Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’11/21): Alien Face Tamagoyaki Bento!

I don’t know if it’s the fault of yesterday’s medical check up, but I seem to recognize “alienfaces” looking at me through the tamagoyaki!
Actually the Missus agreed when she made it this morning!

Beautiful orange-dominated colors in the “rice box” although I wish that the Missus had not forgotten sending the two detailed pictures of it.
The rice was steamed together with finely chopped carrot then mixed together once cooked and finally sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
The Missus then fried sliced zucchini to be placed under fried tuna filets topped with cheddar cheese. The finishing note was achieved with a pair of Shizuoka-grown Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes.

Actually you will have to look top to bottom to see the “alien faces”!

Can you see them now: two with a “nose”, the bottom one with two eyes and a very thin smiling mouth!

And now for the explanations:
Home-pickled myoga ginger and pieces of fresh ginger root from Hatada Garden in Kuno, Shizuoka City that the Missus pickled herself.
The tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette was plain with plenty of sweet boiled black beans.

As for the greens, boiled string beans in hot sesame dressing.

This bento seems light, but it wasn’t actually, what with the solid amount of rice!
Very satisfying and tasty!

Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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); Ohayo Bento

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Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Recipes for Hasegawa Garden’s Portabella Mushrooms!

I was given a few enormous Portabella Mushrooms the other day among a batch of mushrooms sent to our office at Agrigraph.!

Mr. Mitsushi Hasegawa/長谷川光史さん

They are grown by Mr. Mitsushi Hasegawa in Fuji City at Hasegawa Garden/長谷川農園.

They were truly enormous!

To give you a better idea!

So, last night the Missus and I (well, more the Missus than I!) found ourselves busy devising recipes for them to be served at dinner.
For the first recipe, we agreed on steamed syu-mai style.
The Missus prepared a filling with minced chicken, chopped onions and carrots, the chopped mushroom stem, a little Japanese sake, salt and pepper.
She filled one Portabella Mushroom with it and covered the meat with syu-mai “skin strips”.

She steamed the whole, then. Interestingly enough, a lot of juices oozed out of it (she steamed syu-mai with the juices later!)!

We cut it carefully once out of the steamer.

Simple, juicy and very tasty!

For the second recipe the Missus decided to prepare it French/Italian style.
Instead of steaming it, she put the portabella Mushroom stuffed with the same syu-mai filling on a little olive oil on a non-stick pan but with nothing on top at first. She kept a glass lid over the fry pan so as not let juices evaporate. She fried it for a little while before adding some white wine and covering it with the lid again. Once the filling was cooked she placed cheese and tomato sauce on top and cooked it until the cheese has spread down to the bottom of the pan.

Simple, juicy and tasty again!
Sorry for the picture blurred by the steam coming out of the filling!

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, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’11/20): Medical Check Up Bento!

A Medical Check Up Bento? My, what are we going to invent these days! LOL
Actually, it is a very simple story: this norning I had to submit myself to my annual medical check up! I’m not interested in describing all the niggles my body is having a good time with, so I’ll go straight to what the Missus concocted for me!

The rice was a straight affair: steamed, that is all. But the soft-boiled and marinated egg is a creation of the Missus. The red cucumber pickles are Kyoto-style but the leaf ginger (stick ginger) pickles are peurely local and made by a Shizuoka grower (the Missus is preparing her own with the batch I brought back from the same grower!).

The Missus must have been worried about the results of my medical check up as the pictures were definitely on the dark side. LOL

The vegetables consisted of three kinds of stir-fried pimentoes, some lettuce and deep-fried kabocha.

The Missus’ deep-fried/karaage chicken, deep-fried kabocha (interetsing taste”!) and bolide sweet black beans ( my dessert?).

Very healthy and tasty. The doctor will worry not seeing me as much as he would like to!

Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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); Ohayo Bento

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Japanese Vegetables 5: Asparaguses

asparagus-varieties

Asparagus has been used from very early times as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. It is said that it was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter. It lost its popularity in the Middle Ages but returned to favour in the seventeenth century.

It is recognized in many quarters as natural medicine:
-Asparagus rhizomes and root are used ethnomedically to treat urinary tract infections, as well as kidney and bladder stones.
-Asparagus is also believed to have aphrodisiac properties (this belief is at least partially due to the phallic shape of the shoots).

FACTS:

-Season (in Japan): May~June
They are at their best March~June in the Northern Hemisphere, but can be obtained all year round thanks to state-of-the-art greenhouse cultivation.

-Analytic data (as per 100g):

Energy: 22 kcal
Water: 92.6 g
Carbohydrates: 3.9 g

Inorganic qualities:
Potassium: 270 mg
Iron: 0,7 mg
Zinc: 60 mg

Vitamins:
A alpha caroatene: 380 microg
B1: 0.14 mg
B2: 0.15 mg
B6: 0.12 mg
Leafy acid: 190 microg
C: 15 mg

Dietary fibers: 1.8 g

HEALTH FACTS:

-When combined with seaweed, or carrot, or broccoli, or spinach, provides stamina and helps combat cancer and colds.

-When combined with shellfish, or chicken, or turnips, or red-fleshed fat fish, helps combat liver problems and provides stamina.

-When combined with okra, or avocado, or celery, or garlic, heps combat cancer, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

-When combined with onion, or codfish, or tofu (especially yuba), or konnyaku/devil’s tongue tuber-elephant’s foot tuber, helps with qaulity and flow of blood, helps combat obesity and blood vessel hardening.

VARIETIES:
Most popular varieties are shown in the picture above: White, Green and “wild-style” (apeelations vary!)

asparagus-wild

Asparaguses are abundant in the wild, but they grow very quickly and get too hard for consumption.
The wild ones picked in their natural environment are my favourite as I fondly remember picking them up as a soldier in the South of France during our drills and cooking them in simple omelettes!

asparagus-violet

Violet asparaguse are very popular in any restaurants!

asparagus-mini

Mini-asparaguses are ever so popular in Japan thanks to their practical size.

TIPS:

-Choose asparaguses with a clean cutting surface. No black spots should appear.

-The darker the colour, the better. As for white asparaguses, choses with a “wet cutting”

-When storing your asparaguses in the fridge, have them stand upright in a long narrow container with their foot wrapped in wet kitchen paper. Discard bent asparaguses on the supermarket stands.

-Choose green asparaguses with the smallest possible foliage along the stems and dark tips.

-When boiling them, either boil them stading upright inside a pasta mesh container, or absolutely flat in a sauce pan. Do not bend them.

-Asparaguses are best digested when lightly fried with oil.

-If Asparaguses cannot be obtained directly from the farmer, lightly peel but keep yop half as it is to preserve Vitamins.

RECIPES:

uzu-41

Recipes are endless, but my favourite is the large green asparaguses and mozzarella gratin as prepared and served at Uzu/うず Izakaya in Shizuoka City!

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, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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Ramen Restaurant: Tsubame in Shimada City

Service:  Busy but friendly and smiling
Equipment & facilities: Very clean overall, excellent washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: superb and generous ramen, gyoza

For all the ramen shops literally brandishing their flags and noren/shop entrance curtains, if not assailing visitors with all kinds of garish photos of their menu placarded outside, some places are so concealed that you wouldn’t find them without an insider’s information!

The full car parking lot is not much of an indication either as the only signs you will see belong to other shops!

Early queues fast forming might be the cue then…
I was lucky that my good friend Aki Suzuki from Yasaitei was on hand, what is with being in an city i still have to learn about…

The entrance is small and does not give much indication as to what is waiting for you inside…

Finally a noren with “Tsubame” written on it hung over an inside door tells you are in the right place! “Tsubame” as the motif suggests means “swallow”! It could become a good joke in English, though!

And a big picture right inside confirms it!

A busy place right from the opening at 6:30 a.m.!

You can either sut at a counter or at a table, although you might not be able to choose if the place is too busy!

Plenty of gentle staff to look after you! Tough work to look after hungry customers from 06:30 to 15:00! Yes, it is not open in the veenings, and that is rare indeed!

A simple but clean place. I did not notice anybody smoking…
The food is served not in cheap plastic bowls, but in real clay bowls!

If you are lucky, you can sit in your own cozy corner! And a lot of customers think so, too!

When you read the menu bear in mind they serve only the red-circled items between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m.! The simple reason is that they are just too busy then!

There is a lot to choose from, including original gyooza, and it certainly deserves a few more visits.
Aki chose a typical ramen dish: “Tsubame Kossari Soba/燕こっさりそば”. It certainly looked delicious. Note that she ordered “Oomori/大盛”, meaning “large size”!

As for me, I asked for “Tsubame Wafuu Tsukemen/燕和風付け麺”, meaning Japanese-style ramen with soup dip.

The ramen (large serving) with their char siu (large serving again!) to be dipped into hot soup before eating.

The hot soup! Very tasty!
I rarely go out to eat ramen, but this definitely a place to go (and again!)

Tsubame/麺屋燕
Shimada Shi, Osakaya Machi, 8770/島田市御坂屋町8770
Tel.: 0547-34-2223
Business hours: AM 6:30~ PM 3:00 (or earlier if stock soup is exhausted)
Closed on Tuesdays and third Wednesday

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, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Oumuraya Brewery-Jyuube Junmai/Shimada City Gohyakumangoku Rice

Oumuraya Brewery in Shimada City has encouraged local farmers for a long time.
They have been recently brewing sake with sakamai/酒米/sake rice by local farmers.

I’ve just found this bottle called Jyuube/重兵衛 at (Farmers Market) Japan Bazaar in Shimada City.
The rice grown is of the Hyakumangoku variety.
They went as far as decorating the bottle with pictures of the very farmers!
How about that for traceability!

Rice: Hyakumangoku (100%)
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Strong and fruity: custard, vanilla
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong and drier than expected attack.
Fruity: Custard, bananas. Junmai petillant.
Disappears quickly with dry almonds.
Light and dry, almost discreet with food.
Dry pineapple appearing later.

Overall: A straightforward sake.
Very pleasant, fruity with a dry note.
Accompanies food well.
Very pleasurable on its own or with food.
A sake for all seasons!

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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Food Humor: Pervert Daikon or Three-legged Wonder?

Whereas big supermarkets in larger towns such as Tokyo and what else who are “serious” about their products and their displays, local shops do not hesitate to show and sell the tricks of nature!

Actually, and this very seriously, people living in rural Japan are in fact quite happy to discover such natural wonders as they are considered as symbols of fertility (just look around in Japanese countryside, and you are bound to discover all kinds of seriously venerated tricks of nature!).

This particular daikon was displayed by (Farmers Market) Japan Bazaar in Shimada City!

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, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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