Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/81): Rose Window Sushi Bento

A Rose Window in English, or a Rosace in French, is a stained glass window designed in the shape of a rose that you can admire in many churches and cathedrals in various countries (don’t get me wrong, I’m agnostic!).
I was going to call this bento with a more prosaic name but I had to quickly backpedal under The Missus’ opposition!…

To obtain that design, the Missus first steamed rice and arranged/seasoned it in sushi style before adding chopped Japanese pickles (cucumber et al). She then made rolls (inside cellophane paper) whith a core of wasabi cheese and German-style Lyoner Ham.
She cut the rolls through the cellophane paper before unwrapping the latter and roll the sudhi in lettuce.
She then placed the rolls inside the lacquered bento box (made in Shizuoka Prefecture) in the shape of Rose Window with plum tomatoes in the middle and a slice of pimento-filled olive to offset the symmetry.

She used the second box of the set of three with a partition to ddesign the “garnish” box according to colors and ingredients.

She filled the left-side quarter partition with a salad of boiled kabocha pumpkin with mayonnaise, cheese creamand black beans.
She filled the right-side quarter partition with a salad of cucumber and shallots slices pickled in rice vinegar and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

For dessert, she filled the upper half partition with fresh red oranges and fig compote I got at Mr. Naitoh’s Garden in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

Great colors, plenty of satisfaction and beautiful taste combination!
(I will have to stop praising the Missus or she will become untenable!LOL)

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/80): “Nutritional” Bento

Why do I call this bento, “Nutritional Bento” whereas bento by definition should be nutritional?
Simply because the Missus streesed on the point this morning when she decided to mix the rice with beans, saying that her bentos should be more nutritional!LOL

The rice she used this morning is Shizuoka-grown “mochi kome/glutinous rice seasoned with matcha tea powder.
Once she had steamed it she mixed it with ready-cooked black beans.
The whole certainly made for fulfilling meal!

The “garnish” made up for a full meal as it contained ingredients both from the land and the sea!

She fried two types of “tsukune/Japanese meat patties”, one toppedwith renkon/lotus roots, the other ones with shimeji mushrooms. She then added sauce to both of them as she finished frying them.
She pkaced both on a little lettuce.
The dessert cosisted of sliced squat persimmons/jiro kaki and red-heart kiwii fruit/kousen/紅鮮/”red fresh”, both grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.

She included fresh sakura ebi/cherry shrimps (only found in Shizuoka Prefecture/we are in season just now!) in the tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette for the sea food.
She arranged it with home-pickled daikon, carrotand cucumber sticks, as well as plum tomato and lettuce!

Nutritional and very tasty!

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; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Shizuoka Prefecture Agricultural High School Festival 2010

On Saturday, November 13th (not a Friday! LOL) Shizuoka Prefecture Agriculture High School held its annual School Festival!

It has easily become one of the major high school festivals in town and Prefecture.

It requires enormous preparation and many students had to stay overnight in the dormitory to make sure everything was in order for 9:30 a.m.!

Certainly all kinds of visitors appear on such events!

But I prefer the girls of that school!

Without a doubt the stars of the day are the bread and cakes club!
I arrived at 12:30 and only two kinds were left!

The students of the club are very serious about it!

But always smiling!

The pizza master who had been at work since 7:30!
The oven is a real one from Germany!

Unfortunately I couldn’t any of these wood oven baked mini pizzas as they had to be reserved!

The “ticket girls” didn’t have any tickets left for the pizza!
Unfair!

A Japanese national hobby: gold fish!

Poultry for the pleasure of visiting kids!

Special rooms had been arranged to introduce the students’ work and research.

All the while the cakes and bread disappeared to the very last!

I also paid a visit to the fields and greenhouses!

I had a hard time keeping my hands off these!

The school’s green tea was on sale!

And their spinach and shiitake mushrooms as well!

Plenty of photo displays to prove their good work!

I want one of those watermelons!

The sign says, “all oranges/mikan sold”! Unfair!

They grow flowers, too, and a lot of them!

For posterity!

After a hard day’s work!

See you next year!
(Will make sure to come early this time!)

Shizuoka Prefecture Agricultural High School
420-0812 Shizuoka Ken, Shizuoka Shi, Furusho, 3-1-1
Tel.: 054-261-1111/1113
Fax: 054-264-2226
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Organic Tea: Honyama Tea by Bunji Itoh at Marufuku Tea Co. Ltd.

Mr. Bunji Itoh/伊藤文治 in his fields in Hirano/平野, Shizuoka City

“Organic Tea will become a new norm within the next 10 years.”
Organic tea is still rare in Shizuoka Prefecture which produces no less than 45% of the total tea crop in Japan.
The Prefecture counts many famous brands, one of which is Honyama/本山 grown along the Abe/安部 and Warashina/藁科 Rivers across Shizuoka city up to the Japan Southern Alps.

Entrance sign in front of Bunji Itoh’s registered organic tea fields in Hirano

Bunji Itoh is the 3rd generation of a tea growing family and the 2nd generation at their company, Marufuku Tea Co. Ltd./丸福製茶株式会社.
10 years ago he pioneered organic tea in one of his tea fields in Hirano, up the Abe River near Utougi/有東木, the birthplace of wasabi.
Last year the Shizuoka Prefecture decided to promote its tea in Europe and Bunji Itoh was awarded an Official Organic Tea Recognition Licence in Germany for two kinds of organic tea!

So the other saw a real expedition of ours ride all the way to his fields located at almost 1,000 meters height!
The members of our expedition were (on the picture not featuring me):
Aya Itoh/伊藤彩, his younger daughter, Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実 his older daughter who, besides helping her father, runs her own business at Saiko Chyaen/彩香茶園, Mr. Bunji Itoh/伊藤文治 himself, Mr. Chaminda Jayawardana, a Sri Lankan Tea Merchant and Grower at Lumbini Tea Factory (PVT) Ltd. who had come at the International Tea Event held in Granship, Shizuoka City and who had been invited to join us all by my friend Nahoko Imai/今井奈保子, owner of Teebom Co..
Interestingly enough, except for Mr. Itoh, everyone was fluent in English!

It was actually a great drive along the Abe River and along the wasabi fields!

You quickly understood that the culture was organic as the lane sanking between the tea trees was covered with very healthy moss!

Mr. Itoh grows two kinds of organic tea, Yabukita/やぶきた which is cultivated from grafts and Zairai/在来種 which is grown form the seeds.
The whole area covers 60 ha at high altitude at foot of the Japan Southern Alps.

Stupendous vista from the same fields.
These are not clouds but mist, a major reason for the quality of the tea.

Flowers could be seen (they are of the same family as the camelias) blossoming from the base of the trees.
Chaminda remarked that they would never let them grow back in Sri Lanka where leaves are basically picked all year round, whereas here in Shizuoka they are picked only four times a year.

The area is replete with streams and falls providing clear and pure water not only to keep the fields wet but also to keep the insects away (the trees are watered three times a week to make all insects drop to the ground where they will become organic fertilizer!).
As for fertilizer, Mr. Itoh utilizes only organic matter, mainly composed of grass mowed on abandoned golf courses and let to ferment for three years before being spread between the trees.

There are plenty of damage on the leaves proving that the culture is organic!
The above picture shows downy mildew/炭素病.

Blister Blight/ブリスタ・ブライト.

For a closer view.

Fungi/カビ.

All these problems have to be taken care of in a natural manner.
No wonder a lot of farmers opt for the easy way.
But although Mr. Itoh grows other tea with a minimum of pesticides and artificial fertilizer, he believes he is on the right path with organic tea!

On our way back to Marufuku Tea Co. Ltd. in Wakamatu/若松 in Shizuoka City (see above sign),

we spent a long time observing the manufacture of tea,

and sampling it.
But as I need another visit to properly report on the manufacture it will have to wait until the next article!

Marufuku Seishya Co. Ltd. (Mr. Bunji Itoh)
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010

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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2010/11/10)

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin
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New Seasonal Releases: Country Girl Kabocha Ale, Bakayaro! Ale and Chotto Baka Ale

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

An annual autumn rite of passage is the release of a deliciously down-to-earth Baird Beer best characterized by two words: simplicity, sophistication. Country Girl Kabocha Ale marks her 9th annual debut on Thursday, November 11 and this year’s version is as terrific as last year’s World Beer Cup gold medal winner. 2008 and 2009 versions will also be available on draught at our Fishmarket Taproom and the 2008 version will be poured along side the 2010 version Nakameguro Taproom.

Fall is perhaps the season in which the glories of full-flavored craft beer shine most alluringly. We seek to help demonstrate this point to you with the release of two additional fall seasonal brews: Bakayaro! Ale and his little brother, Chotto Baka Ale. Each of these will be available beginning Friday, November 12.

New Seasonal Releases:

Country Girl Kabocha Ale 2010 (ABV 6%):
Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin-like squash the taste of which is elegantly sweet. The kabocha we use is grown in the Heda garden of our carpenter-partner-friend, Nagakura-san. We first cook it in order to gelatinize it, then we add it to our mash where the enzymes from the malt help to further break it down into simple fermentablesugars. Several characterful varieties of malted barley produce a hearty wort that when married to the kabocha yields a flavor partnership of great depth and balance. After fermenatation, re-fermentation and conditioning, the result is an earthy, rustic beer that manages to deliver an extraordinarily sophisticated yet subtle complexity of flavor. It is, to many resident beer enthusiasts, the flavor of fall in Japan! It is avail able both on draught and in bottles (633 ml).
Bakayaro! Ale 2010 (ABV 8.2%):
This insolent, snotty and mean-spirited brew is pungently hoppy and wickedly strong. High in malt gravity (1.080), bitter in hoppiness(90 IBU), aggressive in aroma (dry-hopping with Centennial), Bakayaro! Ale just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. We invite you to come in, have a pint and let those around know exactly how you feel. This year, for the first time, Bakayaro! also is available in bottles (633 ml) which can be purchased direct from the brewery E-Shop or through one of the fine Baird Beer retailing liquor shops in Japan.
Chotto Baka Ale (ABV 4%):
This is the Bakayaro’s little brother. He shares a common malt, hop and yeast DNA, only less of everything. If you tire of the overbearing older brother, Chotto Baka is a more approachable alternative. Chotto Baka is available only on draught at select Baird Beer retailing pubs in Japan.
Nakameguro Taproom Event Reminder:
*”Falling for Brew!” Beer School seminar and tasting which focuses on fall-season beers and autumn food accompaniments. The featured beer pairings are as follows:

Baird Fest Lager & Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager
Baird Country Girl Kabocha Ale & Southern Tier Pumking Ale
Baird Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale & Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale
Baird Bakayaro! Ale and Stone Arrogant Bastard
Our chef, Ishikawa-san, has been busy over the past several weeks crafting a fall food menu to accompany this spectacular lineup of autumn ales & lagers. I won’t spoil the food surprise here, but I can promise that participants are in for a real treat. For those participants not fully satiated, and for all those unable to attend because of a time conflict, we will be following the Beer School event with a sneak-preview tasting of genuine American barbecue from the smoking pit of our soon-to-be Bashamichi Taproom Pit Master, Chuck Morrow.

The Japanese language seminar and tasting will take place on Saturday, November 13 (3:00 pm start). The English language version will be the following day, Sunday, November 14 (3:00 pm start). Tickets cost 3,200 yen and seating is limited. Please contact the Nakameguro Taproom directly about attending (nakameguro-tap@bairdbeer.com; 03-5768-3025). Space is still available but it is filling up fast!

Cheers,

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
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Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/79): Tango Bento

No, this bento has nothing to do with dancing!
“Tango” in French is also the name of a colour halfway between orange and red. This is also the colour and surname of my hometown Rugby Club in Chalon Sur Saone in France: Check their fans’ Forum Page at 16 TANGOS!
Since kaki/persimmon are mentioned in this blog, I couldn’t resist the temptation! I wonder if there is an Amreican Football Team sporting the same colour!
Incidentally beer mixed with grenadine is also called Tango!

The Missus’ bentos might look elaborate, but she actually makes use of simple everyday ingredients most of the time.
Today, after steaming the rice she opened a small can of yakitori and mixed the lot with the rice while it was still hot.

Alright, the home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper seeds will be difficult to obtain or make outside Japan. Pickled, they are not so common here, either, but they add so much taste and zip!
As for the pickles, the red ones are murasaki daikon/violet daikon that the Missus has marinated with vinegar and konbu/seweed. The yellow shredded daikon pickles are from the supermarket. She sprinkled them with black roasted sesame seeds for a last touch.

The “garnish” box was a combination of leftovers and freshly cooked food.

For the fresh part the Missus prepared tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with shiso/perilla leaves and sweet umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums. Instead of cutting it across, she cut it at a slant for a different design very similar to what you will encounter at a sushi restaurant.
Leetuce wrap provisded for some more vitamins.

The “leftover” part consisted of macaroni, cucumber and avocado salad she had prepared the night before for dinner.
She added fresh plum tomato and home-pickled renkon/lotus root and more lettuce for good balance.

As for dessert, shizuoka-grown fruits: jiro kaki/squat persimmon for the “tango” part and red-heart kiwi fruit. The latter is very very sweet!

Great bento I must admit,when you consider the relative simplicity of the ingredients!

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; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/78): Back To Work Bento

Today was certainly back to work after a great Sunday spent playing cricket away from the computers for a ful day!

Today’s bento was also very much a classic bento.
The Missus steamed plain rice and filled one box with two layers of it separated with seaweed, a very popular way to remind the taste of a seaweed wrapped musubi.

She added home-pickled renkon/lotus roots with black sesame seeds, gobo/burdock root and carrot salad in gomadare/sesame sauce, and the last the mukago/yam nuts from my nighbor’s garden she had deep-fried beforehand.

The garnish was also a classic in two separate parts.

Karaage chicken/deep-fried chicken, Japanese-style, and friedsweet ptatoes with lettuce and lime for seasoning and more vitamins.

Salad of home-pickled cucumber, carrt, pepper and daikon.
Dessert consisted of apples stewed in roselle (hibiscus) jam I had made following a visit at a local farm.

A solid and tasty bento!

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; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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