Tag Archives: Tomatoes

From my Recipe Book: Cold Pasta Salad With Shizuoka-grown Ameera Tomatoes

Cooking is so easy when you have the right and superlative ingredients within your hand’s reach!

Japan, and especially Shizuoka Prefecture, is famous for producing all kinds of succulent varieties of tomatoes.
I brought back home a batch of Ameera (meaning “sweet” in local dialect) tomatoes grown in the Western part of Shizuoka Prefecture. They are the size of large plum tomatoes and are very firm and sweet. You could actually eat them as fruit!

The weather having turned mild (it will soon be hot), cold pasta salad becomes a favorite!

I prepared some Spaghettini and let them cool down while I boiled some broad beans and peas in the pods.
The latter once cooked (but still firm), I peeled the broad beans and cut the peas in the pod in halves at a slant.
I sliced the tomatoes and fried them a little in olive oil.
Once everthing had cooled down to the same temperature, I tossed the lot (including the tomato juices) with cold basil pesto based sauce and some pepper.
Nothing else! The fresh and natural combination of sweetness and light saltiness with basil was just perfect!

Easy, yes. Great ingredients, yes!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Advertisements

Shizuoka Prefecture Appetizer: Fujiyama Beef, Utogi Wasabi & Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes!

There are days when things seem to click out of nowhere!
The Missus last night brought home some beef from the newly opened Cenova Department Store.
This was Fujiyama Beef, the equivalent of Kobe Beef bred in Shizuoka Prefecture!
It is expensive but when the Missus noticed the 30% discount tag when she visited the place in the evening she did not hesitate!

The Missus sauteed the four slices (two for each…) up to medium rare in top-class olive oil. Nothing else, good girl!

We had a small pack of Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes from Iwata City in the fridge. These tomatoes are being grown here and there in Japan these days but until recently only two farmers were growing them in our Prefecture in the whole of Japan. These are very firm and sweet and are eaten like a dessert!

I also happened to have quite a few fresh wasabi roots in the fridge. These were offered to me by farmers who grow them in Utogi, Shizuoka City, the very birthplace of wasabi!
Since Shizuoka Prefecture grows 80% of the total crop in Japan, it is quite a common pleasure here to grate your own wasabi!

Just some grated wasabi and salt for the beef… Simple is best and most extravagant!
incidentally, the red salt is a present from Hawai!
Mind you, true to tell, the rest of the dinner was a bit of an anticlimax! LOL

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

Tomatoes & Kabocha in Yaizu City: Ooba Garden

One cannot talk about a producer in a single article!
Actually it is a true pleasure to visit such farmers time and again! There is so much to learn from them!

Therefore I paid my second visit to Mr. Hiroyuki Ooba/大場弘之’s Garden in Yaizu City yesterday!

Mr. Ooba mainly grows tomatoes, especially a variety called Misora 64.
But like most farmers he also grows his own rice, cabbage and a few vegetables on top of his regular crops of iceplants in winter and tomatoes, the last two in greenhouses.

For almost 6 months every year tomatoes have to be selected and harvested almost every day.

According to the market demands tomatoes come into various sizes.

This is the most popular size, although my own preference would go for larger ones!

These yellow stickers are insects/pests traps. But one has to be on a constant lookout for civets, too!

Only two seedlings per pot set in pairs about 1 meter away from each other. Even so, it is a veritable jungle!

Loads of paring and cleaning to do everyday. Even so it all looks pretty clean!

Mr. Ooba’s father built those solid greenhouses!

Each plant has to be secured on poles and along lines!

A proof of a hard work day!

This year Mr. Ooba has decided to experiment with different varieties of kabocha! This one is called “Utsukiyaseakakuri/打木早生赤栗/Red Kuri squash in English, Potimarron in French.

This one is called “Yumemi”/夢味/grey-white squash.

Even among the seemingly common green kabocha there are many varieties. This one is called “Hakkori Ebisu”/はっこりえびす.

Mr. Ooba has set apart a small space to grow his own thin leeks!

And even grapes!

A general view of very healthy looking squash plant rows!

Too much water is detrimental to squash, so the soil is kept dry and free of pests with sheets of fabric.

The selected flowers an fruits will have to be hung on lines to preserve color and shape!

Once again a lot of paring has to be done as only the best flowers will be chosen!

A beautiful flower promising a great squash!

I will come again to have a good look at all those kabocha.
For the moment I was interested in acquiring tomatoes!
The scale above shows the various stages of ripeness!

I bought two cartons of these!
These Misora 64 have a great balance between acidity and sweetness, a great change from the usually sweet tomatoes in demand these days!

Ooba Garden, Mr. Hiroyuki Ooba
421-0212, Shizuoka ken, Yaizu Shi, Riemon, 250-2
421-0212静岡県焼津市利右衛門250-2
Tel.: 054-622-2661
Mobile: 090-3839-7027
E-mail: rynca@live.jp
Mobile E-mail: lycoper@ezweb.ne.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
With a Glass,
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!

Ice Plants & Tomatoes in Yaizu City: Ooba Garden

Mr. Hiroyuki Ooba/大場弘之, growing ice plants and tomatoes at Ooba Garden/おおば農園 in Yaizu City/焼津市

“Looking forward to diversify!”

Meeting 100 students in my classes at University does prove useful when I wish to discover new producers and farmers as in Shizuoka Prefecture some of these very students are bound to be the sons and daughters of local farmers!

One such student was kind enough to introduce to her father, Mr. Hiroyuki Ooba (51) growing ice plants and tomatoes in his farm!
He kindly accepted to pick me up at Fuijeda City JR Station last Sunday on a beautiful day.

Yaizu City and its surroundings being a very flat area we can admire Mount Fuji in the distance all day long!

Mr. Ooba is second generation farmer.
His father was mainly cultivating tomatoes and cucumbers before he took over.
He has since stopped growing cucumbers to concentrate on other green vegetables, always experimenting on new varieties and species.

Mr. Ooba apologized for the “messy” farm, but actually I found it very welcoming with those old pine trees at the entrance!

Well, this certainly looks like a real farm!
Many bicycles! Mr. Ooba has two daughters, the second one being my student and a son, the youngest of his children still at high school, but who already has decided to attend Agricultural university to follow in his father’s steps!

Mr. Ooba grows ice plants in greenhouses covering 6a and 5a, whereas tomatoes are grown in 3 greenhouses for a total area of 12a.

Mr. Ooba started growing ice plants/アイスプラント a couple of years ago, thinking that these African vegetables should be easy to grow in a hot environment. He was surprised to find out that they didn’t like heat much after all!

Enormous ice plants!

The Japanese eat only the top part of the ice plant raw which is crispy and are not interested in the larger leaves as they don’t cook them. on the other hand the plant grows quickly and can be continuously harvested for its top crispy young leaves.

Mr. Ooba allots some space for his own needs: Qing geng cai/チンゲンサイ and thin leeks/細葱.

He also grows and partly sells cabbages as the land is propitious to vegetables whereas trees such as orange trees are not really suited.
Incidentally a great part of Yaizu City farmland is dedicated to rice, which is of very good quality.

Mr. Ooba and his father have been growing tomatoes for about 40 years.
They used to grow Momotaro tomatoes, but Hiroyuki thought he was getting better results with Misora 64 tomatoes.
he grows between August and December and again between January and May. Between May and August he will grow some Momotaro tomatoes.

The cultivation system is nutriculture/養液栽培, a system that he found most practical over the years allowing for a better control and reduction of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

For all the practicality of this system, cultivation is not that easy.
Plants have to be regularly trimmed and prunes.
One big tomato might look good (above picture) but all tomatoes after that big beauty will not develop properly.

You have to choose two sizes and the consequent technique according to consumer and market demands.
Either you grow them big and few as above or,

or clusters of smaller but more regular and abundant tomatoes!

I personally tend to like them in-between but I’m being selfish.
In any case we already agreed on a second interview next may when i will be able to find great quantities to choose from!

Messrs. Hiroyuki Ooba/大場弘之 and Hajime Matsuda/松田肇 of Six berry Farmers!

I found out that Mr. Ooba is actually a friend of Hajime Matsuda, one of the six merry Berry Farmers growing Toukun/桃薫, peach strawberries!
Funnily enough it was discovery for Hiroyuki!

The three of us shared a long constructive talk about future ventures.
Hiroyuki is seriously thinking of starting grapes and fancy pumpkins next year. great fun in store for me!

Although Mr. Ooba’s vegetables are sold in Yaizu City markets, direct orders are gladly accepted through the phoneor by mail!

Ooba Garden, Mr. Hiroyuki Ooba
421-0212, Shizuoka ken, Yaizu Shi, Riemon, 250-2
421-0212静岡県焼津市利右衛門250-2
Tel.: 054-622-2661
Mobile: 090-3839-7027
E-mail: rynca@live.jp
Mobile E-mail: lycoper@ezweb.ne.jp

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

Polyculture: Shigehiko Suzuki at Shige-Chan Garden

Shigehiko Suzuki/鈴木重彦 goes by the nickname “Shige-Chan”, which is also the name of his agricultural enterprise. Actually people have called him simply Shige-chan, a mark of respect from his peers in the local world of agriculture.

As usual On Wednesdays, my good friend Natsuko Koyanagi was on hand to help!

Shige-chan is a polyvalent farmer.
He grows a lot of cress/cresson, a vegetable which has become increasingly popular. He grows it on no less than 220 tsubo/~700 square meters! The above culture is done on “Buckets”.

He also grows “Fruitical” tomatoes on 600 more tsubo~2,000 square meters.
All agricultural land is rented!

Although he says that the tomatoes are not up to par in summer, they certainly look beautiful!

The best season is in February but they need great care all year round.
Shige-Chan’s hooby is arm wrestling, so I’m sure he has the stamina!
Would you believe he has only one gentle old lady to help him do all the picking?

Tomatoes are not attached to poles but kept standing by ropes attached to the “ceiling” of the greenhouses!

It was very hot that day (26 degrees on September 22nd!) and it was even hotter inside!

The gourds seemed to have a good time though!
Shige-chan uses as little pesticides as possiblle and works with his own brand of fertilizers.

And walking between each greenhouse contributed to a lot of lost sweat if not weight!

His other hobby is pisciculture!

This cress is cultivated in “hedge-style”
A central-heating system keeps the temperature above 8~10 degrees in winter while a ventilator systems keep the cress cool in summer.
Incidentally cress must be allowed to flower!

These tomatoes were seeded 6 weeks ago.

But his very first culture has always been roses for the last 22 years after he finished high school!
Quite a lot of them on 80 tsubos/~260 square meters!

An interesting variety, although

Shige-chan specialises in mini-roses of his own brand.

All roses ae grown in the “arch method” for even culture and straight stems.

Tomatoes ready to be delivered.
Shige-Chan spends every morning of the year (with the sole exception on New Year) from 06:00 t0 11:00 sorting, packaging and sending his tomatoes and cress all over Shizuoka Prefecture and as far as Tokyo!

Tough guy!

Shige-Chan Garden (Mr. Shigehiko Suzuki)
421-2118 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Uchimaki, 1720
Tel.: 090-2773-5182
Fax: 054-207-7268
HOMEPAGE (Japanese
BLOG (Japanese)

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; Jacqueline Church; The Foodonymph (in Dubai!); Alchemy, Simple Ingredients, magical Food (in Ireland!); Curious Foodie; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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

Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Tofu, Avocado & Tomato Marinade

Tofu, Avocado & Tomato?
Very much in “season”! Actually could be obtained easily all year round!
Here is a Japanese (and Italian?) inspired vegan (and vegetarian) recipe for the hot days of summer!
Choose your ingredients well, striving for the best and organic, if you can!

INGREDIENTS: For 2~ people

-Tomato: 1
-Avocado: 1
-Tofu: half a standard block~200 g
-Basil: 6 medium leaves

Marinade:
-Olive oil (EV): 2 tablespoons
-Lemon juice: 1.5 tablespoons
-Balsamico vinegar: 1 teaspoon
-Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
-Salt & black pepper: as appropriate

RECIPE:

-Press water out of tofu (cover it with a clean cloth and a weight on top).
Cut tomatoes, tofu and avocado in same size chunks/cubes (important!).
Think of final look!

-Cut basil in small enough bits for easy mixing.

-Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

-Add tofu, tomato, avocado and cut basil. Mix delicately. Cover with cellophane paper. Keep in fridge long enough to chill or until you serve.

-Try to be inventive on presentation!

-So easy and yummy!

NOTES:

-Peel skin off tomato if too hard. Choose “fleshy” tomatoes with a little water and seeds as possible. Take the later off if possible.

-Choose a particularly aromatic lemon juice. Meyer would be interesting!

-Keep basil leaves handy for decoration! Mint could be interetsing, too!

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; Jacqueline Church

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

French Cuisine: Shizuoka Organic Tomato Appetizer at Pissenlit

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
no-smoking-logo!

As mentioned before, Shizuoka Prefecture is famous all over the country for its tomatoes, especially organic and sweet.
These turn easily into real fruit (as they should be), and I just don’t count how many I eat back home just to refresh myself!

Mr. Tooru Arima had finally announced on his menu board outside his restaurant that he received those great sweet tomatoes gron by Mr. Ishitani In Hamamatsu City!

It was very easy to convince the Missus to sample them!

The dish we were served could be classified under many appellations as it could be considered as an apetizer, a salad or even a dえssert.

Mr. Arima placed quarters of tomatoes around the centre surmounted with mozarella slices and organic greens and basil pesto.
The vinigrette was more a kind of gaspacho made of fine olive oil, juice/coulis for the tomatoes and other seasoning!

The whole concept became very interesting with (same) tomato jelly in the very centre, soft and light, with a topping of (same) omato sherbet!

The perfect appetizer for thirsty customers in scorching summer!

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

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

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