Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #15

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The waiting is over. Today marks the 2008 release a Baird summer beer icon — Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale. Extra maturation time in the bottles and kegs renders this 2008 version more special than ever.

A summer mikan (“natsumikan”) is an almost grapefruit-like citrus fruit that is tart and sweetly sour in flavor and gloriously aromatic. The only fruit to make it through the doors of the Baird Brewery, of course, is fresh whole fruit recently plucked from the land. Our summer mikans are Shizuoka-grown, right in the Heda orchard of our carpenter-partner-friend, Mitsuo Nagakura. The bounty of fruit is painstakingly hand-processed by the Baird Brewery team before its introduction both on the hot-side (during wort production) and the cold-side (right into the conditioning tanks along with a dosage of dry hops). The gorgeous new artwork adorning the bottles is the expertise of our wonderfully talented artist and friend, Ms. Eiko Nishida.

Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale 2008 sports a wheat accented grist bill (German base wheat and specialty caramel wheat along with unmalted Japan wheat) that compliments our workhouse malt — Crisp floor-malted Maris Otter. The hopping is all-citrus and all-American (Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade and Ahtanum). The alcohol is moderately strong around 5.5% ABV. The quenching result is summer paradise in a glass.

Draught Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale is now available at the Fishmarket Taproom, the Nakameguro Taproom and fine Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants throughout Japan. Bottles (633 ml) too are available for purchase through Baird Beer retailing liquor shops and direct from the brewery.

Lastly, please mark your calendar for the upcoming 8-year anniversary extravaganza at the Fishmarket Taproom (Saturday July 19 – Monday, July 21). Monday, July 21, of course, is a Japan national holiday. We will open each day at noon and celebrate with our annual Fruit & Beer Festival, a daily buffet of sumptuous beer-inspired specialty dishes (1,000 yen all-you-can-eat), a downstairs sidewalk barbecue to be manned by a team of passionate patron-volunteers, and casual acoustic jams. Complete event details will be announced early next week.


Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Deep-fried Chicken: “Japanese home-made style” (1?)

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(unfortunately, the Missus refused to comply to my request to the point of having a demonstration photographed. This pic of a bento concocted last February will have to suffice till I come up with a more satisfactory solution!)

Me and my big mouth! Why do I have to make promises on somebody else’s behalf when I should know better! LOL.
But a promise is a promise. Even if it took a whole evening, night (do not ask me why or how, uh!), and next (this) morning of badgering a Missus surprised (pleased by?) at the sudden attention!
I know one big guy, namely Bill, who might find himself in the exactly opposite situation. One piece of advice mate, do not give away your little (cooking) secrets all at once and you will find yourself basking in a lot of attention (why am I saying that? No way I will translate that in my Japanese blogs, or our Japanese apartment will become a unilateral point-blank shooting gallery!).
In any case, Rowena, you might need the help of the likes of Taste Memory Girl as far as some ingredients are concerned, unless you want to send a SOS all over Foodbuzz!

The recipe I managed to extract from the Missus is open to variations. Do not hesitate to do your own research and discover new ways, although I can already hear (and welcome) advice from Foodhoe and others!

-chicken: thigh chicken only. Breast chicken being too lean, you will end up with dry coarse chicken. Thigh chicken contains the right amount of fat to make for juicy morsels. No skin please, as this will become a different recipe I will hopefully explain one day. Enough for at least 5 pieces a person (probably double for me!)
-Marinade: Japanese sake (cheap cooking variety). If unavailable, a strong dry white wine should do. Grated garlic. (Chinese) oyster sauce.
You will have to experiment there as far as the amounts are concerned.
Nota bene: The Missus, depending upon her “mood” will add grated ginger, reduce the oyster sauce and add rice vinegar, sesame oil or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Plenty of scope again to please everyone!
-Rice powder, called “yoshinko” in Japanese. I do not know the Chinese or Korean equivalent. That is where you will need a little help from your friends all over the world!
-Cornstarch (katakuriko in Japanese).

No salt or pepper needed. Oyster sauce contains enough salt as it is.

Marinade the chicken cut to pieces with the sake (or wine), grated garlic and oyster sauce (or whatever combination) in a Tupperware (or cellophane paper-covered bowl) in the fridge for at least a night.
“Deep-frying” is actually “shallow-frying” as the Missus uses a large teflon coated pan with just 2 or 3 millimeters of oil. Oil temperature should be around 180 degrees Celsius.
Roll the chicken pieces (do not wipe them, just shake them to get rid of excess liquid) and roll them in a equal mixture of rice powder and cornstarch.
Drop in the pieces and fry until colour start changing. Take them out and put them on sheet of kitchen paper to prevent them from absorbing oil.
Let rest for a minute or two or until you have fried everything once. Fry a second time until the chicken pieces have attained a rich brown colour. Put them on a sheet of paper chicken to absorb excess oil.
Can be served at once, or later in a bento/lunch box after having let them cool down sufficiently.
The Missus will usually serve them with lettuce to wrap chicken in and cut lemon for seasoning.
Again, “depending upon her mood”, she will serve in separate dipping dishes tartare sauce, rice vinegar, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, or a mixture of mayonnaise and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce!


Next to come will be recipes for Japanese omelette/Yakitamago as promised to Bill!

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (17)

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Today’s (Tuesday!) bento was almost a classic as it included my favorite: Japanese-style fried chicken. I think I finally broke the Missus’ secret when I took a sneaky view of her craft when she thought I was away in another room!
Rowena, I promise I will disclose it, especially knowing that Taste Memory Girl and Bill (and some others) are interested!

The staples were represented by four nigiri/rice balls which for once were loosely packed and made for a lghter fare. The toppings are from top clockwise: yuzu kosho furikake/dried lime pepper seasoning powder, wasabi konbu/wasabi-flavoured seaweed, umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums and kyuri tsukemono/finely chopped Japanese-style “green” cucumber pickles.
Add to this home-made cucumber and ginger pickles, and fruit (pinepapple and American dark cherries)

The “garnish” consisted of deep-fried chicken (“thighs”), half a soft-boiled egg atop plenty of greens I seasoned with sweet wasabi dressing I have andy at work.

A comparatively light bento in spite of all the rice and very well-balanced I must eckon as I was hungry until late in the evening!

Asparaguses Season

The Japan Blog List

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sake, shochu and sushi


Although the asparaguses season is almost finished in Shizuoka, we still get plenty from other parts of the country as people here show an insatiable taste for them.
The Japanese and Sizuokaites will practically eat only the green variety although the latter does comprise a host of sub varieties. Here the trend is for large specimens like the ones grown in Shimizu Ku as demonstrated in the picture above sauteed with Chinese XO Sauce by Hana Oto Izakaya in Shizuoka City. A way that surely please the likes of Foodhoe and Bill!

Shizuoka ladies do have their own way to cook them. Everyone down here seem to sautee them and Yasatei, for all their very Japanese character, have opted for the Italian way: Akita Prefecture Asparaguses sauteed in olive oil and parmesan cheese!

Villa D’Est Quisine, on the other hand, seems to have opted for a median method of lightly frying Hokkaido asparaguses with olive oil and lean bacon.

In all cases those large green asparaguses combine a outside crunchy texture breaking easily under the teeth to reveal a tender juicy inside! Something difficult to obtain with overcooked lean samples!

420-0033 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 3-9, Hoshi Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-273-8591
Business hours: 18:00~03:00 (until 05:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed on Mondays

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business haours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended

Villa d’Est Quisine
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 3-10-1
Tel.: 054-2514763
Business Hours: 17:00~24:00
Closed on Thursdays