Foodbuzz Research (for a): Fish Stocks Preservation & Repleneshing in Japan

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First of all, let me say that Foodbuzz never asked me for such an article. I just wrote it out of concern for some of my Foodbuzz Friends!

It was Lou-Ann‘s surprise in particular which prompted me into more investigation to back up knowledge acquired trhough many years spent in this great country, Japan.

I use the word “great” for a simple reason:
Japan is the one country which most extensively conducts and sponsors research and development of fish stocks.
This country has also come up with some momentous discoveries related to the fishing environment:
-Japanese fishermen south of Kyushu Island discovered that planting trees on small islands increased manifold the amount of vegetal plankton carried into the surrounding sea resulting in an immediate increase of the fish population.
-Japanese researchers found out that building small pyramids on the sea floor with concrete or plastic (a beneficial dumping at last?) blocks attracted corals, sea anemones, seaweed and shellfish, thus creating a food chain for fish. Such pyramids will surely prove more beneficial to mankind than all the Egyptian pyramids put together!

The Japanese have been (unjustly) accused of emptying the seas. Actually Spain holds the world record for fish catch and consumption.
I already have written an article on whale meat. I find it galling that Japan is still villified for eating whale meat by the very countries which depopulated the globe of sea-mammals in the 19th Century: US, Canada, Russia, Australia and New Zealand (alright, Great Britain for the last two maybe!) in the Pacific Ocean. Us, Canada, Norway, Great Britain, France (my own country!), Spain and Russia in the Atlantic Ocean. And most of them again in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. What do you think Commodore Perry was before he was delegated to order Japan to “open its doors”?
This country is repeatedly thrown into the same basket of evils. I was recently “told off” because the Japanese kill sharks for their fins before throwing the dead fish back into the sea. Sorry, mate, but you will have to ask the Chinese! The Japanese eat the whole fish when they catch it.

It could go on and on, but this is not the real purpose of this article.

Now, to illustrate and justify the heading of this posting, here is a list of the fish and seafood raised in Japan as opposed to being caught in the wild:

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Blue Fin Tuna/Honmaguro

Yes, you read it, Blue Fin Tuna! After 23 years of experimentation, a Kyushu fishmonger has finally succeeded in producing the fish from natural mating inside giant offshore sea parks. The fish is already sold over the counter at supermarkets.
With a ban on tuna fishing in the Mediterranean Sea being pushed through legislation by the EU, Japan will find itself one day in the rich position of actually exporting tuna!

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Big-eyed Tuna/Mebachi Maguro

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Albacore Tuna: Kihada Maguro

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

Note:
Indian Ocean Tuna/Indo Maguro: Human-raising Research is conducted abroad and such fish are imported to Japan.

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Yellowtail/Buri

Over 62,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Amberjack/Kanpachi

Over 49,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Striped Jack/Shima Aji

Over 3,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Horse Mackerel/Ma Aji

Over 3,500 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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True Mackerel-Japanese Mackerel/Ma Saba

Human-raising succeeded and fish are already sold over the counter.

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True Sardine-Pilchard/Ma Iwashi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Isaki/Grouper variety-Parapristipona Trilinoatum

9 tons of human-raised fish consumed in Nagasaki Prefecture alone last year.

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Silver Salmon/Gin Sake

Over 8,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Porgy/Madai

Over 71,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 15,000 tons caught at sea.

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Seabass/Suzuki

382 tons tons of human-raised fish consumed in Kagawa Prefecture alone last year.

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Sand Borer-Sillago/Kisu

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Bar-tailed Flathead/Kochi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Ainame/Alexagrammos otakii

Human-raising has succeeded and some fish are already sold over the counter.

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Kelp Bass/Kue

A success story in Shizuoka and Nagasaki Prefectures where human-raised fish (one of the most expensive until then) are already sold over the counter.

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Globefish-Tiger Globefish/Tora Fugu

Over 5,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Large Prawn/Kuruma Ebi

Over 1,700 tons of human-raised prawns consumed last year.

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Spiny Lobster/Ise Ebi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Ark Sheel-Bloody Clam/Akagai

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Gaper/Mirugai

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Large Cockle/Torigai

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Hard Clam/Hamaguri

Very large amounts of half human-raised shellfish consumed last year.

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Surf Clam/Hokkigai

Human-raising Research being conducted

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Abalone/ Awabi

32 tons tons of human-raised abalones consumed in Hokkaido and Nagasaki Prefectures alone last year.

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Scallops/Hotate

Over 270,000 tons of human-raised scallops consumed last year.

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Oysters/Kaki

Over 220,000 tons of human-raised oysters + over 35,000 tons of the same out of the shell consumed last year as opposed to 1,600 tons of wild oysters.

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Sea Urchin/Uni

7 tons tons of human-raised sea urchin consumed in Hokkaido Prefecture alone last year.

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Conger Eel/ Ma Anago

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Common Eel/Unagi

Over 21,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 610 tons caught in the wild.

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Oike Conger eel/Hamo

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

The Japanes have also starting research on different varieties of octopus/tako and squids/ika.

That is all for the moment! LOL

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Today’s Lunch Box/ Bento (’9/10)

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Today’s bento was definitely on the classic side!

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Four big nigiri/rice balls, two them mixed with chopped Japanese-style oickles, the other two for once wrapped inside a band of nori/dry seaweed comtainig each a sweet-style umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum.
Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette, chicken dango/meat balls (explained later), cress and mini-tomatoes and home-made pickled daikon.

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As for the chicken meatballs, they came in two varieties:
-minced chicken mixed with salt, pepper, spices, Japanese sake and chopped leeks, the whole rolled into black sesame seeds.
-Minced chicken mixed salt, pepper, different spices, Japanese sake, the whole rolled in chopped raw wantan skins.
Both times were then rolled into cornstarch and deep-fried.

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As for the salad, it included two kinds of broccoli:

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That picture is for Corre who lives in Japan, but does not believe such vegetables are grown in Japan! LOL.
Green Romanesco Broccoli and Violet Broccoli, which turn blue upon being boiled!
On a bed of chopped greens.

Quite a big bento, actually!

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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2009/5)

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2009 #5
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Winter is a time of hibernation for many species. The Barley Wine style of beer is not one of these. Winter is the season that this big bear of the beer world comes out to play. Baird Ganko Oyaji (“Stubborn Ol’ Man) Barley Wine 2009 is being released from his cellar cave on Wednesday, February 11 (coinciding with the kick-off of our Baird Big Beer Winter Week at the Nakameguro Taproom).

Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2009 (ABV 9%):

Brewed in July 2008 and packaged upon krauesening in October, Ganko Oyaji 2009 sports a grist bill of three base malts (including some wheat), two caramel matls and Japanese red sugar. The starting gravity is high (25.3 P) resulting in a strong beer, yet the apparent attenuation is modest at 67% leaving ample residual body and sweetness. This rich texture and sweet mouthfeel is balanced by 85 IBUs of American hops (Warrior, Columbus, Horizon, Sterling). Aroma hopping was done in the whirlpool but no dry-hopping was conducted in the conditioning tank. Ganko Oyaji is an ideal after-dinner or before bed restorative. It promises to condition nicely in the bottle and keg for months and years to come.

Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2009 will be available on draught and in bottle-conditioned (633 ml) form through the fine family of Baird Beer retailers in Japan (including our own Taprooms) beginning Wednesday, February 11. In addition, limited quantities of both bottle- (360 ml) and keg-conditioned Ganko Oyaji 2008 are also available for purchase. The vertical tasting of strong beers of different vintages is both highly enjoyable and extremely instructive.

Baird Big Beer Winter Week 2009 at the Nakameguro Taproom (Wednesday, February 11 – Tuesday, February 17):

Wednesday, February 11 is a Japan national holiday and Baird Big Beer Winter Week 2009 kicks off that day at noon at our Nakameguro Taproom. This annual event is a celebration of strong beers whose power and warmth are best enjoyed in the cold chill of the winter season. Fourteen different Big Beers will be on tap at Nakameguro all week long; they will be matched with ten or so original dishes being brainstormed by Yoko-chan and the Nakameguro Taproom kitchen staff (all priced between 500 and 1500 yen). The Big Beers to be offered are:

-Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2009
-Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2008
-West Coast Wheat Wine 2009
-West Coast Wheat Wine 2008
-Dark Sky Imperial Stout 2009
-Dark Sky Imperial Stout 2008
-Yabai Yabai! Strong Scotch Ale 2009
-Yabai Yabai! Strong Scotch Ale 2008
-Hatsujozo 2009 Double IPA
-Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA
-Kinshu Domei Double IPA
-BakaYaro! Ale (Original receipe and concept of home-brewer Chris Poel)
-Baird Dubbel
-Double Piston Bock (Dopplebock)

All Big Beers will be served in half-pint (750 yen) and taster (400 yen) sizes only. Taster Cards (including punches for all fourteen beers) will be sold for 5,000 yen (600 yen discount from the a la carte purchase price). Taster Cards are valid for the duration of the event week but not thereafter. Please plan on joining us in Nakameguro for a fantastic Big Beer Winter Week!

Cheers,
Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE


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Today’s Lunch Box/ Bento (’9/9)

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The Missus might have got wind of (I’m sure she hasn’t, LOL) my proposal to Foodbuzz for a Budget Lunch idea as today’s bento was definitely on the budget line!

Both of us had got up late, and the Missus was not in the mood to make anything elaborate. I just told her that sandwiches would be fine.
I’m not one to complain, what with my bulging waist!

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Mind you, when I opened the sandwich package, I noticed that my (?) half had added a little twist. She devised the sandwich as a “double-decker” with three pieces of toasted bread.
The first deck consisted of a layer of guacomole-style avocado paste with tobikko/flying fish roe, lettuce, and plenty of smoked salmon.
The second deck was filled with egg salad. It made for a hearty sandwich.

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As for my dose of Vitamin C, I was served the usual bed of chopped greens with boiled violet broccoli (grown in Shizuoka), small pieces of violet lettuce (same grower as for the broccoli), cress, mini-tomatoes, and strawberries for dessert.

I was still hungry past 5 p.m. Oh, well…


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Foodbuzz Proposal: Submit a Budget Lunch!

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Upon reading recent great postings by budget-limited ladies like Sugarbar and GirlJapan introducing appetizing recipes and including stunning pics, I felt that in these times of poor economy and reduced budgets it could be a good idea to share experience in preparing meals without emptying your purse. After all, cakes and superlative dinners at renown restaurants are great, but we still have to eat balanced food at the best value everyday!

This is where I would like to propose the Foodbuzz gurus to open another section on their “Submit” window, namely “Submit a Budget Lunch”!

As an example to illustrate the above request, here is what The Missus came up with for lunch yesterday (full pic above):

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The salad was made with chopped greens, boiled green and mauve (they turn violet upon boiling, but recover their original colour when sprinkled with dressing) all bought at the local supermarket and grown locally.

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The rice bowl. I had two helpings.

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The Missus steamed rice with home-stewed azuki beans and violet sweet potatoes. Upon steaming it, she took the konbu/seaweed piece out, chopped it fine and mixed it back with the rice. She served it in a bowl sprinkled with white sesame seeds.
Until now, this could have become a lunch for vegans or vegetarians!

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The main dish. I had two helpings, too!

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The whole lot was stewed in the “oden” fashion providing for great hot soup! It contained daikon, konnyaku (devil’s tongue tuber), ito (vermicelli) konnyaku, bacon-cabbage rolls, cabbage-sausage rolls (the rolls are home-made, not frozen) and “buta bara niku/large chunks of pork”.

Cheap, fulfilling and healthy!


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Abondance’s Classic Cakes (2): Tarte Siciliene/Sicilian Tart

tarte-sicilienne

As promised, this is another cake created by my good friend Bernard Heberle In Hamamatsu City!

In his own words:
“Voici le gâteau que je te propose ce mois ” Tarte Sicilienne ” qui est une tarte a base de Mascarpone et de pistache avec des Fraises de notre belle région ” 紅ほっぺ” sur un fond de pâte sucrée a la crème d’amande et coulis de fraise. Toute la Sicile dans l’assiette.”

“Here is the cake I would like to propose you this month, Sicilian Tart”, which is a tart based on Mascarpone and pistacchio with strawberries from our beautiful region called “Behi-Hoppe”/”Red Cheeks” on a bed of pate sucree with almond cream and strawberry coulis/sauce. All Sicilia in the plate!”

Need I comment? LOL

Abondance
Address: Hamamatsu Shi, Sumiyoshi, 2-14-27 (in front of Seirei Hospital)
Tel.: 053-4738400
Fax: 053-4738401
Opening hours: 10:00~20:00. Closed on Tuesdays.
Homepage


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Sashimi Set at Tomii (’09/04)

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Pic kindly upgraded by Jay Gustafson!

As said before, there are times I cannot work until late without taking a break and have a quick bite. I prefer to eat good food, then, even to a minimum. I’ve long stopped “filling a hole” with the nearest junk food.

To make a story short, I found myself in front a sashimi plate at my favourite Japanese restaurant, Tomii (the second posting in a row, I know! LOL).

Here is what I was served:
(From right to left, bottom row)
-Isaki no Yakishimo/Isaki is a local seabream/snapper. “Yakishimo” can be called “Aburi”, that is the fish has been ever so slightly grilled on its skin. The fish was caught in Suruga Bay.
-Freshly grated wasabi from Shizuoka
-Aori Ika/Cuttlefish variety. Body and “ears”/fins
-Shiso/perilla flowers
-Uni/sea urchin on a small shiso/perilla leaf
(From right to left, top row)
-Madai/”true Snapper”. It was caught in Sagara (Shizuoka Pref.)
-Sliced balck daikon
-Hirame/sole caught off Miho, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City
-Akami/tuna lean part
All the chopped vegetables are local.

Culinary art at its best!


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Japanese Cuisine: “Zensai”/Hors d’Oeuvres

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Good Japanese Cuisine Restaurants in this country have a way to encourage you to eat and ord by serving “Zensai”, or Hors d’Oeuvres with your first drink. Whereas it can be mediocre at the best in most establishments, it becomes a real treat at Tomii, one of my favourite “Nihon Ryouri”?Japanese Cuisine restaurants in Shizuoka City!

This is what I was served last night as I took a break from work:

-Hotate Kainashira Daikon Oroshi/in the small pot, cooked scallops and served cold with grated daikon and sauce.
-Na no Hana/Rape flowers atop:
-Tori no Matsukazekaze Yaki/Japanese-style Chicken Terrine
-Fuku Mame/ a large sweet black bean
-Aka kabu/Red Turnip atop Tako/Simmered Octopus and in front of Uni Shinjo Take/steamed fish paste coated with sea urchin sauce

I wouldn’t mind dining on s eries of them!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)


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Japanese Seasonal Fish: Seabass/Suzuki

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Suzuki or seabass is a fish so popular with anglers all over the world that a lot of people forget it is an extremely popular fish for sashimi and sushi in Japan.

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(Pic taken at Tomii Restaurant in Shizuoka City)

Like any other fish, it bears many names: Madaka, Hakura, Shiibasu.
In the Kanto area, including Shizuoka Prefecture, it is called Seigo when under 25cm. At 3 years of age, when it has attained a length of near 60cm, it is called Fukko or Suzuki.
In Kansai it is called Seigo, Hane, and Suzuki.

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As you can see above the colour and texture are slightly different (Fukko is on the right)

It is indeed a bit early to introduce this fish, but I can’t help thonking about it!
A summer fish par excellence, it is caught mainly in Central and western japan.
The bigger and the older the fish, the better it is considered. After a decline in the 1980’s, catches have increased recently, reaching more than 9,300 tonnes after 2000.

Of course it is a fish you can appreciate cooked or simmered, or grilled, although it becomes fragile and breaks up easily upon being cooked.


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Foodbuzz Virtual Bar (second proposal): Submit a Drink!

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Greetings, everyone!
You can’t stop the old geezer!

I recently made a proposal for a Foodbuzz Virtual Bar, but after some talks (Thanks, Natasha and Jen!) and a lot of thinking (not true, LOL, pining, I would say!), it might prove too big an enterprise for the Foodbuzz gurus to change the whole tool bar to accomodate a new “Tasting/Drinks/Bar” portal.

Now, until time and technology is found, a (momentarily) satisfactory solution could be to add a new item to the “Submit Foodbuzz” window called “Submit a Drink”!
To this, a whole range of alternate subdivisions could be added like in the “Submit a Recipe” item (courses, cuisines, diets, etc.) such as “Wines”, “Beers”, “Sake”, “Spirits”, Soft Drinks”, etc.

What do you all think?


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Today’s Lunch Box/ Bento (‘9/8)

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Today’s Bento could called “traditional” or “classic”. At least in its concept and presentation, but with a little twist!

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The rice is concealed by a topping made of Japanese-style scrambled eggs and a fried mixture of minced chicken and tofu (combined as a paste first, then fried). On the left, a trio of accompaniments: renkon (lotus roots) and tea-smoked chicken ham (bottom), home-made daikon pickles (one plain, the other marinated in umezu/Japanese plum vinegar-middle), and stewed soy bean salad by the Missus’ mother.
The rice dish and the garnish are divided with a line of broiled broccoli.

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The little twist was the Missus steamed the rice with green tea powder. If you want to try it (very tasty), sprinkle the rice (in water) with plenty of green tea powder before steaming. Mix the lot only once the rice is properly cooked.

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As for the salad, simple affair: On a bed of shredded greens more greens, walnuts and Shizuoka-grown strawberries for dessert1

Had a little problem standing up after that!


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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2009/4)


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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2009 #4
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Today marks the 8th annual release of the first fruited ale ever brewed at Baird Beer: The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale.

The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale 2009 (ABV 6.7%):

The mikans used in this brew are fresh, succulent, and local — harvested on the Heda land and by the hand of our carpenter friend, Nagakura-san. The Baird brewers hand-process the harvested mikans, shaving off the outer skin of the peel and pressing the juice. Both peel shavings and juice are added to the brew at different stages of production. The mikans serve to add depth and complexity to an already sumptious ale; their role is to complement, not dominate.

In addition to mikans, the 2009 Carpenter’s Mikan Ale incorporates a grain bill including Maris Otter pale ale malt, wheat malt, unmalted wheat and two types of Japanese sugar (sudakito and akato). The hopping schedule features cirtrusy Centennial and Cascade varieties including dry-hop additions to the conditioning tank. The combination of mikans and citrus hops provide an exquisitely complex yet balanced fruit character. The wonderful aromatics of this character waft gorgeously from the billowy white head that forms in the glass. Final transport to beer Nirvana comes courtesy of the tight and spritzy natural carbonation that works to keep you tastebuds fresh and alert.

The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale is now pouring from the taps of both of our Taprooms. It also will be available on draught and in bottle-conditioned form (633 ml bottls) at select Baird Beer retailing pubs, restaurants and liquor stores throughout Japan.

Big Beer Winter Week 2009:

Each winter we use our Taproom as a venue for a week-long celebration of strong and fortifying ales and lagers. We call this celebration Big Beer Winter Week. During this week, a collection of strong ales and lagers will be served simultaneously and paired with cuisine designed to complement these robust and warming libations. This year, we will hold this event at each Taproom during successive weeks. Specific dates are listed below:

*Nakameguro Taproom Big Beer Winter Week 2009 (Wednesday, February 11 – Tuesday, February 17)
*Fishmarket Taproom Big Beer Winter Week 2009 (Wednesday, February 18 – Monday, February 23)

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for some wonderful winter revelry. Specific details regarding big beers to be served will be forthcoming shortly in an upcoming bulletin.

Cheers,
Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (‘9/7)

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The days are still (relatively at 11 degrees!) cold in Shizuoka City, and the Missus thought of providing me with the right kind of needed calories.

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Therefore, I was offered 4 fairly large “nigiri/rice balls” containing “hijiki/sweet seaweed” and white sesame topped with “soft” umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, the whole wrapped into “shiso/perilla” leaves.

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The plain “tamagoyaki/Japanese Omlelette” arrangement drew my attention as she alternated them upwards and sideways.
My compliment only drew a hiding (-“I always present them so!”-“Sorry, girl! I was too hungry to notice it before!”) from my (?) half. LOL

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As for the “accompaniment”, I was served, on a bed of chopped greens, home-made “chicken ham” later smoked with tea leaves. I refrained from complimenting as I had my dose of hiding for the day. Then some lettuce (not cut, but hand-shred), cornichons, soft cheese, plum tomatoes, and fruit for dessert: Shizuoka-grown orange, golden kiwi and strawberries.

If I can’t compliment, I can’t complain, either! LOL


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