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I was in Washington DC last Wednesday for the Grand Sushi and Sake Dinner event organized by National Cherry Blossom Festival, held at National Geographic Society Museum. Three hundred diners fully enjoyed a special spring Kaiseki Ryori (Japanese formal meal) with sushi to celebrate the arrival of spring. Trevor Corson, Michael Simkin …and (more…)
When I was raised in Japan, early spring was announced by the arrival in the markets of takenoko (bamboo shoot), fukinoto (a bud-like plant with a very “green” and bitter taste; see the right hand photo below), and taranome (a young bud of angelica tree). My mother always prepared…
many varieties of dishes using these wonderful vegetables to say the spring has also arrived in the Shimbo household. After moving to New York City, I was deeply disappointed that most of these cherised mountain vegetables are not available in this part of the world. Then, soon I discovered ramps. Ramps return to the Union Square Farmers Market at the very beginning of spring just like the vegetables that I knew from Japan.Â Ramps, if you don’t know them in your part of the world, are a mountain vegetable. The plants are about 8 inches long and have a white stem topped with deep green leaves (last photo). When cooked or consumed raw in salads, ramps have a very strong but pleasant garlicky taste and aroma. This suggests their close relationship to onions, garlic and chives. I was not raised with this mountain vegetable in Tokyo, but I do know that ramps are found in the cold northern part of Japan. In Japan they are called “gyoja ninniku“. Gyoja are people who withdraw from ordinary society in exchange for the benefits of rigorous religious mountain life.Â Ninniku is Japanese for “garlic”. The plant is named so because this plant has long been a part of the healthy diet of these ascetic mountain communities. My husband now visiting Japan made a trip to Hokkaido, the cold northern island of the country. There, much to his surprise, he encountered these vegetables for the first time in Japan and he sent me an exciting message. “I found ramps in Japan!!!”.
After purchasing the first ramps in the season yesterday at the Union Square Farmers Market, I was thinking of making ramps tempura. Very brief cooking at relatively high temperature is one of the best preparation techniques to preserve the natural flavor of this very aromatic vegetable. Here are my ramps and shiitake mushroom tempura. We always serve tempura with dipping sauce (dashi flavored with shoyu and mirin) and grated daikon radish. Dipping hot, crisp tempura in this richly flavored sauce enhances the natural flavor of deep-fried items, and at the same time the dipping sauce removes some excess oil from the food. Daikon radish, which is rich in Vitamin C and digestive enzymes, is a must accompaniment when we eat deep-fried food. I used my onioroshi (see my previous blog) to grate the radish, so it produced chunky and easy to consume form.Â Oh, it was so so delicious.
Ramps (garlicky early spring plant) are back to Union Square Market this week. This means that spring is definitely back to New York City. I am offering Spring Japanese Dinner cooking class at International Culinary Center at French Culinary Institute next friday, April 17th. Please come to join me to prepare 1) Soramame no surinagashi (kelp stock based, clean and mellow sweet tasting, fava bean soup), haruyasai no shira-ae (spring vegetables with nutty and chunkyÂ tofu dressing), dorado no mushimono (kelp stock poached dorada) with bright yellow kimizu sauce, and rice topped with miso flavored ground lamb.Â After mastering the techniques you can enjoy these recipes with many other spring vegetables.Â Please visit; http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/recreational_classes_landing.htmÂ and SEE YOU THERE!
Jose broke down the top of the round into three pieces. In this final photo you see one cut shaped like a triangle. This piece is called…. (more…)
Here is a photo of George holding about an $800 block of meat! After trimming, the weight becomes 1/2 of its original, so the price of this piece will go up to $1600.Â George frequently mentioned the term…. (more…)
Generous George Faison, chief operating officer and partner of DeBragga & Spitler, has agreed to supply at his cost the lamb and baby back ribs for the Jewelbako and Hiroko Shimbo James Beard House corraboration SUISHI! Dinner on …. (more…)
I had a recipe request – my mother’s beef tongue stew. I called my mother in Tokyo just 5 minutes ago, and asked her if she can produce a recipe. When it is available I will post it. Next subject; I visited the University Massachusetts for the Taste of Japan Event on March 10th. (more…)
My Mother’s childhood in the 1920s and 1930s in Japan culinary world was surprizingly Western in style. My mother, Tokuko Shimbo, was born in 1927 in Takada City, Niigata Prefecture. Niigata Prefecture is located (more…)
In the past two weeks my blog site was not working. Now I am happily back to it. The onioroshi is one of my favorite kitchen tools. The direct translation of onioroshi sounds (more…)
Please come to join the information packed, delicious and fun Basic sushi class, Advanced sushi class and Seasonal Japanese cooking classÂ which I am offering at International Culinary Center, NYC on March 13th, 27th and April 17th.Â http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/recreational_classes_sushi_basic.htm