Kojifiles

Two types of home made mirin, both double fermented.

Today’s presentation and kick off of KojiFest 2019 was off the charts.  Yoshiko san’s 9 year old miso was deep. The hatcho miso tasted like chocolate and bourbon and dark maple syrup if it was made from soybean trees (no, soybeans don’t grow on trees). Stunning.

Maki san was evangelizing.

I didn’t get a tenth into my presentation but people seemed interested in hearing about which koji  enzymes created which organoleptic (smell, taste, color, etc.) properties in koji-centric ferments like miso, shoyu, mirin and sake so I let it rip.

Didn’t have time to present recipes or discuss entire topics. Last PhD thesis I write for an hour presentation.

The apexart space and the staff were exceptional. I’m moving in next week. I wish. I’m just moving.

The next four KojiFest 2019 events have been scheduled for April 13th ( about koji-centric ferments from places you’d like to be during Spring Break), May 4 (our KojiFest 2019 Del Mayo), and June 8 all Saturdays, all in New York City.

For those that were unable to attend today’s fest here’s a recipe for one of my all time favorite salads using mirin in the dressing. Everyone seemed to like the mirin I made – incredibly easy to do for those that are patient – but you could use Mitoku brand Organic Mikawa Mirin and add a touch of a small amount of brown rice vinegar and achieve the same result. 

Did I mention we still need volunteers? And people interested in presenting their koji-centric creations?

Apexart.org event with culturegroup.net

Check out this other apexart.org event on March 2, 1 to 3 PM on Bokashi Fermentation https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bokashi-fermentation-workshop-tickets-56137788637

“Managing organic waste is a major challenge for businesses and residents of NYC. As our city strives for zero waste by 2030, we need to consider innovative solutions for managing waste. Bokashi fermentation is an ancient, simple, fun and highly effective technique to manage organic waste. Using waste organic material like sawdust and dried coffee grounds, and a sealable 5 gallon bucket, any household can make an inoculant that will prevent food waste from rotting. The end product is a valuable soil amendment for garden soil, just by burying it in the ground.”

Koji cured Chicken salad with Sour Dill Pickles and lacto-fermented vegetables, mirin vinaigrette 

Separately ferment 1 jumbo peeled beet (save peelings to dry to color food) or 392 grams julienned beets in 3 tsp (12 grams) grams salt. Mix two cups of julienned carrots and onions (482 grams) with 18 grams or 4 TSP coarse salt. Let ferment for at least a week at room temp in tightly rolled air release bags, or under brine as you would with any vegetable. After fermenting you will have 308 grams beets, 374 grams onions and carrots, and ¼ cup juice from the latter set aside. Take 1200 grams of chicken cured in koji for 7 days in the refrigerator fridge and cook at low heat until just slightly browned. Save juices to mix with carrot/onion juice. After cooling, julienne chicken.  Mix ¼ cup mirin, 1 TSP celery seed and up to 1 TSP freshly ground toasted black pepper with the reserved juices. Add 3 TSP fresh tarragon or 2 TSP dried and mix well. Add a cup of crisp apple sticks if desired. Serve right after adding the beets at room temperature. 

Koji cured chicken with lactofermented beets, carrots,
onions and cucumbers, mirin vinaigrette.

Ken Fornataro

麹 culturesgroup

koji@earthlink.net

culturesgroup@earthlink.net

www.culturesgroup.net

facebook.com/groups/pickles/

https://www.instagram.com/culturesgroup/

Miso Power

Hemp Heart Miso
ready to get packed down and aged.
Made with a sweet white miso base of rice koji using Aspergillus oryzae,
the type most commonly used for mellow and quicker misos.

The beginnings of a miso. Through a choreographed interaction between yeasts, bacteria and fungus – typically referred to as fermentation – this mash up of koji and the hearts of hemp seeds becomes an all purpose probiotic rich seasoning agent.

Some claim miso has therapeutic effects, so they never add it to anything above 140F degrees which might inactivate the benefits. We’ll get into the heavy healing and science part of miso and koji later.

Miso can easily be used to cook with, sometimes replacing or augmenting vegetable or animal stocks. We’re in it for the taste. There is no shortage of prebiotic and probiotic foods unless everything you eat is heavily processed and pasteurized.

You can’t make miso, soy sauce, sake, a lot of different types of pickles, a country style alcoholic drink called doboroku, or a useful enzyme rich drink (and sweetener) called amasake without koji.

You can make your own koji. We’ll show you how to make different types of koji from a range of different things. The things you make koji on are often called substrates. Wheat, rice, barley, corn, rye, buckwheat, millet, beans of all types and other substrates.

Is it worth your time and energy when you can pretty easily buy koji online, or in a growing number of grocery stores and markets? Some people can’t get beyond the fact that they are intentionally growing a fungus. a specific type of fungus called a mold on warm grains.

Growing koji, however, creates a truly seductive, fragrant fuzz on freshly steamed rice, barley, beans or potatoes that is hard to forget. You can start off by justing buying a good quality miso from the store though. The best ones are unpasteurized ad definitely don’t contain any chemicals nor preservatives.

It’s almost impossible to get around eating anything that doesn’t contain microbes such as yeasts, bacteria, or fungus. Typically salt is introduced to kill off the bad actors and create lactic acid bacteria (LAB) so the process can continue safely. Not that anyone has ever recorded a case of someone dying from eating miso.

Don’t forget there are two exciting Meetups coming up to attend, one in Long Island City at Fifth Hammer Brewing of the group NYCferments, the other our first collaborative event with http://www.apexart.com in Manhattan. It’s the first of a series called Koji Fest 2019. Apexart is currently running an amazing installation.