Just after the cherry blossoms, at the end of March, the bamboo shoots start sprouting in April; first along the southern part of Japan, slowly trailing north chasing the signs of summer. I must be honest and admit… I am a bamboo fanatic, not just zest but more in close lines to be called ‘an addict’. The blog which will follow in a couple of series will be about ‘bamboo (shoot) cooking’ which I, personally would like to preserve in my own cooking and blog records, as to also refresh my memory come very vague and fuzzy come next season, one year from now. Fresh bamboo shoots are in season from April to May in Japan. For viewers who have not prepared fresh bamboo, the most common method of when preparing fresh bamboo is : Washed and peel the coarse outer skin In a large pan, boil for approximately 40~50 minutes adding ‘nuka’ – rice bran to remove the bitterness in the vegetable Let it simmer down to cool Next day….peel the outer skin and …
It’s already July, unexpected early arrival of summer (over 2~3 weeks) and departure of a short ‘rainy season’ which depicts an reflection in change climate. Temperatures are soaring to a level beyond body temperature of 36 degrees celsius (all over Japan) and the trend is an annual recurring tendency. Consequently, the harvest of fruits and my jamming works has been bumped up, at least over 2~3 weeks. Nevertheless, June and July being one of busiest jamming season, on being the use of Japanese plums, which we call ‘ume’. It is a sour plum which is used in numerous washoku dishes and no doubt ‘ume’ comprises our basis of our history, culture and Japanese nationality, our identity. Sa-Shi-Su Umeboshi ｜さしす梅干 ’Umeboshi’ is an authentic Japanese pickles which I am most certain you have encountered at Japanese restaurants or peeking out from the rice balls, ‘onigiri’, a extremely sour pickle made from the Japanese plum called the ‘ume’. The Sa-Shi-Su Umeboshi is not a traditional process but a easy short cut cooking which I’ve made this year and …
“Aralia Sprouts” and “Okogi“. These spring (wild) vegetables are not so much the common Spring vegetables; ‘Aralia sprouts‘ has a little bit more recognition than the Okogi, the Aralia sprouts being new buds from the Arilia tree. The buds have a rose-like thorn along the stem, so extra care is necessary during preparation. The most common style of cooking ‘tempura’.
Spring, a fresh new start, new buds sprout to live the next four seasons. Spring vegetables, vivid and lively, bursting with energy awaken from hibernation and power from mother earth.
The Noto Peninsula (Noto-hanto) is a peninsula which extends out to the ocean (Sea of Japan), Ishikawa prefecture. To us, Noto instantly resonates ‘fresh fish’,’good sake’ ,’salt’ and ‘rice’, basically the main food ingredients our form of Japanese food. It was my first visit to Noto-hanto, although the weather did not welcome us; sunshine-cloudy-mist-rain-gusty wind storm all in one day. According to the locals, the diversity of weather produces good crops, good fish and a flexible lifestyle; a norm in Noto Penisula.
On a cloudless sunny day………we decided to adventure north, about a two hour or so drive up north which will take you to Gunma prefecture – one of the leading producers and suppliers of vegetables in the country and Tokyo district.
Spring seems just around the corner. Early morning walk with the our little doggie becomes warmer as days pass, turning to a daily check up on the ‘cherry blossoms’ which grow along the riverbed. Day by day, one by one, each buds start to revive from hibernation, some at the verge to blossom, some yet asleep. Few more warm days will awaken everyone single bud, the entire tree transforming into to fully flowered tree, the cheery blossom tree, a one of a kind. Spring brings about seasonal foods – speciality such as the ‘wild vegetables’, ‘firefly squid’, ‘sea clams’, etc.etc. to our Japanese food table, most all of spring foods come with either a strong scent or a strong energy, a strength of life. Some below to see the authenticity of ‘Spring’ Japanese food. 春まじか。 早朝のワンコの散歩も日に日に暖かくなり、神田川沿いの散歩道は桜の開花チェックに変わっていきます。東京では開花宣言が確か23日に出されましたがここ家の周辺ではまだつぼみは堅く、まだ一週間は桜を楽しめそうな年になりそうです。桜の種類によっては開花している木もありますがソメイヨシノはまだ。地面に近いつぼみや幹のつぼみは開花をしていますが川にしだれる枝はまだ。楽しみです。 さて、春に入ると食材が変わってきました。 フキのとう、セリ、、「苦み」の多い食材が増えてきます。冬の食材から少し彩りがもどり春の食材を少しずつ楽しんでいます。 春に入ってからの我が家の食卓です。 Mix Rice with Firefly Squid and Seri (Japanese Parsley) | ほたるイカとセリの炊き込みご飯 Seafood Paella | パエリア (Linked to Recipe) a Typical Japanese Household Dinner 追伸 : ちなみにニシンは今年は豊作の年らしいです。北海道で昔のように水揚げされているらい。 保存 保存
It’s been a while blogging… I’ve been quite disturbed over the past month or so, to admit that the US Presidential Election has kept me unfocused on the everyday things which I normally would do. Although I no longer live in California, I’ve spend a good 15 plus years in the States and the unexpected outcome of the election has kept me to feel the pain of my Californian friends, their disappointment, fear and above all what to expect come January 20th 2017. The outcome, not much we can all do except move forward and the words of President Obama told his daughters are quite comforting to console our hearts as well. だいぶご無沙汰してしまったブログです。 ちょっと習慣が抜けるとついつい。 その内アメリカの大統領選が始まり、長年カリフォルニアに在住していた私とはやはり気になるゆくえでした。まさかの、まさかの勝利。さすがに落ち込みました。まさかが起きるアメリカではありますが、、あってはいけない結果だった様な気がします。 アメリカにまだ住んでいる友達の事を思うと気は落ち着かず（今でもですが、、）トランプ時期大統領のニュースばかり追ってしまいます。 しかし、オバマ大統領が娘たちに言った言葉という記事を読み少し心が落ち着きました。英語の記事ですがご興味のあるかたは是非。 ブログをお休み中にはInstagramでアップした画像を中心に今日は書き下ろしていきます。 So here are some of Dinner Menus which has been uploaded through my Instagram. Wild natural Nameko (Mushroom) from my sister used for Nameko and Watercress Hot Pot 天然なめことクレソン鍋 The nameko is a mushroom with a slippery gelatinous coating. It is quite often used for miso soup but when it comes as natural as what may sister …
Autumn seems to be finally creeping up to our doorstep, although the weather has been extremely irregular to notice when summer ended and autumn started. By the time I notice, it’s already October and they one of the symbolic foods of autumn is; chestnuts,