麹Culturesgroup: Section 9

We’re releasing an as of yet unfished or final version of our serialized publication Culturesgroupin 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 culturesgroup@earthlink.net
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?

Mustard
Mustard made with koji and sake and poached egg whites, Year 2

 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!

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#joyofsake, indeed!

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.

CookingwithKoji.wordpress.com

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 culturegroup@earthlink.net  – but this article about our friend and  先生 (Elizabeth Andoh’s website)

cropped-cropped-img_5313.jpg
betterazuke of dried daikon radish and burdock root from 2015.

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.

土用の丑の日 – Day of the Ox

Unagi Day – or Day of the Ox – is a Japanese tradition concocted by the eel fishing industry way back in the day. There is now an eel shortage in the world – especially in Japan – where at least 75% of the eel from Asian countries in the area is eaten.
China and other countries might have more than enough to satisfy the Japanese habit, but to protect their markets the price of eel in Japan is ten times what it was a decade ago. Then again, eels are on the IUCN’s red list of endangered species. 
Eel (Anguilla japonica) has also been added to the government of Japan’s red list of endangered species. Besides the “whole net” policy that some chefs and restaurants are adopting – an agreement where buyers will take anything caught in a net by the fishermen – catfish are a great, sustainable substitute for unagi.
 
NHK World has bee running a sustainable fish story for almost a week now – and it’s great. Here is a link to their Eel symposium
At one point there were an estimated 3,000 eel restaurants just in Tokyo, Japan. Eels are really a traditional Japanese dish and they are indeed quite tasty. But catfish are also a sustainable and tasty fish  Not many restaurants can afford at this point to even buy the eels.
 

There are lots of recipes for alternative fish to use all over the internet. Pretty certain you should probably stay away from farm raised freshwater eel that is not the same thing as an eel raised in captivity. From the wikipedia entry on unagi:

Instead, young eels are collected from the wild and then raised in various enclosures. In addition to wild eel populations being reduced by this process, eels are often farmed in open net pens which allow parasites, waste products, and diseases to flow directly back into wild eel habitat, further threatening wild populations. Freshwater eels are carnivores and as such are fed other wild-caught fish, adding another element of unsustainability to current eel farming practices.
Happy Day of the Ox! Maybe you should try some うなぎパイ – Unagi Pie or biscuits.  If you really want an authentic touch get some real sansho from The Japanese Pantry  And, let’s make sure something like Hiroshima never happens again, which is also recognized on August 6, 2017. 
 

Japanese Food Experts Converge

こんにちはみなさん

Nancy Singleton Hachisu returns to the The Brooklyn Kitchen for a Demonstration and dinner in conjunction with some amazing producers of fine Japanese products. Nancy is author of the acclaimed books Japanese Farm Food, and Preserving the Japanese Way and is currently working on Japan: The Cookbook. (Phaidon)

Nancy will be joined by Takehiro Wada of Wadaman Sesame and Jun’ichi Doi of Konbu Doi. Both companies are based in Osaka and are carrying incredible traditions in quality Japanese food into the 21st century.

Wadaman produces some of the best sesame seeds and sesame products available anywhere through a rigorous process that starts in the fields where they source the seeds and continues to their modern factory where they sort, roast and process.

Konbu Doi is a renowned specialty shop focused on seaweed. From the oceans off Hokkaido they bring the best Konbu to market and now these products are available in the USA through our friends at The Japanese Pantry (@japanesepantry.com)

Yamaki Jozo makes some of the most amazing Soy sauce you will ever taste, yuba, tofu and more. It’s organic and truly an artisanal product. Mami Kitani will join Nancy to showcase her family’s line of products produced in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

This is a unique chance to not only learn from one of the premier authorities on Japanese food (who happens to be American) but also a chance to taste, eat and work with the products from two of the top producers in modern Japan.

Menu:
* Goma Dofu (sesame tofu)
* Konbu Dashi
* Yosedofu (soft tofu)
* Katsuobushi/Konbu Dashi,
* Seasonal Miso Soup with Yamaki Miso
* Ginger and Soy Sauce Marinated Pork Belly Sandwich