Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/62): Okra & Salmon Sushi Bento

Tuesday, Sushi Bento Day!
I can tell you that with heat stifling out all stamina out your body, it is not easy to devise or cook anything.
The grumbling Missus somehow managed to come out (of the infernal kitchen) with a refreshing idea.

First she had thought of preparing a chirashizushi/decoration sushi, but quickly switche to rice balls. Sushi rice balls. not ordinary rice balls.

After steaming the rice (with konbu seaweed) and prepared it as sushi rice, she mixed in sesame seeds and fried salmon flakes. After forming the rice balls she wrapped them in lettuce and placed them inside the box. She then “decorated the balls with raw sliced okra for great effect. A few sansho/Japanese pepper (home-pickled) also entered into the equatione for extra taste.
As for the salt quotient needed in these sweaty days she added home-pickled carrot and cucumber.

The tamagoyaki was plain but delicious. I actually like it plain most of the time.
More pickles with home-made wasabi stem pickles.

Plenty of colours and nutrients in the salad/dessert dish with beans and cheese salad decorated with Shizuoka Ameera pearl tomatoes, Japanese nashi pears an prunes.

Certainly better for the whole day!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:

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)

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Marinated Tuna Sushi/Magurozuke Sushi

Whenever tuna is available one ought to taste it raw as sashimi or sushi.
Now, avaibility does not always mean quality.
On the other hand, the Japanese have a simple and delicious way to accomodate tuna of any quality: magurozuke, which basically means marinated tuna, a concept easy to understand anywhere in our world!
Here is a basic recipe you can easily improve and adapt. I can guarantee you that your friends will look at you with a different eye!

INGREDIENTS:

-Tuna: raw for sashimi, enough for a plate of sushi
-Sushi rice: as appropriate. Check Sushi Rice Recipe here!

-Marinade/Zuketare:
-Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
-Japanese sake: 2 tablespoons
-Mirin/Japanese sweet sake: 1 tablespoon
-Chopped thin leeks: as appropriate
-Wasabi paste: as appropriate

RECIPE

-Prepare the marinade: In a bowl drop the soy sauce, Japanese sake, mirin and chopped leeks. Mix quickly.
Slice the tuna for sushi. Take care of slicing it in equal size (especially thickness) slices!
Drop all the slices inside the marinade. Stir gently so as all fish is marinated. Cover with cellophane paper and leave inside the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

-Prepare the rice balls/shari in a slightly elongated size. Remember that the rice balls/shari should be slightly narrower and shoter than the tuna slices.
Smear a little wasabi paste on top of each rice ball. Skip if you don’t like wasabi. On the other hand you could top the nigiri (taht is on top ofthe fish, not the rice ball) with a little grated ginger!
Take tuna slice out one by one, shake them over the marinade bowl to let run excess marinade (do not sponge it off!), place a slice on each rice ball firmly enough (no need to overpress it between your hands, or you will have marinade everywhere!).
Place on a service dish and eat as soon as possible.

Easy and so impressive!

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

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/60): Soboro Sushi Bento

“Soboro” is a form of decoration in Japanese gastronomy.
It is almost impossible to translate, although it means that the decoration looks like little snow balls, whatever they are made from.
They are extremely popular in home-made bento.

They certainly make for beautiful geometrical designs and colours!

The Missus first prepared fresh sushi rice. She then mixed it with a little of each soboro, finely chopped Japanese pickled cucumber and sesame seeds before fuiling the first box.
She covered the left half with egg soboro. You could compare it to a sweet scrambled egg. She made it this very morning. Colours and nutrients are provided with sliced mini tomato and buckwheat sprouts/himesoba.

The right part is covered with meat soboro she prepared the night before with minced pork and beef.

Plenty of colours as usal with the salad/dessert box!

The salad consisted of boiled yellow and pink potatoes, violet sweet potatoes, walnuts and basil leaves from our verandah, the whole lightly seasoned with rice vinegar dressing.
Some lettuce made up for the separation and more Vitamin C and fibers.

Home-pickled mini melon and myoga ginger for the salt needed in these very hot days.
More vitamins and fibers with Japanese “Nashi/梨” pear (so crunchy and juicy!) and large blueberries!

I can see that hot day off with that!

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;

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Wasabi: A Visit to Its Birthplace in Shizuoka!

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki/望月佑真

The other day I received a phone call from my good friend Dominique Corby, the Chef/Manager of Michelin-starred 6eme Sens in Tokyo.
He told me that the French/German ARTE TV Channel was coming to Shizuoka City on September 12th~13th to make a long report on green tea (Shizuoka produces 45% of all green tea in Japan), wasabi (Shizuoka produces 80% of all wasabi in Japan) and the fishing industry in our Prefecture (they will visit the Fishing Harbour of Yaizu City)!
He wished to enroll my help to “prepare the ground” for the TV crew as I was not only living in Shizuoka City, but knew my wasabi well! He didn’t have to ask twice!
So on Thursday and Friday 12th and 13th, a third Musketeer, Stephane Danton of Ocharaka, a French specialist of green tea in Kanagawa Prefecture who exports green tea from Kawane Honcho in Shizuoka, joined us in a rented car and we left on a grand mission!

Utogi is also the starting point of some great treks!

We did spend the whole Thursday following Stephane in tea growing farming homes and communities as the rain just made it impossible to visit the wasabi fields in altitude!
So we left early in the morning on Friday from Shizuoka City in blistering heat.
The ride is not that hard, 18 km along the Abe River and 3 more km up in altitude, what with the beautiful vistas between high steep forested mountains.
We reached Utogi at around 11:00 a.am. where Mr. Yuma Mochizuki was already waiting for us.

One of Mr. Yuma Mochizuki’ wasabi fields.

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki is the 10th generation of a celebrated wasabi growing family.
He presently owns 5 fields dispersed on in the Utogi Mountains, and is trying to buy more land in Fujinomiya City as the demand is growing and that there is simply no space left in Utogi!
Wasabi grows in the wild and has been consumed as a vegetable for eons.
It is only in the beginning of the 17th Century that a farmer in Utogi succeeded in growing the root that is so appreciated in the world.
Roots of a small size will develop in the wild after 2 or 3 years, but they are too sour and “green” to be consumed at all. Although its cultivation is purely organic/macrobiotic it does need the help of a human hand.

Mr. Mochizuki first took us to his highest field at almost 1,000 metres (well over 300 feet) to an almost inaccessible locale among trees, steep slopes and up impossibly narrow and slippery “stairs”. But it was certainly worth it, although the TV crew will ot have to climb so high.
He then took us (all the time by car as walking was not much of an option what with the heat and the distance between fields) to the field that would appear on TV.

The whole field is covered with a black mesh net to protect it from too much exposure to the sun. These nets are streched over the field only when it is directly under the path of the sun. Some fields aren’t.
But all fields have to be protected with suplementary solid side nets to keep wild monkeys and deer away as they would leave nothing of the stems and leaves!

Wasabi seedlings have to be regularly replanted every one or two years depending upon the variety. There are axtually more than 100 varieties of them. Mr. Mochizuki grows ten of them.
The seedlings above had been replanted only one month ago.

Here is a “view” (from under the nets) of the upper part of that particular field with about one-year old wasabi plants in the background.

After 1 or 2 years the wasabi plant matures to almost one metre in height, root, stems and leaves included. Subsidiary plants will grow from the bottom of the main large root. These will be cut out to be replanted.
The large root will be harvested for the wasabi paste. The stems will be pickled in Japanese sake white lees to become “Wasabi Tsuke”, a delicacy one can use to season his/her bowl of freshly steamed rice with or with fish and fish paste. The leaves can be pickled too, although they are eminently edible raw, steamed or cooked. Shizuoka people use them as “vessels” to taste miso paste!

Only pure mountain water flowing at a constant temperature may be used in the culture of wasabi. Stagnant water is out of question.
Moreover, and this is a little known fact, individual field sections and fields in general do not communicate with each other. Water come through pipes directly connected to mountain streams to bring water to each field section. It is then diverted to side funnels which prevent any water to go back into another field!
True envirnomental and organic culture.
Apart of the bed sand and water, nothing else goes into those fields. Full stop!

Although Mr. Mochizuki was very busy preparing the big Festival to be held on Saturday and Sunday with the whole community, he kindly took the time to invite us to his enormous Japanese house (all sitting on tatami there) to share tea and sample his wasabi crop. We had the pleasure to meet his very gentle spouse and the energetic 11th generation Yoshihiro Mochizuki望月義弘!

Here are the best samples of 3 of the best out of the 10 varieties the Mochizuki family grows. Can you guess which is the best one?…
The one in the middle with the dark stems!

Now, where do you grate the stem from? The pointed end or the stem end?
Well, this is according to priorities, but usually after chopping the stems away fromthe root is first grated from the top as it will hotter as you come closer to its pointed extremity. This way you can control the “heat” of the root (or mix the whole later!).

Have you ever seen the cross section of a healthy root?

The traditional way to grate the wasabi root is on a wooden slat covered with shark skin.
Mr. Mochizuki explained this is now done only for the sake of tradition. Sushi and soba chefs will grate (away for the clients’ eyes) on a new and very efficient metal grater (in the background).

Look at that for extravagance!
Mr. Mochizuki was indeed so generous in his demonstration.
The TV crew will have a “field day”! LOL

MARU ICHI NOUEN/丸一置農園
(Yutogi Kodawari Club/有東木こだわり倶楽部)
Director: Yoshihiro Mochizuki/望月義弘
421-2303 Shizuoka Prefecture, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Yutogi, 602
Tel./Fax: (81) (0)54-298-2077
E–mail: wasabiya-maruichi@vivid.ne.jp
Direct mail orders possible

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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!)

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Sushi Cupcakes: For an easy Party!

Cupcakes don’t need to be introduced, neither sushi!
But have you ever thought of combining the two for an easy party meal/snack for adults or children?
Here is a simple suggestion you can easily adapt to impress your friends!

Sushi Cupcakes!

INGREDIENTS: for 15~20 cups

-Sushi Tarou Sushi Mix: 1 pack
The above can be found easily in Japan or at Asian supermarkets abroad to make your work very easy! They are also called “Go Moku Chirashi”.

The above is available on Amazon.com in Japan!

-Steamed rice (warm): 500 g

A)Boiled prawn: 2
A)Avocado and lemon juice: as appropriate

B)Kamaboko/Fish paste (red): as appropriate
B)Mitsuba/Trefoil: as appropriate

C)Mini Tomato: as appropriate
C)Sliced cheese: as appropriate
C)Kaiware/Daikon Sprouts (or other): as appropriate

D)Sweet Rice vinegar renkon/lotus root: as appropriate
D)Cucumber: as appropriate
D)Kanikama/Surimi: as appropriate
D)Ginnan/gingko nuts (boiled): as appropriate

E)Smoked salmon: as appropriate
E)Shiso or Oba/Perilla leaves: as appropriate
E)Yuzu/lime zests (grated) as appropriate

RECIPE:

-Pour the warm rice and the sushi mixture into a large bowl and mix quickly.

-Fill aluminum foil cupcakes or cups with the sushi rice. Make groups of two or three cups. Srim\nkle them all with finley cut dry seaweed (skip seaweeed if you don’t like it!), or with some roasted sesame seeds. If you have some tube wasabi handy, put a little in the middle.

-Top first series with A) you will have beforehand seasoned with mayonnaise of your liking.

-Top second series with B). Season with a little yuzu koshio if you have some. If not, a little lemon juice is fine.

-Top third series with C).

-Top fourth series with D) Notice the way the cucumber are cut!

-Top fifth series with E)

Have good fun!

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

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/59): Duck Confit Sushi Bento

The Missus couldn’t go shopping yeaterday and she had to make do with what was left available this morning (BG will probably comment that I’m bonding the Missus into slavery!).
But apparently there was still plenty left in fridge and the “pantry”.

She steamed plain sushi rice she mixed with edamame boiled the precious evening and added some seasme seeds for seasoning.
There was still one frozen duck confit left in the freezer.
The benefits of internet were clearly felt there. The Missus orders a lot of French ingredients dirctly from Dining Plus, a Japanese import Company based in Osaka, with a great list and very fast service.
You don’t really need to unfreeze the duck confit in a hurry. Just Put it on a teflon non-stick frypan and cover it. It will cook to a crispy state in its own fat.
Once cooked you, you tsrip the bone (“for me!”, said the Missus. BG, keep quiet!) and cut or shred the meat. Don’t forget the crispy skin, it’s beautiful!

She topped the rice with plenty of shredded duck confit (cooled down), Shizuoka-grown cress, and deep-fried (small) renkon/lotus root slices.
French pickles were added to contribute another French note to the bento. I should have called it “French Sushi Bento”!

The dessert/salad dish included mini tomatoes, pink and yellow potato salad on lettuce.
Dessert wers plums (the Japanese call them “prunes”, another Japlish word!), and sliced peach.

Another solid bento for this stamina sapping weather!
Definitely a French bento! I wonder who the “Japanese half “is! LOL

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;

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/57): Shake Maze Sushi Bento

Tuesday: Sushi Bento Day!
Did I say it was flaming hot outside?
I am certainly going to enjoy my day in my air-conditioned office!
“Shake or Sake/鮭”, although BG will come with another snide remark, means “Salmon”. Both words might turn a bit confusing for some when you write them! LOL

Salmon can easily be bought all year round at supermarkets as “Shiozake/Salted Salmon/塩鮭” and frozen when you have any left.
The Missus is always keen on using some, although I always ask her to discard the skin and fat after sauteing it.
She steamed some rice with a big piece of konbu/seaweed before seasoning it into sushi rice. She mixed it with sauteed salmon flakes, thinly cut pickled myoga ginger and cucumber and sesame seeds (these were not cut, BG!).

She lined the bento box with fresh lettuce before filling it with the sushi rice. She topped it plenty of thinly sliced fresh shiso/perilla leaves, home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper and a piece of lemon for extra seasoning.

The Missus came up with a Salvador Dali (or is it a Picasso?) like side dish!

She came up with the interesting idea of including a half avocado pear inside its skin as a kind of vessel with its filling, the whole to be eaten with a spoon (I’ve got one at the office!). The semi-hard egg had been boiled in onsen tamago style with its yolk still running. The egg had furthermore been marinated in soy sauce and amazu/sweet vinegar, thus providing the seasoning to the avocado (you “crush” the egg into the avocado with your spoon when eating it!). Some more lettuce for the fiber and Vitamin C, and walnut for dessert.

The salad part was completed with raw sweet pimento sticks and home-pickled cucumber. Cream cheese dressing was provided as a dip sauce for the pimentoes.

I should have called that bento, Mexican Bento!

RELATED ECOMMENDED SITES

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;

Please check the new postings at:
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