Tag Archives: umeboshi

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: Ume Ferments and Garden Veg ~ round-up

Harvesting Ume: Ryoko Olson in her professional environment climbing trees (note her awesome boots and toolbelt), trimming branches and raining down Ume. No cape required for this superhero! She totally re-did the tree & harvested the fruit while talked to neighbour obaachan & held basket.

Yeah, we filled up a whole laundry basket, seriously, plus some other baskets for neighbors etc. Continue reading Kitchen: Ume Ferments and Garden Veg ~ round-up

Diary: Of Brautigan, Hats, and Hot Springs

Mondays at Tsuchida cottage are rather hectic by my standards… Grocery delivery comes from the co-op, new order form completed, take garbage down to the community collection center, plus the normal routine of taking out the compost, folding laundry, washing dishes, making rice and miso ~ plus trying to stay up on correspondence.

Just feeling a little bit behind because there’s so many things that I wanted to tell you about – really wonderful things, despite the challenges of my illness – including various treasures arriving via post, i.e.:

* The legendary beat culture literary legend “the Joanne Andersen letter“ Neal Cassidy wrote to Jack Kerouac

* A biography about Richard Brautigan that is bigger than a midsize city’s phonebook (quite literally starts with a bang)

* Another poet’s poetic homage to Richard Brautigan, the Tokyo Van Nuys Expressway. Really enjoyable poetry and also great book production quality worth emulating.

* A magnificent hat > handmade in Springville, Utah with the hat band in scribed by a phrase from “in watermelon sugar”, plus another rare book & various ID cards, posters, stickers, letters, momentos and other treasures. This new hat means I’ve now stopped collecting hats, I’ve reached the pinnacle. Thanks Willis and Marty so very much.

* A hand written card by the all-time postcard champion Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine series and many other works of epistolary literature, ephemera and fine art. His words were so unbelievably appreciated “You’ve traveled so far to find home, well done“ ~ as his *story* inadvertently intertwined with mine, in a way that his fictional characters deal with one another.

* An ink stamp assortment for postcards including a sort of stamping “jig” and variety pack of delicious papers from Lydia Fiedler / Already used extensively (I would foreshadow about our upcoming festive cards but don’t want to put any more pressure to “get stuff done“, but hint: #TimeTraveler)

* Won an auction for some various treasures from, and also a way to support, the Beat Museum in San Francisco… One stash is going to my brother the commander on Diego Garcia, another to friends in Pacifica for safekeeping until I can be connected to the rare Bukowski & Ginsberg riffs

* A handmade card from a great correspondent in California Jeremiah Jacobs who, besides inky stamps and typewritten words, included specific fragrance in his card. #NextLevel (he’s got a new single out)

* well-chosen books, in English, for Ichiro / we are reading to him in English and Japanese on the regular already, including some of my childhood favorites and others that were gifted to me decades ago in an act of foreshadowing I suppose

* A stash of super cute Canadian style (meaning warm and rugged) baby clothes… All that stuff that you hear about babies growing out of their clothes super quick is well, super true. This goes along with Japan *really actually* having “4 seasons“ and the temperature seems to change right on cue

* Finally, the long-awaited literary collection by my dear sensei Larry Harper / “70” sparked from a riff during a time of recovery for him and distress for me, where we both did our best thinking in Hot Springs and made plans for the future. He’s got three out of three checked and I dug an entirely new foundation and build a completely different life. It all starts with Hot Springs my friends, Hot Springs.

OK, back to the domestic tasks, very grateful to hear whenever cards and letters arrive in your post boxes.

Oh wait… Did I even mention the great exhibit, well by my estimation anyway, of four of my post box paintings at the goat farm? Pleasant conversations, poetry, paintings and post and pals. All of it, all of it. Especially grateful for Mac Kobayashi’s kind words (mostly :-)) and father/mother-in-law‘s assistance.

Right now, Ryoko is at Mae Maes band rehearsal (safe &
all of that) with the increasingly (if that’s even possible) adorable Ichiro Stanley, there’s another stack of letters and dossiers and postcards to go to the post office tomorrow, I’m going to finish these dishes, make the rice, make the miso, make the pickles & vinegar and be grateful for all of it.

Fondly, dvo

PS  Connected with the photographer Steve Rapport who took the “Joe Strummer running a marathon” in London photos you might have seen floating around and he also has David Bowie in 1983… Want to buy prints.

Also, the umeboshi started in June or opened and sampled and very worthy of acclaim

Note: Above is Ichiro with Larry’s book / it’s so cool it doesn’t even have an ISBN #Renegade

PS 12.10 Several of these topics (the books and hats) are riffed in a recent Japan Cottage Musings video dispatch, dig in

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

Kitchen: Umeboshi Time with Crock & Rocks (+ pickles & jam)

Re: making umeboshi (salted “plums”) – These tart and salty gems come in all sorts of sizes and various styles and are a common part of so many *normal* Japanese dinners. I LOVE em and wanted to try making… thanks to the neighbour’s tree, the chance came, ready or not… 

Requires obviously the sorta plums (in this case from the neighbour’s tree), salt – lots of salt, liquor (a clear fruit liquor made for this sort of purpose)…

plus a big ceramic crock (found in the former chaos of the tool shed), a piece of wood, a couple of rocks, cloth and string. Continue reading Kitchen: Umeboshi Time with Crock & Rocks (+ pickles & jam)

Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am  into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.

Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”

With this in mind, over the last few months of settling in my new home and life, I’ve remembered to fill up this “new white sheet of paper” with all the spectacular regularness of simple errands, neighbourhood observations, pleasant routines and out n’ abouts. Continue reading Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

Diary: Starting off 2020 with Coffee and Classes etc.

A coffee break at “Tartan something or other” (not actual name) in downtown Okayama

So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right? 

In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki… 

Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible. 

we ordered umeboshi by the kilo – i love these pickled plums and nope to make them myself one of these days soon but in the meantime, order up in bulk! salty, sour goodness
one morning i awoke to Ryoko singing snippets of so many songs – realized she was tidying up all her sheet music/scores etc.
tidied up the Kamidama a little bit with fresh items to bring good fortune and happiness more and more

Continue reading Diary: Starting off 2020 with Coffee and Classes etc.