First Shizuoka Gastronomic Skills Meet-2011/食の芸術(集い・平成23年度)

Top award-winning chefs Touru Arima/有馬亨 (Pissaenlit/Shizuoka City) and Fuminori Nishitani/西谷文紀 (Nori/Fujieda City)

On November 29th was held the First Gastronomic Skills Meet/食の芸術(集い) in Shizuoka City under the auspices of the Shizuoka Prefecture Government which has been actively been active in promoting the gastronomic products and skills of our Prefecture notably with the publication of a book titled [ふじのくに食の都つくり仕事人]/[The Professionals who promote the gastronomy of the Land of Mount Fuji] which introduced 200 of the top-class chefs of our Prefecture.

For the first year 13 Chefs were given the top cccolade of Chefs of the Year (2011) while 63 of their colleagues were also given official recognition and 26 products were officially labeled as Designated Products of Shizuoka Prefecture.

The official banner!

A total attendance of more than 300 professionals, officials and gastronomes!

Some of the laureates!

A beautiful MC from a local TV Channel!

Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu/川勝平太 made a passionate (and loger than expected) speech about Shizuoka Prefecture products. An easy task when you realize it has been officially recognized by the Japanese government as the Prefecture boasting the greatest (by very far) number of agricultural and sea products!

Top-award winning chefs waiting for their accolade.

A small sample of the media in attendance!

After all this somewhat stiff officialdom (this is Japan!) we were finally invited to the neighboring hall to discover the Shizuoka-branded products and dishes prepared by some of the award-winning chefs!

Wasabi, persimmons and tomatoes naturally!

Two of my favorite products: Milk from Oratche Company in Kannami, Mishima City and Bioran Eggs from Shimizu Farm in Shizuoka City!

Salmon trout from Fujinomiya City are famous all over Japan!

Tuna sashimi on red orange slices

And the food! It was certainly a battle to get even near it!

A dessert from Shizuoka!

And another one!

Fried fish balls!

Ebi imo taro and sakura ebi/cherry shrimps appetizers!

Venison and wild boar from Izu no Kuni City in Izu Peninsula!

Tea roulade!

The plate I somehow battled away from the tables!

No need to tell you that I battled again for a second helping!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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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

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Japanese Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats

WAGASHI-4

One main ingredients in traditional Wagashi/Japanese Cakes is “anko/餡子” (or more simply “an”) which can be translated as “sweetmeats” or “bean jam”.

I would like here to introduce a simple way to make one’s own “anko” at home:

INGREDIENTS:

Azuki/Adzuki/red beans (in Japanese: 小豆): 150 g
Sugar: 150g
Salt: a little

RECIPE:

a) Wash azuki lightly. Put in a large basin with an equal amount of water and turn on heat to high.

b) Bring to boil. If beans level is higher that of water, add water till beans are completely covered. Let simmer. Add water 2 or 3 times as soon as the water does not cover completely the beans and this until beans stop floating on water.

c) Drain beans, put them back into basin with same amount of water and turn fire to high. Repeat a) operation.

d) Cook as c) for 40~60 minutes.

e) Mash azuki beans lightly. Add sugar. Simmer and stir to mix, making sure the jam does not overboil.

f) Add a little salt (to your taste) and mix.
Let cool completely.
You can eat it as it is of course, but you will need it to make your cakes!
You can either sieve it to make it a very fine paste, sieve a part and mix it with the unsieved part, or use it as it is. In any case it will be easy to fashion!

WAGASHI-ANKO

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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

Shiitake Mushrooms Cultivation without Agrochemicals: Shizuo Nanjyo in Shizuoka City!

It is never too late to become conscious of health and to contribute to its betterment!
I did not enquire about his age but Shizuo Nanjyo is definitely my elder but he has never lost his enthusiasm and belief when it comes to insure a healthy product of the highest quality.
A second-generation tea grower for 58 years but a first-generation shiitake mushroom grower for 50 years he decided to get away from the beaten tracks this year and assume not only the cultivation but also the marketing of his shiitake mushrooms.

Logs to be used for shiitake cultivation.

I finally managed to pay him a visit thanks to my good friend Asami Ito who kindly drove me all the way up the Abe River in Shizuoka City into the middle of wasabi and green tea land (mountains) in Do District.

Mr. Nanjyo grows his shiitake in a large greenhouse in a very clean environment without the use of any agrochemicals to ensure the heath and safety of his products.

As a further proof of his attention to health he had the government survey his crop and give him a certificate stating that his mushrooms are radioactivity free!

Insects and pests are taken care of with sticking tape traps (can you see the yellow pieces overhead?)
The wood logs come from kunugi/椚/Sawtooth Oaks (90%) and nara/楢/Japanese Oak from neighbouring Yamanashi Prefecture.

Logs are first inoculated with shiitake mushroom mycelium (also from Yamanashi Prefecture).

The logs are then soaked into clean water to help the mycelium to spread inside the log.

When the first tiny mushrooms start appearing the logs are then stacked and stored outside for 6 months.

They are protected from the sun, rain and big temperature gaps with reeds imported all the way from lake Biwa!
What about that for ecology!
Vinyl sheets are ineffective as they don’t allow air drafts and actually negatively help the temperature to rise under them.
This type and method of cultivation is only a return to traditional farming after all!
Logs are used for 4 years and then will be sent to specialized companies who will turn them into compost or sawdust for effective recycling.

When the logs are ready for fructification Shizuo will then move them inside the greenhouse kept at a regular temperature of around 25 degrees between October and May. Each log will be dated to know exactly when the mushrooms will be ready for harvest.

After that it is a question of timing as some customers want their mushrooms small,…

Others larger…

Shizuo kindly offered me to choose mine from those beauties as a souvenir!

Actually, I was still very busy talking with the kind producer about farming in general and Asami kindly picked some (plenty!) for me (in her left hand!), but Shizuo would not let me go without accepting an even bigger bunch of them (in Asami’s right hand!)!

Not only that, but I also ended up with two succulent daikon and a truly enormous cabbage from their personal garden!

Their garden is very popular as they have to protect it with a double netting to fend off monkeys, wild boars and deer which regularly pay an unwelcome visit to farms in the mountains!

It was only natural to put all these beautiful super fresh mushrooms to good use and bring plenty of them to Yasaitei Izakaya to be served and introduced to customers!

There is no better way to advertise great produce than having them served at once to happy gastronomes by knowledgeable chefs!

Shizuo Nanjyo, Shiitake Grower
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Do, 504-2
Tel.: 054-298-2155
Individual orders welcome
Mr. Nanjyo’s shiitake mushrooms will also be on sale every Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 from December 11th at the car park of Marufuku Tea Company, Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, 112.
Fpr more details call Ms. Asami Ito: 0120-36-4188

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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

Japanese Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子1: Introduction

WAGASHI-1

There is a traditional way of making cakes in Japan that ought to please no end vegans and people allergic to wheat flour and dairy products, namely Wagashi!

Wagashi (和菓子) is a traditional Japanese confectionery which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits.

Wagashi is typically made from natural based (mainly plant) ingredients. The names used for wagashi commonly fit a formula—a natural beauty and a word from ancient literature; they are thus often written with hyōgaiji (kanji that are not commonly used or known), and are glossed with furigana.

Generally, confectioneries that were introduced from the West after the Meiji Restoration (1868) are not considered wagashi. Most sorts of Okinawan confectionery and those originating in Europe or China that use ingredients alien to traditional Japanese cuisine, e.g., kasutera, are only rarely referred to as wagashi.

WAGASHI-2
Assortment of wagashi for a tea ceremony

During the Edo period, the production of sugarcane in Okinawa became highly productive, and low quality brown sugar as well as heavily processed white sugar became widely available. A type of sugar, wasanbon, was perfected in this period and is still used exclusively to make wagashi. Wagashi was a popular gift between samurai, in significance much like a good wine. Wagashi is served as part of a Japanese tea ceremony, and serving a good seasonal wagashi shows one’s educational background.

WAGASHI-3
Wagashi in the shape of rape flowers/Na no Hana

There are many, many kinds of Wagashi.
I will (re-)introduce them in the next postings, followed by other postings on the basic preparation.

WAGASHI-ABEKAWAMOCHI-2
Shizuoka’s Abekawa Mochi

Just know that about every region in Japan has its own traditional Wagashi!

Avaibility:
Wagashi is widely available in Japan, but quite rare outside it.
Minamoto Kitchoan (源 吉兆庵)
Has a varied selection, and stores in New York City (shipping throughout the US), London (shipping throughout Europe), and Singapore, in addition to Japan.
Toraya (とらや)
Has a full Paris store, stores in Japan, and sells a limited selection (yōkan only) at New York stores.
Fugetsu-do
Family owned and operated in the USA, since 1903, Fugetsu-do now ships anywhere in the USA.

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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

Japanese Vegetarian & Vegan Cuisine Ingredient: Yomogi!

“Yomogi”, also called “Mochigusa” (mochi grass) has been picked, used and grown for ages in most of this country, first as a medicinal herb and second for food.
Its latin name is “Artemisia princeps”. It mainly grows in mountains on sun-exposed slopes. Not to be confused with “niga-yomogi”, the Japanese name for thujone, e.g. absinthe!

Preparation of wagashi/Japanese cakes made with rice flour, yomogi and anko/sweetmeats!

It blooms in June~July. Farmers have long used its roots as medicine, after pressing water out and drying them.
The leaves are considered to help against lack of appetite, thin blood, stomach colds, diarrhea, nose bleed, constipation and gout. They are aslo extensively used in baths.
As for medicine make Yomogi sake: Leave 300g. of leaves in 1.8 l. of sake for half a year. Drink a 20ml, 3 times a day.
Leaves can be applied on insect-bitten skin.

“Kintsuba/Sabre guard” wagashi made with rice flour, yomogi and sweetmeats (Miwa Supermarket, Shizuoka City)

There are many ways to enjoy them as food as well as medicine:
-Tempura
-Sasa Dango

Sasa Dango

In Shizuoka, you will also find many farmers selling a sweet in the shape of a hot cake with sweetmeats (anko) inside.

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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

French Gastronomy: Shizuoka Products at Pissenlit (October 2011)!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Superb washroom (mouthwash and toothpicks provided!)
Prices: reasonable to slightly expensive, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables and Shizuoka-bred meat

The Fall in Shizuoka, like in many countries all the world is a time of plenty with food provided by the land and sea overwhelming vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood. It is the time to re-visit your favorite restaurants and chefs and learn so much about new products and techniques!

The board advertizing the B Lunch Menu at a very good value of 2,500 yen convinced me away from work for a while!

Impatiently waiting for the beauties to land on my plate…

Not being able to drink alcohol during my break I opted for the ever delicious home-made ginger ale!

Never mentioned on the menu, Chef Touru Arima always awards your patience with one of his superb amuse!

Hot potage made with organic carrots from Chizen no Chikara Farm!

Mousse made with the leaves of the same carrots on a bed of pureed tomatoes!

The appetizer: Quiche made with lotus roots grown in Asabata, Shizuoka City, small chestnuts and organic spinach with an organic green salad!

Being French, no wonder I’m a sucker for quiche!

Especially when East meets West. Can you see the sliced lotus root?

The entree: Tender and juicy Yuusui Ton/湧水豚 Pork bred in Gotemba City!

From another angle! The pork was poeleed in mustard sauce.

All vegetables are organic, either from Shizen no Chikara Farm in Shizuoka City or Hirokawa Garden in Mishima City!

Great dessert of the day as usual, but this time it was really special and would deserve an article of its own!

Organic carrot Creme Brulee!

When a great vegetable becomes an unctuous dessert… What more can you ask?

…: hot organic mandarine caramelized with all kinds of nuts!

With nuts inside the mandarine! What painstaking work!

Incidentally I belatedly realized that I started and finished my meal with carrots! To think I hated them when I was a kid…

Finally, coffee served at it should be! With black tea madeleine and jellied orange peel!

Difficult to get better value!

To be followed soon…

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
Entirely non-smoking!

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

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Haginishiki Brewery-Toro No Sato Tokubetsu Junmai

The labels of Sake Breweries make for a good support for advertising cultural assets among others to the rest of the world.
Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City has long been producing a fine sake under the name of Toro no Sato/登呂の里:Toro Village to commemorate the Ruins of Toro.

The site of a village dating back to the late Yayoi Period (about 2,000 yeras ago) was unearthed on the 11th of July 1943 in the middle of Shizuoka City. It is registered as a National Historic Monument and is open to the public as well as a Museum.

Rice: Biyama Nishiki/美山錦
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: + 1
Acidity: + 1.4
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in June 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Almost transparent
Aroma: Discreet, complex. Greens, faint notes of coffee beans and vanilla
Body: Fluid
Taste: Very dry attack backed by Junmai petillant.
Complex and fruity: Coffee beans, banana, dry nuts.
Starts and ends up very dry with pleasant alcohol.
Lingers on very little.
Turns even drier with food with strong hints of coffee beans and dark chocolate competing with very dry banana and greens.

Overall: A sake obviously devised for food that can be drunk lightly chilled, at room temperature or lukewarm.
More complex and drier than expected. Its dryness makes it a good sake for any food, especially izakaya fare.
Very solid and dependable. No wonder we see it often in Shizuoka Izakayas!

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