The last month has been a full-on whirlwind for me. Out of the blue, my husband and I decided to pack a suitcase, leave the cat with family and go on an adventure! We are extremely excited and grateful we made the decision to move to Japan for the winter of 2015/16. In fact, as you are reading this we will already be nestled in the town of Hakuba! Although this is our second time living and working in Japan, this only makes us more excited to go back and fall in love with the culture, massive amounts of powder and of course (if you know me by now) the food!
A perfect day in Japan for me is skiing bottomless powder to the point of wobbly legs, then heading into the lodge for a steaming hot bowl of ramen … I am stoked to share with you the tastiest and downright bizarre foods Japan has to offer within the next 6 months!
One thing that I remember from the last Christmas I spent in Niseko, a small ski town in Hokkaido (the northernmost of Japan’s main islands) is that Christmas is not a national holiday. In fact, it’s more like Valentines day where Christmas eve is a date night for couples. Being a very festive person, I missed the gatherings with flavours and foods of the west. So, this time around I was extremely excited to make these recipes for my column so I could give the holiday’s some homage.
The western Christmas holidays, in fact all of December, is a time where you have a full calendar and with that, a full mind and belly. Instead of more heavy meals and snacks, I wanted to keep it light so I chose to showcase the humble cranberry for it’s tart-sweetness, affordability and their antioxidant packed punch. These recipes are potluck approved, orphan-Christmas approved and of course family approved. They not only taste great but bring so much holiday colour to the table.
Your plate is not the only thing I want to keep light this Christmas. The most important thing to do this busy western holiday season is to slow down and breath. Stop, collaborate and glisten! Take a moment, and be with it. A practice in our house is when we sit down to eat together we take 3 slow deep breaths, this brings us into this moment, away from cell phones, things we need to do and expectations we need to meet. I call it a practice because it is something I constantly have to work on in order to make it a habit. These 3 little breaths are a powerful tool to signal your body it’s time to rest and digest. Digest food or the moment, whatever it may be. Take in all that is going on around you and be grateful that you are (hopefully) in the beautiful city of Fernie surrounded by family, friends and if none of those…then the mountains.
From the mountains of Japan, Happy Holidays and bring the breath of gratitude to your table.
Find this and other great articles in the Fernie Fix Magazine!
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- 4-5 leaves lacinato kale, chopped very finely
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Slivered toasted almonds
- Holiday Cranberry Vinaigrette
Holiday Cranberry Vinaigrette
Yields approximately ¾ cup
- Heaping ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup, or adjust to taste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup fresh or bottled orange juice
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place cranberries, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar in a pot over medium heat until the cranberries burst, about 7-10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Add remaining ingredients to a high-powered blender and pour in cranberry mixture.
Blend until smooth.
Pour into air-tight glass jar and place in the fridge to cool.
Double recipe for a dinner party.
Keeps in fridge for up to 5-7 days.
Yields approximately 3 cups
- 1 bag cranberries
- ½ large red pepper
- ¼ large green pepper
- 1 granny smith apple
- 1/8 medium red onion
- ¼ jalapeno, deseeded
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup fresh or bottled orange juice
- ¼ jalapeno, seeded (optional – great if you love spice)
Roughly chop the apple, red onion, peppers, and jalapeno into large pieces and place in the food processor.
Add the whole bag of cranberries to the food processor.
Pulse until salsa-like consistency is reached, do not over process.
Transfer salsa to a bowl and add the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, and cilantro and toss to combine.
Serve with organic corn tortilla chips or crackers and warm brie cheese or goat cheese.
Best if chilled overnight prior to serving so that the flavors can combine.