Thanks for the Thanks!

Oseibo are the end of year gifts that one receives in Japan as thanks from colleagues, business associates and family members. We receive and give out our share of oseibo, and when that time comes around, I am sometimes in a slight panic trying to decide what is an appropriate gift.  Luckily, three years ago, I hit upon something that everyone seemed to like; I mean who doesn't eat mochi at New Year's, right?  Thus, I have been giving this same mochi gift every year since, relieving me of the pressure.

This past year as a thank you oseibo gift, we received a small catalog of various gifts that we could choose from. Instead of the giver deciding, this allows the receiver to choose what they would like, limited to the items on the catalog, of course. So this year we chose a sukiyaki gift set. I placed my request via postcard in December and requested delivery any time after January 8, and lo and behold, we received it on the 8th. Gorgeous thinly sliced, marbled wagyu (Japanese beef), three cubes of lard and a sweet and savory sauce came with the set. We had a yummy sukiyaki supper the next night. But we couldn't finish it all. What to do with the left over beef? Shabu shabu? More sukiyaki? How about Philly cheesesteaks?

I was a bit skeptical at Peter's suggestion, but I let him run with it. All we needed were bell peppers, onions, cheese (we used Steppen), and bread (we used french bread, the closest to hoagie rolls as we can find here). We sauteed the peppers and onions in a cube of lard that had come with the gift set, then added the beef to the same pan, salt and peppered the lot and sprinkled the cheese on top waiting for it to melt into the pile of caramelized onions and seared beef. We topped the slightly toasted bread with the filling and dug in. No more skepticism here! The tender, melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef matched perfectly with the peppers and onion and was a greasy, beef jus dripping success.

Thanks for the thanks!

Posted By: Jan Opdahl
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