Tag Archives: kitchen

Kitchen: Ume vinegar, syrup & cordial (bottling etc)

[continuing from: Kitchen: Umeboshi Time with Crock & Rocks (+ pickles & jam)Kitchen: Umeboshi update (drying after salting, before salting again) &  Umeboshi update, part 3 (adding shiso and back into the crock}

Ume Chronicles continue (catching up from April 16, 2021)

Last year June, we harvested a load of Ume (Japanese small sour plums of a sort) from the neighbour’s tree and made several items while coincidentally waiting for our little baby to arrive (as you can see from my *sophisticated labeling system*, was started June 16) Oh and the baby arrived a  few days later on June 23rd).

Continue reading Kitchen: Ume vinegar, syrup & cordial (bottling etc)

Kitchen: Kaki (persimmon) vinegar (filtering & bottling)

Kaki Vinegar, Bottled-up (catching up from April 21, 2021)

Kaki (persimmons) are all around us here in Okayama so we end up with bushels > I’m finding every which way to use: from jam to dried to pickled/lacto-fermented and specifically today, vinegar.

While getting the kitchen ready for construction, so… figured should bottle the batch started last year. 

Started by stashing a bunch of chopped up, unwashed persimmons in a big glass jar with “the mother” from some apple cider vinegar – weighed down with rocks to keep submerged – last year in November (as seen on label above). Continue reading Kitchen: Kaki (persimmon) vinegar (filtering & bottling)

Kitchen: making Miso from scratch (ready in New Year)

Pretty sure I earned a Japanese merit badge today. Made our own Miso from scratch! Will sit in this old crock (found in the tool shed & same one used for umeboshi last year) for 8 months.

Summary: Soybeans, Salt, Koji & no air.

Here’s how it went down (lousy photos with annotations): 

Soaked for 24 hours and simmered for 4 hours and cooled down

Oh, this is what the salt and koji (culture) looks like

Mince up the beans with a, ummm mincer

Yup mix it all (salt, koji, miso) up

Squish out the air whilst making tennis ball sized chunks

Squish squish squish into the crock, no air remember

Fill a bag with salt to weigh it down and seal off the edges from air

Put on a label and wait for 8 months (cool place please, in our case, the kura barn) check in later to tell ya how it turned out

O-shogotsu Food & laughs with Family

Just a few quick snaps from the mellow New Year’s time at the Fujita household – just me, Ryoko, baby Ichiro and our wonderful grandma and grandpa, sitting around the house, eating special food, with bits of TV and music and, importantly, fire in the woodstove.

Ichi & Grandpa clearly having no fun 🙂

The year begins with Ichiro Stanley pensively observing a few flakes of snow floating down at Tsuchida Cottage. They disperse before landing (Like all of your hard ships will this year).

Photo by magic mama Ryoko Olson
Zouni soup with fish, greens & most importantly, mochi (sticky rice)
Year of the Ox cookie

Kitchen: multi-purpose ginger, turmeric, chutney, kraut round-up

Today: putting sauerkraut in jars, making chutney from persimmons, washing up dishes, drinking another coffee, making barley tea, there is a rabbit, also turmeric

Persimmons ahoy!

Note: the rabbit (named Maru) is our guardian angel.

Just pulled some massive ginger from garden and some turmeric too / wiped me out so taking a bit of a break before prepping these Kaki / also scored some red (albeit mild) peppers and a mikan orange from tree

Stick a shade in the ground & voila! Yup, got some ginger from the garden. Holy whoa!

Re, harvesting: I just stuck a spade in the ground, pulled it out the whole plant, dropped a chunk back in the hole, shook off the dirt, cut off the stems and rinsed. Ditto with turmeric.

My wife and mother-in-law are great gardeners but I really don’t know what I’m doing, I just dig holes and make pickles with the results

Onwards! Choppa choppa, making sorta persimmon chutney, everything shown from garden

While in the kitchen, stashed some sauerkraut from the crock where it was weighed down by rocks for a week-ish into some jars… Over-salted it a little bit but well, I’m still a rookie we’ll see how it goes… [update: it’s alright]

Just closing the loop on the persimmon chutney project ~ four jars: one for fridge, one for parents, two for freezer

Kitchen: Dave’s Pickles (“branded” as gifts, not a side-hustle)

Kitchen: Pickles (“branded” as gifts, not a side-hustle)

Don’t call it a business, nor a side hustle, this is arts and crafts for gifts and kindness.

This batch from May 20, going out into the world.

Handmade/package/decorated… Everything up/recycled (except the vegetables).

Kitchen: just tidying up, no big deal

“Celebrating” the Canucks game in the “usual manner”… Washing dishes.

Will enjoy an iced coffee while doing so at least (and think about a little bit of a house renovation to change up the closet size kitchen)

Yeah, all finished! ~ Japan life at Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama

Kitchen: Variety of pork, sashimi, soup and sauces

Katsuo no tataki / bonito tuna sashimi served with with onions, green onions, shiso leaf and lemon

I suspect you eat food, likely more than once per day. While I dabble in many mediums of art, the kitchen has never been a place of creative comfort for me however… I’m working to add a few new skills to my repertoire, as well as watching the unique techniques take a bus out for some traditional Japanese favorites.

Also, paying attention to the importance of plating and presentation and choosing an interesting variety of dishes when serving – I’m probably better at this part than in the preparation but hey, one revolution at a time.

As such, very little in the way of annotations or details, or quality of photos for that matter, just evidence of living life at such a cottage.

The results are sort of a hybrid of Japanese and “western“ dishes, and usually served rather Japanese-style meaning lots of little plates as we sit at usually a low table on a mat to enjoy the creations.

snack plate with fruits and maple syrup for coffee/tea

While life is still exciting and new here, I occasionally remember to take a snapshot of things prepared, most of the time I don’t, but sometimes I do, and since I did, i’ll share with you. There are loads of these round-ups elsewhere in this archive if curious. 

impromptu smoker in the kitchen / chips in foil in a pan, pork meat on grill above / worked so good

Continue reading Kitchen: Variety of pork, sashimi, soup and sauces

Kitchen: Snapper (tai) and/or Wagyu (beef)

Ryoko and a Tai fish (snapper) as gift from Uehara-san / they raise rabbits and veggies / so kind!

+ Dinner choices (& results) at Tsuchida Cottage with Snapper (Tai) or Wagyu (beef) +

Amongst all the goodness in our lives with the wonderful baby, we’ve received some treats. Some are part of Japan’s “summer gift” tradition, others specifically for the baby (so many to document, will get to them eventually) and some because folks are nice and adore Ryoko. 

In this case, we received a box of luxurious premium wagyu beef and a whole tai (snapper) fish / the combo of the 2 provided several fantastic meals as you might expect. 

Because i am grateful and obsessive, i present documentation. 

Dave amazed that a box of remarkable wagyu (so expensive in other countries) beef just “showed up” by courier at the house / from Yusasa-san! thanks
1/ cooked the beef with parents yakiniku (fried meat) style on a table top grill with various garden vegs and dipping sauces and salts

Continue reading Kitchen: Snapper (tai) and/or Wagyu (beef)

Kitchen: Brief guide to salt fermented pickles

For the record, these are salt fermented though i did a couple with vinegar and sugar which are great too. the salt does some kind of magic anaerobic fermentation creating pro-biotic goodness. The taste is clean and simple with the veggie taste and texture intact.

Basically:

chop up whatever veggies i have (in this case, carrots and daikon and onion)

stuff in a sanitized (not really sterilized) jar (stashed in hot water for a while on stove and handled with tongs)

toss in a garlic/onion and a bay leaf (there’s an enzyme which helps the crispyness)

top off with brine (basically 2 Tbps of non-iodized salt to 1 litre/quart water)

fill to top and/or put a cabbage leaf or something on top to push the veggies below water line

stash em in dark place for a few weeks, months – will be fizzy when ya open up

after open, stash in fridge.

there’s all sorts of complications you can add to the process but i am a simple boy. have done a load of batches now and all turn out decent. mild, clean, crispy.

and yes, someone has already sent me the Portlandia “pickle that” clip. thanks.

Kitchen: Umeboshi update, part 3 (adding shiso and back into the crock)

Kitchen: Umeboshi update / adding shiso

[continuing from: Kitchen: Umeboshi Time with Crock & Rocks (+ pickles & jam)Kitchen: Umeboshi update (drying after salting, before salting again)]

Umeboshi (salted/pickled plums) update, part 3  After 5 days soaking in salt brine > then 5 more drying in outside nets > then back into the salt brine in the ceramic vessel, today added aka (red) shiso to the crock.

Kitchen: Umeboshi update / mixing shiso gently

Used a pre-prepared/packaged red shiso product rather than foraging (a few other things going on these days #Baby).  This plant adds a distinctive red color as well as texture. Mixed in gently as don’t want to damage the delicate plums.

Kitchen: Umeboshi update / wood and rocks on top…

Placed a piece of wood & two rocks on top of plums, tied on cloth, replaced ceramic lid, back into cupboard.  Evidence follows:

Kitchen: Umeboshi update / tie a cloth to the top…
Kitchen: Umeboshi update / crock lid back on…
Kitchen: Umeboshi update / into a cupboard and wait

Wait. Carry on. #pardonbrevity

Summary:

Kitchen: Umeboshi update (drying after salting, before salting again)

umeboshi drying (for 5 days) at Tsuchida Cottage after first 5 days of salt brine

[continuing from: Kitchen: Umeboshi Time with Crock & Rocks (+ pickles & jam)]

I know what you’re wondering, “but Dave, weren’t you doing some salted pickled plums? Don’t tell me the remarkable birth of a perfect little human has distracted you from this important task!“

Don’t worry friends, the umeboshi are pleasantly going through a multi-day drying process after a multi-day salting process and soon, will go back into the salt brine in a ceramic vessel.

Note: If you have no idea what I’m talking about, there’s a complete breakdown of the process at my creative life archive… In short, we started this project in between our “due date” and the actual “birth date” since we stumbled upon a mighty free stash – and it’s a multi-month long process / probably eating them in November. Also made ume jam, pickles, syrup etc.

[Update to the Update]

umeboshi dried in net for 5 days in backyard and under eaves when raining (thanks for parents for moving them as this was all going on while lil Ichiro was being born and whatnot)

also, flipped the little soft plums from time to time, rather gently, while in the net…

then brougt the nets (2) inside and put the treasures back into the ceramic crock vessel (note: we found this crock while tidying up Ryoko’s tool shed)

the salt brine was retained from the original 5 day soak. when first put inside, the plums almost over filled the crock, now barely halfway full…

{not pictured: placed wood and rocks on top of the plums and then a cloth over the opening, tied on, with lid on top/ stashed in cool dark place (outta the way) / now we wait for some time – they smell great}

oh, we need some “shiso” leaf to add red colouring… #semioptional

while i was in the kitchen tending to the umeboshi, rocked out a couple jars of cucumber pickles 

nothing fancy: salt brine with bay/laurel leaf with sometime onion tossed in