Whalemeat: The Bare Truth

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Following some insistent queries, I felt it was about time to publish my thoughts again about whalemeat!

One can easily eat whale meat at Sushi Restaurants In Shizuoka Prefecture or even buy it directly at supermarkets.

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Most of it comes from Mink and Sperm Whales/Mako Kujira.
Whale meat should not be confused with Iruka/Dolphins whose meat has appeared on Japanese tables since times immemorial. It concerns an entirely different taste and cooking.

Whale meat can be appreciated in various forms:

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“Kujira Tataki”, that is whale meat cooked in small cuts ready for sashimi.

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“Kujira Salad”, including Whale Tartare and Carpaccio.

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“Kuijra Seikyoyaki”, a Japanese way of cooking and serving cut to be eaten with hot rice, or even instead of a beef steak.

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“Kujira Karaage”, or deep-fried whale meat, great with sake!

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As Sushi, it does come in many guises to accomodate various parts.
Each region has its own traditional ways and presentations.
Incidentally, whale meat is safer than any meat from land animal, as it is purely biological!

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Setting the record straight:

I fully understand this article will not be appreciated by some people, but do not expect me to apologize for whatever reasons!
I would like to to remind short memories that whales were practically decimated from (under) the surface of this world in the 19th Century by US and European whalers (including French Basques as I had to remind my own brother!) for their oil used in lamps. Once the fat was collected the remains were dumped back into the sea.

When the US in particular realised that they were quickly running out, they pushed for mineral oil exploitation with the economical and political consequences we are still suffering from. In short the overkilling of whales is the direct cause and link to wars in the Middle East.

Last but not least, who and what was Commodore Perry after all?
A whaler! The US had had promoted a common whaler captain to the grand rank of Commodore for the political and diplomatic needs of the time as he happened to ply his trade in nearby seas (I mean in the vicinity of Japan)!

I mentioned that whale meat is safer than beef. Incidentally, who practically exterminated bisons as a policy for driving Indians (Amerindians) out of the way and now makes a big deal of protecting them?

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I once was accused of trying to get attention, being told in the process that whalemeat was not sold in my Prefecture.
Here is what is on sale at Parche, the largest Supermarket in Shizuoka City.

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Whale bacon is available all year.
Reading the label, it said the whales wre caught in Northwestern Pacific. Bacon is very popular here and can be eaten at izakaya.

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Plenty of dolphin meat is avalaible. This particularly came from Gunma Prefecture.
Dolphin meat is regularly served at Primary School lunches in Shizuoka Prefecture. The meat comes from dolphins who were accidentally caught in nets, or culled because of growing numbers (like hunters do with deer in the US)

Last question: What do the Inuit think of the US and Canada limiting or depriving them of their livelihood?

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Vegetarian Japanese Cuisine: Dragon Fruit Flower Shoot Tempura

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The Missus recently came back once again with a favourite “unusual vegetable” of hers: Dragon Fruit Flower Shoots.
The Japanese have come with the best idea to sample any new vegetable: tempura!
Technically speaking it originated in Portugal whose sailors introduced it to Japan a few centuries ago. The word itself is Portuguese.

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My better (worse?) half cut them into halves and prepared batter. She favours her own style, heavier than the Japanese, but lighter than the European/American “fritters”!

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She took the opportunity to add some other tempura made with shrimps and goya.
Served with ma-cha tea powder and salt mixed with sakura/cherry blossoms powder, it just turned out perfect with beer and sake!

NOTE:
Vegans can make tempura by mixing water an dflour with cornstarch instead of egg whites.

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Belgian Cuisine: Potato Cream, Shrimps & Smoked Ham

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Belgium is one those unsung countries when it comes to gastronomy.
Who has heard of the Ardennes Forest and its abundant game and mushrooms? Have you visited Bruges? The biggest misconception is “French fries”! Sorry, mate, but they are Belgian! And what about mussles and waffles?… And the beer?

Here is a typical fare that people in Bruges are fond of:
Potato Cream (Mashed potato cream), Shrimps & Smoked Ham!

INGREDIENTS: for 4 persons

-Potatoes: 4 bintje if possible
-Small (grey) shrimps: 300 g
-Smoked ham: 4 slices
-Egg yolks: 4
-Butter: 150 g
-White wine: 3 cups/600 ml
-Olive oil (EV): a little
-Fresh cream: 1 large tablespoon
-Nutmeg: 1 pinch
-Salt, pepper: to taste

RECIPE:

-Peel the potatoes. Cut them for easier cooking. Boil them in water for 20 minutes. Mash them with a fork. Add a little of the cooking water if necessary. Add and mix in a little olive oil and the fresh cream. Keep warm.

-Lightly fry smoked ham in a little butter. Get the shrimps rid of their shells and heads.

-In a bain-marie (on the fire put a pan with water and heat, use a smaller pan and place it inside the water-filled pan so as to avoid a direct contact with the heat) pan, whisk the egg yolks quickly addin the wine to them litle by little. Then add and mix the butter, a small piece at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
Add this sauce to the mashed potatoes, mixing the two delicately. Season again if necessary. Ad the nutmeg.

-In a plate place some mashed potatoes in the middle. Wrap a piece of smoked ham around it and put the plate under the grill for a few minutes to obtain a lightly coloured top for the potatoes.

-Steam the shrimps and place them on top and around the mashed potatoes. Add a touch with some flat parsley or other herb of your liking!

To be savoured with a Belgian beer!

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Leeks Marinated with Ponzu & Mustard

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Sorry Holly , but I will have to take a (very small) break away from leeks after this article, otherwise Comestiblog will really think I’m leaking from everywhere!

This is a very easy recipe that you can use as an appetizer or on top of freshly steamed rice.
“Ponzu” is a kind of light Japanese sweet rice vinegar based dressing one can use instead of soy sauce with the immediate result of reducing salt intake.

Leeks Marinated with Ponzu & Mustard!

INGREDIENTS: For 2 persons

-Long leeks (Japanese style): 1
-Ponzu: 3 large tablespoons
-Mustard (containg seeds)/You can improvise here and introduce various kinds of mustards, such as cassis mustard and so on!

RECIPE:

-Cut the leek in 5~6 cm long pieces

-Fry the leeks in oil of your choice until they change colour a little.

-If you wish to eat it hot, season with mustard and ponzu, saute just a little and serve.

-If you wish to eat it cold, Mix with mustard and ponzu in a bowl, let cool and place in the fridge.

-One can improvise the amount of sauce to one’s liking.
I personally like it served as in above picture.

Simple and healthy!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/51)

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Since my new Friend Marya has decided to try and make bento for her husband, expect Japanese bentos from two different Foodbuzz members in Shizuoka!

The Missus came up a totally different type of bento today: “Hiyajiru/冷汁/Cold Soup”!

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She first prepared a soup with konbu/seaweed stock to which she added Japanese spices and all kind of fresh vegetables including tomatoes, okra, cucumbers and so on. To coll it down quickly she added ice and let chill while she prepared the rest.

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She prepared two large musubi/rice balls seasoned with sesame and I on’t know what (secret) and let these cool down two.

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She then steamed goya stuffed with chicken paste.

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I put the whole bento in the office fridge first thing.
When I took it out for lunch, I first open the cold soup box which was perfectly chilled by then.

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I put the rice balls in the soup. With a spoon I broke them and ate them with the soup.

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As for the “salad” I used the miso-pickled soft boiled egg to seaon the chicken-stuffed goya the Missus had cut into slices.

Very good cold bento for this very sultry summer!

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Leeks & Shiitake Mushrooms

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Here is another posting for Holly who has showed such an enthusiasm for leeks. This mini-series of very simple recipes on leeks will also please vegans and vegetarians!

Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms!

INGREDIENTS: For 2~3 people

-Shiitake Mushrooms: 6~8 fresh
-Leeks: 2~3 depending on their size. Choose them long and mostly white
-Sesame oil: to taste
-Salt & pepper: to taste
-Soy sauce: to taste

RECIPE:

-Chop the leeks fine and mix with sesame oil in a bowl

-Take the stems off the mushrooms. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper. Fill with plenty of chopped leeks.

-Bake in oven for 4~5 minutes until they acquire a pleasant colour.

-Season with soy sauce before serving.

NOTE:

You can easily bring variations with chili pepper, Thai sweet and hot sauce, and chopped herbs of any kind!
Eat as soon as out of the oven (with a beer?)

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/50)

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It has been raining for a full week now, and apparently we are in for another week of it.
That certainly does not put the Missus into the right mood, but she somehow managed to prepare my bento this morning after a lot of grumbling!

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It was simple but healthu and plentiful (actually she had warned me not to take pics….):
The musubi/rice balls wer mixed with “ume kake/pickle plum seasoning powder and wrapped into fresh shiso/perilla leaves.
The Missus added “chikuwa/fis paste rolls stuffed withe fresh cucumber, fried kinpira including konyaky, carrots, beans and seaweed, and som Renaissance tomatoes grown in Kakegawa City.

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As for the salad, it consisted of a bed of chopped veg, some home^made pickles onions, smoked salmon and a soft-boiled egg.

I must admit it was very satisfied in spite of all the grumbles!

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