' Day festival...

My March 3rd this year came and went without hinamatsuri dolls put out, or chirashi-zushi eaten. Instead, I opted for something a lot more casual and yet with a festive, girlie, and springlike touch... or so I tried at least.

Hinamatsuri Hearts: it really is just a pasta dish that has hamaguri (kind of large clams) and nanohana (rapeseed slightly bitter, chard-like green of which young buds, leaves, and stems are edible; kind of rapeseed), both of which frequently appears in hinamatsuri dishes as in-season ingredients. I cooked my clams in olive oil with garlic and chili pepper, and then with some sake (Japanese rice wine) and water added, as the greens boiled up along with the pasta, thrown into the pot a few minutes before pasta was to be done.

I added more hot water to the cooking juice than I would normally do, to make the dish a bit soupy (but not too much) as I thought it might go better with pasta like this.

The dish tasted fine, although I have to admit that these hearts look way prettier uncooked!

Gone down alongside the hearts was...

Fizzy Peach Green Tea: one part each of 100% peach juice, mild green tea (not matcha), and sparkling wine. Together, bubbly and peach are known to make one of the most exquisite drinks in the world, but fresh peaches are out of season at the moment, and I wanted something that is even lighter with a bit of Japanese flavor - although the green tea here is really subtle you might not recognize it right away. I used a rose this time to add a modest pink shade, but you can simply use a white.

And no Girls' Day meal could be complete without a dessert to cap it up, right?

Strawberry and White Chocolate Parfait: a layer of fresh strawberry chunks scented with rose, frozen strawberry and white chocolate cream, and broken macaron pieces. My strawberries were first marinated in rose cordial, then (with some reserved for topping) mixed with melted white chocolate and heavy cream in a blender before going into the freezer, although I would have churned it in an ice-cream machine if I had one. It tasted rather nice, but then again there is little chance that you can go wrong with the combination of strawberries and white chocolate!

Other than this little festive-minded lunch, we did nothing to properly celebrate the day, but at least us girls in the house ate, drank, and laughed happily... and just what the doctor ordered, days are getting longer and air warmer; past Girls' Day, spring is around the corner.


Anonymous said...

I love your Hinamatsuri themed photos, your choice of flowers is nice and gives it a whole new and contemporary feel for me. It is the Hinamatsuri for grown ups, but still, like you say, Girlie.

Really nice!


J said...

Oh wow, I love this post, very pretty!

Eva said...

I've never heard of this celebration before but your wonderful dishes would do justice to any girly theme! Lovely photos!

brandin + kari said...

I love the heart shaped pasta!

Carole said...

I love this post! Especially the heart-shaped pasta. You're right, they do look better uncooked! If it's all right, I linked this post in one of my own posts and also included one of your pictures to go along with it. Hope that's okay?

Anonymous said...

Your pictures is very beautiful! (Sorry, I speak french)Did you visit my blog at:
Bye, bye!

toro said...

I live in japan.
I'm gethering date about ice cream and dessart.
please link to this site.

Mandy said...

beautiful post! I love your photos, and will definitely try the drink one day.

toro said...

Very mmm!
I was in Japan, which own an art beside a bakery, ice cream and cake, such as those who write a blog.
Arbitrary, but in the future I hope it will help link.
If it's okay, my blog also links please.