I wish I had the skill to pull off this amazing array of Japanese dishes for a dinner party, but the credit goes to my boss' wife. Years of hosting dinners and entertaining at home, she is truly a master at creating a special menu for our small office parties.
The schedule is always the same, leave the office together and travel to their apartment in Court House. Arrive, say "ojama shimasu" and put on the apartment slippers. We start off with a kampai with glasses of Japanese beer, and enjoy the carefully prepared appetizers. Usually there is a platter of fruit, some fresh vegetables with a spicy Korean dip, and bacon wrapped water chestnuts. This time there was Old Bay spiced shrimp, boiled peanuts. and a baguette filled with cream cheese and vegetables.
After awhile, we move to the dining room to settle in for the parade of dishes. A number of the dishes are prepared right before serving, to make sure the taste, texture and temperature are perfect.
Chinese-style hiyayakko tofu with diced pickled radish.
The simmered dishes (Nimono)
Ganmodoki (tofu mixed with carrot, mushrooms and black sesame seeds.)
Nimono with renkon, konnyaku, take, ninjin, toriniku and shiitake.
(Lotus root, konnyaku, bamboo, carrots, chicken and shiitake mushrooms)
Steamed Dish (Mushimono)
Homemade shumai: seasoned pork wrapped with rice and steamed.
Fried Dish (Agemono)
Beautifully fried croquettes with a fluffy potato and beef mixture and tonkatsu with a super crispy outside and tender pork cutlet. Top with a special vegetable sauce or Bulldog sauce.
Tonkatsu is often served with thinly sliced cabbage.
Chirashi sushi with pickled ginger and tsukemono pickles.
Perfectly seasoned sushi rice with a mixture of vegetables, thinly sliced egg, and slivers of seaweed.
This is the last dinner party we'll have with them before the move back to Japan. It was a really wonderful dinner party, including my husband and my coworker's husband, who are both Japanese. I think it was a pretty natsukashii parade of familiar dishes for them as well. My only regret is not asking for cooking lessons while they were stationed in DC.