Friday, November 13, 2009




Jubako Box

The anticipation built day by day last week as I looked forward to our foodie group's dinner party at Stephanie Crowder's house. What dishes would the other members come up with? Would I live up to the challenge of creating a delicious, yet authentic Japanese dish? Would everyone else?

Individual drawer from Oriental box

I should have known that everyone would rise to the occasion. When the appointed evening arrived, everything was delicious. Perhaps the highlight of the evening's fare was the maki sushi prepared for us by Mark's grandmother, Setsu. Not only was it delicious, but it was served in a beautiful, four-tier lacquered box called a Jubako that was as pleasing to the eye as it's contents were to the palate. Each tier revealed a different layer of colorful and delicious sushi. Mark explained that the Japanese people take all of their food to get-togethers in this manner.

The party's other dishes included: Spicy Pork Stuffed Pot Stickers with Nouc Cham (Vietnamise dipping sauce); Shrimp Toast; Chicken Satai; Spring Rolls; Japanese pickles; Pork Yakisoba Noodles; Marinated Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Soy; Miso Soup; Salmon Tugi Aki Yosida; Crispy Duck; Shrimp Rolls; Chinese Butterscotch Stacks; Japanese Slaw; and seaweed. For beverages we had Kirin, Ichiban, and Sapporo beer, sake, plum wine and Chiku Bai.

Japanese buffet table

Chicken Satai

Salmon Tuge Aki Yosida
(I named my salmon dish after a long lost pen pal from Japan)

Miso Soup

Sho Chiku Bai

Marinated shrimp with bacon

We gathered around the buffet table and each gave a bit of information about our particular Asian inspired dish.

Emily describes dish she and her mother brought

Lance with his Plum wine

Only one guest thought of wearing Japanese attire. Next time, we may all get into the groove of a theme party.

Kim wore a beautiful silk kimono

Stephanie’s ninty-nine year old home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of those old homes with very large rooms and high ceilings that feels almost palatial and yet as comfortable as if it were your own home. The effect is at least partly due to Stephanie's elegant, eclectic decor, obviously the product of her artistic eye. Among the most fascinating items lending their charm to her house are some intricately carved Indonesian trunks.

Indonesian trunks

Clock created for Stephanie by her father

Large crystal chandelier adorns oversized office

Stephanie showed us the bedroom where Marina stayed during her year visit. It is very large and comfortable. Marina was amazed when she first peered into the room exclaiming, “ You mean this whole room is all for me?” Apparently she has a small room in Japan and shares it with her grandmother.

Marina’s room at Stephanie’s

While having Marina as a guest encouraged Stephanie to prepare Japanese meals, she first became interested in gourmet cooking after spending time in Richmond. Stephanie says, “ My eighth grade year of middle school I lived in Richmond for three months and worked as a page/intern for the Virginia House of Delegates during the General Assembly session in 1991. All of the House of Delegate interns come from middle schools in Virginia and are all eighth graders. During the day we worked on the House floor. We had our homework/schoolwork sent to Richmond and at night we had to attend a group class to study/take test/do school work. Then our schoolwork/tests were sent back to our schools for grades,etc. It was a very organized program and the pay was awesome. We were paid weekly and we had $100/week food allowance and the delegates/senators took us out for fancy dinners all the time. Occasionally, the governor would invite us over for breakfast or lunch. “

Picture of House of Delegates

Stephanie has a picture of herself with the Virginia House of Delegates proudly framed and hanging over a doorway.

Outdoor fireplace

The evening culminated with a trip outside to Stephanie's outdoor fireplace.

Everyone enjoys fire, sake and conversation

I must say that theme parties present challenges as well as entertainment. I can’t wait for the next one. I think we are headed for one of my favorite places in the world: France! I hope you will join us for my February posting.

Stephanie and Lance

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