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shun no mono -- aki


torakris
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matsutake

Mmmmh!...matsutake.

Think everyone's excited about the countdown to Varmint's pig-pickin'?

Well, I grew up in the deep south of the US and have done my share of pig-pickin', but what I'm excited about is the countdown to the Yangyang song-i (matsutake) festival, where we will be having a matsutake-pickin'. Oh yes, we'll be tromping along the mountain searching for those delights in just one short week.

If waiting weren't hard enough, a friend delivered a treasure to me on Tuesday -- three perfect matsutake, freshly picked from under the fragrant shelter of the lovely red pines of Yangyang. However, I was leaving that night to fly from Seoul to Tokyo, so I had to send them home for my wife and son to eat without me. GRRR!

My four-year-old son thinks they are the greatest thing on earth (perhaps not quite up to the level of french fries, but that would be reaching). Last year I brought two matsutake home. Cathryn and I prepared one and carefully put the other away for the next night. James took one taste and immediately demanded to know where the second one was and why we were hiding it from him!

Oh, the passions these little phallic-shaped delights can inspire.

Counting the days,

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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I had a feeling you would be saying that!

:biggrin:

Am I really that predictable?

I think autumn is absolutely the best season for food in Japan. Not only are there so many great tasting foods, but food itself plays a much more important role during the fall.

A lot of the foods require lots of preparation, like chesnuts that need to be shelled and peeled, or whole fish that need to be cleaned and gutted. So there is so much more contact with food. And because it's getting cooler, food seems so warming and comforting.

Also, have you noticed that most fall foods have really strong odours? Some nice, like matsutake and gobo, some not so nice like gingko nuts or the way the kitchen smells for hours (or days!) after grilling a fatty fish like sanma or saba.

The Japanese say 'shokuyoku no aki', which means something like 'autumn is the season for appetites'. Not so fitting in my case, since I ALWAYS have a big appetite, but it's obvious I'm not the only one who thinks fall is a great food season.

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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This isn't a fair question! Autumn goes from nearly summer to nearly winter...hmmm

I like the fact that veges get a new lease of life before closing down for the winter...nasu and kabocha in particular...

As for cooking, I noticed some nice recipes for old favorites like sanma in the latest issue of "Suteki Recipe". Didn't dare add to the cookbook pile at home though...

What about takikomi-gohan? Everybody at home likes plain white rice, but I like takikomi-gohan with barley when nobody's watching me cook!

Regards

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Fall really is the best time for takigomi gohan, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, gobo, etc, etc

My huband and kids don't really care for it so I don't make it nearly as much as I want to...............

We went out for dinner on Saturday and had a plate of sanma sashimi that was REALLY wonderful! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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As for cooking, I noticed some nice recipes for old favorites like sanma in the latest issue of "Suteki Recipe". Didn't dare add to the cookbook pile at home though...

I know what you mean! I have a huge pile of cooking magazines that I've been trying to convert into recipe cards. I've been working on it for months but the pile is endless! I keep seeing recipes I like on TV and then running out to buy whatever magazine features it. Right now I'm watching a chicken wing and chesnut dish being simmered and am very tempted to go by Esse magazine to get the full recipe.

It's endless!

What about takikomi-gohan? Everybody at home likes plain white rice, but I like takikomi-gohan with barley when nobody's watching me cook!

Yes! Takikomi-gohan is the best. I did a mushroom version last week, and did it in my earthen-ware nabe for the fist time ever. Amazing! Had three bowls. Which is why I won't be making it again for a very long time- making takikomi-gohan is an absolute guarantee that I'll overeat!

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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  • 11 months later...

Grapes.

My father grows the variety called Kyohou in his backyard, not on a commercial basis but as a hobby. The photo below was taken on August 13, when the grapes were still premature and sour. (He has another vineyard nearby, where he grows other varieties.)

i11997.jpg

Around August 24, when they matured, he harvested most of them and sent my family six boxes (more than 60 bunches)!

Look at the photo; they are ripe and look almost black. Kyohou is often called the king of grapes (budou no ousama). They are really sweet and yummy!

i11998.jpg

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Well, the trouble is that we can't get enough of them!

As a matter of fact, we gave two boxes to relatives and neighbors as osusowake (gift sharing), which is, as you may know, quite customary in Japan.

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We are making the move slowly into fall here, last night we grilled some sanma (saury pike) and this morning's breakfast included nashi (freshly picked from the orchard next to our house! :biggrin: )

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I received a large box of chestnuts from my parents today, who live in Kimitsu city, Chiba prefecture.

My wife made kuri okowa (not kuri gohan), which is a combination of chestnuts and glutinous rice (mochi gome). All my family love it.

i12193.jpg

We have to do osusowake (gift sharing) again... :sad:

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We are making the move slowly into fall here, last night we grilled some sanma (saury pike) and this morning's breakfast included nashi (freshly picked from the orchard next to our house! :biggrin: )

I haven't bought and prepared sanma yet this year, but I did have some delightful sanma sushi at the local sushi-ya the other day.

Also was very pleased with the satsuma imo and kabocha when we had small party two weekends ago and made large batches of tempura while everyone sat around the kitchen. Isn't it best when you just walk the edge of burning your mouth. We had a great selection: anago, myouga, ika, satsuma imo, kabocha, shishito, ebi, shiso, and enokitake (and sasami strips for the kids). A little matcha shio, a little sansho shio, and a traditional tentsuyu (and a good Gruner Veltliner) and we were in heaven.

Jim

Edited by jrufusj (log)

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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I just had myouga tempura for the first time at a restaurant a couple of nights ago. Wow! I can't believe I never though of doing that before it was incredible!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I just had myouga tempura for the first time at a restaurant a couple of nights ago. Wow! I can't believe I never though of doing that before it was incredible!

it sounds interesting, id be game to try this... :) i am a fan of candied ginger and candied ginger chocolate but i dont usually eat ginger. was it sliced into thin disks? paper thin and then fried? or...?

also, is it usually possible to double post into more than one thread?

"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo
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it sounds interesting, id be game to try this...  :)  i am a fan of candied ginger and candied ginger chocolate but i dont usually eat ginger.  was it sliced into thin disks?  paper thin and then fried?  or...?

also, is it usually possible to double post into more than one thread?

It was sliced into quarters lengthwise.

As to the double posting, you can always copy and paste anything you have written and put it into a different thread when you feel it is appropriate as I did with my myouga tempura comment above by posting in this thread as well as the myuoga thread.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kaki (persimmons)

In Tokyo, where I was born and bred, ama gaki (sweet persimmons) such as huyu gaki and jirou gaki are popular. Here in Niigata, astringent persimmons (sibu gaki) called hacchin gaki (八珍柿) are the most popular. Hacchin gaki with their astringency removed are called sawashi gaki (さわし柿). ‘Sawasu’ is a verb meaning to remove the astringency of persimmons. Astringent persimmons become sweeter than sweet ones when they have their astringency removed.

Yesterday, I bought sawashi gaki for the first time this year. Very sweet and yummy.

gallery_16375_5_1095575671.jpg

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I forgot to explain how to remove the astringency of persimmons. The most common method is to dip only the top of persimmons in shouchu one at a time, put them in a vinyl bag, and leave them for five to seven days.

The photos in the following link illustrate how to do this:

http://www.shimojo.tv/gotisou/wagayanogotisou3.html

A disadvantage of this method is that the persimmons become soft. The commercial method uses carbon dioxide instead of shouchu, thereby preventing them from becoming soft.

***

I also forgot to mention that the hacchin gaki is a seedless variety. Really a great variety. I know I can't go back to huyu or jiroo gaki any longer.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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before I get ehe kaki though I must finish up all te nashi that we were given! the oya-san (owner) of our apartment building also has nashi orchards (the hama nashi variety) and he gives his tenants bags full of the ones that aren't good enough to sell.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My MIL brought us over some kuri-gohan (rice with chestnuts) the other day, I thanked her for it and started to carry the bowl into the kitchen, then she said, "wait! aren't you going to take a picture of it?"

so I obliged :biggrin:

gallery_6134_91_1096682344.jpg

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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wait! aren't you going to take a picture

That's adorable!

I found a thingie on the net suggesting that you can improve the flavor of kuri-gohan by rubbing a little sugar into the peeled raw chestnuts, then tossing the bag of chestnuts with adhering sugar into the freezer...thaw and use. I used half a net full of chestnuts to make rice the usual way, and I have a bag full of frozen chestnuts with about 1 tsp sugar rubbed into them, waiting for The Experiment.

The Horticulture Department where I teach had a big display on persimmons last year. They gave it the punning title of "Kaki-koushuu" (Summer/Persimmon School), and had many varieties of old and new persimmons, and several types with samples in various stages of soaking in shouchuu to remove astringency. My perverted son2 developed a taste for fresh, untreated, astringent persimmons, and got himself quite a following of screeching girlie horticulture students trying to figure out how he could eat them. Maybe boys can eat anything if they have enough girls watching them?

If they have the display again this year I'll take some pix.

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  • 1 month later...

Fuyu gaki.

Which do you prefer, ama gaki like fuyu gaki or sawashi gaki (shibu gaki with their astringency removed)?

Have you ever had sawashi gaki?

Photo of fuyu gaki. Notice the big seed.

gallery_16375_5_1099811583.jpg

Edit to add:

If you haven't, you should! They are much sweeter and taste much better.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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