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October 23 – 霜降 Soukou

Welcome to the series of posts made in collaboration with Kintoki sweets and ITSUMO Life exploring Japanese culture and seasonal observations.

Today we have entered the 18th microseason of 霜降 soukou, the season where “frost descends” and the cold morning dew starts to becomes frost in some of the colder areas. The last of the fall harvest is coming in and the farmers markets start winding down this time of year, with most ending in the last week of October.

We decided to use late harvest Portuguese peppers, walnuts, and Sen’s homemade miso to make these brown rice miso onigiri to celebrate the concept of 名残 nagori. Nagori is one of our favourite Japanese concepts which translates to roughly “last of the season”. Nagori can be used for both seasonal phenomena and for food. The last of autumn flowers, the last of the autumn leaves, the slight melancholic but appreciative emotion as the season changes.

Traditional Japanese cooking believes that ingredients have a peak season of ten days called “旬“ Shun. (Shun translates to “10 days” much like fortnight means two weeks in western time keeping practices). When the season for something starts to wind down we like to take the time and really savour the fleeting “last of the season” nagori foods.

We kept the recipe simple to highlight the nagori ingredients; we used only four ingredients: miso and Spanish peppers and chopped walnuts with a pinch of sugar. We minced up the Spanish peppers (these were very similar to shishito peppers, except slightly bigger.) They are thin-fleshed and tender with the occasional spicy one mixed in, the flavours of the peppers, miso and walnuts spread on the new-harvest brown rice makes for a perfect fall snack.

Featured here is the series of igaware pottery. The stunning handmade Iga suribachi mortar comes in handy for many of our classic Japanese recipes. We find that iga ceramics with its roots from the Nara period (710-794AD) inspire a sense of nostalgia while adding warmth to the dining set up even in a modern setting.

We are so happy the much needed rain is starting to fall again and hope that everyone keeps warm in this fall weather and enjoys the last of the fall season before winter sets in.

Until our next exploration,
ITSUMO & Kintoki Sweets

Styled With

Two iga suribachi mortars, made in Japan using iga ware pottery techniquesIga suribachi mortar in black glaze, using iga-ware pottery techniques
Iga Suribachi Mortar Sale price From $69.00
Azmaya iga ware ceramic large serving bowl in a black kuroame glazeIga Serving Bowl – Kuroame
Iga Serving Bowl – Kuroame Sale price$162.00
Iga ware round ceramic plate in Kuroame black glazeTwo Azmaya Iga ware black ceramic plates in Kuroame glaze
Iga Round Plate – Kuroame Sale price From $76.00
Nambu Tekki Iron KettleNambu Tekki Iron Kettle
Nambu Tekki Iron Kettle Sale price$1,536.00

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October 9 – 寒露 Kanro

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Featured today is the traditional Japanese autumn dish, 茄子田楽 Nasu Dengaku. Sen used her homemade miso, that she started in the spring, to make a sweet miso glaze to dress the grilled eggplants.

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Winter Light

Winter Light

The first snow of the season has fallen, the temperature is getting colder with each passing day. As we head deep into the winter months, there are many things to look forward to.

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