Last time when my friend and I planned brunch at our house, we had to cancel it because she did not fell well.
Well, we re-scheduled and today we go to finally do it.
I usually take a safe route and stick with traditional/basic food when I cook for someone for the first time.
But with this friend I felt I knew her food preference enough, and I was comfortable to be a bit bold about the menu.
I knew she likes Japanese food in general, and she seems to be able to be okay with (and enjoy) many Japanese-unique ingredients (e.g., miso, seaweed).
So I made a menu that features some Japanese flavors and presentation.
On the bottom (carbs) tray you’ll find two types of Onigiri (rice balls).
One was with vegan smoked salmon, capers, and dill.
The other contained homemade vegan meat, Shiso leaves, and sesame.
They were served with roasted Nori seaweed so that the rice balls can be wrapped in the seaweed sheet.
Oh, I also made miso soup, which was served separately.
Tsukemono is a Japanese style pickles.
Some are close to the pickles you see in the U.S., but others have different flavors.
For instance, this was was marinated in salt, sugar, and sesame oil.
This zucchini was from my mother-in-law’s backyard.
It was a big zucchini, but I liked that the seeds inside were not obnoxiously big; many large zucchini has such huge seeds, which I do not care for.
On the second (main) tray, you’ll find peanut tofu.
This turned out great!!
The rich peanut flavor goes so well with a bit of wasabi and soy sauce.
The texture was perfect too.
This traditional Japanese braised potato dish was also on the second tray.
These marinated grape tomatoes were sweet, fresh, and a perfect side dish this time of the year.
Pealed grape tomatoes were marinated in a mixture of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup/agave overnight.
The top tier is of course for dessert.
Since this was brunch, I didn’t want it to be too sugary.
Having said that, however, a few cookies seemed very appropriate to be on this tary.
These are white sesame cookies and Kinako (roasted soy bean) cookies.
Along with the cookies I also served small nectarine yogurt cups and fresh grapes.
My friend brought me this beautiful bouquet of flowers!!
I was eying on this last time I was at the farmers market, so I was super excited.
The colors are amazing!
She said it’s called Butterfly Weed.
Apparently butterflies are attracted to it.
I didn’t notice until later, but it has such a wonderful fragrant.
A mild vanilla-like very pleasant sweet smell.
This is the individual setting I made for this blog photography.
I wanted to take some pictures this way before my friend arrived (I wanted to focus on us not on food during our time together).
We just each used a large plate to make a one-plate meal, but I thought it would be fun to make a setting like this for the picture anyway.
I’m glad I kept these bamboo leaves in the freezer.
These are great for this type of presentation.
I love girls brunch.
I think it’s good for mental health (lol).