Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/66):The Day After Bento

BENTO-09-10-10a

Today’s bento was definitely “The Day After Bento”!
Invited as I was lats night by a student of mine, I only managed cycling back home at 2 a.m. to wake up at 7 a.m. and go to work an hour later with a “slight” hangover….

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A Working Man’s Lunch!

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The double decker sandwiches were actually pretty big:
The first tier was mainly egg sandwich, a Missus’ favourite.
The second tier was a bit more sophisticated with home-made chicken ham, British chutney, French pickles and mustard.

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Big salad, too, most it made with local ingredients: shreddedcabbage, leaf vegetables, plum tomatoes, green asparaguses and black olives.

Grapes for dessert. All in all, it proved lighter than it looked!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Think Twice
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Hapabento
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Tokyo Terrace

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Shizuoka Local Fish: Houbo/Blue Fin Robin

houbou.jpg

Many a time, my good friend Patrick Harrington has rightly pointed out on the importance to eat “local” as much as possible. Consequently, I have endeavoured whenever possible to introduce any vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish grown, made, raised or caught in Shizuoka Prefecture (and its waters)
As for today I would like to introduce again a fairly cheap and tasty fish: houbou. Its English name is quite poetic: blue fin robin (“Chelidonichthys spinosus” for the purists). The reason is its very wide round green-blue side fins.
Some call it grotesque, others beautiful.

Most of them are found in Niigata Prefecture from Autumn to Winter (30~50 cm), but they are caught in early Spring in Suruga Bay (the Shizuoka variety is smaller, up to 20 cm). But now and thenwe find them at dfferent times of the year.

It can be prepared in many ways:

-Sashimi and sushi if just caught.

-In “nabe/鍋” (soup pot) or as “nimono/煮物” (simmered) in Japanese-style cuisine.

-Steamed and served with a sweet and sour sauce in Chinese-style food.

My preferred way is Mediterranean style (one fish per person):
Cut the side fins and scrape the scales off. discard the insides and clean under clear cold running water. Make a couple of shallow incisions over each flank.
Fill the stomach with a mixture of finely chopped vegetables and herbs (leave your imagination go free!).
Put it on a large sheet of olive oil coated cooking foil paper, sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. Place vegetables cut in long strings on both sides (plenty is fine), and one or two thin lemon slices on top. Coat it with some (not too much) extra virgin oil. As a last touch, I add some white wine and a little anise spirit (Pernod, Ricard or Absinthe).
Loosely wrap the fish with foil paper, close both ends by twisting them around.
Place the fish in its foil paper directly on the metal plate inside the oven preheated at 180 degrees Celsius and cook for about 15 minutes (longer for large fish).
If you do not have an oven, steam it the Chinese way!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Elinluv Tidbit Corner

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Wine Tasting in Shizuoka 2: Saint-Veran-La Bernardiere

ST-V1

As I mentioned in my previous tatsing I’m not ready yet to completely forget my roots. When there is good wine around, I see no reason to ignore it.
I thought it might be a good idea to taste the wines (within reasonability) available in this part of Japan!

This tasting also occurred at Lavigne in Shizuoka City!

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Saint-Veran is still a very new and still raltively unknown AOC from the very southern tip of the Maconnais area in Bourgogne. Longer summers than in vaunted northern Bourgogne give it a different character.

Domaine Combier
Saint-veran AOC (Maconnais, Bourgogne, France)
La Bernardiere in Prisse Village
2005, 100% Chardonnay, 14 degrees proof (high)
Retailed in Japan at 3,000 yen

Colour: Beautiful, clear, limpid gold. Darker than usual Chardonnay.

Aroma: Fruity, flowers. Pleasantly strong. Nutty, honey. Complex.

Taste: dry attack. Longish but light tail.
Nuts, macadamia, butter,memories of smoked cheese.
Turns slightly sweeter with food.
Pleasant finish expanding at the back of the mouth.
Changes little with food.
Pleasant overall impression.
Can be enjoyed on its own as well as with almost any food.
Well-rounded and lively.

LAVIGNE
420-0852, Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya Cho, 17-2, 1F (2 minutes walk from JR Station)
Tel/fax: 054-205-4181
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Cheese Monger
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Palate To Pen
Tokyo Foodcast
Urban Sake
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass

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Sushi & Sashimi: The Basics 5 – Sashimi Presentations

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Aji Tataki/Horse mackerel Tartare served at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City

SYNOPSIS:
I already have wrtitten a lot in bits and pieces on Sushi and Sashimi, including in my other blog, Shizuoka Sushi, but I felt it was time to post an article that could be used as general reference by my blogging friends.
The Basic 1: Definitions
The Basics 2: Questions & Answers
The Basics 3: Ingredients
The Basics 4/1: Sushi Presentations
The Basics 4/2: Sushi Presenations-Rolls
The Basics 4/3: Sushi Presentations-Donburi

Sashimi, as almost everyone knows means thin slices, whether it be fish, meat or vegetables. When raw fish, seafood or meat is not sashimi but served raw, it is usually called tsumami/side, snack.
Fish and other seafood van be presented solely as sashimi or as a combination of sashimi and tsumami.

The possibilities are infinite as there are many ways a chef can cut and present his food.

Below I propse a “small” selection of waht can be found in Japan.
here is a little challenge for you:
Can you recognize all ingredients?

011
Usu tsukuri style/Thin cut style

SASHIMI-PRESENTATIONS-1
Japanese Cuisine Sashimi O-Tsukuri/Plate

SASHIMI-PRESENTATIONS-2
Another Japanese Cuisine Sashimi O-Tsukuri/Plate

SASHIMI-PRESENTATIONS-3
Japanese Cuisine Sashimi O-Tsukuri/Plate in Kado/Square style

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I suppose you recognize this single sashimi served in Somen/thin noodles style!

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Another way to serve the whole fish

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A simple individual plate of sashimi

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A more sophisiticated individual plate of sashimi and tsumami

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An individual Plate of sashimi served with the seasoning

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Elegant and simple individual plate of sashimi!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Tokyo Foodcast
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass
Urban sake
Hapabento
Elinluv Tidbit Corner

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/65): Typhoon No 18 Bento

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A big typhoon being upon us, Number 18, I had no recourse but to give up on going back home for lunch and “ordered” the Missu to concoct me a quick and healthy bento.

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It was very healthy indeed!
She boiled udon and cooled them under cold running clear water.
She topped it with home-made chicken ham, boiled eggs, cress, finely cut cucumber, sliced radish, pieces of shiso/perilla leaves and cut plum tomatoes.

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Side view of the bento!

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Soup/dressing I added to the lot later at the office!

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Asian pears/Nashi and plums are still in season!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Think Twice
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Hapabento
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Tokyo Terrace

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Wine Tasting in Shizuoka 1: Domaine Dupont-Fahn

OC-1

For all my love of Japanese sake, I’m not ready yet to completely forget my roots. When there is good wine around, I see no reason to ignore it.
I thought it might be a good idea to taste the wines (within reasonability) available in this part of Japan!

A great place to that is Lavigne in Shizuoka City, an off-the-track establishment which combines a shop and standing bar offerring exclusively French wines they have discovered and imported themselves. As I visit the place at least once a week for a quick glass, I fially took my pen and notes yesterday!

OC-3

Michel Dupont-Fahn is not an obscure wine maker in France and has incrasingly been praised for his somewhat extravagant single cepage Vins de Pays.
The wine I tasted last night reads as follows:
Vin Du Pays d’Oc
Domaine Dupont-Fahn, 2008, red
Cabernet-Sauvignon, 100%
Alcohol: 14 degrees proof
Vandange et trie manuellement/hand-picked and chosen

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Colour: very deep, rich red
Aroma: Clean, powerful. Dry cassis/red fruit
Taste: Dry, strongish attack.
Good body
Dry red fruit
Shortish tail
Sharpish and short tannic note
Strong dry finish

Solid in spite of its youth. Surprisingly well-balanced. Soft on the palate with food.
A wine for all seasons.
Needs a little aging.
Retailed at 2,780 yen, 30 US$ (quite steep for a Vin de Pays!)

LAVIGNE
420-0852, Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya Cho, 17-2, 1F (2 minutes walk from JR Station)
Tel/fax: 054-205-4181
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Cheese Monger
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Palate To Pen
Tokyo Foodcast
Urban Sake
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass

Please check the new postings at:
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French Cuisine: Young Cod and Lentils

CABILLAUD-LENTILS

Young cod or “Cabillaud” in French is one of those white-fleshed fish which are so easy to prepare and do not require complicated recipes!

Here is a recipe which will make you sound like an accomplished chef:
Paves de Cabillaud aux Lentilles/Young Cod Steaks and Lentils!

INGREDIENTS: for 6 persons

-6 large pieces of cod fillets, 150 g each
-Puy green lentils: 500 g
-Bacon or Pancetta: 6 very thin slices
-Carrot: 1
-Onion: 1
-Olive oil (EVO): 4 tablespoons
-Xeres vinegar: 1 tablespoon
-Bouquet garni (if unavailable, make your own with fresh of dried rosemary, thyme, sage, etc)
-Salt: to taste
-Black pepper, freshly groungd: to taste

RECIPE:

-Peel the carrot and onion. Slice the onion very thin and cut the carrot into small dices. Drop the sliced onion and carrot dices and lentils into a large pan and cover (a little higher than the whole level) with cold water (containing as little calcium as possible=soft water). Add the bouquet garni. Bring to boil. Set the heat as to simmer the vegetables for 45 minutes.

-10 minutes before the vegetables are cooked fry the bacon slices on a large non-stick frypan until golden. Take excess fat off by laying them on a kitchen paper sheet.
In the same frypan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Lay the cod on the rypan and fry on high fire for 2 minutes on each side. Turn the heat low. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and let cook for 5 more minutes on a low fire.

-Drain the lentils. Pour them on a serving dish.
Prepare a vinaigrette with salt, pepper, Xeres vinegar and the remaining olive oil. Pour it onto the lentils. Mix. Place the the bacon slices and cod onto the lentils and serve at once.

-If you serve them individually, keep six plates warm. Place each cod fillet on a bed of lentils and a slice of bacon. Sprinkle the fish with a little freshly chopped Italian parsley and just a little olive oil. Place a sprig of Italian parsley on the whole for the fnal touch.

Serve a good Beaujolais with it (not Beaujolais Nouveau, for people’s sake! LOL)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Elinluv Tidbit Corner

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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