This year we missed the toshikoshi soba noodles crossing over to the next year. There are a few who claim that this is the beginning of a new decade, though I am not one of them. I start counting with “1” not “0.” Twenty-ten, “2010,” does look more exciting and significant than “2011,” just as “Y-2K,” was celebrated as the beginning of a new century in the sexy-looking year “2000” and not in “2001.” But “one” is the first number, so the first year is “one.” There is some logic to thinking that nothing (0) comes before something (1), so then zero would come before one…
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Months don’t begin with zero, so why should decades? Oh, let’s not get into the philosophy of zero… Suffice it to say that I did not miss the crossing over (toshikoshi) noodles to a new decade.
There was a crisis that turned out ok. My dad’s memory is continuing to fade and those electronic tracking things don’t work all that well. Then I didn’t feel well and then maybe there was an argument between T and J (yes, even so, we are the perfect couple), anyway…
Hot Soba with Duck and Long Onions
a holiday tradition!
- 1 boned duck breast half, excess fat removed and reserved
- I removed the skin, but slow-fried it for the schmalz and grebenes.
- 14 ounces dried soba noodles
- 6 cups kakejiru
(broth for hot noodles)
- 1 negi (Japanese long onion)
or 4 thick green onions
- 1/4 cup sake (rice wine)
- 1 bunch mitsuba, cut into 2-inch lengths, or watercress
- This year I used spinach but to be honest, I like the watercress better.
- Shichimi togarashi (Japanese Seven-Spice Powder)
•• Slice the duck breast diagonally 1/4-inch thick slices.
•• Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the soba al dente. Drain, and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Rub them gently until they are cold and no longer starchy. Drain well.
•• Begin warming the broth over low to medium heat.
•• Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the reserved duck fat, and cook until oil covers the bottom of the skillet. Remove the duck fat, and add the duck breast and onion. Cook until the surface of the duck is just golden. Lower the heat and turn the duck and scallions. Cook for only a few minutes—overcooked duck is tough and stringy.
•• Sprinkle the sake over the duck, and cook, covered, for 2 minutes.
•• Transfer the duck and long onion to the pot of broth. Add the noodles and reheat for a minute or two.
•• Divide the noodles among three bowls, and pour the hot broth over them. Top with the duck and onions. Divide the mitsuba or watercress among the bowls, and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi