あぁ、今年も春が巡って来ました。今年の冬は特に長く感じたのは私だけでしょうか?しかし必ず春はやって来てくれます。こういう季節の変わり目を、食いしん坊の私は特に食べ物で感じます。

さて、筍。出身が名産地の京都西山という事もあってか、小さい頃から春になると必ず食卓に何度も登り、私の大好物なのでした。大家族の食事を切り盛りしていた母は大鍋で若竹煮を作ってましたっけ。手伝いをこの時ばかりは進んでしたのは、味見というつまみ食いをを何度もさせてくれたからです。筍を煮る時は、決まって当時を思い出し少しノスタルジックな気分になります。

さて、今年も実家から丸まるとした筍を貰いましたので、とりあえず王道の筍料理2品とそれに合う一品を夕食に作りました。

Is it only me who feels that this Winter was so long? But yes, Spring always comes around. A gastronome like me always notices the season’s change by the food.

And so to bamboo shoots. I’m from Nishiyama in Kyoto, the area that produces the finest of the finest bamboo, and so it’s my most familiar and favorite food, and has been from my childhood even until this day. I remember my mother cooking wakatakeni (young bamboo nimono) in a huge pan, for all the members of my large family.  This was the only time that I didn’t mind being called on to help mom in the kitchen, because from time to time she let me taste how good it was!

When I cook bamboo shoots, I feel a kind of nostalgia for the big family in which I was raised, and those times.

まずは、筍ご飯。丁寧にだしを採って薄味で炊き上げます。薬味は木の芽。これがないと味が締まりません。木の芽も旬ですから、柔らかく葉以外も全て食べられます。First, lets look at the takenokogohan bamboo shoot rice, carefully prepared using dashi fish- broth, and cooked until that lovely delicate flavor emerges.

The topping is kinome, the leaves of the young sansho szechuan pepper plant. This is not only seasonal, it is also, well, compulsory! Fresh bamboo, fresh sansho leaves, and good dashi are a match made in heaven.

この日はアースディ琵琶湖に出店している友人を訪ねて滋賀県高島市に行きました。国道沿いにある道の駅のような所で売られていた野三つ葉を使って、酒蒸ししたささ身とであっさりとした和え物に。We went to visit our friend who participated in the Earth Day Celebrations at Lake Biwa, and on the way back to Kyoto we dropped into a local farmer’s market by the highway. I bought nomitsuba wild trefoil and made aemono accompanied with sasami chicken breast fillets steamed in Sake as a side dish (pictured here below).

ご存知若竹煮。母直伝のレシピで。やっぱりこれにも木の芽は不可欠ですね!お椀の朱色に鮮やかな緑が映えます。This is the famous wakatakeni, just like my mom used to make it. Again, the kinome is compulsory. The contrast of the green and orange-red of the lacquer bowls is beautiful.