The cold, rainy weather coupled with PHEW (post holiday empty wallet syndrome) means there has never been a better time to entertain at home. If you're sick of cooking up chicken and salad dinners for friends and family, follow these easy steps to create a delicious Japanese-themed dinner at home.
Start with sushi: It's actually quite easy to whip up a batch of sushi rice and cover it with a bit of sushi-grade fish to set on top of it. We went with salmon, but depending on your fish market, there are many options available. And if your sushi rice happens to turn out less than ideally sticky, throw it in a bowl and put the fish directly on top. Remember to pick up some pickled ginger and wasabi for accompaniment.
Throw in some veggies: For this dinner party, we chose to quickly pickle some cucumbers (try this recipe) and served them beside some pan-seared King mushrooms, which actually ended up being the stars of the dinner. Simply slice the King mushrooms, brush with oil, and sear in a hot skillet until lightly golden on the edges. Chop up some Bok Choy and sauté that as well. These three together make a lovely salad.
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Fill your guests with Udon: Sushi-grade fish isn't cheap, so if you want to keep the amount you serve to a minimum, add in a nice Udon noodle soup to fill up hungry guests. Udon noodles are also excellent fried in olive oil with ginger, garlic, and scallions, if you're looking for a slightly different take on things.
Finish things off with a scoop of green tea ice cream: Everything seems fancier when served in courses, so don't forget to have dessert. You can buy excellent green tea ice cream at most supermarkets now. Top with a bit of freshly shaved white chocolate if you're feeling fancy.
Don't forget the sake: We got a huge bottle Gekkeikan Sake for less than $10, and after a glass or two, the dinner seemed pretty darn authentic.