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RE: Dispatches from Akune   You are logged in as Guest
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Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2553
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

The only Japanese food I don't like is natto, and I'll eat it if I have to. Natto is fermented soy beans, yuck.



When my Japanese girlfriend and I ate at Sachio Kojima's "Kabuto" in San Francisco, she alway finished off with natto-maki. She said her mother made it when she was a little girl in Tokyo.

As you said, natto is fermented soybean paste. It has a gelatinous texture like the goo that boiled okra produces.

Natto-maki begins with a cone of nori, the dried seaweed leaf used in sushi rolls. You make a cone about the size of a small ice cream cone. Sushi rice is added to the cone as a base. Then natto is added, and a sprinkling of grated dried and salted fish. All is topped off with a leaf of a fresh herb, whose name in English I have never been able to learn.

At the beginning, natto was a serious challenge to me. It tasted bitter and oily, the texture was vile. But for a year I manfully downed a natto-maki with my girl about once a week. Sachio-san would tap his chest with a fist, grin, and say, "Strong heart."

After about a year there was a sudden mysterious transformation. The bitter oily taste went away. In its place there appeared a delicious nutty flavor. I grew to love natto.

Very few sushi places in the USA have natto. I have just about stopped asking. But persist, Stephen. You may be rewarded with the mysterious transformation.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2013 20:38:30
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 429
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Yeah, natto. I'm not there yet, but my (Japanese) wife is at blue cheese which she says constitutes the same cultural and culinary hurdle.

Bananasan, may I suggest the Berlitz 'Japanese in 30 Yeah Right Days'? After years of adding kyotsuketes and omatases to my random word list and standing in embarrassment as I guess between a desu-ne, a desu-ka and a masen-ka, that book is finally allowing me to say things along the lines of 'My Father also reads his books and his magazines in Japanese in the family room'. True, at the moment, its use is limited but conversations are a damn sight closer than they were before I discovered it. It's the best book I have found and teaches in Romaji, building up hiragana and katakana as you go though you don't seem to be tested on it from memory.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2013 0:14:08
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I'm tired, but I wanted to show you this beautiful hamachi I caught at the fish market the other day.

When Hamachi get big they name changes to Buri. We can't seem to find anyone who knows exactly how big a hamachi has to get before it becomes a buri...but buri are arm length and hamachi are forearm length...I guess that is it!

Yes Richard, I will make an effort to cultivate a taste for natto.
Thanks for the tip on the language learning system Burdo.


Here is the sashimi from my hamachi; that plate of sashimi cost about 5 bucks.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2013 13:41:26
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

This is a gorgeous fresh fish. Caught in the morning, plated that night. Clear eyes, bright color. Five bucks.

I guess we are on the threshold of a full blown food talk now.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2013 13:48:49
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 429
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

That is a Magritte painting, not a fish. And yet, a fish, Beautiful!

My wife says it's called the Lucky Fish as it has several identities from birth to er...plate.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 1 2013 23:37:06
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Burdo,
Do you get mentaiko in British Japanese stores? I've been making pasta with mentaiko and it's pretty good. I also made some deviled eggs stuffed with mentaiko mixed with homemade sweet pickles and Kupie mayo.

It's been a nice mix of western casual summer food with some Japanese ingredients.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2013 6:16:50
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 429
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Yes we do, but it's none too fresh unfortunately, at least from the 'local' Japanese fish shop. Obviously that means older than 3 hours :-)

It's pasta with cod roe that tells me how uptight I am, cross culturally! Work to be done for me though the eggs sound good.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2013 12:40:02
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I finally caught Ika.

Been too tired to write a dispatch, I'll post some pictures.

These cephalopods are a species of Japanese Cuttlefish. I caught them with an artificial squid jig. It was kind of wild. They followed the jog in as i reeled it in and then I noticed them looking at it just before I pulled it from the water to make another cast.

They were just waiting for it to stop, as I watched them one of them darted forward and grabbed the lure. I snagged him but he unhooked himself. It thought they would flee for their lives. But no, they got more aggressive. I dipped the lure i the water in front of me and the same ika rushed it. Again I did not hook him and I tried a third time putting the lure a few feet from him. He slammed into it and I hooked him that time.

I worked him up on the jetty without losing him. I put the jig back in the water in the same place where the other one was waiting. That one was more aggressive than the first one and he chased it and wrapped the tentacles and body around it. It was just two small ika, but it was pretty exciting.

As I walked home I passed an old guy from my block named Masaru. He's known as kind of a character. I see him from my shop window standing in the street outside his house shaving his head with a fishing knife. Masaru is quite a good fisherman. He asked me if I caught anything. "Hai." I said "Ni mongo ika." And I marched down the street to put my fishing pole in the shop. Masaru stood there nodding his head in approval. Those kind of cuttlefish are called Mongo Ika. We ate them for dinner as sashimi.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 1 2013 15:09:41

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

In Cádiz,choco con papas
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 1 2013 16:36:10
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

In Cádiz,choco con papas


My friend in Portugal said the same thing. They grill them here too. I think I like them grilled the best.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 2 2013 1:23:44
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Here's one for road. Gerhard Richter working.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 28 2013 15:56:53
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11032
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Here's one for road. Gerhard Richter working.




Nice. I really enjoy the touches of "conde orange" in that piece.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 28 2013 16:44:08
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

And we're back online------------

I've had enough politics. Back to this exegesis on another crappy day in paradise.

First I want to express my anger at myself for painting over this drawing. That was dumb.

I'll explain why in a minute. Or a few days, when I can stop kicking myself in the ass.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2017 1:18:46
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Akumaki is a rice based food. In Southern Japan akumaki was a food that travelers and samurai would tuck into a bag and walk with. I worry that as it is now, mostly the old ladies are the ones who know how to make akumaki. Kids, they know about Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was shopping in a town 25 minutes North of Akune on Friday afternoon, the city of Izumi. It's known for the crane migration, Izumi is the winter terminal point for tsuru which summer in Mongolia, the gangley birds fly East to escape the cold Mongol winter. I shopped in Izumi and observed the statues and sculptures around town that depict the tsuru bird, but the red and white logo of KFC next to the Nishimuta Super Grocery Outlet was more strident visually. KFC might be the arch enemy of Akumaki, at least in my mind it is.

Akumaki is made by taking a few handfuls of wood ash and putting them in a big pot of water. The pot is brought to boil. A bamboo leaf is filled with half cooked rice and then folded around the rice in way not unlike the fabulous burritos the San Francisco Mission District is famous for. Big fat burros of rice wrapped in wide dark green bamboo leaves, and like the sweet corn tamales I ate in Guatemala that were housed in soft banana leaf exoskeletons. Thus wrapped the akumaki is cooked in the ash water for about five hours. The ash water is a preservative and the akumaki was useful to samurai on the go because it lasted for a few days without refrigeration. Globalism had not delivered KFC to the Satsuma region of Japan in ancient samurai times, the good Southern Colonel had not been born yet.

Akumaki smells of sulfur, it's mild, but the effluvia of an onsen water from deep within our stinky volcanic Earth is distinctly present in akumaki. It's subtle, and to an akumaki lover like myself the learning curve of eating an enjoying akumaki brings the same kind of joy that lovers of certain stinky cheeses experience. Akumaki is is eaten with sugar and yeast, one dips the chunk of akumaki in a bowl of sugar and kinako yeast, buen provecho.

I left my camera at the shop or I would show a picture of this rare delicacy and ancient food. Akumaki is as old as Roman garum, fish sauce, and I get a thrill out of eating the ancient foods of any culture. Garum is probably best experienced by moderns by buying a bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce at the grocery. I love some new Roman fish sauce and spring onions in my omelet. And I hope the akumaki is still being made in fifty years, a hundred years; If KFC were to sink into a bottomless marsh of garum and crane poo, I for one would not be offended.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2018 14:09:32
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