Healthy Hamburger: Tuna Burger!

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Somew time ago I had the occasion to taste again Maguroya Izakaya’s fine Tuna Burger in spite of my worse half’s interference!

It is actually an original creation of their Izakaya, in downtown Shizuoka City, which specializes in anything about Tuna/Maguro.
Americans and all expats ought to try it. The price is ridiculous when you compare to some notorious chain junk food restaurants. And the taste is simply an experience. I’m sure you will get hooked!
For people who prefer to make them at home, it is pretty simple:
Buy some tuna already ground for “negitoro”, make a ball of the wanted size, dip in flour and then beaten egg and very fine breadcrums or “karaagekona”/powder for deep-fried food and deep-fry!
Of course you will be responsible for a perfectly grilled bread, nice vegetables and tartare sauce!

420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-11-9, 2F
Tel.: 054-2514101
Open: 17:30~24:00
Closed on Sundays

Italian Restaurant: Aquavite (revisited)

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Last night, I finally had the pleasure the visit again one of the “best three Italian Restaurants” in Shizuoka City and Prefecture: Aquavite.
As I was sharing the company of two old friends, Marcus and Yumiko, we were no less than three Foodbuzz Foodies from Shizuoka City to make sure that compliments thrown by Rowena and Jen were amply hustified by a more appropriate tasting report of the wines of the day!
I had the honour th o choose the first bottle (see pic above. Sorry, the pics are not great, the light being too dimmed!):

2002 BOLGHERI by Podore Guado al Mela i Castagneto Cardocci in Toscana.
Red made with Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes.

Colour: Rich dark red/Garnet

Aroma: Floral/red roses, deep, really full

Taste: Strong attack. Not open yet. Tannic and still young.
Red fruits/cassis. Hints of chocolate later.
Loses its tannin quickly though and turns gentler with time.

Overall: Very positive wine. Takes time to develop, but worth waiting.

The first hors d’oeuvre was oyster from Iwate Prefecture.

Antipasto Misto.

I forgot to take a pic during the very busy conversation of the moment: Hokkaido Spider Crab Safran Risotto including the “brains” of the Crab.
Followed by Gorgonzola Cheese Cream Gnocchi.


Marcus chose the next bottle:
2004 San Pio by Mastroianni in Sienna, Toscana.
Red made from Cabernet (80%) and Sangiovese (20%) grapes

Colour: Rich deep red

Aroma: Hearty, young, Terroir. Red fruits: strawberries and cherries.

Taste: Smooth. Little or no tannin. Fruity: red fruits.
Soft attack, pleasant.
Tends to come back later with more strength.

Overall: Solid pleasant wine perfectly suited to food.


“Kajiki/Marlin” prepared in “Katsu/Deep-fried cutlet” fashion.
Once again I lost the picture of the sauteed fresh Porcini Mushroom and during the very serious wine tasting view exchange! I’ll ask Yumiko if she has got them!


Dessert: La France pears tart on a bed of fresh cream and custard with chocolate, cranberry and mint sauce!

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

Tuna Trio Hors d’oeuvre

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Here what my better (worse?) half came up last night as a starter after she found a good bargain at our nearby Coop Supermarket. Plenty for two, the fish costing only 440 yen (US$ 4.50)!

From top left around the clock:

-Maguro akami (lean part of the tuna) thin sashimi topped with homemade pickled wasabi plant and Shizauok wasabi dressing.
-Maguro akami/maguro zuke (lean part of the tuna marinated Japanese style) topped with “shigeki rayu” (Chinese style hot sesame oil) dressing from Ishigaki Island, Okinawa.
-Negitoro (minced tuna semi-fat part, but without the usual chopped leeks) topped with “kizami tamanegi” (onion cream) dressing

The whole on a bed of fresh cress grown in our Prefecture. The perfect starter for her wine and my sake (I mean the drink!)

Shrimp Snack

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Here is a simple snack recipe which my better (worse half?) came up with the other night:

Ingredients (2 people):
20 small shrimps
10 chickory/endive leaves
Thai Chili Sauce
Spices to taste
Deep fry powder
Oil (for frying/deep frying)

Use frozen or fresh shrimps. Take off any water by laying the shrimps between two sheets of kitchen absorbing paper.
In a bowl prepare a mixture of mayonnaise, Thai chili sauce, pepper and any spices you wish to add. Taste before using.
Drop all the shrimps in the bowl and mix with hot mayonnaise mixture.
Heat oil to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place chickory/endive leaves in two long dishes as in picture above.
Take two shrimps at a time and roll them together quickly in deep fry powder and drop them in deepfry oil.
Deep-fry for a minute and leave shrimps on an oil absorbing paper to take excess oil off.
Place them inside chickory leaves (see pic) and serve at once.

Dead simple and great with beer any time of the year!
I’m sure the Good Beer and Country Boys will agree with me!

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

The Japan Blog List

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #24

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

As we move through autumn and approach winter, the beer calendar changes too. The season for stronger, more warming libations has arrived. The brewers at Baird Beer greet this annual northward movement up the hydrometer scale with great anticipation. Most of the Big Beers that will be released during this chilly season were brewed many months ago — during the blossoms of spring and the heat of summer — and have been conditioning and maturing slowly in our cellars. Today (Thursday, November 27) marks the 2008 debut of one such prized brew: West Coast Wheat Wine.

West Coast Wheat Wine 2008 (ABV 9.5%):

Wheat Wine is a beer style born on the U.S. West Coast in the 1980s. It has as its progenitor the English Barely Wine style. A Wheat Wine, generally, is characterized by a massively rich complexity and yet a piquant, almost refreshing effervescence. It is a style representative of the irreverent creativity and unrelenting passion that are the hallmarks of craft brewing on the West Coast of the United States. Baird West Coast Wheat Wine is crafted in annual homage to the skilled brewing artisans and fearless beer entrepreneurs who have pioneered craft brewing on America’s great West Coast!

This 2008 version of West Coast Wheat Wine is higher in starting gravity and thus stronger in alcohol content than ever before. The color is an extraordinarily deep hue of gold; the hop character is boldly West Coast American; the maltiness is lusciously lip-smacking; the finish is the ethereally hot one of alcohol. Overall, there is a piquancy in the depth of flavor that is most uncommon and supremely satisfying.

West Coast Wheat Wine is being served on draught at both of our Taprooms as well as at other Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants in Japan. Bottle-conditioned (360 ml) versions are being sold via our brewery website as well as through the fine network of Baird Beer retailing liquor stores in Japan.

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Roasted Potatoes and Bacon with fine Ratatouille

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I’ve always been a “keep everything simple” fan when it comes to cooking,
After all, one can attain any heights with a lot of money and time on hand.
That is the work of epicurean specialists! “Little people” like I, will find more pleasure cooking something simple but with character for cherished company.
Here is very simple dish I recently concocted for fun!

Ingredients (for 2 people):
Small turnips: 6
Small potatoes: 6
Wide rashers of bacon: 6
Fresh rosemary (to taste)
Salt, white pepper (to taste)

Fine Ratatouille:
Medium-large onion: 1
Shallot: 1 large
Garlic: 2 cloves
Aubergine/egg plant: 1
Courgette/zucchini: 1
Red sweet pimento: 1
Yellow sweet pimento: 1
Olive oil: 50cc (a quarter of a cup)
1 lemon juice
Fresh herbs (finely chopped): basil, Italian parsley (to taste)
White wine or Noilly Prat: 50cc (a quarter of a cup)
Pastis/Ricard/Pernod: a “bottle cap”
Salt, pepper, nutmeg (to taste). Add chili pepper or other spices if you wish!

1) Fine Ratatouille:
Chop onion, shallot, aubergine and courgette in small cubes. Cruch garlic cloves and chop fine. Heat up the olive oil in a deep pan. Once oil is hot enough drop in all the above chopped vegetables and fry, stirring regularly, until onions become translucent. Turn down fire to low. Drop in chopped pimentos, chopped herbs, lemon juice, wine, Pastis, salt, pepper, nutmeg and whatever spices. Stir the whole, cover with lid and let cook until all vegetables are sufficiently soft.
This can prepared well in advance as reheated ratatouille is even better! Don’t worry if you have made too much of it as this can be used for all kinds of dishes such as omelette garnish, on cold crostini, and so on!

2) Boil potatoes in salted water until they are 80% cooked. Take them out of the water and plunge them in cold water for a while. This is a simple trick to prevent them from breaking up later! Put them on a cloth or kitchen paper to absorb water.

3) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (level 6/7)
Peel potatoes. If they are new with a very thin skin, do not bother peeling them! Wrap each one in rasher of bacon. Secure the bacon around the potato by skewering them with a thin wooden toothpick. Place them on an oven plate coated with olive oil. Sprinkle a little pepper on them. Salt is not needed as plenty is contained inside bacon! Abundantly sprinkle with rosemary leaves. Bake until bacon has reached a nice crispy state.

4) Peel turnips and cut into four wedges each, leaving a little of the stem for good effect.
Boil them in slighted salted water just long enough for them to get tender. This should not take very long. Bear in mind that over-boiled turnips will get mushy and crumble away!

5) Once the potatoes are cooked, on a large plate you have kept hot either in hot water or inside the oven, first pour a good amount of ratatouille in the middle. Then place turnips around as shown on picture. Last, carefully pull toothpicks out of the potatoes and place the latter above the ratatouille.

Enjoy with a great beer or strong white wine (red wine is fine, too. LOL)

Oven-baked Stuffed Mussles

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Mussles are plentiful at the big supermarkets in Shizuoka Prefecture, where thay can be bough fresh.
Here a great simple appetizer you can offer any time of the year.
Remember this is only the basic recipe to which you can add your own spices, herbs and vegetables!

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people)
24 large mussles
1 medium-size onion
2 shallots
2 large garlic cloves
a small length of celery
a fistful of fresh basil leaves
hal f a cup (100cc) of tomato puree
Olive oil
1 cup of white wine
Salt, pepper, clove, nutmeg to taste

1) Clean and brush mussles

2) Pour the wine in a large deep pan and heat over medium fire

3) Cook mussles inside the pot until all mussles are open (discard theones you can’t open)

4) Take mussles out of the pot, drain and extract shellfish. Keep the 8 largest half shells

5) In a fry pan pour some olive oil and cook over medium fire the onions, shallots, celery, garlic and basil, all finely chopped (add any fresh herbs available and of your liking)

6) Stop fire when onions and shallots have become soft and transparent. Pour the lot into a mixing bowl. Add tomato puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg and clove. Mix well. Check taste and adjust.

7) Place 3 mussles in each shell. Cover with with above mixture (the more, the better!) and sprinkle breadcrumbs all over.

8) Cook in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes at the last moment.

9) On individual plates, cut and place tomatoes and cucumbers (or let you imagination run!) as shown on photograph. Sprinkle with dressing of your choice.
Take mussles out of the oven and place them on plates.

Eat at once!