Friday, April 10, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Kabocha no Nimonao かぼちゃの煮物 (simmered squash), Shōga pōku-maki nasu 茄子の肉巻き生姜焼き - (Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant), Kakuni 角煮 (braised pork belly)


Kabocha no Nimonao かぼちゃの煮物 (simmered squash) 
Shōga pōku-maki nasu  茄子の肉巻き生姜焼き - (Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant) 
Kakuni   角煮 (braised pork belly)

The third tray of items that were offered at the Crown Tournament feast were symbolic and did not follow the items that had been served to Iemetsu.  Two kinds of pork were served, one dish, a braised pork belly with quail eggs, the other eggplant stuffed pork roles with miso.  The vegetable is simmered kabocha squash. This series of dishes were put together as plausibilities, containing ingredients that would have been readily available in the time period.

During the Nara period (710-784), the primary religion in Japan was Budhism which eschewed the eating of meat. It was believed that meat contaminated the body. Individuals who ate meat were not allowed to worship at shrines or temple. Edicts were issued by the Emperor Temmu in regards to the way animals could be hunted or slaughtered. Gradually, the domestication of animals, such as pigs, dissappeared. However, it was not unusual for wild boar to be eaten along with venison during this period.

During the Segonku period, pigs were considered a valuable source of food. Herds of pigs would accompany troops on their campaigns as "living rations".  It was believed that eating of pork was part of the reason the Satsuma warriors were such fiercesome fighters.  It was believed that eating pork bestowed strength and stamina.

Kabocha no Nimonao かぼちゃの煮物 (simmered squash)
1/2 kabocha squash
1 inch ginger (opt)
1 ¾ cups water or 1 1 3/4 cups dashi
6 grams bonito flakes
1 ounce kombu (opt)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp sake
2 tsp soy sauce
pinch salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)

In a small pot, boil 1 ¾ cups water. Once boiling, add bonito flakes & kombu, turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Strain through a sieve and allow to cool.  Cut the kabocha into wedges, and then into 2” pieces. Kabocha skin is edible so you can leave it on.  

Please note: You can cut the squash in half, remove pith and seeds and microwave for approximately 2 minutes to make it easier to cut the squash into pieces. 

Place the kabocha pieces, skin side down, in a single layer on a bakinc sheet. Add dashi, sake and sugar, soy sauce and salt. If the liquid does not cover 3/4 of kabocha, you can add a little bit of water.

Normally you would simmer the squash by placing in a pot, bringing to a boil and then lowering it to s aimmer until the kabocha is tender.  However, if cooking in bulk, cover a baking dishe with foil and bake in an oven at 400 degrees for approximately twenty minutes.  Remove from the heat and let kabocha sit covered until cool, about 30 minutes. You can serve at room temperature or reheat before serving.

Optional Garnish:  Cut the ginger into rectangular piece (so each strips will be the same length). Cut into thin slabs and then thin julienne strips. Soak in cold water for 1 minute and and drain, sprinkle over kabocha before serving. 

Kakuni - Braised Pork Belly 角煮

1 lb pork belly (Ask the meat store to cut it into 2" pieces for you)
2 inch ginger
1 Japanese long green onion (can substitute spring onions)
3 large eggs (I used canned quail eggs)
2½ cupdashi
4 Tbsp sake
3 Tbsp mirin
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 slices ginger
1 dried red chili pepper
Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese seven spice)

If you can, request that the pork belly be cut into 2" pieces for you.  If not, cut into 2 inch pieces. Place the pork belly fat side down into a cool skillet and slowly heat it to high.  Cook your meat until it is nicely browned on all sides.  The fat should render out as the meat heats up slowly, otherwise, add a bit of cooking oil to your skillet. Take the belly out of the skillet when browned and let oil drain from it.  

Slice the ginger and cut green part of Tokyo Negi into 2 inch pieces.  In a large pot, put the browned pork belly, green part of Tokyo Negi, half of sliced ginger and cover the meat with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered 2-3 hours keepign an eye on the water to make sure it does not run low.  
 
If not using canned eggs (like I did), you will want to hard boil your eggs and remove the shells while the meat is cooking.  After meat has cooked for three hours drain it and be sure to remove excess oil from it by wiping it with a paper towel. 

Please note: I left the meat to cool overnight and removed the fat cap in the morning.  I saved the pork stock and froze it for later.  I saved the fat cap and use it to fry with. 

In a large pot, put the pork belly, dashi stock, sake, and mirin. Start cooking on medium high heat. Add sugar, soy sauce, the rest of ginger slices, and the red chili pepper and bring to boil, then lower the heat to simmer.  After cooking for 30 minutes, add the hard boiled eggs. 

Simmer for another 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  Make sure you have enough liquid so they won’t get burnt. The sauce will reduce and form a "glaze" on the meat. Serve the pork belly and eggs with Shiraga Negi on top. Serve with Schichimi Togarashi. 

Shiraga Negi

1 Negi/Long Green Onion (leek or 2-3 green onions)

Shiraga Negi uses only the white part of the Negi (leek, green onions) cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces that are juilienned.  Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove the bitterness and drain well.  Sprinkle over meat before serving. 

Shichimi Togarashi  

1/2 sheet nori
1 tbsp. dried orange peel
4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 tsp. sesame seed
1 tsp each ground ginger and poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

Grind nori in the food processor until fine flakes form.  Mix with remaining spices until well blended.  Store in a tightly covered jar in a cool dry place. 

Miso-Glazed Eggplant

1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons sake
1/4 cup gluten-free sweet white miso
2 tablespoons sugar
3 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
Vegetable oil, for frying
3 shiso leaves, cut into thin ribbons, for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Note: 1 American eggplant = 3 Japanese eggplants - Asian eggplants = Oriental eggplants, which include Japanese eggplants and Chinese eggplants, have thinner skins and a more delicate flavor than American eggplants, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter. They're usually more slender than American eggplants, but they vary in size and shape. They range in color from lavender to pink, green, and white.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the mirin and sake to a simmer, then cook for 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the miso and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, make shallow crisscross cuts into the cut sides of the eggplants. In a large pan, heat 1/8 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches to avoid crowding, carefully lightly fry the eggplant for 90 seconds on each side, then drain on the paper towels.


Spread about 3/4 tablespoon sauce on the cut side of each eggplant and place it, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the eggplant until tender and the miso has lightly caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut each half into thirds, sprinkle with shiso and sesame seeds, and serve.

Shōga pōku-maki nasu  茄子の肉巻き生姜焼き - (Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant)
Note: Shabu Shabu is ⅛” slices of any meat~8 slices per inch ~ 8 servings ~ 80 servings should theoretically be 10” of sliced pork loin. Typical pork loin roast is 2- 4 pounds of meat. 6 pounds of pork loin is approximately 18” in length. Theoretically a four pound pork loin cut into shabu shabu style slices *should* be more than enough for this feast, assuming 3” of pork loin is 1 pound.  Also 

Note: Pork loin does not slice thinner then 1/4"  without shredding even if frozen.  So the above notes ultimately proved to be unreliable.  I was able to pound out the pork loin and cut it into halve in order to create the pork rolls, and used 12 pounds of pork. 

½ lb thinly sliced pork loin
¼ onion
1 clove garlic
1 inch ginger (about 1 tsp.)
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 green onion/scallion 
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sake
1 tsp sugar

Grate onion, garlic and ginger into a small bowl.  Add soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar.  Season the meat with salt and pepper.  Wrap meat around the eggplant using a tooth pick if necessary.  

If doing a small batch you can cook the meat in oil that has been heated in a pan in a single layer until heated completely through and eggplant has been heated.  Then add the garlic, onion and ginger sauce, cook for another minute until thoroughly heated and serve. 

Because I was doing the pork in large batches, I placed it in a baking dishe, covered with the seasoning and cooked until done.  Can be served warm or room temperature.

How to thinly slice meat

High quality meat
A very sharp knife
A metal tray
A large freezer bag

Put meat in a single layer in a large freezer bag, squeeze air from the bag and close tightly. Put the meat on a metal tray and freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of the meat and how fatty the meat is. Meat is ready to slice when the knife goes through it smoothly.  Slice the meat against the grain using a gentle sawing motion. Sliced meat can be placed in plastic and frozen until needed. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Suppon Nabe - カメのスープ - (Turtle Soup)

 Suppon Nabe - カメのスープ -  (Turtle Soup)

I know it's been awhile since I posted anything to the blog. My mind has been on other things. However, I am back in the groove and will be completing the posts for Crown Tournament in the next few weeks.  

My wonderful assistant, Miguel Mono De Hierro, whom you may remember made the Himono (grilled dried fish) volunteered to make this luscious Suppon Nabe, a simple and super rich turtle soup most often served in the fall for this event. This was my personal favorite dish of the entire event and I am so grateful that he made it. The third tray of Iemetsu's banquet consisted of two showy dishes and two soups. In lieu of the Carp Soup (Funa no Shiru) Suppon Nabe was served.  To continue the fall dishes in this course, ginger pork rolls stuffed with miso eggplant and braised pork belly with quail eggs served as the main dishes. 

Fowl served with its wings (hamori) - spectacle dish

Carp soup - Funa no shiru 鮒の汁 (Crucian Carp Broth) Use a miso above the grade of nakamiso, and it is good to add dashi. Wrap the funa (crucian carp) in wakame (Undaria pinnatifida seaweed) or kajime ( Ecklonia cava (species of brown alga)) and simmer it. When the umami flavor is light, add ground katsuo (bonito). However you do it, it is good to bring the miso to the start of a boil, like dashi. Boil it well and pour in salted sake. Sanshô powder is used as a suikuchi.

Turbo (sazae) Sazae 栄螺 (Horned turban, Turbo cornutus) - It is good to make with such things as the insides of yonaki (spindle tailed snail), mirukui(Mirugai clam), torigai (Cockle), and tairagi(Fan mussel). Scald, and dress with wasabi and miso vinegar

[Spiny lobster] served in a boat shape (funamori) - spectacle dish

“Cloud hermit” (unzen)soup - Unzen (or unzenkan) was a Chinese dish adopted in the Muromachi period, a gelatin made from grated yam, sugar, and scrambled egg, which was steamed to form a cloud shape when floating in soup.

"The carp in the second soup was the favorite fish of the Muromachi period before sea bream surpassed it in popularity in the Edo period, when it still had its fans. Carp, wrote Hayashi Razan, was both a delicacy (bibutsu) and an auspicious delicacy nicknamed a “gift to Confucius” since the Chinese scholar received one when his son was born. However, two other dishes, which also date to Muromachi-period culinary customs, were especially objects of attention (Rath, Banquets)." 

Here is the instructions in his own words on how to make this soup. Here is a link to a video that shows the entire process--warning--it might be a bit graphic as it does show how to kill and clean the turtle.

How to cook most expensive turtle stew.

Suppon Nabe

Two medium soft shelled turtle or 1 large soft shelled turtle 
1 litre sake 
1 litre water 
1-1/12 cupsLight japense soy sauce 
2-3 leeks ( well roasted)

The hardest steps involve processing the turtle whole.

If using a fresh turtle, kill the animal by removing it's head and inserting the knife at the base of the neck on the dorsal side of the animal and drain the blood into sake to prevent clotting. Allow the blood to drain for several minutes. Ten remove the plastron ( underside of the turtle from shell), intestines and other internal organs. Cut out esophagus and remove from neck. Remove leg quarters from shell/ plasteron and cut off nails from each foot.  You then remove the soft portion of shell from bone. Finally you rinse all meat pieces and remove excess blood

Next boil a large pot of water and dump this over the turtle chunks, shell and plasteron.  Then you peel off the skin from all the legs, head, shell, and plasteron.

In a large pot mix 1litre of sake and 1 litre of water to a boil. Add all the turtle pieces to stew and add urikasi ( light ) soy sauce. Skim excess foam from the top of the soup. Allow this to boil until the meat is soft (45 mins to 1 hour), add extra soy sauce and sake as needed to restore fluid levels and to taste.

Once the turtle meat is tender remove the large meat from the stock. While meat is still hot remove any bones ( be sure to get as many of the metatarsels and digit bones as possible, then add the meat back to broth and add slow roasted leeks . Simmer to allow leeks and broth to meld

The collagen in this soup is amazing and the different meats of the turtle (supposedly there are seven) add an odd textual component while still giving lots of flavor. I allowed mine to simmer for extra time before serving to reduce an odd aroma and let the leeks percolate in the broth and take off some of the gameiness of the turtle.

For more information you may want to read Eric Rath's "Banquets Against Boredom:Towards Understanding(Samurai) Cuisine in EarlyModern Japan."

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Kuri Gohan 栗ご飯 (Chestnut Rice) & Kinoko no sūpu きのこのスープ Clear Mushroom Soup

Kuri Gohan  栗ご飯 (Chestnut Rice)
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)


Many of the dishes that were served in the third course of the Crown tournament feast are considered "Autumn" foods.  Kuri Gohan is a typical fall dish comprised of two of the staple foods of Japanese cooking; chestnuts and Rice. It is believed that Japanese Chestnuts (Kuri) were cultivated in Japan before rice, with evidence of the use of chestnuts as early as 10,000-200 BCE.  There is archeological evidence of charred chestnuts found at Jomon Period settlements.  

Chestnuts are symbolic of success and hard times.  It was the symbolism of this dish that made it imperative to include it in the Crown Tourney feast. This was a very easy dish to put together and quite beautiful to look at. 

Recipe 

2 cups Japanese short grained rice
1 Tbsp mirin
1 tsp salt  as needed
20-25 chestnuts chopped coarsely (Note: If you are using raw chestnuts you will need to prepare them prior to adding to the rice.  I used precooked and peeled chestnuts purchased from a Japanese grocery)
Black sesame seeds to garnish

The rice was prepared in the instant pot using a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part rice, set on the rice setting for 10 minutes.  The rice was pre-soaked in warmed water for approximately 20 minutes, rinsed and then placed in the instant pot with the additional water. 

After cooking the rice was mixed with mirin and chestnuts, and garnished with the black sesame seeds. 

 Kinoko no sūpu きのこのスープ Clear Mushroom Soup
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)


Mushrooms are another symbolic food representing longevity. Shiitake mushrooms are the second most widely cultivated mushroom in the world. The earliest records of the cultivation of Shiitake mushrooms can be traced to 1209 Records of Longquan County by He Zhan. The techniques for cultivating the mushrooms were introduce in Japan from the Chinese sometime between 1500 and 1600 AD. This soup took the place of the Carp soup - Funa no shiru 鮒の汁 (Crucian Carp Broth) that was served to Iemitsu.

The third tray of Iemitsu's banquet consisted of showy foods that were most likely meant to be seen instead of eaten including Hamori and a funamori. 

  • Fowl served with its wings (hamori) - spectacle dish
  • Carp soup - Funa no shiru 鮒の汁 (Crucian Carp Broth) Use a miso above the grade of nakamiso, and it is good to add dashi. Wrap the funa (crucian carp) in wakame (Undaria pinnatifida seaweed) or kajime ( Ecklonia cava (species of brown alga)) and simmer it. When the umami flavor is light, add ground katsuo (bonito). However you do it, it is good to bring the miso to the start of a boil, like dashi. Boil it well and pour in salted sake.  Sanshô powder is used as a suikuchi.
  • Turbo (sazae) Sazae 栄螺 (Horned turban, Turbo cornutus) - It is good to make with such things as the insides of yonaki (spindle tailed snail), mirukui (Mirugai clam), torigai (Cockle), and tairagi(Fan mussel). Scald, and dress with wasabi and miso vinegar
  • [Spiny lobster] served in a boat shape (funamori) - spectacle dish
  • “Cloud hermit” (unzen)soup

Eric Rath in his "Banquets Against Boredom:Towards Understanding(Samurai) Cuisine in EarlyModern Japan", states "Unzen (or unzenkan) was a Chinese dish adopted in the Muromachi period, a gelatin made from grated yam, sugar, and scrambled egg, which was steamed to form a cloud shape when floating in soup."

He goes on to further explain that "the carp in the second soup was the favorite fish of the Muromachi period before sea bream surpassed it in popularity in the Edo period, when it still had its fans. Carp, wrote Hayashi Razan, was both a delicacy (bibutsu) and an auspicious delicacy nicknamed a “gift to Confucius” since the Chinese scholar received one when his son was born. However, two other dishes, which also date to Muromachi-period culinary customs, were especially objects of attention."

Additionally, he explains that "Fowl served with its wings hamori style featured a duck or quail cooked with its feathered wings reattached and positioned so that the bird looked like it might fly away. Spiny lobster in the shape of a boat featured a large crustacean whose legs, feelers, and body had been contorted to give the appearance of a sailing ship. Both dishes were served with additional decorations made from paper and flowers. Neither of these dishes was meant to be eaten; instead they were spectacle pieces meant to show off the cook’s skills and added dignity to the occasion. The equivalent of food sculptures, these dishes provided an important artistic dimension to the meal, crucial to the designation of a cuisine as distinct from ordinary foods and mundane ways of cooking and eating." 

Shiitake Dashi 

2 cups water
2 -3 dried shiitake mushrooms
3-in.-long piece kombu (dried edible kelp) 
1/3 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce

Place mushrooms, kombu, and 2 cups water into a medium pot. Cover and chill overnight. Set pot over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. When small bubbles form along sides and bottom of pot, but before it actually begins to simmer, remove  mushrooms and kombu and strain the stock. Prior to serving heat broth and add mirin and soy sauce. 

Note: It is recommended to always use cold water to soak your shiitake mushrooms.  The stock, once drained can be used in soups, sauces etc.  It can be stored up to two days prior to usage.

To Make Soup

Add shiitake mushrooms to heated broth.  Garnish as desired with green onions.  

Note:  The soup was made with a mixture of dried shiitake, baby bella, oyster and button mushrooms. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Wakasagi Nanbanzuke - 南部の野bなスタイルのワカサギ Smelt in the “Southern Barbarian Style”

Wakasagi Nanbanzuke
南部の野bなスタイルのワカサギ
"Smelt in the “Southern Barbarian Style”
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Nanban means 'barbaric' and it is what the Japanese originally called Portuguese Europeans, when they first arrived in Japan.  According to Makiko Itoh, "The first Europeans on Japanese soil were the Portuguese — a handful of passengers on a Chinese ship that got blown off course and washed ashore on Tanegashima, an island off the coast of current-day Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu, in 1543. For almost 100 years after that, the Portuguese had a profound influence on Japan until their ships were banned by the Edo shogunate in 1639."

“Wakasagi Nanbanzuke” is a Japanese dish made by marinating fried fish and vegetables in a vinegar based marinade.  It is believed the Japanese adapted the Portuguese escabesche to create this dish.  I must admit that I was skeptical about the reception of this dish in the Crown Tournament feast. Afterwords, several people requested the recipe, and, to the best of my knowledge very little came back from the tables.  Smelt is a perfect one or two bite fish and strong enough to hold up to the flavors of the marinade. 

Wakasagi Nanbanzuke

5 cm x 5 cm kombu (dried kelp)
4 tbsp water
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp usukuchi shoyu (Japanese light soy sauce)
2 tsp sugar
½ dried takanotsume red pepper or dried red chili pepper
1 small onion, finely sliced
⅛ cup carrot, finely sliced
6 small fillet of aji, mackerel, salmon or sardines or smelt
1 tbps. plain flour
1 tbsp. katakuriko or cornstarch
vegetable oil, to deep fry

Method

Soak the pepper in water until it re-hydrates.  Drain, seed and cut into very thin slices. Make the marinade by mixing together the water, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, kombu and red pepper.  Add onions and carrots to the marinade and set aside. 

Heat oil over medium heat.  Dry fish with a paper towel and then lightly dust the fish with flour and starch.  Fry the fish in the oil until it is lightly browned and then drain excess oil.  Once the fish has been fried, place it into the marinade. Allow it to stand for at least 30 minutes.  It can be kept overnight.

Kasutera

Eric Rath's "Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan", which I referenced heavily for the Crown Tourney feast, contains a translation of the earliest surviving recipe for kasutera.  Modern day Kasutera creates an airy sponge cake, flavored with honey and sugar.  However, the recipe in Rath's book is based on the Portugese Pão de Ló which gets its "airiness" beating the eggs until they become light and fluffy (15 to 20 minutes by hand). This too varies from the period recipe which uses sugar, flower water and almonds to create something that might resemble something similar to a nougat without the egg whites.

Pão-de-ló 

Com um quilo deaçúcar façam uma calda. Assim que esta espelhar, ajuntem-lhe algumas gotas deágua-de-flor e tirem-na do fogo. Pelem um quilo de amêndoas, soquem-nas um pouco,para que fiquem apenas em pedacinhos, e misturem-nas na calda. Mexam tudodurante algum tempo, e a seguir levem o tacho ao fogo brando, mexendo semprenuma só direção. De vez em quando tirem o tacho do fogo, mexendo sempre, paraque a massafique bem alva. Ela estará cozida assim que se desgarrar da vasilha. Despejem a massa num tabuleiro molhado, ouuntado com manteiga, alisando-a bem com uma colher de pau, de modo que nãofique muito grossa. Cortem-na emtabletes, na forma desejada.

With a kilo of sugar make a syrup. As soon as it is mirrored, add a few drops of flower water and remove it from the fire. Peel a kilo of almonds, punch them a little, so that they are just in pieces, and mix them in the syrup. Stir everything for a while, and then bring the pan to low heat, stirring constantly in one direction. From time to time, remove the pan from the heat, stirring constantly, so that the dough is very white. It will be cooked as soon as you get out of the bowl. Pour the dough into a wet pan, or greased it with butter, smoothing it well with a wooden spoon, so that it doesn't get too thick. Cut it into tablets, in the desired shape.

Recipe for Mu'aqqad (Nougat) of Sugar. Dissolve a ratl of sugar in two ratls of aromatic rosewater on a moderate fire, and when it is dissolved, strain it through a woolen cloth. Then return it to the fire and stir it gently until it is well cooked. Then remove it from the fire so that it cools slightly. Beat the whites of a dozen eggs in a dish until they give up their foam, and throw them on the melted sugar. Return it to the fire and beat it with the confectionery cane ['asab hulwâ: evidently a candy-making utensil] until it whitens and takes the consistency of 'asîda and remove it from the fire and put in half a ratl of pistachios, if possible, and half a ratl of peeled almonds, and serve it forth, God willing.

Kasutera 

The recipe in Rath's book comes from from the Nanban Ryorisho or Southern Barbarian's Cookbook, 1641, the earliest depictions of Portuguese style cooking in Japan. I had considered including this particular recipe in the feast, but discarded it in favor of out of period ice cream with tangerines and persimmons.  Below is more information on my research, which I include here in the hopes that someone may one day try to recreate this dish.

卵十個に砂糖六十匁、麦の粉百六十匁、以上をこねる。鍋に紙を敷き、粉をふり、その上にこねたものを入れ、上下に火を置いて焼く

Knead more than sixty eggs with sixty momme sugar and one hundred and sixty momme flour. Spread the paper in the pan, sprinkle the powder, put the knead on it, put the fire up and down and bake

Eric Rath's translation calls for ten eggs: 

"Knead together 10 eggs, 160 momme (600 grams) of sugar and 160 momme of wheat flour. Spread paper in a pot and sprinkle it with flour. Place the dough on top of this. Place a heat source above and below to cook. There are oral instructions."

How many momme in 1 grams? The answer is 0.26666666666667
600 Grams of granulated sugar is equal to 21.16 ounces or 3 cups granulated sugar

600 Grams all purpose flour is equal to approximately 4 cups of flour

My interpretation of the recipe, using Eric Rath's measurement is below: 

10 Eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
4 cups flour

Because I had discarded this dish, my research went no further. I do believe that at some point down the road I am going to experiment with this recipe and possibly publish a future post on it.  My current thoughts are that it should very closely resemble the Pão-de-ló  in the cooking technique, where eggs are used in place of, or as an addition to water, to create a syrup that then has the flour (almond?) and sugar added to it. These items are then beaten together until the dough becomes light and airy and begins to cool (similar to manus christi***).  After which, it is placed into an oven to dry or to cook depending upon what kind of "dough" it creates.


***Instructions for making manus christi are at the very bottom of that page.

For Further Reading

Nanban dishes are fit for a barbarian, Makiko Itoh

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Sumashi-jiru すまし汁 (Clam Soup) & Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)

Sumashi-jiru すまし汁 (Clam Soup)
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
According to the Ryōri Monogatari,“Suimono” refers to a clear (or relatively clear) broth. The bowls should obtain few ingredients and should not feel crowded. In keeping with the tradition of one soup, and "X" number of sides, the soup that was provided in the second round was a suimono that would normally contain oysters, but, clams were substituted via cook's prerogative because the cook (me) does not care for the taste of oysters. Perhaps it has something to do with being land locked? Oysters come canned or frozen, but not exactly fresh?

Kaki かき (Oysters) - Put in salt, leave a good amount, and put in the oysters. When it steams, season to taste. If there is too little broth, then water or dashi can be put in. It can also be done without putting in the salt. Adding sakeshio is good.

Note: Clams substituted for Oysters

Interpreted recipe:

1 lb.clams (live, in shell, about 12 to 16)
5 cups water
Salt to taste
To garnish: lemon peel /or  mitsuba  (wild Japanese parsley)

Soak clams in salted water overnight, or at least for several hours. Heat basic clear soup to boil, drop in clams. After shells open up, place in a small soup bowl. Strain soup stock. Bring stock to a boil, and garnish with strips of mitsuba.

Note: The Japanese store where I purchased most of my items had frozen clams in the shell in 2 pound packages.  I used these for the feast. 

DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK) Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

Note: In Japanese cooking there are five different types of dashi:

Kombu Dashi - made from dried kelp (kombu)
Katsuo Dashi - made with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
Iriko Dashi - made from iriko (dried anchovies), or niboshi (dried sardines)
Shiitake Dashi - made from shiitake mushrooms that have been dried
Awase Dashi - made from a combination of any of the above.

Many of the dishes I prepared used Awase Dashi as the stock, either a mixture of kimbu and katsuo or kombu and shiitake. The instructions for the dashi used for this dish can be found here.

Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)
Garnished with Furikake and Umeboshi
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)

Eric Rath advises that a "typical formula for describing the organization of trays and dishes at honzen banquets was “seven, five, three”. This indicated three trays each with a soup, and seven, five, and three side dishes on them respectively. This was the format of the banquet for Iemitsu in 1630, and one that was typical service for the shogun in the Edo period." It is believed that the discovery of "yuzuke" was an accident, attributed to the third Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358–1408)  when he became drunk at a party, poured hot water on his rice, and ate it.

He further explains:
"Three trays was a typical formulation for shoguns, but the number of trays and the number of dishes on them varied for guests of other rank. Large banquets in the Muromachi period might have up to thirty-two side dishes, although some of these dishes, like a few described below, were decorative and not meant to be consumed.In the Edo period, most samurai including daimyo were, like commoners, limited by sumptuary legislation to just two trays of food at banquets, albeit daimyo that held their own provinces (kunimochi) were allowed seven side dishes, but commoners and hatamoto could only have five side dishes."

One of the more historically interesting dishes that was served at the feast was Yuzuke. Introduced in the Heian era, "yuzuke",  is a bowl of rice and hot water poured on top. It became f a formal banquet dish during the Muromachi era.  It is speculated that it may be a precursor to ochazuke. The "Ryori Monogatari (Story of the meals)" a recipe similar to ochazuke which combies rice, chestnuts, or sweet potato with tea. I include the information from the Ryori Mongatari for interest, but it was NOT served at feast.

NARA CHA 奈良茶 (NARA TEA) - First, roast the tea, put it in a bag, and boil just the tea and azuki. Next, put in beans and rice, and roast half of them. Make sure to cut the beans open and discard the shell. Alternatively, add such things as sasage, kuwai, or roasted chestnuts. Season with sanshō powder and salt. Whatever you season with is very important.

The Yuzuke that was served at feast consisted of rice with hot water poured over it and was garnished with umeboshi and furikake. It was visually stunning and so simple to put together.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Shimofuri 霜降 Sho no Irizake 精進の煎り酒 and Ebi no Umani 海老のうまに


Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Shimofuri 霜降 (Falling mist)  is the name of a technique that is still in use today. This dish marked the main dish of the second tray or Nino-Zen.  Shimofuri means "frosting," and it is a technique to seal in the  flavor or umami  taste. Shimofuri is often used for cooking fish or meat. It also eliminates the extra fishy smell in the final dish and helps fish pieces to stay intact in soup or broth. The fish I used was cod that had been cut into similar sized pieces. Accompanying the the steamed fish was  hoshi (cold smoked)salmon that had been cured in sake and salt, and seasoned with seven spice powder, gomae (sesame spinach) and an attempt at tamogoyaki :-D, my omelette rolling skills need much improvement!

SHIMOFURI 霜降り (FALLING MIST, AKA BLANCHING) - Slice tai (sea bream) into strips and put them in boiling water. When done, cool it with water. Also called shiramete (whitening). Alternatively, yugaku is anything which is suddenly boiled.

SHŌ NO IRIZAKE 精進の煎り酒 (VEGETARIAN IRIZAKE) - Cut tōfu in dengaku sized pieces and toast them over flame. Take such things as umeboshi and dried turnip, then slice and add them. Boil it all in aged sake. Alternatively, using a little tamari in plain sake is good. There exist oral traditions.

1 shô = 1.804 Liter = 1.906 quarts = 60.8 ounces
1 gô = 180ml = 6.08652 ounces

QUICK IRIZAKE 煎酒急候時 - When you are in a hurry, put 2 sticks of katsuobushi and 5 gō of dashi in 1 shō of sake. Taste, add tamari, and serve. You should put 6 or 7 umeboshi in 1 shō of sake. Decoct a good amount of salt and tamari and put it in.
1 shô Katsuo (Bonito)
15-20 Ume -Umeboshi
2 shô of aged sake
Water
Tamari

Interpreted Recipe

1 bottle of sake
1 piece 2"x2" dashi kombu (dry kelp)
6-7 small- medium-sized umeboshi (pickledplum)
15g katsuo bushi (shaved dry bonito flakes)

To start, soak kombu in sake for 3-4 hours. Remove. (No heating is necessary, because kombu is used for bringing just a subtle flavor to the sake.)Add umeboshi to the sake and bring to simmer. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.Add katsuo and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sake is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Strain the sake through a fine-mesh strainer. 

Hoshi sāmon ほしサーモン-  Cold smoked salmon with Schichimi Togarashi 

5-6 pounds of salmon or halibut
½ cup salt
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup sake


Pat dry the salmon fillets with a kitchen paper towel. Mix together sugar, salt and seven spice powder. Slice salmon in half, pour sake over salmon and sprinkle with salt, sugar and spice mixture. Wrap the salmon fillets with kitchen paper towel and cling wrap over. Refrigerate the fillets overnight or at least 7-8 hours. 

Rinse salmon, and allow to soak for approximately 30 minutes before smoking. Pat dry, place on a pan, skin side down until the salmon dries (approximately 4 hours). Cold smoke salmon until the exterior is bronzed and the salmon feels semi-firm and leathery.


Shichimi Togarashi - 七十七七- Seven Spice Powder

2 tbsp. red chili flakes
1 tbsp. dried orange peel
2 tsp each white and black sesame seeds
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp. powdered ginger
½ tsp. poppy seeds
½ sheet toasted nori

In a dry skillet lightly toast sesame seeds, Sichuan peppercorns & poppy seeds being careful not to burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Place all ingredients in a grinder and grind until coarsely ground. Store in airtight jar.

Spinach Gomae ほうれん草ごまえ
1 pound Spinach
Pinch of salt
2 tbs white sesame seeds
1 tbs tahini or sesame paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Mirin
2 tsp soy sauce

Place the sesame seeds, tahini, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce in a mortar and grind them all together and set aside. Boil water in a large pot and add the spinach bunch in (from the stem side first) and cook for about 1 minute. Take the spinach out and put immediately in icy cold water to avoid the spinach being cooked further. Squeeze out excess water and cut the spinach about 5 cm long. Roll into balls.

Serve with the sesame sauce and sprinkle more sesame seeds on top.


Tamagoyaki - 玉子焼き- Japanese Rolled Omelette 

3 large eggs
2 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
3 Tbsp dashi (Use Kombu Dashi for vegetarian)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce (Use GF soy sauce for gluten-free)
1 tsp mirin
2 pinch salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)

In a small bowl, combine the dashi, salt, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Mix until everything is dissolved. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and add the seasoning mixture. Mix until well-combined.
Heat a tamagoyaki pan over medium-high heat. Brush a thin layer of oil on the pan. Pour a third of the egg mixture into pan and quickly swirl to cover the entire pan. When the egg is half-set, gently roll the egg. With the rolled egg still in the pan, pour in another third of the egg mixture. Lift up the rolled egg and let the mixture to flow under it. When the egg is half-set, roll the omelette toward you.  Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture. Slice into bite-sized pieces.

Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Ebi no Umani  海老のうまに

EBI 海老 - Preparation method of Ni iro に色 (Red) - Add dashi-tamari vinegar. Anything is good. -

5 shrimp shell and head-on if possible
1/2 cup sake (1/2 cup = 120 ml)
1 Tbsp mirin
1/2 cup dashi (1/2 cup = 120 ml)
2 Tbsp tamari

With shell/head-on, devein shrimp and quickly rinse under cold running water. Cut off the pointy tip of head and antennas with a pair of kitchen shears (or knife). Cut off the tail at an angle for better presentation (optional).

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) sake and 2 Tbsp. mirin. Turn on the heat and bring to boil over medium heat and let alcohol evaporate. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) dashi and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and bring to boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and place the shrimp in the sauce, bending and holding its back with chopsticks or a pair of tongs to create a shape of Hiragana “つ”. Add all the shrimp to cook at the same time so the cooking time will be similar. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, skimming while cooking on low heat.

Once it’s cooked, immediately transfer the shrimp to a container, saving the cooking liquid. Strain the cooking liquid, preferably over coffee filter or super fine mesh strainer to remove the unwanted protein and fat (the final shrimp will look cleaner and prettier). Discard the filter and let the cooking liquid cool.

Once the cooking liquid is cool, pour over the shrimp. Do not pour the hot cooking liquid on to the shrimp, this will overcook the shrimp. Cover and soak for a few hours (at least) or overnight. Serve it at cold or room temperature.




Onishime オニシメ

Carrots & Mushrooms

1 3/4 lb. carrots
1 1/2 cups dashi
4 T. sugar
2 T. mirin
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2 inch long rounds. Cook in dashi about 4 to 5 minutes.Stir in sugar, mirin, soy sauce and salt.Turn down heat, keep at a simmer until almost tender.

Renkon (Lotus Root)

1 lb. lotus root
2 cups dashi
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T mirin
2 1/2 T soy sauce

Peel the renkon and cut into 1/3 inch pieces.- Parboil renkon for about 3 minutes.Put renkon and dashi into a pot and cook about 5 minutes.- Add sugar and mirin. Simmer 3-4 minutes and then add soy sauce.

Gobo

1 3/4 lb. gobo (burdock root)
3 cups dashi
5 T sugar
2 T mirin
1/3 C soy sauce

Scrape and julienne gobo. Keep in cold water to avoid discoloration. Parboil about 10 minutes. Place parboiled gobo into a pot with dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce into a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with a lid and simmer until reduced by a third.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Aemaze あえまぜ - Fish Salad (aka Fish Shooters), Sakabite さかびて - Fish Flavored with Sake & Dashizake だし酒


 Aemaze あえまぜ - Fish Salad (aka Fish Shooters)
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
The main tray of Iemetsu's Banquet in 1630, contained Aemaze あえまぜ and Sakabite さかびて . Because this banquet was the inspiration for Crown Tournament, I wanted to ensure that as close as possible these dishes were featured in the feast on the main tray. As a reminder, the dishes served on the first tray of the inspiration feast are listed below:

Main Tray

Grilled salt-cured fish (shiobiki)
Octopus
Fish-paste cake (kamaboko)
Chopsticks
Fish salad (aemaze)
Hot water over rice (yuzuke)
Pickles
Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)
Fermented intestines of sea cucumber (konowata)
Salt for flavoring (teshio)

Research indicated that aemaze's originates in the Muromachi period. It is the predecessor of namasu (raw salads), which is itself the predecessor of modern day sashimi. Further research indicated that Namasu typically consisted of slices of raw fish with vegetables or fruit with a vinegar based dressing. Aemaze, is a similar dish of fish that has been marinated in a sake based dressing. Finding information on how to recreate this dish is very, very scarce.  Below is my interpretation based on research.  Caveat: This may not have any resemblance to the intended dish that was served to Iemetsu. This was one of the most popular and requested dishes of Crown.  

AEMAZE

Ingredients

6 oz. sushi-grade fresh fish  (I used red snapper)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp mirrin
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Juice from one tangerine, lemon or lime
1 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
thinly sliced tangerine 
 
Please note--you should use sushi-grade fish, however, talk to your grocer! Sushi grade fish is expen$ive.  This salad is a ceviche style salad and when I asked my grocer about that he explained that I could used any fresh fish for ceviche, as long as I made sure that the fish "cooked" in its marinade. He further explained that the acids that were used would denature the protein in the fish, and while this would not kill the bacteria present it would cook the fish.  I cannot stress enough if you are planning on using this recipe your fish absolutely MUST BE FRESH!

I marinated the fish overnight in the same cure that I used for the sakabite (below).  Remove your fish from the marinade, rinse and then dry it off.  Thinly slice your fish and lay the slices onto your serving plate. 

Mix together the soy sauce and sesame oil. Add green onion and tangerine juice. Drizzle the sauce over the fish slices. Garnish with the thinly sliced pieces of tangerine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 


Another dish that was recreated for Crown Tournament was the Fish flavored with Sake. I was able to locate instructions for this in the Ryōri Monogatari.

SAKABITE (さかびて)
Gather an assortment of things that have a good salty manner from among such things as salted tai (red snapper), abalone, tara (codfish), salmon, or ayu (trout); karasumi (salted mullet roe); kabura hone(turnip bones? whale bones?); swan; wild goose; or wild duck. Ken is kunenbo (mandarin orange or yuzu). There are other directions besides this. It is good to pour dashizake over it.

Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)  (さかびて) - Gather an assortment of things that have a good salty manner from among such things as salted tai (red snapper), abalone, tara (codfish), salmon, or ayu(trout); karasumi (salted mullet roe); kabura hone (whale bones?); swan; wild goose; or wild duck. Ken is kunenbo (mandarin orange, yuzu). There are other directions besides this. It is good to pour dashi-zake over it


1 pound fish of choice (I used whiting)
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sake

Cut your fish into bite sized pieces, pat dry and then place into a food storage bag or a lidded glass dish.  Sprinkle salt and sake on your fish, making sure that each piece is evenly coated.  Cover the container and refrigerate over night.  You can refrigerate up to 36 hours, turning fish every 12 hours, however the longer the fish marinates the saltier it gets until it becomes unpleasantly salty. 

Remove fish from the marinade, rinse off any remaining salt before cooking it.  I broiled the fish in my oven until it started to turn brown and was very fragrant (this took less then five minutes!).  


Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

6 cups cold water
1 ounce dried kombu (kelp)
~1 cup dried katsuboshi (dried bonito)

Bring water and kombu just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and remove kombu. Sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl.


DASHIZAKE だし酒 (SAKE STOCK)

Add a little salt to katsuo. Add one or two splashes of new sake, boil and cool.

1 tbsp.  katsuo (bonito)
1/4 c. sake
1-2 tbsp. salt
2 3/4 c. water 

Bring water and sake just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl. Serve.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - O-zoni お雑煮 - Rice Cake and simmered vegetables with fish paste cake


 O-zoni お雑煮 - Rice Cake and simmered vegetables with fish paste cake
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

One of the quintessential dishes of the samurai cuisine is O-zōni, a meal originally thought to have been prepared in field battles consisting of mochi, vegetables and dried foods. This meal was once exclusive to samurai and so it became an essential dish to include in the Crown Tourney feast.

In the Muromachi period, O-zōni was considered an essential dish for welcoming guests to a honzen ryori (a formally arranged dinner) meal. Today, this soup is served traditionally at New Year's. The soups may differ from region to region, but one ingredient is essential--rice cakes also known as mochi. The soup that was served at feast features square rice cakes called kaku-mochi in a clear broth. These rice cakes were common in the Edo period.

According to Eric Rath, the "rice cake soup in Ryōri Monogatari calls for a stock made from miso or clear stock (dried bonito flakes, konbu and salt) and [white/yellow] rice cake, taro, and daikon, [black] dried sea cucumber intestines (iriko), abalone on skewers, large flakes of dried [red] bonito (hiragatsuo), and green shoots (kukitachi)--enough varied ingredients to suggest a five color combination.

28. ATSUME JIRU あつめ汁 (GATHERED BROTH)

It is good to add dashi to nakamiso. Alternatively use a suimono. It is good to put in such things as daikon, gobō, imo, tōfu, bamboo shoots, skewered abalone, dried fugu, iriko, and tsumi’ire (fish ball's made from pilchard, horse mackerel or saury). There are various others.

Creating this soup requires multiple steps.  I must admit, I did "cheat" a little bit and completely bi-passed making the rice cakes in favor of purchasing already made kaku-mochi from the Japanese market where I did most of my shopping.  Each step is easy to do, and the finished product is beautiful to look at.  Bonus is that many of the ingredients can be made in advanced and store well. 

Because I wanted this dish to appeal to most vegetarians, I chose to start the dish with making a vegetarian dashi broth. 

Vegetarian Dashi ベジタリアンだし

4- 2-inch squares kombu (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 quarts cold water

Combine the kombu, mushrooms, and water in a large container and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours. It gets stronger as it sits, and the taste can vary depending on what type of kombu you use, so with a few rounds you’ll find your preference. If you plan to let it stand for more than 4 hours, place it in the refrigerator, lidded or covered with a piece of plastic wrap.

Alternatively, bring the water to a bare simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the kombu and mushrooms, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Discard the kombu (alternatively, chop it up and use it as a nutritious addition to salads and bowls of rice and other grains or to make homemade Furikake (ふりかけ) seasoning to top rice). Pick out the mushrooms and trim off and discard the stems. Reserve the mushroom caps for another use. You may want to strain the dashi through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth if there are small pieces of kombu left behind (I didn't do this)

Vegetarian dashi can be stored in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days.

Kamaboko Fish Paste Cake かまぼこ - makes 2 rolls ~ 18 ½” rounds

1 pound fish fillets (traditionally catfish but I used whiting)
1 egg
½  tbsp. ginger paste
2-3 Tbsp. cornstarch (note: you can substitute arrowroot or rice starch)

Grind white fish in a blender with a little bit of water until it forms a smooth paste.  Add egg, ginger and starch and blend well. Divide fish paste into halves. Coat aluminum foil with vegetable oil and shape the fish paste into logs about  2” in diameter. Roll up and seal both ends of the foil. Steam for 30 minutes over high heat. To test for doneness insert a bamboo skewer into center. If skewer comes out clean, it is done. Refrigerate until cool and then slice into 1/4" rounds.

To color the paste, remain part of it and add juice of young ginger or food coloring. I used pink.  Using a sushi mat covered with plastic (placing it inside of a gallon zipper bag works very well), spread the white fish paste in an even layer over the mat, then spread the colored fish paste above it.  Roll as if for sushi and steam as above.

Kaku-mochi - Rice Cake - 角餅

Glutinous sticky rice
Potato or Rice Starch
Water

Coarsely grind the rice in a food processor and soak for one hour in enough water to cover. Drain the rice and cook in a rice steamer until soft. Allow to cool for about five minutes. Wet your hands and transfer some of the rice to a mortar and pestle. Pound the rice for ten minutes or so until if begins to form a large sticky mass. Add small amounts of water so that the rice does not stick to the sides.

Sprinkle rice starch onto a clean fat surface, transfer the mochi onto the surface and begin to knead until the mochi is no longer sticky. Divide it into smaller portions and continue to knead until smooth, adding more rice starch as needed.

O-Zoni Soup お雑煮

6" length daikon (white radish)
1/2 bunch spinach
1 medium carrot
1 cake kamaboko (fish cake)
4 cups dashi
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
Rice cake

Pare the radish into hexagonal shape and then cut into slices about 1/4" thick. Parboil in lightly salted water until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. (Hexagons make up the tortoiseshell pattern. The tortoise is a symbol of longevity.)

Peel the carrot and cut into 1/4" rounds. Cut into flower shapes. Parboil in lightly salted water until almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Slice the fish cake into 1/4" half rounds.

Bring the dashi just to a boil in a pot. Turn down heat and keep at a simmer. Then stir in salt and soy sauce and season to taste.

Arrange spinach, single carrot slice, single daikon slice, mochi and fish cake in soup bowl. Ladle hot broth into bowl. Garnish with sprigs of mizuna.

Note: Substitute for Mizuna - arugula, young mustard greens, or tatsoi in equal amounts.

How to make Puffed Rice to be used as a garnish (not used at feast)

Oil heated to 425 degrees
1 cup rice (any rice)

Once oil is heated, pour in a cup of rice--rice will puff up in about 10 seconds. Drain through a metal sieve, season to taste, use as garnish.

Furikake (ふりかけ) is a dried Japanese seasoning which is sprinkled on top of cooked rice. Ingredients include a combination of dried fish flakes, dried egg, dried cod eggs, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed and other flavorings.

½ oz reserved kombu (from making dashi)
1 oz reserved katsuobushi (from making dashi ;slightly wet)
1 Tbsp white toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp black toasted sesame seeds
nori seaweed
1 tsp sugar (add more to your taste)
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (add more to your taste)

Gather all the ingredients. Make sure the kombu and katsuobushi are well drained.

Cut kombu into small pieces.Put kombu and katsuobushi in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until katsuobushi becomes dry and separated from each other.Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated.Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated.

Transfer the furikake to a tray or plate and let cool. Once it’s cooled, you can add toasted/roasted sesame seeds and nori seaweed. You can break katsuobushi into smaller pieces if you prefer.

Put in a mason jar or airtight container and enjoy sprinkling over steamed rice. You can refrigerate for up to 2 weeks and freeze for up to a month.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Shiobiki (塩鮭)/ Himono (干物) Grilled dried fish


Himono (干物) Grilled dried fish
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Iemitsu banquet in 1630 contained the following items on the first tray of food that was served:

Main Tray

Grilled salt-cured fish (shiobiki)
Octopus
Fish-paste cake (kamaboko)
Chopsticks
Fish salad (aemaze)
Hot water over rice (yuzuke)
Pickles
Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)
Fermented intestines of sea cucumber (konowata)
Salt for flavoring (teshio)

Many of the dishes from this banquet were served at Crown Tournament feast because I wanted to preserve, as much as possible, the flavor of that historic banquet. The kamaboko was served in O-Zoni soup. The aemaze (affectionately dubbed "fish shooters") were also served in the first course. The yuzuke, hot water over rice was moved to the second course. Pickles were served in their many varieties throughout the feast, either as individual dishes or as garnishes for the food. Salt was on the table as well as chopsticks. The two dishes that were not served were octopus and the konowata.

The Shiobiki, grilled salt cured fish, was served as part of the first course and it is solely the work of one of my assistant's known in the SCA as Miguel Mono De Hierro. He also made the turtle soup, and was responsible for the beautiful plating of the aemaze and keeping the head cook (me) semi-sane the day of the event. Keep an eye out for this man--he will do GREAT things in the SCA.

The story behind the creation of this dish goes something like this. After several days of researching Shiobiki recipes and consistently coming up with salmon, and knowing that I was going to serve a cold smoked salmon as a garnish on one of the dishes I contacted Miguel.

"Hey you, I think I found something that you might enjoy doing that will help immensely with feast and you can take the summer to do in your own time. Interested?

Him: "What is it?"

"I would like to serve some salted and grilled fish at the event and it calls for Lake fish. So, we have nine tables that we will be serving on and I was wondering if you might be interested in possibly catching some fish that we can use to salt and grill and serve at the beginning of the meal? The salting process is very easy as is the drying process better that should be done within a week of feast so it will be a lot of last minute marinating and carrying the fish for 24 hours to hang out and dry.

Him: "Can the fish be frozen before hand?"

Me: "Absolutely"

At which point I called him and plans were made and great things ensued.

Shiobiki specifically is grilled salt cured salmon, however, the Ryōri Monogatari, contains a list of fish found in the rivers in Chapter 3: Kawa Uo no Bu (川魚の部) River Fish. Carp and Catfish are on that list, but after some discussion we decided that we may not be able to catch enough of either fish to be able to serve whole, which is one of the things we wanted to do. We settled on bluegill, I find it rather Karmic. Bluegill is an invasive species that was introduced to Japan in the 1960's. It was brought to Japan by Emperor Akihito with hopes that it could be raised as food. The fish has since wrecked the ecosystem and wiped out several native species in rivers and lakes.

The preservation method that we used for the bluegill can be traced back to the 10th Century. The Japanese word himono (干物) refers to "dried things". 



Grilled salt-cured fish - Himono - dried and grilled fish

1 quart water
4 tsp sea salt 
3-4 whole fish
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup  soy
Handful of shiso leaves

To start you will want to clean your fish, split it lengthwise, removing the guts and leaving the fish as whole as possible.  Make a brine from the water and salt, add the fish and brine it for at least an hour, overnight is better.  Remove fish from the brine and pat dry. 

You can spread the fish skin side up on  a wire rack and refrigerate overnight.  Alternatively, you can hang the fish to dry in the sun.  While the fish is drying you will want to heat up your grill.  The heat should be "intense but distant".  

Mix the remaining ingredients together to create a sauce for the fish. Mix together mirin and soy, and chiffonade the shiso leaves adding them to the brine. Place the fish skin-side down on the grill and cook for approximately 3 minutes, basting the fish with the sauce every few minutes while it cooks.  Turn it over and cook about 4 more minutes continuing to baste.  When the fish is well cooked and the skin brown and crispy serve.  

For more information see the following links:

Himono: Cutting, Drying and Grilling Fish The Japanese Way


Monday, January 13, 2020

Pot Ash Leavening - AKA Cooking with Ashes

I remember a rather lively discussion on a facebook thread about cooking with "Lye".  I ran across this little adventure today and thought I would share it.The thread was concerned with the use of the  word "leyes" in the interpretation for "blaunche perreye".  I can remember when first interpreting this recipe that the phrase "fyne leyes" gave me fits.  After several days of research I concluded that fyne leyes referred to fine lees or fine sediment found in wine. But the question remained, could lye have been used in period as a cooking agent?

The idea of using wood ash lye held merit and I felt that I needed to spend some time researching the use of lye, or rather, potash in cooking.  Using potash in cooking has its roots in Mesoamerican cooking.  The Aztecs and Mayans used potash and slaked lime to break down the outer layer and endosperm of ancient corn to soften it and make it edible. This had the added benefit of increasing the nutritional content of food prepared this way.

Prior to the invention of baking soda in the 1800's, leavening was done through the use of yeast.  Native Americans can be credited with the discovery of the first chemical leavening agents. According to Michel Suas in his "Advanced Bread and Pastry" book "In 1750, the first chemical leavening agent was used.  Known as pearl ash (potassium carbonate), it was created from natural ash of wood and other natural resources.  Before potash was available, cake textures were dense.  Ammonia was used also as a leavening agent.  A solution of water and ammonia was made and a drop of that solution was inserted on top of the cake batter. The center of the cake would rise as in  Madeleine's. Yeast was also commercially produced from the late 1800s, and was relied upon more and more over perpetuated natural starters. Additional chemical leavening agents (potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate) were created by the turn of the 19th century, but it wasn't until the 1850s that these inventions were widely accepted and used regularly (Meyer, 1998, p. 10)."

What makes wood ash so special? Wood ash contains alkaline salts, which create a chemical reaction  when mixed with something acidic. This reaction lightens and raises batter by creating gas pockets.

Yeast is an example of a leavening agent. It converts carbohydrates into alcohol creating carbon dioxide. It was not commercially available until the 1800's. Prior to the 1800's the use of yeast as a leavening agent was dependent upon wild yeasts.  Platina reminds us that leaven needed to be introduced to flour, water and salt to create bread.
Original recipe from Platina pp. 13-14 (Book 1):
"... Therefore I recommend to anyone who is a baker that he use flour from wheat meal, well ground and then passed through a fine seive to sift it; then put it in a bread pan with warm water, to which has been added salt, after the manner of the people of Ferrari in Italy. After adding the right amount of leaven, keep it in a damp place if you can and let it rise.... The bread should be well baked in an oven, and not on the same day; bread from fresh flour is most nourishing of all, and should be baked slowly."
Pot Ash (potash) and Lye originate from wood ashes. This is because wood ash contains both potassium hydroxide (lye)  and potassium carbonate (potash, pearl ash, saleratus). The production of lye is the first step in producing potash. The following set of instructions for making lye can be found in "A Treatise on Domestic Economy For the Use of Young Ladies at Home and at School, 1845". 

To make Ley. Provide a large tub, made of pine or ash, and set it on a form, so high, that a tub can stand under it. Make a hole, an inch in diameter, near the bottom, on one side. Lay bricks, inside, about this hole, and straw over them. To every seven bushels of ashes, add two gallons of unslacked lime, and throw in the ashes and lime in alternate layers. While putting in the ashes and lime, pour on boiling water, using three or four pailfuls. After this, add a pailful of cold soft water, once an hour, till all the ashes appear to be well soaked. Catch the drippings, in a tub, and try its strength with an egg. If the egg rise so as to show a circle as large as a ten cent piece, the strength is right; if it rise higher, the ley must be weakened by water; if not so high, the ashes are not good, and the whole process must be repeated, putting in fresh ashes, and running the weak ley through the new ashes, with some additional water. Quick-ley is made by pouring one gallon of boiling soft water on three quarts of ashes, and straining it. Oak ashes are best.
Slaked Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) was added to the ashes in order to increase the strength of the lye.

Once the lye was drained off, the sludge left behind could then be boiled down to make potassium rich potash also known as black salt. To refine, it was then heated in a kiln to burn off impurities and create a white salt which was commonly known as pearl-ash which could be used in cooking along with something acidic to create carbon dioxide bubbles and lighten baked goods.

Want to make your own ash water to cook with? The method is quite simple--boil a half cup of clean ash with 2 cups of water.  Once it has come to a boil, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to settle.  Pour off the clean liquid and strain it. Use this water as your leaven.

To answer the original question--could "fyne leyes" refer to fine lye? No, it was not used in period as a leavening agent.

For more information on cooking with wood ashes and ash water visit the following link: 5 Acres and a Dream

Additional Resources:

An Experiment with Period and Non-Period Leaveners

Cook's Thesaurus: Leavens

First Night Design | Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα) Traditional Greek Treat

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Japanese Basics -Dashi (だし, 出汁) or Dashijiru (出し汁) & Furikake (ふりかけ)

Dashi is the foundation of Japanese food and without a good dashi broth, many of your dishes will be flat and lacking the unique umami flavor that is expected in Japanese food.  Unlike stock which requires a multitude of ingredients and can take hours to make, a good Dashi is made from a small number of ingredients and can be ready in as little as 20 minutes.

It is believed that Dashi was first produced as early as the 7th century, and many texts refer to it.  It was in common use in the Edo period. The recipe that was used at Crown Tournament can be traced directly to the Ryōri Monogatari.

4. DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK)

Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

Japanese recipes are usually measured by volume not weight.  The system uses “gō ” and “shō”. 

1 gō is 180 ml, and 10 gō is 1 shō. The traditional big bottle of sake is 1 shō (1800 ml) and the half size is 5 gō (900 ml). I must confess that MOST of my cooking for feast was measured in an empty sake bottle for feast. However, if you are looking for easier measurements see the table below. 

Metric Equivalents

1 Gô (合) = 180ml = 6 ounces

1 Shô or Masu (升) = 1.804 liters = 60.8 ounces

1 To (斗) = 18.04 liters = 608 ounces = 4.75 gallons

1 Koku (石) = 180.4 liters = 47 gallons

Unit Conversions

1 Shô or Masu (升) = 10 gô (合)

1 To (斗) = 10 shô or masu (升)

1 Hyô (俵) = 1 "bale" or "bag" of rice = 4 to (斗)

1 Koku (石) = 10 to (斗) = 2.5 hyô (俵)

More Conversions!

1 shô = 1.804 Liter = 1.906 quarts = 60.8 ounces = 7 3/4 cups

1 gô = 180ml = 6.08652 ounces = 3/4 cup
4. DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK)

Chip katsuo (bonito) into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used. 
Interpreted Recipe
~ 4 pounds bonito
90.8 ounces of water

Add your bonito to your water and simmer until the broth matches your taste.  

In deference to modern taste, you may also want to add kombu (dried kelp) to your dashi.  

Dashi II

Yield: 6 cups =  12 servings at  ½ cup per serving

6 cups cold water
1 ounce dried kombu (kelp)
~1 cup dried katsuboshi (dried bonito)

Bring water and kombu just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and remove kombu. Sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl.

Dashi III (Overnight Dashi)

4 cups water
10 x 10 cm square dried kombu (kelp)
1 cup of katsuobushi (bonito flake)

Pour the water into a container. Place the kelp and bonito flake into the container. Leave it over night (about 8 hours or more). Strain the kelp and bonito flake.

Storing Dashi Stock

Use straight away or leave in fridge for 1 day or in the freezer for about 3 weeks.

Bonus Recipe

What do you do with the left over bonito and kelp? Create furikake seasoning to go over your rice. 

Furikake (ふりかけ) is a dried Japanese seasoning which is sprinkled on top of cooked rice. Ingredients include a combination of dried fish flakes, dried egg, dried cod eggs, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed and other flavorings.

Servings: 1 cup

½ oz reserved kombu
1 oz reserved katsuobushi slightly wet
1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seed
2 tsp toasted black sesame seed
Nori Seaweed
1 tsp sugar (add more to your taste)
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (add more to your taste)

Gather all the ingredients. Make sure the kombu and katsuobushi are well drained. Cut kombu into small pieces. Put kombu and katsuobushi in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until katsuobushi becomes dry and separated from each other. Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated. Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated.

Transfer the furikake to a tray or plate and let cool. Once it’s cooled, you can add toasted/roasted sesame seeds and nori seaweed. You can break katsuobushi into smaller pieces if you prefer.Put in a mason jar or airtight container and enjoy sprinkling over steamed rice or a seasoning for fish, chicken, soup, popcorn or whatever you fancy.  

This seasoning can be frozen up to a month, or refrigerated up to two weeks.