May 15th, 2013
I was so excited when I heard Stephanie on WNYC last Wednesday. She was giving tips on how to cook their catch. She and her husband, Alex, owns Blue Moon Fish company. Alex is a fisherman and has been in the business for 40 years. According to Alex he started to bring fish to the Greenmarket 25 years ago. TriBeCa location became a huge success. Alex expanded the sales of his fish to other Greenmarket locations, and eventually he is selling his fish only to the public. Stephanie confirmed me that their small business never survived without Greenmarket. They are grateful about the market.
I have known Stephanie for several years. She is a beloved fishmonger’s wife and Mother for people who work at her company. I buy fish from them because I know that fish is local, wild and seasonal. In addition, the quality of Blue Moon fish is always excellent. They know how to treat and store fish properly. Fish is so excellent that I sometimes prepare a dish for raw consumption. We, consumers, are grateful that they come to sell their fish no matter what the weather condition is.
Today I bought sea trout (weakfish) from Stephanie. About 2 3/4 pounds. I first cleaned and filleted the fish. As you can see here, the blood is concentrated along the center bone (opened belly). The fish is very fresh so that the blood is flowing. I always rinse off the blood with a tooth brush; the bet equipment for this job.
When you fillet the fish you can also tell the freshness of the fish. The fresh fish muscle meat sticks to your knife during working. Not-fresh, spoiled fish has a mealy muscle meat and crumbles on slicing.
I cut each fillet into 3 1/2 ounce portions – Japanese size! I portioned triangular shaped tail end part for fish noodle making.
The fish cooking tips: you can find the same info. in Hiroko’s American Kitchen
1. Lightly salt the fish for 20 minutes
2. Thoroughly rinse off the salt under cold tap water
3. Wipe dry fish and marinate it in BBC (Best Baking and Cooking Sauce) or the mixture of mirin, sake and shoyu
4. Roll the thinner belly part of the flesh before putting it on a skewer for even cooking
5. Paint the surface of the fish with the remaining marinade towards the end of cooking for rich flavor and glossy appearance
I served the grilled fish with sautéed spinach and pickled ramps. Thank you, Stephanie, Alex and Greenmarket.
May 15th, 2013
Hope we will see you on May 22nd at International Culinary Center.
EDUCATE EATER: iNTERNATIONAL CUISINE, LOCAL INGREDIENTS
Smell and taste can transport us across continents with one bite, but how do New York City chefs who serve cuisine from other countries achieve the same effect by focusing on Greenmarket ingredients? This panel discussion and tasting will delve into the stories behind dishes that recall flavors from afar, but re-emerge here in the city made with ingredients grown in the Northeast. To illuminate their journey, we will be joined by chefs who cook internationally, and some of the Greenmarket farmers they source from locally.
Carl Christian Frederiksen, chef Aamanns
Romy Dorotan, chef Purple Yam
Hiroko Shimbo, author of Hiroko’s American Kitchen
Farmers: Jorge Carmona of Amantai Farm, John Schmid of Muddy River Farm
reservation required $10 suggested donation at the door
International Culinary Center, 462 Broadway 6:00-8PM
May 14th, 2013
Direct translation of ‘WAGASHI’ is Japanese sweet. There many sweets covered under WAGASHI, including rice cracker, mochi cake, steamed bun stuffed with sweet azuki bean, steamed cake, candy,…I am not going to define it right now in this small space.
After moving to America what I miss from time to time is Nerikiri-gashi. Nerikiri-gashi was developed during Edo period for the tea ceremony occasion. The cooked and sweetened white beans are strengthened with gyuhi rice, colored and shaped in seasonal theme. The inside stuffing of Nerikiri tends to be sweetened azuki bean paste. So, no matter how beautifully colored and shaped they are every piece you enjoy taste….exactly the same….it is not, though, disappointing, but rather exciting. I posted here one photo of collection of nerikiri which I took at Nishiki Koji market in Kyoto.
This rainy Saturday was perfect to force myself to prepare Nerikiri, whose preparation takes long hours, labor and attention to detail. Anyway I could produce 2 colored Nerikiri base – purplish pink one and green one. I also made the azuki paste for stuffing.
Here is the photo of the result.
Nishiki Koji Market Nerikiri
The color of my nerikiri reminds people of the color of Upstate NY spring scenery with rush, tender greens and purplish pink tree flower. For the maximum enjoyment of nerikiri you should have a bowl of whisked, foamy matcha green tea after enjoying a piece of this sweet. The sweetness which lingers in your mouth is washed off by astringent, grassy tasting green tea. A beautiful sensation in your mouth and perfect match.
May 12th, 2013
This morning We went to Greig Farm in Red Hook to pick and purchase ($3/pound) asparagus on receiving our neighbour’s strong suggestion. The farm is located on Pitchen Lane and has been operating in the past 60 years. Norman Greig and his business partner Erina O’Neill opened an adventurous local farmer’s market, Hudson Valley Farmer’s Market, in December last year by the farm. Their mission is to support local family-owned farmers. Every Sat. the market is open from 10am to 3pm. Let’s spread the words of this wonderful market!
Here are the photos of asparagus field. We leaned that most of the asparagus were already picked by mobs who arrived here much earlier days or time than us. But, our careful search soon found just-came-out-of-the-ground-looking, thick and energy-packed shoots one after another. After 8 minutes of wondering the field the cardboard carten was almost full. We picked a little over 3 pounds.
I steamed the asparagus and served it with my White Sumiso Sauce (Hiroko’s American Kitchen) for lunch. Please use the recipe page 83 in the book. Tangy, slight garlic and anchovy fillet-scented Sumiso sauce highlight the very mild flavor of the just picked asparagus. I have never tasted the asparagus so fresh and better in my life.
May 11th, 2013
Corn takikomi gohan in donabe
[caption id="attachment_2518" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Chef Tanaka\'s Beef Takikomi Gohan"]
Gion Maruyama green peas takikomi gohan
May 11th, 2013
(Photos of this blog will be posted next)
One of my favorites Corn and Ginger Takikomi Gohan (introduced in Hiroko’s American Kitchen) is so easy when I do it in my Zojirushi’s Micom/IH. I love it. But, from time to time I get bored with easy, convenient tasks. I always love challenges, or at least I want to keep my skills honed. So, the other day I cooked takikomi gohan in the traditional way which my mother taught me – using an earthenware donabe pot. The result was what I expected – super tasty.
I own this donabe pot for over 24 years. This is not just for takikomi gohan preparation, but for winter time nabemono, hot pot, dishes.
Here is some tips how you do it using donabe. Your devoted attention to steam, strength of heat and cooking time are necessary all the time. Please also make sure that your nose can catch any wrongly burnt smell.
1. Rinse rice thoroughly followingntheninstructions in the book. Also follow the important soaking and drying instructions.
2. Add the rice to the donabe pot. Add the kelp stock and sea salt.
3. Sprinkle the corn kernels and ginger over the rice. Cover the donabe pot with a lid.
4. Cook the rice over high heat for 4 -5 M, or until the inside stock starts to boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium and cook about 6 minutes or so, or until the water is reduced to the level of the rice. 5. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 M. At the end of cooking I turn the heat to full strength and count 30. This helps to produce nice lightly burnt rice crust (okoge) on the bottom of the rice, and also to help to expel extra steam in the pot.
6. Follow the instructions on shoyu and butter in the book, and enjoy as is, or as an accompaniment to your fish, chicken or meat plate.
You will see here (photo) the delicious Beef! Takikomigohan which we enjoyed during my Curinary Tour To Japan 2013 with Hiroko Shimbo. Chef Tanaka of Shun no Aji Ichi served this rice dish to us after delicious seafood and vegetable course. He cooks his takikomigohan in traditional donabe. A grand dish to finish our memorable dinner.
May 9th, 2013
I wished that I knew this organization when I was a university student in Tokyo. I wished that I was able to participate in this wonderful program. So, here is an information and opportunity for you – college/university students – who are interested in a program called International Student Conferences whose mission is to promote peace by furthering mutual understanding, friendship and trust through international student interchange.
I have attended Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) event last evening. The organization was founded in 1934 with a small group of Japanese students who were concerned with deteriorating relations between the two nations and felt a need to promote mutual understanding. The following year American students hosted the second JASC at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. This began the tradition of alternating host countries annually.
Every other year American students travel to Japan and stay for a month in Japan with Japanese students. They sleep, eat, travel, study and debate together, nurturing their relationship. Japanese students, every other year, have the same experience in America.
JASC is an educational and cultural exchange program for university students. The program is designed, implemented and run by the students. Delegates elect an Executive Committee at the conclusion of each Conference. The American Executive Committee and Japanese Executive Committee receive guidance and financial assistance from their sponsoring organizations, but both are fully independent in planning and managing the JASC.
JASC has produced notable politicians and business leaders in both countries. Please find more information at www.iscdc.org or contact Yuuki Shinomiya, Esq., Executive Director of International Student Conference @firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 7th, 2013
At the Food Book Fair I demoed Edamame (fresh green soybeans) Soup – kelp stock, edamame, cucumber, green bell pepper and miso – from Hiroko’s American Kitchen. Soon freshly harvested edamame is returning to our farmer’s market, so I hoped that everyone who attended my demo will be enjoying this nourishing, cleansing, body cooling chilled soup made from fresh beans at home during this season.
Edamame – a young soybean – is known to be packed with many nutrients. So here in America varieties of food sites suggest that we should snack on it regularly for health benefit, because Japanese do it. Well, it is not true. We do not snack on edamame throughout the year. Edamame’s season is summer and this is the time when we enjoy it.
What comes to my mind first when I think of fresh green edamame is beer. When edamame becomes bounty hot and humid summer is rolling in Japan. After work business people head to beer gardens (outside functions where they serve light snack and lots of beer), beer halls (restaurant which specializes beer and beer friendly dishes) or casual restaurants to savor salt boiled edamame with glasses of beer to cool them off and relax.
Edamame is truly a good friend of beer. Its nutty and sweet flavor goes very well with pleasant bitter flavor of beer. But, edamame has more benefit than that. If you happen to sit next to Japanese at restaurant and enjoy edamame and glasses of beer together, he or she will preach you that vitamins and methionine in edamame assist breaking down alcohol in the blood, and protect the liver. This sounds like a good excuse of drinking more beer and eating more edamame.
Here is how you cook your edamame on vines bought at farmers market this summer.
Remove the pod from the vine using a scissors. Put them in a bowl of water and rinse. Drain the edamame and transfer it to a bowl. Add little salt to the bowl and rub the beans between your palms. Each bean is covered with downy fuzz, so this process removing them. Then, boil the pods in salted boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the pods and spread them in a wide, flat bottomed colander so they dry quickly. Do not cool the cooked pods in cold water. While the beans are still hot, toss them with a generous amount of salt. Serve them as they are in their pods with a chilled glass of beer.
Getting the green beans out of the green pods and into your mouth is simple and amusing. Pick up a pod. Bring it close to your mouth, and squeeze the bottom of the pod. The beans inside will pop out into your mouth.
May 3rd, 2013
Please come to join my demo at Brooklyn Kitchen at Pure Kitchen at 12:30pm on May 5th. I will be cooking four summer dishes from Hiroko’s American Kitchen. Will give you tips and delicious sample tastings. Toward the end of the demo I will do several quiz. And the lucky one will receive a tub of miso, the best available miso in America. It is Miso Master miso. Authentic, traditional production; no MG; organic
Here is a travel tip if you are coming from Manhattan by taxi or car;
Take the Williamsburg Bridge as the 5 Boro Bike Tour is also happening that weekend. You will go down Bedford Ave., turn LEFT on N. 12th and then RIGHT on Wythe. Note KENT AVENUE IS CLOSED FOR BICYCLES.
The address is 80 Wythe Ave. We will unload across the street.
May 3rd, 2013
Traveling Japan by trains, especially in long distance, is truly a pleasure. This is what my tour attendees experienced on the Shinkansen, high speed bullet train, from Tokyo to Kyoto.
We checked the speed of our train using a cool iPhone app Speedometer as we traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto through the city. We enjoyed the passing scenery which changes every few minutes or so, going through the city, countryside and the fields. We were so lucky that we could spot Mt. Fuji in an amazing clarity in the month when the air is hazy and frequently changing weather brings thick cloud to cover. A push cart, which is loaded with snacks and beverages pushed by a polite young sales lady (yes, always young women) passed by us every twenty minutes or so, so we were never left hungry or thirsty. They enjoyed the first experience of eating obento, lunch box, on the train.
We can buy obento box on the train, but since the choices are limited I let them to choose and purchase one for each at the station Obento kiosk before boarding the train. The station Obento kiosk carries over 30 varieties, including the traditional lunch box, local specialties, seasonal specialties, sandwiches and rice balls. Here are Amanda and Ken’s proud selection. Ritshell’s chose a shaomai obento box and, Luis, the traditional Kabuki obento box. Every obento box comes with a small hand towel, chopsticks and toothpick. Very well organized. My obento box sent me a strong seasonal message – a salt pickled cherry blossom and colored daikon radish slice which was cut into a cherry petal on top of my molded rice.
Soon after we finished our obento lunch, Shinkansen arrived at Kyoto station on time ready for us to spend whole afternoon to tour the old city.