Radioactivity in Food: About time to ask (yourselves) a few questions…

Tea fields in Hirano, Shizuoka City

A young German friend of mine who stayed for some time in Shizuoka City (you know, near Mout Fuji…) until the horrendous earthquake in the North East of Japan confided me in a private e-mail how concerned he was with the recent mass media reaction in his country when radiocative tea was found in the Warashina District high in the mountains of Shizuoka City.

First of all, I would like to put the occurence into perspective, something that German and French mass media have willingly refused to do for obvious political (and economical) reasons:
Now, although the amount of radioactivity was only a little higher than outdated standards the tea was safe for consumption.
The radioactivity was detected in a misnuscule area at 1,000 meters altitude in a single organic tea farm.
Naturally, the aforesaid mass media did not bother to investigate on site… which reminds me of an “eminent” France 2 reporter, Alain de Calvron reporting “live” on the Fukushima disaster form Osaka City, more than 700 km away!

Corn fields in Toyoda Cho, near Iwata City in Shizuoka Prefecture.

When the earthquakes and tsunamis struck Japan, there was an almost universal concern about the country in the rest of the world which was bombarded at nasueam with films and comments of Apocalypse.
Then, two weeks later, there were general admiration and compassion for the stolid inhabitants of this country who refused to bend to natural catastrophes.
But now, we have come back to the old ways and bashing after the World realized that Japan was quickly back on its feet, and this a lot too faster to some….

Fresh Shizuoka Vegetables in Bagna Cauda style at Piatto Restaurant in Shizuoka City

Some people ought to ask themselves why Japan and the Japanese refuse to pay back everyone for the constant bashing.
Do you remember?
-Whaling: The Japanese never asked questions or comparisons with Iceland and Norway when they tried to explain their position.
-Toyota: Their President paid a personal vitit to the States to apologize. Now what is the state of the US car industry compared to Toyota?
-Bluefin tuna: Japan is the only country who succeeded, and this in 3 diferent places, Kyushu, Kinki and Shizuoka, to raise bluefin tuna from the egg (specimens weighing more than 30 kg are already swimming about) among a host of marine life they have helped re-stocking. What about Europe and the States?

I can give you at least one reason: wisdom.
People tend to forget all too easily that Japan, an island nation lost in the Pacific has found the means to live through European attempts of colnialism, WWII and and innumerable natural catastrophes from volcano eruptions to tsunamis, and has even found the time and means to develop the most progressive gastronomy in the World in between!

Blueberries grown without any pesticides in Goshima, Shizuoka City.

Not being Japanese, I will ask the questions the Japanese could throw into the faces of some:

-Germany, Italy and Spain will stop producing nuclear electicity. Where will the buy their electricity from?
-The Japanese are not even thinking of asking for radioactivity tests all over Europe. What would be the results if conducted?
-Has anyone in Europe checked what lies at the bottom of the Baltic Sea?
-Spanish, French and ships from other countries are overfishing some varieties while throwing the unwanted species back dead into the sea.

Shall I continue?

Don’t you think some honesty and introspection are in order?

Robert-Gilles Martineau

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
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

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

Advertisements

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’11/35): Shiira Bento!

“Shiira/シイラ” is the Japanese name for Mahi-mahi, Dorado,or Common dolphinfish!

It is a very popular and reasonably-priced fish in Japan you can eat in all manners. This particular one came from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku Island although they are also caught of our shores in Shizuoka!

This time the Missus kept things simple with the rice.
After steaming it she mixed it with some finely chopped carrot and parsely and topped it with broken walnuts.

She strived for balance in nutrients as well in colors for the “side dish”!

Having cut the fillets of shiira into proper-size bits she took off the small bones with pincers before covering the pieces of fish with flour, seasoning, egg and panko and shallow frying (fried in shallow oil, not deep) them.
She added lemon for more seasoning and color and plenty of lettuce for the fibers and vitamin C!

For the “garnish”, she placed her favorite half-boiled egg decorated with black olive, boiled broccoli on a small bed of tartare sauce, French cornichons and tomatoes (the latter for dessert!).

Very tasty, but a little short of satisfaction (I guess the Missus is significantly reducing the calories!)!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
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

Blueberries with no pesticides in Shizuoka City: Masako Mochizuki!

Mrs. Masako Mochizuki/望月正子さん!

A true farmer’s abode growing their own food (tomatoes)!

In Shizuoka (and in Japan most of the time for that matter) you very quickly move from the sea to deep into mountains within minutes when you embark into an interview of a local farmer!

Overgrown asparaguses in the foreground and fig trees in the background!

This is when you need friends, especially considering I do not drive (I never did in my life!).
Mind you, I could use a bus or even my bicycle in that case as we went as far as Gojima/後島 up the Abe River, a beautiful trip in itself!

But my good friend, Mrs. Natsuko Koyanagi/小柳奈津子さん, who knows all the farmers along the river, was on hand again to help me!

This is green tea land, too!

Tell the truth, Masako Mochizuki is a celebrity in the region. If you are lost just ask for the blueberry lady’s house!

The blueberry fields with nets to fend off birds!

The Mochizuki family, like all farmers around, had been growing tea and other staple crops when 15 years ago a friend approached Masako personally to ask her to grow blueberries, known to be extremely beneficent to health and eyes in particular!

One of the gadgets to fend off birds. Masako San said that it actually turned more into decoration than anything else!

A remarkable fact is that Masako San does not use any pesticide whatsoever, a notable rarity for that particular crop!
As for fertilizer she mixes only the minimum with home-made compost and others!

She grows 40 varieties, 10 of for sale, in 5 fields on a total area of 700 tsubo/2,300 sauqre meters.
I just can’t describe or take a picture (I’ll come back again anyway!) of all varieties or I’ll into a boring specialist!
But let me show a few of the trees that attracted my attention!

The different varieties will mature at different times. The above won’t be ready for harvest before at least a week.
That does not prevent Masako San and her husband from picking 10 kg of blueberries every morning between June and August!

Small type.

Even smaller but still unripe.

Definitely not ripe!

Medium-sized type with a great balance in taste! I picked quite a few of these!

The big ones, absolute beauties!

The same, to be eaten one at a time! LOL

My personal harvest of two varieties. Considering that the same trees had been harvested early that morning, I was more than satisfied!

A very small part of the morning’s harvest. Truly enormous and so sweet with the right touch of acidity!
I know a lot of chef friends who are going to ask questions!

As I said previously, blueberry is also considered as natural medicine in this country, so Masako, apart of creating jams and jellies, also make blueberry soap!

BLUEBERRY GOSHIMA/ブルーベリー後島
Mr.s Masako Mochizuki/望月正子さん
421-2105 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Goshima, 145-1
421-2105静岡市葵区後島145の1
Tel. & Fax: 054-294-0590
Mobile phone: 090-3938-2328
E-mail: masako77@agate.plala.or.jp
Private orders welcome!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
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

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

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’11/34): Alien Chicken Faces Bento!

Now, what made me call this bento, Alien Chicken Faces Bento?
The Missus is going to kill me for publishing such a title LOL
Mind you, I can always plead the sudden rise in temperatures as a good excuse!

Anyway, the rice first:
The Missus steamed it with a dash of soy sauce and dashi/soupstock added to the water.
Once steamed she mixed it with boiled black beans.

She added home-pickles mini-melons for fibers and vinegar.
These mini-melons mainly come from the musk melon farmes in the area of Fukuroi City who have to pare down their plants. A good way to avoid waste and turn a reject into gastronomy!

Now, for the accompaniment box:
Can you see the alien faces peeking out?

The Missus made her usual pickle corner with home-pickled cucumber mixed with seaweed (wakame) and umeboshi pulp with a little more ponzu!
Very appreciated on hot days!

Now, do you agree they look alien?
The Missus did work hard to conceive them with sasami/Chicken breast fillets she had first flattened before rolling them around boiled carrots strips and stringbeans and stir-fry them together.
She added plenty of local lettuce and small plum tomatoes for fibers and vitamins!

The dessert added plenty of colors with pineapple and redcurrants from our balcony garden (the redcurrants, not the pineapple!)!

Very colorful and summerlike bento! Very satisfying and yummy!
Loved those alien faces…

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
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

Sushi Restaurant: Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City (June 2011)

Umazura tsukuri/ウマズラ造り/Filefish sashimi plate!

Sushi Ko in Aoba Park Street in Shizuoka City is the sushi bar owned by Sushi Ko Main Sushi Restaurant in Ta-machi in the same city.
Mr. Oda has just been asked to take charge of the main restaurant while his very capable second, Mr. Kenta Birukawa/尾留川健太さん has been promoted Head of the Sushi Bar in Aoba.
The Bar is as good as ever, but now I will also have to check the main restaurant!

While the Missus drank her Chardonnay, I was sipping my sake brewed by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City. The above shows the snack coming with the first drink: octopus/tako/蛸 served with seaweed, momijioroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper, chopped thin leeks and ponzu!

We managed to get our favorite seats at the counter, but one half of the tatami room was busy with a group of 11 hungry salarymen!
Loads of consecutive work!

Our seats gave us the perfect view of the chefs at work!
They know us well, so they actually welcome the photography (without flash!), but make a point to ask for permission if you are a new customer (the latter applies for any restaurant!)!

On the menu of the day they had umazura tsukuri/ウマズラ造り/Filefish Sashimi Plate.
This fish whose name literally means “Horse face” is a kind of filefish found in Suruga Bay.
It was taken alive out of the fish pond!

Filefish in general is not that popular in other countries, but it definitely deserves attention.
Although it has not much meat, it makes for beautiful sashimi!

For a closer view!

Here it is, served with a dip made with its fresh liver and ponzu!
A real morsel!

Its cheeks were served deep-fried!

Chef Birukawa has kept a little to serve the perfect filefish nigiri topped with its liver and momijioroshi and some thin leeks and wasabi between the neta/topping and the shari/rice!

The Missus always asks for the maguro ponkara/鮪ぽんから/deep-fried tuna served with momiji oroshi, ponzu and sliced red onions!

Whatever the sushi restaurant we always ask for magurozuke/鮪漬/marinated tuna as each establishment has a different recipe!

Sushi Ko always have great botan ebi/牡丹海老/large sweet prawn from Hokkaido in season!

Their freshness means we are guaranteed their deep-fried heads. They make for beautiful crackers!

When we asked for anago/穴子/conger eel, they came in the perfect combination of one piece shio-aji/塩味/salted and the other one, tare-aji/たれ味/brushed with sweet sauce!

Another favorite: tachiuo aburi nigiri/太刀魚炙り握り/Seared scabbard fish nigiri seasoned with ponzu!

Chef Mirukawa’s specialty: Sushi Millefeuille!

The Millefeuille was made with maguro akami/lean tuna, cucumber, avocado and topped with flying fish roe!

A vegetarian/vegan sushi roll with natto, shiso and umboshi!

Another vegetarian/vegan sushi roll with kanpyou/干瓢/dry gourd shavings and plenty of wasabi!

Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette!

We usually finish such meals with hot food.
The Missus had nameko mushroom miso soup with plenty of seaweed.

As for me I had chyawanmushi/茶碗蒸し/Japanese-style hot salted pudding!

And we were graciously offered Shizuoka-grown musk melon as we paid our (very reasonable) bill!

To continue…

SUSHI KO
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Park Street)
Tel.: 054-251-9701
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (in Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
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

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

Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Kenkadako/Fighting Kites


  
On my way to work today I decided to stop at Kakegawa JR Station and sample my first ekiben sold in that station!
The name “Kenkadako/喧嘩凧/ means fighting kites ( the playthings, not the birds), another name given to the Hamamatsu Festival.

The same ekiben is sold at Hamamatsu and Kakegawa JR Stations where the Shinkansen/Bullet Train stops by Jishotei co./自笑亭株式会社.

A wet towel and chopsticks are graciously provided with the name of the company.

The box cover would definitely be a must-get collector’s item for the ekiben fan!

All the different designs are real emblems of family kites seen in the air (they are truly enormous!)!
Have a look HERE for a great picture collection of the event!

Like any other worthy company, Jishotei Co. clearly indicates the contents of the box!

One more paper towel is provided while the contents are well protected by an extra transparent hard sheet of paper.

Now, what do we have there?

Plain steamed rice with black sesame seeds.

Wasabi Zuke/wasabi stems and leaves pickled in sake white lees to accompany the rice and red pickled cucumber.
Curried chicken (popular anywhere, isn’t it?).

Nikudango/肉団子/ Meat ball made with minced chicken and onions.
Unagi Dani/鰻田煮/broiled eel. Eels are a famous product from Western Shizuoka Prefecture!

Hijikini/ひじき煮/simmered hijiki sweet seaweed with soy beans.
Niwatori no Karage/鶏の唐揚/deep-fried chicken.

Ebifrai/海老フライ/deep-fried shrimp.
Yakisaba/焼鯖/grilled mackerel.
Bottle of soy sauce.

The tidbits:
From left to right, bottom to top:
Simmered shiitake mushroom, ikadango/イカ団子/steamed cuttlefish paste ball, two kinds of colored (green and gray) balls of konnyaku/蒟蒻/elephant’s foot tuber, boiled satoimo/里芋/taro, simmered sweet kuri/栗/chestnut and ninjin/人参/carrot.

Very satisfying and so intriguing! And yummy!

To be continued…

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
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

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

Shizuoka sake Tasting: Senjyu Brewery-Ginjyou Enshyuu Gohyakumangoku

Senjyuu Brewery is the sole brewery still standing in Iwata City, but it can benefit from a rich farmland as demonstrated by the Gohyakumangoku Sake Rice grown in the region under the name of Enshyuu Gohyakumangoku. Enshyuu is the traditional name of the region covering most the Western area of Shizuoka Prefecture.

As Senjyu Brewery does not add a sticker with figures at the back of the bottle of this particular brew you need a good knowledge of Japanese to decipher the small characters!

Rice: Enshyuu Gohyakumangoku (Shizuoka-grown)
Rice milled down to: 50%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in June 2011

Clarity: Very clear.
Color: Transparent.
Aroma: Fruity. Alcohol. Pineapple.
Body: fluid and liquorish
Taste: Dry attack backed up by pleasant alcohol.
Disappears fairly quickly on a dry note.
Complex: almonds with notes of pineapple and oranges with citrus notes lingering on.
Pleasant and light dry sake. Changes little with food.
Faint coffee beans, walnuts, dark chocolate and nuts appearing with further sips.

Overall: Pleasant sake that can be enjoyed either slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Very pleasurable on its own although it has obviously been designed to accompany food.
Dry but soft and complex sake. Easy to drink!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
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

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