Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (48)


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Yes, I worked yesterday on the 25th of December. Chritmas is more a business bonanza than anything else. In any case I’m agnostic!
The Missus made doo with whatever she had in the fridge and some buns she had baked the day before.

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The main dish included from bottom clockwise:
Turkey ham bought at the local supermarkert, lettuce leaves to wrap around the turkey, plum tomatoes, brocoli and “tobikko/flying fish roe” spaghetti, first fried then cooled down, processed cheese, black olive and cornichons.

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The buns provided with plenty of calories,

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as they contained beans.

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The dessert, plentiful for once, included cut fresh pear, mini kiwi, “benihoppe/red cheek” strawberry from Izu Peninsula and home-dried persimmon.

Plenty to last until the night out!

Japanese Crustacean Species 1: White Shrimp/”Shiroebi”


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Shiroebi or White Shrimp is not as known as other shrimp/prawn varieties. However it is a very popular crustacean in Japanese cuisine.
Also known under the the names of “Shiraebi, Hirataebi and Bekkoebi”, it is mainly caught between depths of 40 and 200 metres off the coasts of Toyama Bay on the other side of Japan and Suruga Bay in Shizuoka Prefecture.

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It is mainlly served as sashimi with some ponzu and grated fresh ginger

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as “gunkan” topped with a dash of grated fresh ginger.

It is possible to serve it as “nigiri”, although one would need large specimen, as the usual length is only 7 cm.
Shiroebi appears on our tables between April and November in many guises:

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The picture above shows on the right the shiroebi in its natural flesh whereas on the left it has been kept between two sheets of wetted seaweed for a while as “kombu-jime”, another very popular way to prepare all kinds of sashimi/sushi.

White Shrimps also enter in the preparation of a kind of “Tamagoyaki”/Japanese Omelette when they are first processed into a paste and mixed thoroughly with beaten eggs, sieved and then cooked.
The Japanese also love them as soft sembei/rice crackers.

The annual catch has exceeded 600 tonnes in recent years, half of them in Toyama.
They are also exported whole.

Taky’s Classic Cakes (5): Charlotte


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Charlotte russe is a dessert invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I (“russe” being the French word for “Russian”). Originally it was a cold dessert of Bavarian cream set in a mold lined with ladyfingers.
Nowadays the cake is simply called “Charlotte” and and come in many variations.

Taky’s in Shizuoka City has created his own version with an accent on pears.

The Gateau de Savoie (sponge cake) lining the bottom and sides is imbibed with Poire Williams Liqueur.
It is filled with vanilla mousse containing cuts of pears marinated in Poire Williams Liqueur.
The Gateau de Savoie forming the “lid” was baked separately. It contains more meringue (beaten egg whites) and sugar, making it it lighter and slighter cripsy.

Certainly more fulfilling than it looks, it is best appreciated with a great tea!

TAKY’S
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-11-10
Tel.: 054-255-2829
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

Shizuoka Bars: Our Boozer! in Shizuoka City


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When Karl Emerson, a native from Birmingham City, U.K., opened Our Boozer in July 2003, customers were mostly expats in search for a homey waterhole. Things have slowly evolved since then. These days Japanese patrons make for a good half of the clientele, although English is still the prevalent language.
Karl, into his ninth year of residence, strives to create an easy-going environment where customers fel like “going abroad without leaving Japan”.
Parties of all kinds and budgets can be quickly arranged.

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Typical pub food is plentiful at very reasonable prices:
Burger (750 yen), Lamb Grill (1,200 yen), Cottage Pie (850 yen) all served with generous garnish.

Abbot Ale, Carlsberg (after all, the owner’s name is Karl!) and Guinness are served at the tap at 750 yen~ a pint. All kinds of drinks and cocktails can be quickly prepared and served.
Among the attractions are a large TV screen for all major sports viewing, a pool table and an elctronic darts board.
The late hours and informal setting are conducive to making new friends in complete relaxation and freedom of movement as drinkers (and diners) can choose either to sit down, stand or walk around according to their preferences and companions.
A luxury in this crowded bustling city!

Our Boozer!
Koyamachi,Aoi Ku,Shizuoka, Japan, 420-0852
Telephone +81 (0)54 293 7029
Fax +81 (0)54 254 0505
Open from 6:45pm until late. Closed every Tuesday and the first Monday in every month.
HOMEPAGE

Edamame: Japanese Green Soybeans


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I’ve always been somewhat puzzled to find the word “edamame” in my U.S. (and European) friends’ blogs. This conspicuous vegetable seems to conjure grand images of Japanese gastronomy in spite of its almost base status in this country.

After all, “edamame” (枝豆/branch bean in Japanese) is nothing but green soybeans, a food mass-produced and heavily exported by North American farmers.
Or, is it that the soybean’s image has fallen so low on the other side of the Pacific because some people grow it for bio-ethanol that restaurateurs feel more comfortable with a grand-sounding Japanese name?

Alright, before I get collared for indulging into a cheap rant, let me introduce my own recipe for preparing the “delicacy”:
One does not have to boil it, cool it and serve it sprinkled with salt. This is probably the worst and least healthy way to consume it!
If you can, choose them fresh on the branch(es). This will guarantee they haven’t lost any of their nutrient qualities.
Cut out all the pods and throw away the branches (or re-process them inside your fertilizer box!).
Clean the pods under running water.
Drain water, but do not wipe them dry.
Drop them in an appropriate-sized non-stick pan and hand-rub them in a little coarse salt. The less salt, the better, but enough to season all pods. Experience and personal preferences will tell you how much you need.
Cover pan with a glass lid and switch on fire to medium-low. Cook until water seeps out of the pods. Switch off fire and keep inside covered pan (do not take the lid off!) for a good 5 minutes. By then, they should be sufficiently cooked.
Serve immediately.

In Japan there exists another variety called Kuro Edamame/黒枝豆-Black Edamame.
Actually they are a light brown-green soybean grown in Shizuoka Prefecture and elsewhere. They are definitely tastier and deserve the title of “delicacy”.
The beans out of their pods also make for great addition to salads, artful presentation with meat dishes, and are great mixed inside “nigiri”!

Vegan & Vegetarian Japanese delicacy: “Sea Grapes/Umibudou”


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Although not from Shizuoka, this Okinawa delicacy regularly appears in good supermarkets such as Shizuoka JR Station Supermarket and in good Japanese restaurants.

Although called Sea Grapes (Umibudou) for their shape, it is a saweed variety!
Its Latin name is “Caulerpa lentillifera” for the purists.

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Apparently they can be found in some islands an seas in South Eastern Asia and Oceania. World vegetarian and vegans, look out for them (I mean discovere and eat them! LOL)!
The whole seaweed can reach betwen 2 and 5 metres, but only the extremities including the “grapes” are consumed.
In Okinawa where they have been eaten eons, they are also called “green caviar”!
You can eat them raw of course with soy sauce or rice vinegar mixed with mustard.

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In sushi, as “gunkan/maothership”, they certainly make for great fun and taste!
Beware of counterfeits! No less than the JAS was recently caught selling them in August 2008!
Growing them in Japan has apparently been successful, great news for vegans and vegetarians who will find a great source of iodine and other beneficial elements!
Didi I say it? They are delicious/”oishii”!

Japanese Shellfish Species 1: Torigai/”Large Cockle”


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“Torigai” does not have a real name in English. They are approximately translated “large cockle”
They will appear on the market in Spring and earlier in Shizuoka Prefecture. They are mainly found in Tokyo Bay, Ise bay and Seto Inner Sea. Some are imported from Korea, but catches can wildly vary, especially with the occurence of “red tides”. A lot are imported from Aichi Prefecture (Nagoya region) to Shizuoka.

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They must be absolutely fresh to be consumed.
One easy way to check if they are still fresh is to slam them on the wooden board. They should immediately retract, even if cut out. They are at their cheapest between March and May.

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(Pic taken at Sushiya No Ichi, Shizuoka City)

They can be appreciated either as “tsumami”/Appetizer with a little grated wasabi and shoyu, or as nigiri.
Beware of torigai with a thin colour! They are not fresh!