Bento designed by Gentil Restaurant, Shizuoka, at the 2nd Mt. Fuji Network Forum!

The 2nd Mt. Fuji Network Forum was being held at Grandship on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2012 for an international seminar on children with congenital heart diseases.
As Ms. Keiko Kubota, Chef at Restaurant Gentil, had devised a bento for the participants using exclusively products of Shizuoka Prefecture I deemed it of great interest!

Granship really looks a ship!

The official event board organised by Shizuoka Children’s Hospital!

A room had been specially designated to promote some Shizuoka Products!

Extravagant strawberries from Fujieda City!

Shizuoka Matcha Chocolates by Gentil!

Azuki wagashi cakes by Shimmizuya in Shimada City!

Yummy!

Mr. Shiratori, the 16th generation of the oldest wasabi growing family in Japan, in Utogi, Shizuoka City!

Famous green tea from Kawane!

Crafts of Shizuoka including geta!

Handcrafted book covers!

Yamabuki Nadeshiko Organic Health Tea by Osada Tea Factory in Mori Machi!

Real flowers including cherry blossoms!

The doctors havin a break and waiting for their bentos coming all the way from Yui!

The water served at the seminar came from the Tenkei Source in Ryuugagandou, Hinasa Machi, Hamamatsu City!

The bento box/lunch box!

Even the chopsticks came from Shizuoka, namely in Tenryu, Hamamatsu City!

Pamphlets introducing the contents in Japanese and English had been readied!

The picture was hand-drawn by Ms. Keiko Kubota!

Alright, what did we have?
All Shizuoka products, even the rice and salt!

Cherry shrimps/Sakura ebi steamed rice!

Hanpen, oden, carrot, konyaku, rape flowers and hijiki seaweed!

Tempura: Sweet potato, horse mackerel, green pepper and Sakura ebi/sakura shrimps!

Kamaboko/steamed fish paste, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelet, spinach hitashi and tomato!

A very healthy lunch for doctors!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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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Gastronomic Dilemma: Can a vegetarian and an omnivore strike a durable relation?

SUSHIK-09-08-31-14
Vegetarian Sushi

Some time ago a friend asked me a thorny question:
“Is my relation with my new vegetarian boyfriend doomed because I’m an omnivore?”

My personal reply would be that there is little reason for her relation to fail. But I sometimes tend to be a bit too simplistic, so I thought this was a good opportunity to delve on an ever growing issue.
I do not pretend to know all the solutions/answers, and I would be honored if anyone could offer her/his opinions on that matter!

I think that the key is to be positive about this gastronomic divergence.
Instead of considering it a matter of contention, it should be taken as a chance to expand one’s horizons.
I know of many vegans who cook for their omnivore halves. The opposite should hold true.
As long as it is not a religious issue (I’m agnostic), I see it as a source of daily joy and contentment.

I also see it as household cooperation.
If you decide to live together, why not have one take care of all the food (and washing the dishes!), and the other take care of all the house chores regardless of his/her gender? You can’t start to imagine how much time you would have left to enjoy each other’s company!

KUSHIYAKI-YASAI-1

Yasai Kushiyaki/Vegetables brochettes.

Having two different culinary priorities can become a lot of fun at parties:
You’re planning a BBQ? No problem!
Prepare two plates/grills over the same fire.
Hamburgers: meat ones on one side, tofu vegetables patties on the other one.
Yakitori/brochettes: meat ones one side, yasai kushiyaki/vegetables brochettes on the other.
Even vegetarian sausages exist!
You can always have two sets of sauces to make everyone happy!
And so on!
Even if your vegetarian half is strict, eating no eggs should not be much of a hindrance.
Use your imagination and ask around!
Tempura can be made without the egg white for example (use cornstarch)!

You are going to a restaurant?
In this case, try to find a restaurant which serves both cuisines.
Any good restaurant should be willing and able to tackle the challenge.
After all, one should go to a restaurant to learn and enjoy food. If you can make it at home, go to the market and spend a bit more money of your food. Remember that the more you pay on good food, the less you will pay a doctor!

As for restaurants, in my own city, Shizuoka, I know at least two French, one Italian, one Japanese, two izakaya and one sushi restaurant capable of devising a vegetarian meal in a pinch. And of course I do not include the vegetarian cuisine par excellence that Indian gastronomy is!
Even if you live in meat-eating Texas, there should not be a problem!

Do not forget that as an omnivore (which I am), you will have one day to reduce your meat consumption and eat more vegetables to hold in check your cholesterol, fat and blood pressure (come to Japan! LOL), whereas vegetarians will need to limit their sugar intake with all those cakes.

Great team work, no?

Looking forward to debating this (very tasty) issue!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 Gastronomy: Chicken Bones Soup Stock: Tori Gara Soup-Basic Recipe

Quite a few friends, especially the ones who like ramen and any soup staock, have been asking me to re-pi\ublish the basic recipe for a very popular soup stock: Chicken Bones Soup Stock or Tori Gara Soup in Japanese!

It is called “Tori-gara soup”/鶏がらスープ in Japanese, as it means “Chicken carcass soup”.

The following recipe is basic and can be expanded and amended at will. It has also the merit to be useful for any kind of gastronomy, be it Asian, American, European, or African soups or sauces!

INGREDIENTS: As for quantities, do experiment!

-Chicken carcass and bones
-Long leeks
-Garlic
-Ginger (fresh if possible)
-Laurel (fried leaves)
-Black pepper (coarsely ground)
-Japanese sake (if you don’t have any, white wine should be ok)
-Fruit (apples are best)
Soy sauce

RECIPE:

Chicken carcass:
This is cheap and can be bought whole, unless you buy a whole chicken, dress it for another recipe and keep the bones and carcass. The latter can be deep-frozen, so don’t throw them away!

Break the bones roughly as the soup ingredients come from their insides. Clean then in running cold water. Drain them and leave them exposed in a recipient in the refrigerator for a whole night.

Leeks:
You will need a large pot to make your soup.
Use long leeks of the variety above if you can get them. Actually any leeks should do. Cut them in practical pieces.

Ginger:
If possible get it fresh. If slightly dried up as found in Asian markets abroad, no problem.
A piece 5×5 cm (2×2 inches) should be enough.
Peel it and cut into rough slices.

Garlic:
Use it as fresh as possible.
Take out their core out as it is almost indigestible.
One clove should be enough. Slice it roughly after crushing it.

Laurel:
2 dried leaves are enough.

Black pepper:
Grind it over the soup. Quantity is much up to preferences.

Japanese sake:
Use real sake or cooking sake.
You definitely need it.
If unavailable, use dry white wine.

Soy sauce:
Here too, quantity is much up to your preferences.

Fruit:
Fruit will provide you the right balance.
Apples are best.
Cut them in small pieces beforehand.

Fill the pan with water.
Drop in the whole carcass and bones.
Bring to boil.
Switch off fire.
Throw all the water away and refill with clean water. This is an important point. It might be troublesome, but if you don’t proceed accordingly the soup will be a failure!
Throw in all the ingredients cited above and stew over a low fire, scooping out unwanted matters and scum regularly.

After 3~4 hours, taste the soup, which should have become whitish and slightly opaque with bone fat floating on top. If it is still too bland, continue stewing.

Strain the soup into a clean pan.
The soup, whenever reheated, should be done so without a lid.

Having strained the soup, you will find there is still plenty of meat left on the bones.
It would be a shame to throw it away!
Just taste it and you will understand!

Pick the bones out carefully and throw away the rest.
The meat should come off easily enough to be done by hand.

Do be careful though when you do so as the meat will contain hidden bones piece, which are sharp!

I’m sure you can use all that meat for another succulent recipe!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Non Smoking Rules on Railway Platforms in Japan and Shizuoka City

The smoking and non smoking issue on railway platforms and trains in Japan has been a long saga.
Some time agao the local trains on the Tokaidou Line running through Shizuoka have been made completely non-smoking, but the Shinkasen bullet trains on the same line serviced by the JR Tokai Co. still allows at least two smoking carriages in every train whereas many other companies (they are all regional since the were privatized some time ago) have completely banished smoking from their Shinkansen trains!
Smells/stinks like some Tokyo politicians have a hand into that…
Even the platforms for the Shinkasen have “smoking corners”!

The photo above was taken two days ago in Shizuoka City JR Railway Station before boarding a local train down to Kikugawa City!
Less than a minute later I had to give a big mouthful (in Japanese) to an old guy who was smoking in the next queue!
He did carefully extinguish his cigarette on the platform but placed it back in his mouth with a deregatory wave in my direction…

Mind you, for all this sheer stupidity and unconcern of a single individual, over 99% of the Japanese comply to the rules without a grumble…

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Sushi: Kawahagi-Filefish Sashimi & Sushi at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!

Service: Very friendly and always accommodating
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Superb washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great use of local seafood. Will try hard to accommodate any requests!

Kawahagi, or Filefish or Leather jacket in the Land of Oz, must be one of the most underrated fish in the World!
Some people go as far as to say that penny for penny it is worth more than overpriced globefish/fugu!

As we sat at Sushi Ko, our favorite Sushi Restaurant in Shizuoka City we noticed “Kawahagi Tsukuri”/カワハギ造り/Filefish sashimi Plate written on the small board featuring the “specials” of the day!

The live filefish taken out of the tank by the chef!
The fish had been caught off Sagara in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Sushi Ko has a great list of local sake, but I had to order one from Masu Ichi Brewery in Shizuoka City as this might well be the last bottle as the brewery closed down following the untimely death of its owner/master brewer. An incredible loss for the Shizuoka Sake World!

Tuna Tartare as the snack for the first drink!

The filefish sashimi plate!

You roll the fine slices of filefish around some thin leeks before dipping it in its sauce!

The dip sauce!
It was made with the fresh raw liver of the filefish finely chopped and mixed with ponzu!
A true delicacy!

The chef had kept apart a little sashimi and liver for two more morsels!

A nigiri with chopped thin leeks under the fish topped with its liver!

A gunkan/”mother ship” with the sashimi topped with its liver and chopped thin leeks!

And the deep-fried jowls of the fish you eat with your fingers (that you lick later!) to cap it all!
Have I convinced you to look for that fish next time you see it on a market?

“Pon kara maguro”/deep-fried tuna cubes with grated daikon seasoned with chili pepper!

Of course the filefish was only the beginning of our dinner.
So for the record here we go including the above picture!

Maguro Zuke/Marinated lean part of tuna!

Hotate/Scallops!

Amaebi/Sweet shrimps!
(sorry for the fuzzy pic, as my mind was getting a bit fuzzy with all the sake!)

Geso karaage/Deep-fried squid tentacles!

The same, to eat with your fingers!

Ankimo/Frogfish liver or “Japanese foie gras”!

Anago to kyuri maki/Broiled Conger eel and cucumber roll!

Ika shiso to mentaiko maki/Squid, perilla leaf and cod roe pickled in chili pepper roll!

Shirako yaki/Baked cod sperm sacs!

Rainbow California Roll!

Containing: avocado, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelet, salmon, salmon roe, prawn, cucumber and akami/lean tuna! Seven of them of course!

Kanpyou maki, the roll for the vegetarians and vegans!
Kanpyou is made with the shavings of a gourd, first dried and then marinated in sweet sauce!

Asari miso shiru/Miso soup with cockles!

To be continued…

SUSHI KO
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho. 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Spanish Wine Bar Hagu in Shizuoka City!

Service: Friendly and easy-going
Equipment: Very clean overall. Superb washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great use of local products, vegetables, meat and fish in Japanese and foreign cuisines.

For the pleasure of the denizens of Shizuoka City the present trend seems to be in favor of wine bars!
I totally agree with it because, although I love my Japanese sake, I do also appreciate wine (normal since I hail from Bourgogne!)!

TAITA CORPORATION, already owning such establishments as Budo no Oka Restaurants, opened this new wine bar/bistro on January 17th and it is already pretty much crowded!

The concept is quite interesting with a relatively discreet entrance I discovered when I visited it for the first time in the company of a group of chefs and producers!

The atmosphere is very reminiscent of a cellar bar/restaurant in southern Europe!

Naturally, plenty of wines, Japanese and foreign at reasonable prices!

Superb raw hams from Spain!

Plenty of local vegetables, quite a few of them organic!

Chef Koushin Saita/才田享辰 and Manager Yusuke Kondo/近藤雄介!

Japanese pink Cremant!

Now, what did our merry band sample on that day?
Plenty of wines which I hope to describe in another blog!

Broccoli and carrot mousse in olive oil to help us wait for the first dish!

Parmegiano cheese on fresh cress!

Mixed starters including Spanish raw ham, French-style terrine de campagne and various salads!

Organic vegetables (the strawberries are also organic, all from Shizen no Chikara Farm in Shizuoka City!) served with a banya cauda dressing!

Sauteed mushrooms on savory toasts!

Spanish-style seafood hotpot!

Grilled Mangenton Pork on a beautiful bed of fresh vegetables!

Great grilled beef atop savory fried potaoes!
I must give a special mark to those fried potatoes!

Vegetables fritters/tempura to finish!

We just didn’t have any space left for desserts (I will check that next time!)!

To be continued…

WINE BAR HAGU
420-0031 Shizuok City, Aoi Ku, Gofuku-Cho, 2-8-9, Across Tsujihara Bldg, B1F
Tel.: 054-260-5253
Opening hours: 17:30~24:00
Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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