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. 
 

Oats and Grains: Magic of Koji!

Koji,usually in the form of rice inoculated with a culture, can make an amazing array of things. Here, we’re talking about amazake, a kind of very quick, very lightly fermented sweet drink. If you heat it up gently after it is done turning the carbohydrates of your whole grains into simple sugars while greatly increasing both the digestibility and the availability of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins, you can then either throw it in the fridge or use as a sweetener right away.

Leftover or freshly cooked brown or even white (any kind really) rice can be used here. I like the oat version, especially with fresh or dried cranberries (organic, unsulfured) or raisins, and some coconut. You can just use rice, or oats, or wheat.

Wash 250 grams of steel cut oats very well. Just keep washing them until they run clear water. Then you can rinse off with some water you will cook them in, about 800 gms. Add up to 2 grams cooked brown rice (or whatever kind) and 50 gms cranberries (1/3 cup packed) or raisins or no fruit at all, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened, organic dried coconut. Cook very slowly in a dutch oven that has a lid. Skim frequently!

After about fifteen minutes turn off heat, cover and let cool down to 120 degrees. Add 1/4 cup or 45 gms brown rice organic Koji or whatever kind of Kojio you have and mix very well. Cover again and either stick in warm (not at all hot oven just like for yogurt) or wrap in a blanket or towel and let sit for at least 4 hours. Stir once if you like, replacing lid quickly and putting back in warm place. Please make sure your oven is clean and free from burnt on grease smells.

After about 8 hours you can either very gently reheat to a very low temp and eat with some raw honey or regular or strained kefir or cultured butter or maple syrup. Or just eat it as is. Or add chopped fresh fruits and toasted seeds or nuts. This is a salt free version. Instead of the Koji you could add live, unpasteurized mellow white miso (maybe 2 TB at most) or even half the amount of an older miso. If you do that either grate a little fresh ginger in there or chop up a tablespoon of candied organic ginger.

Once chilled, I take two firm, sweet apples (washed well, quartered and cored), a cup of goat or cow kefir (or coconut or grain milk ferments) or even strained yogurt, a cup of ice or frozen yogurt or Kefir or whey cubes, and two TBS raw honey and put in blender until smooth but not too thin and still cold. That’s an easy, great breakfast. If you use one or two bananas forget the honey.

I might also toast a lot of bread and eat with some kraut or kimchi butter or a version of natto miso (see recipe for chick pea, azuki, barley, Kombu, ginger, barley malt, and Koji miso next week). I often also make raisin bread or cookies with this mix, which just keeps improving in flavor in the refrigerator. The amount described here will last you ten days at best. Two days in this place.

Getting a Rise and Good Taste from Baking (with little or no salt)

IMG_1716
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.

Reducing salt levels and still getting a rise from baked goods – but not in your blood pressure, or with an increased risk of peripheral edema (swollen hands, feet, etc.), or with portal hypertension consequences – is actually very, very easy. You could replace the egg and milk with flax seeds and or applesauce and or a little cooked room temperature slow cooked grain milk. Remember that most of the salt in eggs is in the whites (where most of the protein is as well) and that the fat soluble vitamins and minerals in egg yolks are plentiful and tasty too!

You could make an incredibly good no sodium chocolate cake using a sourdough starter or salt free baking powder and baking soda together. Watch out for sodium in any form of chocolate, an already fermented food like coffee It should not really be there but many companies very often add it. And if you really know your stuff you could seek out the ashes of the right trees and use them to make things rise. In a chocolate cake the color wouldn’t be so not what you are used to. I’m going to start a file and write a piece on how to get things to rise, puff, swell and expand – and even brown – without the use of salt or eggs. Almost all of the salt in an egg is in the white, anyway.

Part II – Using natural wild ferments, yeasts and other things in everything from bread baking to wine making and crafting the most amazing Sicilian Gravy (almost salt-free). But first read this book that you will refer to and reread many times over the years. Read a page a day if you are pressed for time. I can’t guaranty that eating egg yolks from fresh eggs will not effect your levels of cholesterol in the blood (plasma levels) – but I don’t think they will – but I can promise you that if you read this book or pieces or paragraphs of it as you will it will change your life.

 

 

Diane Kennedy: Ecology and Food

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince

“Indeed, a deep bowl of Nixtamal’s posole (“innocuous” but “pleasant,” Ms. Kennedy said) inspires a reverie on the earthy porkiness of one version she has researched. Traditionally made with a whole pig’s head, she said, each spoonful was unctuous, full of textures of cartilage and fat. “If you didn’t get a piece of ear,” Ms. Kennedy said, it was once considered a slight. “That’s just a bit of old folklore,” she added with a midslurp smile.

That a pig’s ear today may be considered trash is part of what bothers Ms. Kennedy. She is antiwasteful — of plastic bags, animal fat, electricity, water, wild herbs, the power of the sun — and is fond of quoting the speech she gave last summer at MAD Food Camp in Copenhagen. “If you invite me into your kitchen, don’t think the first thing I’m going to look at is your food,” she recited. “I’m going to look at your garbage.”

 

http://youtu.be/1lyl-lyhEeY

Sustainable Farming and lots of other videos

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRiVhiPLXPKOXRcBYQX_46g

Golden Beets
Golden Beets

Malik Kenyatta Yakini was invited to Ithaca, NY to share his experiences in Detroit’s urban agriculture development with our growing food justice movement. This community conversation took place in Cornell University’s Anabel Taylor Hall café after a weekend of food justice events in Ithaca. Yakini is a founder and the Interim Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a four acre farm in Detroit and spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which he chairs. He is an activist and educator dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege in the food system. He views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. He currently serves as a Food and Community Fellow of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.