Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/55): Indian Sushi Bento

Most Indian people have to devise their food according to a somewhat harsh climate (at times. Of course people living at the foot of the Himalayas would say otherwise!). The Missus is a great fan of Indian cuisine and anything called “curry”!
Today, sushi bento day, she came up with a simple twist to call her sushi Indian-style!

Having prepared the sushi rice, she added a good measure of curry furikake to it. Furikake means “seasoning to be sprinkled” in Japanese. There a good many of them including the curry variety she used today.
Simple, ain’t it?

She deep-fried large prawns in breadcrumbs and included them in rolls she made with a bamboo sushi roll and cellophane paper. She then took the rolls out of their cellophane paper and rolled them inside lettuce before wrapping them again into cellophane paper to facilitate the cutting.

plenty of home-made pickles to provide me with the salt I will lose during the sweating-hot day: cucumber, fresh geinger, carrot and sansho/Japanese pepper.

Loads of fruit for dessert for the vitamin C and fibers: red grapefruit, nectarines and blueberries. The latter are supposed to be good for the eyes. If true, they will help mine which tend to get tired at the end of the day with all my PC work!

Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus;

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/54): Neverending (Heat) Story Bento

-“I hate this place! It must be 50 degress (C) in this kitchen!”
The Missus has been badgering me for some time with moving to a new home. What with the neverending scorching heat assiling us for the past two weeks with no end in view, her argument sounds the more convincing by the day!

All that heat means a lot of sweat and loss of body salts.
The Japanese are conscious of their health to the point of addiction. You wouldn’t believe the number of TV health programs we are subjected to ( no wonder I keep away from the TV. BG, that’s one for you!)! be assured that my bento are partly devised according to them (LOL)!

To compensate this loss of body salts, The Missus mixed the freshly seamed rice with home-pickled umeboshi (in vinegar, not slat). mini melons, asabi stems and sansho/Japanese pepper (I mean all are pickled)!

Now, for the stamina and vitamins!

She first made karaage/deep-fried chicken, and then cooked them in amazu/sweet vinegar, seame seeds and cornstarch. Very tasty!

Some fresh lettuces, fried goya and red pimentoes seasoned with gomadare and tamagoyaki.
Mow, these tamagoyaki were a bit different with the white in the middle and the yolk outside. I don’t have a clue as to how she made them but they were delicious!

The heat has finally a good side to it!

Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute;

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Fruit Cocktails by Wataru Matsumoto 11: grapefruit

Service: very professional and friendly.
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall.
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Fruit cocktails. Cozy and a comfortable, for ladies and gentlemen alike.

This is the eleventh recipe of a (hopefully long) series of cocktails concocted by Wataru Matsumoto, owner/bartender at BOTANICAL (Comfort bar) in Shizuoka City.
No worries about copyrights as Mr. Matsumoto is only too happy to share his secrets!

INGREDIENTS:

-1 Whole grapefruit
-Fresh whole rosemary: 1 sprig
-Vodka: 3 measures (will need only 1 for the cocktail itself!)

RECIPE:

-Let rosemary soak into vodka for a good hour before usage.

-Cut grapefruit in half. Cut out the core (bitter!). Press grapefruit juice out.

-Pass fresh rosemary along the rim of a large glass. Pour some salt on a plate and coat the rim of the glass with the salt. You couls also first grind salt and fresh rosemary in mortar with a pestle first and coat the glass with the mixture!

-Drop a large sphere of ice inside the glass.

-In a stir glass pour the grapefruit juice and 1 measure of rosemary vodka. Stir. pour over ice into the glass.

-Serve.

-Great and refreshing in summer! Perfect as an aperitif, too!

BOTANICAL (Comfort Bar)
420-0082 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-13, Shade Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-221-8686
Opening hours: 17:00~01:00
Closed on Mondays.
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
-Drink Lovers of The World:
5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures; Warren Bobrow; Tokyo Terrace; Chez What?
Pran Gravy Kadai Curry; My Kitchen Treasures; Indulge Inspire Imbibe; Simple Math Bakery; Cheap Ethnic Eatz; Taste With The Eyes; Jacob’s Kitchen; The Pink Apron; Kopiatse…To Greek Hospitality; Zomppa; The Baking Barrister; The Witchy Kitchen; What’s Cooking Italian Style Cuisine; Nirmala’s Cooking Corner; Ancient Fire Wines; The Ardent Epicure

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Egg Farm in Shizuoka City: Bi-Ou-Ran (Part 1)

Eggs do come in many shapes, don’t they?

The Japanese have always eaten of lot of eggs. Not so long ago, in the Edo period,they were even considered as a rare delicacy.
Since then, with the abundance of high quality eggs the Japanese have turned this supposedly simple farm product into many world-known delicacies: tamagoyaki, dateyaki, oyakodon, onsen tamago and so on.
On the other hand the same Japanese have increasingly become more exigent and precise about their eggs, requesting for better shape, color and quality.

Bi-Ou-Ran sign

For a long time I have been intrigued by the above sign I regularly passed along during my bicycle trips to Miwa along the Abe River in Shizuoka City.
After some belated enquiries, I found out that the eggs produced by Bi-Ou-Ran/美黄卵/Beautiful Yellow Eggs Farm are not only top-class in this country, but that they have also been awarded a brand name/controlled appellation by the Japanese Government!

An investigation was long due!
After lunch yesterday I took the bicycle and first rode to their small shop (a lot of their eggs are directly distributed all over the country from their farm) up in Miwa (a good 30 minutes ride from my work place).
A small shop it is, but interestingly enough you can buy eggs there through a vending machine almost all day long (that is until everything has disappeared in spite of being re-filled regularly).

A look at the praise received in many neswpapers and TV interviews.

Beautiful eggs inside the vending machine!
Sakura Mixed batch: 300 yen for 12
Sakura Small: 300 yen for 12
Sakura Large: 300 yen for 11
Red Treasure Medium: 300 yen for 11
Red Treasure Large: 300 yen for 10

Onsen tamago: Eggs slowly cooked into running yolk soft-boiled eggs. A delicacy!

Eggs waiting to go!

Home-made chiffon cakes on sale!

Very eclectic: they also sell fresh products from neighbors’ gardens!

From the left bank of Abe River in Ashikubo District.

People/employees at the shop were very kind. They put me through to the farm where Mr. Shimizu and employees are raising their chicken.
Interviewing on that very day was not possible. Wrong time! They were busy at something I couldn’t catch on the phone.
Nevertheless, Mr. Shimizu, who didn’t seem to understand much of what I was trying to tell me agreed on an interview at the farm tomorrow, Staurday, at 13:30!

Their farm is still a 10 more minutes ride up river.
Knowing myself and having some time on hand, I decided to find the farm as directions were a bit scant.
Even knowing the address is not much help in the country where almost nothing is indicated.
At least the Ashikubo River was easy to find.
That did not prevent me from venturing onto the wrong bank of the river!

But riding a bicycle has an enormous advantage: it does not matter how many times you get lost, you will eventually find your way around, whereas by car would tax any driver heavily!
As I said I took the wrong (larger) road.
So I turned back and enetered th very narrow road along the left bank of Ashikubo River.
I can’t miss it on Saturday thanks to the little red Shinto Gate (Torii) at its entrance!

Neither wide nor long, the Ashikubo River is renown for for its great water coming down the nearby mountain slpes all year round. The Abe River might get completely dry, but not this little river.
Even now, many local Sake Breweries come here to collect water in large tanks!
No wonder that the farm has chosen this location. A constant supply of water ought to be vital!

Still a long way to ride. Two cars would be in real difficulty if they happened to meet halfway.

I finally reached my destination, although I didn’t know for sure at first!
No sign at the entrance, and no clue of how such a farm should look like from the outside.
But the fact I was born in farmland did help me as I noticed some silos obviously used to store feed.
But I couldn’t see any bird in spite of the imposing size of the farming complex.
Bear in imd I was in the middle of nature without a homestead within sight (that is on the left bank).

The heat was a scorching 35 degrees by then and I wondered how chicken scould be kept inside. But,… I also noticed large ventilators here and there. I couldn’t be wrong (if I were I was in for a long frustrating search!)!

Since the appointment was not not for that particular day and knowing people working there were very busy, I rode a few seconds on until I found a side entrance,… and heard the unmistakable sound of chicken amid the roaring of the giant ventilators!

I certainly felt relieved knowing it would be a faster ride thanks to my little investigation next Saturday!
An employee did notice me and came to me without being asked to check if I was looking for something or somebody. I explained (after a polite greetings and taking off my shades) that I would come on Saturday and was just checking my way.
-“I see! See you, then!”

Bi-Ou-Ran
Shimizu Chicken Farm
421-2112, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Endo Shinden, 41-3
Tel.: 054-296-0064

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Vegan Italian Cuisine: Appetizer at Il Paladino

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

With the scalding heat frying us all day long, what can we possibly eat without overcrowding our system?
When I visited Il Paladino, probably the best Italian restaurant in the Prefecture (BG is going to kill me again for that kind of comment!), the chef genially replied: “Just eat vegetables, more vegetables, and even more vegetables!”

Shizuoka Prefecture is blessed with an almost limitless array of vegetable varieties. Actually one has to keep his eyes, nose, and even ears well open, as many more new ones come by the day! I am certainly not one to complain as such knowledge comes inhandy at work when interviewing local farmers!

Present (notice I said “present”) Italian gastronomy wouldn’t exist without tomatoes. Well, I know some good Italian friends who would love to discover the local cultivars.
Shizuoka is receiving a lot of attention for its tomatoes, especially the “Ameera/Very Sweet” genus, which comes in various sizes, from minuscule to large plum-sized.
Il Paladino’s chef chose the latter to prepare his appetizer. They are not only very sweet and fleshy, they also are red all the way through with very little water and pips. You thoroughly enjoy cutting them with a knife, a rarity in Japan!

The tomatoes are peeled first before being marinated with garlic, cucumber (that is served together), lemon, vinegar, olive oil, laurel leaves, sugar, salt, pepper and some “secrets”.

The tomato is then served chilled with the cucumber. Red pimento (not marinated) and basil leaves are added for taste and looks. Finally marinade will be sieved above the whole before being served with toasted home-made bread. I cannot guarantee that the latter was vegan, though, but you certainly need the bread to sponge off the marinade (make sure your bread is vegan, then!)

Tratorria Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)

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Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat

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Learning Agricultural Skills at an Early Age at Shizuoka City Ryunan Primary School

From time to time I go coaching the game of cricket in some local primary schools in Shizuoka City.
It is a good break from everything and keeps my feet on the ground.
Ryunan Primary School is fairly big by Japanese standards, but it is just located between the city itself and the nearby mountains/country. The kids are definitely city kids, but with a country nuance.

Many primary schools, contrary to establishments in the large metropolises, in Shizuoka have a “garden” where pupils learn the basic skills of growing vegetables and flowers, be they boys or girls.

The kids will be waiting impatiently for the winter when they can eat these “satsuma imo/sweet potatoes”, especially grilled!

Shizuoka is celebrated for it tomatoes and it shows!
All the pots bear a name plate of each individual pupil.

Red shiso: makes for some great juice in summer!

Cucumbers still at the flower stage.

Flowers, flowers,… All varieties of “Asagao/Japanese Morning Glory”!

For a closer look!

Soory, I forgot to check the name!
Does anyone know?

Now, what are these/ Look at the next pic!

Edamame! (green soy beans!)

Okra!
I actually taught the kids how to “twist and pinch them out”!

Now, what kind of kid can grow such a strangely shaped cucumber?

Now, I’m afraid this cucumber was abandoned by its owner!

Green peppers!
Well, one way to have kids eat vegetables is having them grow heir own food!

Look at my okra! Look at my okra!

And look at my tomatoes!

Look at mine, too! look at mine, too!
Alright, alright! Stand together and show them to me together!
Sweet kids….

Took a last picture before taking my leave:
Beautiful flowers! What might be their name?
Can you read the name of the school on the pot?
The “Running Mount Fuji” is the mascot of Shizuoka Prefecture!

I might do well to check on the next primary school tomorrow!

NOTE: I didn’t take pics of children as the Japanese law does not allow to show kids’ faces (especially inside a school) without a previous written agreement from their parents.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

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French Cuisine: Summer Lunch at Pissenlit (2010)

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
no-smoking-logoentirely non-smoking!

The weather has turned from hot to scalding and it has become increasingly a real challenge for all restaurants to serve lunches both light, tasty and healthy to ever demanding clienteles (especially when considering that most customers then are ladies spending their husbands’ wages!)!

I though it was about time I sampled what the ladies enjoyed at Pissenlit, one of the best French restaurants in the whole Prefecture (~4,000,000 souls)
The appetizer above was a bit of a puzzle: Ripe Peach Chilled Soup (Vychissoise)
The soup itself was prepared with ripe peaches, vehetables consomme added with milk and fresh cream and a simple seasoning of salt and pepper.
It came topped with a sherbet made with the smae peach.
Very refreshing summer appetizer! I seemed to be caught between sweet and slightly salty notes all the time…

The next appetizer was not on themenu actuallly.
It is a terrine of “ayu/鮎”. a small indiineous (Japanese) trout-like fish coming with the grand Latin name of Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis. It is a very popular fish with river (it also swims in nearby seas) anglers.

It is also called Sweetfish.
As a terrine it a rare treat indeed. The whole fish, head and tail was used.

The dressing is also a rarity as it is concocted with “tade/蓼” or water pepper, vinegar and olive oil.
Why do I feel so spoiled? LOL

I chose a fish for the main dish. Definitely lighter on the system.
The fish from Sagara in Shizuoka Prefecture is called “kochi/鯒”.

It is also called “Sand Borer”. It is typical fish of Shizuoka Prefecture although it can found in other Japanese water.
It is a slightly extravagant fish to order. It is both appreciated raw and cooked, so you can imagine the compeptition between restaurants!

An “end view” of the fish.

It was roasted and later seasoned with a red wine sauce. The meat has definite bite for a white-fleshed fish that would please even meat eaters!

From a different angle for a better view of the vegetables.

The vegetables were bBack Cabbage, Baby Corn, Violet Carrot, Romanesco Cauliflower (in Japanese sango/coral cauliflower), Morroko Ingen/Morrocan String Beans, all organic from Hirooka Garden in Mishima City, as well as more carrot and Chinese greens.
The perfect (and healthy) balance!

I just couldn’t resist some cheese for dessert and consequently brought the whole healthy balance to nothing!LOL

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

Please check the new postings at:
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