We’re releasing an as of yet unfished or final version of our serialized publication 麹Culturesgroup, in nine sections. Section 9 is our What’s going On? section. We decided to release this now because we might not be able to get this out before our original anticipated launch date, and because the natural disasters that have been occurring in the Houston and Texas area, and Florida, and the Caribbean and California have greatly impacted a lot of people – including us.
While we hope our friends are safe and rebound quickly we still have a lot of work to do around the US to help people recover – including quite a few friends and family members. We still welcome volunteers to write. If you are mentioned here and would like to submit additional things for us to look at please do to email@example.com
While Ken is with お父さん in New Jersey, reading and writing, and keeping many family and friends from Florida safe, check out the many links provided and get to this presentation by Rich from ourcookquest.com in Cambridge, MA or get to Great Barrington Fairgrounds in MA for BerkshireFerments.
We are one of the sponsors of this event. And we strongly support Rich and the folks at @ourcookquest. Either event, the weather should be beautiful. That’s what the eggs at our Buddha shrine are for, そおですね？
菌1.9 – What’s going on?
Cooking with Koji is really one of our favorite sites. The photos that she took for her shoyu-koji preparation using pre-made koji are very nice and useful. Check out here for the shoyu-koji recipe. You will not be disappointed.
You could also go to our friends at OurCookQuest.com to learn how to make your own koji – pretty simple, but also available readily in the US either directly or from people that make or sell it – you could get a 35 lb box of US made koji or 40 pounds of sake kasu (lees) through MTC Kitchen, for example – or through a smaller company. You could also get some amazing shoyu and other products through our friends Chef Chris Dunmore and co-owner Chris Bonomo at TheJapanesePantry.com
E-mail us if you want some other sources to purchase stuff. Although that’s 菌1.8 That incudes letting us know about something you are offering, hosting, showing.
Then again, video, Youtube, Vimeo, Films, etc reviews and listings we like is 菌1.7 (見せてください). We’re doing a review of our friends Mara King, Sandor Katz, and an amazing release from The Foundation for Fermentation Fervor, a series called the P.R.F. – because we want to watch the entire series again and again.
菌1.6 is food and fermentation related Kanji 男文字 (おとこもじ) – we love this reading. First up Harry Rosenblum. The author of one of the best books of the year: Vinegar Revival. We highly recommend this book. Harry is also the co-owner with Taylor Erkkinen of The Brooklyn Kitchen, a really cool place to learn about a wide range of topics. Guess what the Kanji is?
The reason we mention Rich and friends @ourcookquest at Twitter or OurCookQuest’s Instagram account is that he’s the only one we’ve ever heard of besides us and the people that make a a drink called Koji , a tasty multi-grain amasake type beverage, who dare to make some pretty wild stuff with koji – including cheese, dairy based-amasake, and milk kefir.
菌1.5 is all about people doing interesting and cool things. Our first interview is with Kirsten and Christopher Shockley them around the country and had originally hoped to see them at the upcoming Berkshire Fermentation Festival but they won’t be there. Check out their sponsors and you’ll see why you should try to get there if you can. Our friend Cheryl Paswater from Contraband Ferments will be there!
We’ve been following Kirsten and Christopher Shockey since their first book was released, and will publish some really great photographs they took that are not published in their second book. Maybe even a discussion or two about some of the new great recipes. You can still see them on their ongoing tour or even check out their wonderful website.
菌1.4 will be all about our favorite drink that contains our favorite mycellia ever: Aspergillus oryzae or koji. Sake, of course, and we’ll give you a short primer on the koji that is used to make sake.
We’re hoping to get some input from our friends at Brooklyn Kura but either way you will soon be able to buy some of the best sake we’ve ever tasted from them. We also continue our reviews of sake made in the USA and Japan, of course.
If you are lucky enough to live on the upper west coast right around where our friend Tara Whitsett lives – her book which we have already seen but do not have in our hands, yet – should be out any day now but watch her Instagram account – our friends at SakeOne are right nearby.
Believe the hype! Their new Moonstone type sake – Asian Pear Junmai Daiginjo – sounds a lot like our wildly heralded experimental Honeydew melon sake of a few years ago – but they have the refrigerators, and equipment and space we don’t have access to so we’re pretty sure theirs is beyond great. And these guys will be at the event below as well!
If you are in New York City on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 6:30pm–9:30pm check this spectacular event out. It’s a beyond amazing event. Check this out now! It does cost $110 dollars, however, and if there are still any tickets left we’ll gladly accept one or a complimentary pass for the event. Or barter for the best local, organic miso you have ever tasted?
Just the food alone, though, is always amazing. Of course, both the sake and the food from great restaurants available in one place at one time from hundreds of breweries is a life’s dream come true for an American that has never been to a big show in Japan. Actually, for anyone into sake or Japanese food.
More to come
菌1.2 – nope, we did not miss 菌1.3 or 菌1.1 or 菌1.0 – is all about koji. We’ll be premiering sections from our book on koji we’ve been working on for the last two years and asking for responses.
Plus, this section will also provide a recipe or two for those that don’t want to make the koji but just use it or something made with koji like miso, shoyu, hishio, fish sauce, and tamari.
And some other things that will surprise and delight that we can’t talk about right now.
But this is CookingwithKoji.wordpress.com‘s best post to date. Visiting a Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima She pretty much stepped all over our salted caramel iced milk kefir recipe (we use a little of our shoyu moromi and another ingredient made with koji and it’s good). Making your own, probiotic rich, umami-laden soy sauce (shoyu) or even hishio we think everyone should try or at least know about.
So, what else should you have in your Japanese pantry? Or in your pantry in general – need tips on how to use or even make any of these things just ask at firstname.lastname@example.org – but this article about our friend and 先生 (Elizabeth Andoh’s website)
So while we’re with お父さん in New Jersey, reading and writing, and now keeping many family and friends from Florida safe for now, check out the many links provided and get to this presentation by Rich from ourcookquest.com in Cambridge, MA or get to Great Barrington Fairgrounds in MA for BerkshireFerments. We are one of the sponsors of this event. The weather will be beautiful.
Donna Minkowitz is a friend, colleague, activist and food critic. She is giving a class in New York City. The five words that are the title of this post are the words under her blog. Yes. We’ll take that dish. You should take this class. Along with some other notables she will be reading tonight June 11, 2017 at KGB Bar and Lit Mag at 85 East 4th St. New York, NY 10003 (see below about this Zhencool production)
The real down low on the food scene in NYC. Well, maybe our national obsession with how we intimately relate to food and specific foods and other people’s food. These words from the above piece:
“It’s an odd time for eating out in New York. The places most likely to be reviewed by critics are restaurants where entrées cost $30 and tasting menus cost $100 and more. They are tiny food-temples and shiny mega-boîtes where most of us can’t go even if, by normal US standards, we are “upper income” — little palaces where, we, reader, certainly can’t eat if we are what the government calls either low income or middle-class. (Note that $55,575 is the median household income in the United States; median household income in the city is $67,201.) Reading the reviews has become an exercise in tantalized frustration: breathing in paragon writer Pete Wells’ description, in the New York Times, of the grated frozen foie gras appetizer at Momofuko Ko, you could be forgiven for feeling like the orphan cousin not invited to the party. “A cook behind the counter would rub a frozen cured brick of it across a Microplane held above a bowl with pine nut brittle, riesling jelly and lobes of lychee, showering them with falling pink flakes of airborne pleasure.” (The liver is part of the $195 tasting menu for lunch or dinner, the only way that you can eat at Ko.) The other spots in critics’ reviews – restaurants like Cosme and Blue Hill and even Contra and The Spotted Pig — are not for us, either, unless we’re in the top 5%, or interested in acquiring a load of debt that will cripple us.”
And it’s a restaurant review! For an eating establishment in New York City that recognizes that people with mobility and swallowing and metabolic issues need to eat as well : “Mekelburg’s, 293 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-399-2337, mekelburgs.com. Monday through Thursday, 8 AM-2 AM, Friday 8 AM-4 AM, Saturday 10 AM-4 AM, Sunday 10 AM-2 AM. Most fruits and vegetables served are pesticide-free; all house meats are hormone and antibiotic-free and pasture-raised. The extraordinary cheeses and creams served come from Lioni Latticini. Wheelchair access: the grocery and restaurant are down one flight of stairs, and an automated wheelchair lift is available, though it must be operated by a Mekelburg’s staff member. The scrupulously clean bathroom is accessible and has a lovely chalkboard covering the walls, multicolored chalk provided. On recent visits, there was lesbian love graffiti, anti-rape chants, and Black Lives Matter annotations on the walls. This was originally published in Gay City News, New York’s LGBT paper, on September 29, 2016.”
According to Donna :
I work with writers on their books of memoir and literary nonfiction and, on occasion, on their book proposals. In addition to my experience writing and teaching memoir, I have a deep background in English literature, including a BA in Literature from Yale University and an Andrew D. White Fellowship in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. For many years, I have also been a book critic for venues ranging from the New York Times Book Review to The Nation, Salon, Kirkus, and the Village Voice
And if you happen to live in Cleveland or want to help a really smart and lovely family open a very cool Eastern European Deli and Bakery send them some bucks here Larder that’s https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844968869/larder-a-curated-delicatessen-and-bakery-in-clevel just in case. We’ve done a lot of consulting for hoped to be food services like restaurants, caterers, pop-up restaurants as well as done a lot of training and remedial work with chefs and staff when their business was just not working. The reason why this one will be successful is because three smart, talented and energetic people with a vision are involved. It’s based on a familiar precedent of a Deli and Bakery. This should allow them to introduce ideas and dishes that people will connect with and come back for frequently.
And after taking Donna’s class – read this Growing up Golem excerpt and you will not only have to read the entire book but see why you should get into her class – you’ll be able to write about Larder with clarity and passion. Or if you live too far away you could just watch an internet presentation by Jeremy when you donate about our favorite addiction which as you can see in our description below is our logo.
Celebrate pride month at the gay table with “Queering Food: Taste the Rainbow” readings at KGB Bar and Lit Magazine.
Featured writers: Anna Dunn, editor-in-chief of Diner Journal, Daniel Isengart from The Joy of Gay Cooking, and Donna Minkowitz, restaurant critic for Gay City News.
Anna Dunn has been the Editor-In-Chief of Diner Journal for over a decade, and a bartender at Diner, Achilles Heel, and Roman’s for almost as long. She is co-author of Saltie: A Cookbook and Dinner at the Long Table. Glowinglikeagaslamp.com
culturesgroup offers food preparation, preservation and fermentation education and information. We share and collaborate with individuals, other educators, and businesses through e-books and internet meetings, printed materials, videos, photos, and presentations on:
• the preservation and demonstration of food cultures and techniques
• wild yeasts, koji, grains and SCOBYs to create sake, beer and beverages
• fermentation and food history, culture and semiotics
• the use of aspergillum and lactobacillus throughout the world to create:
Miso • Sake • Mirin • Tseukemono • Koji • Tamari • Shoyu • Legumes • Cheese • Cultures • Fish Sauce • Amazake • Milk Kefir • Wild Yeasts • Food History • Kimchee • Whole Grains • Sourdough
Here is a recent interview with Chef Ken with brief bio:
For the last 40 years Ken Fornataro has been fermenting and preserving grains, legumes and other proteins with A. oryzae. Ken was appointed Executive Director of The Hermitage in Boston at 19 years old, and left both Brown University and Northeastern University. He found himself ducking out the back door to Erewhon, where he befriended Aveline and Michio Kushi, Bill Shurtleff and other macrobiotic practitioners and Japanese chefs, who taught him traditional Japanese fermentation — including koji, amasake, miso, shio-koji, shoyu, sake, shoyu-koji and many kinds of tseukemono.
Since then, Ken has continued his study of microbiology, food, 五大明王, and transformative processes including fermentation. He has served as Executive Chef, Sous-Chef and Garde Manger of numerous restaurants, and has engaged in other business development — including founding and directing a non-profit organization, which made a significant contribution to developing a cure for HCV and treatment advances for HIV/AIDS. Ken is the author of 32 publications on science and research primarily through the New York State Department of Health and The Kaiser Family Foundation. He is working on a book series related to food, fermentation, and aspergillus in conjunction with his role as founder, Executive Chef and CEO of culturesgroup.net, an educational venture dedicated to traditions in food preparation, preservation and fermentation.
We won’t even try to say we didn’t already love our friends Kirsten and Christopher Shockey of ferment.works (National Tour Dates) but getting this book has been the best thing that has happened in the last year.
This is a really good basic cookbook and primer on fermentation for professional chefs, cooks, farmers, fermenters, and institutions like libraries, schools, and community centers that would greatly benefit from what this book includes. It’s way more than about hot sauce.
Kirsten and Christopher Shockey bring something that makes this book a real treasure for professional chefs, cooks and food lovers whether they are working from a home or local farm community: they have actually made the things in this book before and they detail every step that takes place. In some cases that can be up to a year! Fear not, though, They and the people that created this work know us well enough to provide some quick recipes and some clever workarounds.
The introduction by one of our long time heroines Darra Goldstein is enough for us to snap any book up. But we already loved the Shockey’s last book as much as we loved Professor Goldstein’s books (obviously the ones on Russian and Georgian foods as well as Cured. We love that this book includes reference to some of the lactofermented foods we’ll include in our in progress book, Sour Russian (2019), but that’s just a few of some truly unique recipes.
Kirsten’s Banana Story following a recipe for fried bananas with a pineapple habanero syrup tells you where she comes from, and the underlying celebration of culture and living that is as wonderful and bracing for multiple reasons in the recipes for hot ferments, pepper facts, and spice lore.
If you don’t like fire you could substitute any hot pepper with a sweet one, or even a semi-dried cucumber or zucchini when your garden demands you do so. The fact that the book brings a probiotic, lactofermented approach to many classics and some really cool inventions at the same time demonstrates a belief we chefs, fermenters, and health conscious people believe. Eat locally, sustainably and real food with nutrient rich quality whenever you can.
Fermentation as preservation is one of the ways that can be accomplished. It’s the ultimate lagniappe of eating great tasting food! Want some great ideas on how to make tempeh, tofu, grains, toast and even homemade sausages explode with flavor? It’s in this book that is also available a a paperback or Kindle book at Amazon and all these places!
The peppers and spice background and technique sections would have made this book indispensable without a single recipe. But if spicy food is your thing the Extinguishing the Fire in the Sauces chapter – another brilliant reference section for any chef or fermenter – is the most useful thing you’ll read on the subject. Because unless you are in a professional, well equipped kitchen you won’t be able to stick you head in a vat of frozen, syrupy vodka in a walk in freezer.
This also seems to be the year of rhubarb the vegetable and super pickle especially chutney ingredient. Their rhubarb or cucumber achar recipes are absolutely thrilling. The absolute best step by step recipe on how to make gochujang we’ve ever read – a riff on Emily Kim’s @maangchi recipe from her book – as well as a clever 2 to 3 week hot fix very similar to an old style Chinese fermented wheat paste based sauce.
There is so much more. It’s just the right time of the year in the US to get ready to eat and enjoy! Buy this book now! It’s truly one of those rare books that chefs and home cooks will have on hand and at hand for years to come.
Reviewed by Chef Ken Fornataro of culturesgroup.net