Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pre-Hanami Hanami 早咲き桜の花見

Due to the record warm weather we experienced this February in Washington, DC, the smallest cherry tree in our backyard decided the first weekend of March, although extremely early, wasn't such a bad time to bloom after all. The sun smiled on the little tree for a few days but, as could be expected, the temperature dipped down to seasonal levels just above freezing. (Luckily the other trees in our yard know better and are holding back, although a few more warm days will result in a very early Hanami this year).

Nice blue sky in the background.

This little tree is the furthest from our house. It was a volunteer which has always struggled because it was surrounded by large trees and didn't get enough light. Then, a few years ago a derecho slammed the Washington area knocking down several of those big trees opening up the canopy. Ever since, this little volunteer cherry tree has been extremely happy and thrived. Hopefully this cold snap won't set it back.

Although the other cherry trees are not yet blooming, as you can see in this picture, they are getting ready.

We just couldn't let the little cherry tree's valiant early bloom go without appropriate commemoration so we had a mini- and early-Hanami 花見 . It was far too cold to sit outside so we stayed inside and admired the tree though the window. I served three appetizers in small containers we got at Nishiki market 錦市場 in Kyoto 京都.

I also made dashi-maki だし巻き Japanese omelet (I added chopped scallion this time). I served blanched asparagus dressed in Bonito flakes with soy sauce アスパラのおかか和え, skinned Campari tomatoes and broccoli for color (after taking the pictures I put our home-made Ranch dressing on the tomatoes).

The three appetizers in the small dishes are Marinated cucumber きゅうりのキューちゃん, fine strips of chicken breast meat (barbecued the prior week) dressed in sesame dressing 鶏の胡麻和え and burdock root salad ごぼうのサラダ (from left to right).

I also served another small plate of chicken "Matsukaze-yaki" 松風焼き that I made the day before and seasoned kelp 昆布の佃煮 (recycled kelp from making broth) and my salmon salad.

Despite the cold weather, I also barbecued pork and we finished with slices of pork and my  potato salad. My wife served chocolate Junket for desert. This was perhaps the earliest Hanami we ever had but the best is yet to come.

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