Japanese restaurants and cuisine have become popular over the past several decades, but how many of us ever attempt to cook Japanese food? Judging by the small number of Japanese recipes in cooking and women's magazines, my guess is that this trend has not yet found its way into many home kitchens.
Which leads me to the theme for this month's Dinner Club menu. Japanese food is a perfect subject for a dinner club because it will permit your members to explore both the flavors and cooking techniques of this exotic cuisine. Even if your club normally prepares recipes ahead of the meal, this is the kind of menu that would be more fun, and tastier, to cook together. You can help one another to become familiar with Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques while sipping on Saketinis together.
This menu has many courses because I've designed it to be an education in Japanese cuisine as well as a dining experience. Many of the dishes are rich with flavor, but still light enough to allow lots of little tastes. Adjust your recipe sizing to allow for small portions of each dish for everyone. Schedule a long evening for this dinner to allow enough time for leisurely preparation and eating.
There are a few recipes that you might choose to prepare ahead, particularly the dashi stock for the miso soup, and the green tea cakes that should be served chilled anyway. Also, if you will be making your own pickled ginger for the sushi, it will need to be prepared in advance.