Hokkaido is A Gem

Posted on Jan 25, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog

This is the ski season, and everyone in Japan is enjoying skiing in Hokkaido. Niseko is one of the most popular skiing sites and lots of Australians come to enjoy the powder snow. Today’s temperature at Niseko is max. at 15F and minimum at 10F. The snow fall from this morning was 3.5 inches. In January it received so far 3.8 feet of snow. The 2016/2017 season accumulation by now is 13 feet. Great accomplishment.                 Need a...

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Discover Osechi Ryori (5) Kazunoko – Family Prosperity

Posted on Jan 1, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog

Are you still with me in the preparation of Osechi Ryori? Hope that you are not put off with too much superstitious ideas. Kazunoko is a salt-cured herring roe consists of hundreds of tiny eggs grouped together in one piece, encased in a very thin membrane. The size of dried herring roe is about 5 inches long. We hydrate it and marinate it in the mixture of shoyu and mirin overnight. Kazunoko symbolizes family prosperity. Properly prepared kazunoko presents golden yellow...

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Hokkaido with Hiroko, May, 2016

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 in Hiroko's Blog

I have been operating a culinary and cultural tour of Japan for a very limited number of participants – less than dozen people in the past years. For the 2016 trip I am taking you to a very different destination: a visit to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido that is focused on the natural environment as well as the amazing local Japanese culinary scene. The tour has been thoroughly researched and experienced during my recent trip to Hokkaido, Japan. Here is the...

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Kuromame black soy beans

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

Today I cooked kuromame thinking of the approach of the end of the year (anyway it was raining outside).  Kuromame are black soybeans whose shape is perfectly round and they are much larger than their yellow colored-cousin.  The flavor of this black variety is robust and much tastier than…. their cousin.  Furthermore, its dark purplish (almost black) color suggests that it is rich in anthocyanin, a well known anti-oxidant.  So, I love kuromame.  The best kuromame in...

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The arrival of spring – ramps!

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

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...

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