My family recently threw my grandmother a big party for her 88th birthday which is a special age within the Japanese American culture. My grandmother has always been the primary cook of the family, from random get togethers to New Year's parties. My grandmother can always be found in the kitchen cooking up a storm. She was my earliest influence on eating and appreciating a good meal. I can probably credit a few pounds of childhood chub to her many delicious meals.
My Mom and Aunt planned the party and the rest of us pitched in to make it a fun and memorable meal for her birthday. The theme was Japanese food. We had everything from sushi to tonkatsu and yakisoba.
My Mom and Aunt pre-made and hand folded gyoza which are the Japanese equivalent of potstickers. Gyoza are usually filled with green onions, ground pork, garlic, water chestnuts, garlic, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce. You can fry them up in oil and then steam them to finish them.
My Mom fried up some tonkatsu which is a pork cutlet breaded in panko and deep fried
A sushi/sashimi platter from Uwajimaya. Usually my grandmother makes the sushi, but obviously since the party was for her we didn't want her to have to do anything. Also since it takes so much time to make sushi, we decided to buy a platter from Uwajimaya instead. So if you ever need a high quality sushi platter now you know where to go.
Emi and I made fruit skewers with honey mangoes, pineapple, Muscat grapes, strawberries, and watermelon.
Inspired by our favorite refreshing lychee drink at Pho 99 we decided to make a similar flavored refreshment for the party. We added lychee juice to the water and added in fresh mint leaves, and sections of blood orange. We also added in a little simple syrup to sweeten the drink. We finished each drink with some lychee fruit at the bottom of every cup.
My other Aunt who is well known for her baking expertise, made a very special cake for my grandmother's birthday. My grandmother likes cherry blossoms and as you can see from this photo that is exactly what my Aunt used as her inspiration for the cake design. Everything was edible from the fondant cherry blossoms to the moist and delicious interior chocolate cake.