During spring, in late March and early April, sakura festivals take place all around Japan. I love Japanese food and culture. I’ve been chanting ‘Sakura!’ and free associating sakura poems and songs all afternoon. A dear girlfriend in Japan teases me with pictures she e-mails every year of blooming sakura there. One of these years I’ll make it back to experience them for myself. When I receive this years’ photos, I’ll post a couple here.
Sakura is an ornamental cherry blossom tree. It produces no fruit, but delicate dusty pink flowers in spring. Festivals are devoted to it. Annual cherry blossom festivals are held in the Washington D.C. area. But Japan is the place to experience spectacular shows of blooming sakura. When I visited with my friend and her family for Oshogatsu last year, we prayed at Futurasan, a Shinto shrine in Tochigi City. On the winding drive towards this mountain shrine, or to park where we climbed the nearly two thousand steps up to the shrine, K and her family told me all the trees lining the drive are sakura. During springtime, it is like driving through a tunnel of dusty pink sakura with their petals showering down. My friends told me it is customary during the festival for young people—boys and girls together—to picnic under the sakura trees. The Japanese are a romantic people and have several rituals and traditions to make successful relationships and marriages happen. Though I think on my next holiday back to Kyoto will have words with a certain love deity who has yet to deliver on his promise.
Sakura be a muse..
In spring 02005 I took my first food science class. The term project was to develop a new food product. The product I created was a big hit with my classmates when we tasted everyone’s creations the last day of class. Quite a lot of them, and my friends requested the recipe. But me being proprietary about this one, simply forgot to e-mail it. Daily Prandium has me abandoning a more proprietary nature and am feeling generous to share and care. Today is a beautiful, partly cloudy early spring day in Gotham. And the poodles and I enjoyed a shower of endorphins this morning hiking along Henry’s moat.
So. From what I’ve read around on other websites and blogs, recipes are liberally appropriated—to some, is considered the highest form of flattery. But this recipe is my creation, gifted to you and you and you. It was copied or inspired from no recipe, and was created in the privacy of mine own kitchen, without guidance or advice of another. It’s a very simple recipe but has a lot of flavour. It also ranks high on the proverbial nutrition scale—veggie based complete protein, dark leafy green=beta carotene and other vitamins, got fiber?, and is a high density energy food. If you decide to reprint or share my recipe, be kind and give Daily Prandium due credit. Domo arigato.
This recipe is dedicated to K and her family who graced me with their generosity and hospitality, and treated me as if I were one of their own.
K e-mailed the pics
Petite sakura burgers (aka.. Cherry blossom burgers)
Feeds several hungry young lovers under blossoming sakura in springtime
1 can adzuki beans; can also use one cup dry adzukis—soak overnight then boil until well cooked and soft
Two cups boiled brown rice
1 cup fine chopped, cooked kale
Two tablespoons black sesame seeds
One tablespoon Japanese seven seasonings—shichimi togarashi
Small potato buns
In a large bowl mix together adzuki beans, brown rice, kale, black sesame seeds, and shichimi togarashi until all ingredients are well and evenly blended. Use a kitchen scale to weigh out two ounce burgers. You can also estimate by hand. Each burger should be about the size of a normal size Italian meatball—about golf ball size, not baseball, and dogness not softball size. Palm sakura mix into small pucks of burger. Place sakura burgers into a pan heating with olio. Let each side cook until well browned and separates from the pan. You may also bake on a pan in the stove for even all around browning.
Serve the burgers on small toasted potato buns with slices of pickled ginger. For the class project, I used commercial potato buns which were very soft but searching the internet finds several tasty recipes for potato and sweet potato buns—all would likely work very well with sakura burger.
Some notes—To make more sakura burgers, keep the adzuki and brown rice at a one to one ratio. Double the kale, black sesame, and shichimi togarashi for every doubling of brown rice and adzuki. This recipe is not standardized for mass production quantities.