January 28, 2014

黄金ガレイの煮付け/Simmered Yellow Sole

As part of supper tonight, I made kogane garei no nitsuke (simmered yellow sole).
I used this junmai hon mirin.
The raw ingredients are mochi rice (produced in Thailand), rice malt (made from rice produced in Thailand), and brewer's alcohol.
I previously made men tsuyu (noodle soup) using this junmai hon mirin, and found the men tsuyu was slightly better than my usual version, made with mirin-fu chomiryo (mirin-like seasoning).
The water + sake, mirin, and soy sauce ratio was 5:1:1.
Thus, I used
100 ml water + sake
20 ml mirin
20 ml soy sauce 
水+酒 100 ml
みりん 20 ml
しょう油 20 ml
I simply rinsed each fillet with running water, made an x cut in the middle, and put in a large frying pan.
Shimofuri (frosting) is a common step, but I omitted it. (I once did shimofuri, but I didn't like the resulant flavor; I thought that shimofuri made the fish bland.) I added the seasonings mentioned above, brought to a boil, placed two sheets of paper towel in place of an otoshi buta, and simmered for less than 10 minutes until done.
If you like yours on the sweet side, add some sugar.

January 27, 2014

Okonomiyaki with Yamato Imo in It/大和芋入りのお好み焼き

Late last year, my father sent us this yamato imo together with other foodstuffs.
My father said he got some yamato imo from an acquaintance. Yamato imo is a type of yama imo (lit. "mountain potato", yam). I've never seen yamato imo of such a strange shape.
Images of yamato imo
We used it to make tororo soba first, and then mugi toro.

And, as part of supper last night, I used the rest of the yamato imo to make okonomiyaki.
About 500 g.
約500 gです。

I don't like to peel the yamato imo because the skin is not thick and the part just below the skin is the most delicious part, but I peeled most of the skin because it was very soily, even after I scrubbed it with a tawashi.
I added 600 g cabbage, and checked the texture. Then, I decided to add:
100 g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
200 ml milk
1 pack of sakura ebi (dried small shrimp)
キャベツを600 g入れ、柔らかさをチェックしました。 そして、次のものを入れることにしました:
小麦粉100 g
ベーキングパウダー 大さじ1
牛乳 200 ml
桜えび 1パック
I made four okonomiyaki in total, using two 18-cm diameter frying pan.
直径18 cmのフライパンを2つ使って、お好み焼きを全部で4枚作りました。 
My trick for flipping over using a plate worked fine, even though the dough is very soft because of the addition of yamato imo.
We also had leftover tonjiru (pork soup) and some other leftovers.
I also boiled some natsumikan peels. They are now in the fridge. I will simmer them with sugar later.
I almost forgot to upload this photo:
As always, my okonomiyaki is moyo-less.

January 19, 2014

A Practical Guide on Making a Coffee Roaster/コーヒー焙煎機を作るための実践的ガイド

First of all, here is an overview of my three coffee roasters.
1. Milk can roaster
Bottom diameter: 13 cm
Height: 18 cm
Recommended amount of coffee beans to roast at a time/maximum capacity: 150/200 g
Features: With its appropriate number of holes with an appropriate size on the bottom, this roaster is designed so that first crack occurs in 12-14 minutes after the start of roasting when used with a 2,500 kcal/h portable gas burner (set to high right from the beginning).
Because of its great height, exhaust air control is "automatic".
Suitable for beginners.
1. ミルク缶焙煎機
底面の直径:13 cm
高さ:18 cm
一度に焙煎するコーヒー豆の量、推奨/最大:150/200 g
特徴:底面に適切なサイズの穴が適切な数だけ開いており、2,500 kcal/hのカセットコンロ(最初から「強」にセット)を使えば、焙煎後12~14分後に1はぜが起きるように設計されている。
Six, twelve, and twelve holes on the circumferences of 2, 4, 5.5 cm radius circles.
The diameter of each hold is about 3 mm.
半径2、4、5.5 cmの円周上に穴が6、12、12個。
それぞれの穴の直径は約3 mm。
One big drawback is that it tends to escape the flame when you shake it up and down.
2. Kettle roaster
Bottom diameter: 19.5 cm
Height: 9 cm
Recommended amount of coffee beans to roast at a time/maximum capacity: 200/250 g
Features: Because of its shape (narrow at top), keeps the heat in, so that it tends to roast coffee in a short period of time.
(First crack occurs 9 minutes after the start of roasting no matter how I try to control the heat.)
No need to place the lid.
Should be ideal for those who prefer dark roast coffee.
2. やかん焙煎機
底面の直径:19.5 cm
高さ:9 cm
一度に焙煎するコーヒー豆の量、推奨/最大:200/250 g
8, 16, 16, and 16 holes on the circumferences of 2, 4, 6, and 8 cm radius circles
半径2、4、6、8 cmの円周上に穴が8、16、16、16個 
The bottom covers the entire flame range.
3. Shallow pot roaster
Bottom diameter: 24.5 cm
Height: 7 cm
Recommended amount of coffee beans to roast at a time/maximum capacity: 300/400 g
Features: For the initial ten minutes of roasting, you MUST cover the top with a lid or something similar (I use aluminum foil) to keep the humidity inside the pot high.
Unlike the two roasters above, you will shake it back and forth and sideways and move it in a circular motion to ensure even roasting.
3. 浅い鍋焙煎機
底面の直径:24.5 cm
高さ:7 cm
一度に焙煎するコーヒー豆の量、推奨/最大: 300/400 g
特徴: 焙煎の開始から最初の10分は、蓋など(私はアルミホイルを使ってます)で上部を覆い、鍋の内部の湿度を高く保つ必要があります。
8, 16, 16, 16, and 16 holes on the circumferences of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 cm radius circles
半径2、4、6、8、10 cmの円周上に穴が8、16、16、16、16個  
The bottom area is considerably larger than the flame range. That's why you have to shake the pot back and forth and sideways and move it in a circular motion.
Now, based on the above description, you should be able to decide which type of coffee roaster you want to make. I personally recommend the third one because it can roast 300-400 g of coffee beans properly.
さて、これまでの説明で、どの種類のコーヒー焙煎機を作りたいか決められると思います。個人的には、3番目のがコーヒー豆を300~400 g焙煎できるので、お薦めします。

Lastly, from my experience, I wouldn't recommend a skillet, cast iron pot, or other heavy pot. For such pots, you can't make holes on the bottom with nails, you can't control the heat at will because of their high heat capacity, and you can't shake a heavy pot continuously for 14-16 minutes.

To be continued. The next post will be a summary of direct flame roasting.

January 18, 2014

Direct-Flame Coffee Roasting with a "Perforated" Pot/穴の開いた鍋による直火コーヒー焙煎

Note: The following description applies to direct-flame not hot air coffee roasting.
First of all, let me show you my ideal coffee roaster No. 1.
I have attached a piece of bamboo as a handle to facilitate shaking.

This time, I decided to test whether it could roast 400 g of coffee beans evenly.
今回は、コーヒー豆400 gをムラなく焙煎できるか試すことにしました。 
You have to place a lid or something similar on the top for the first 10 minutes of roasting to keep the moisture inside the pot high.
This time, I decided to cover about 3/4 of the top.
Note: As for the milk can roaster, you need not cover the top, because of its great height. A great feature of the milk can roaster is that you don't have to worry about exhaust air control.
注: ミルク缶焙煎機の場合は、高さがあるので、上部を覆う必要はありません。ミルク缶焙煎機の偉大な特徴の一つは、排気のコントロールを心配する必要がないことです。

Start roasting with the heat set to medium or high, depending on the heating power of the burner. If your burner has a heating power of 2,600 kcal/h or greater, you may want to start with medium. I started with the heat set to high because of the large amount of coffee beans.
Make sure that chaff starts to come off in about 3-4 minutes. If earlier, you need to lower the heat.
It is very important to keep in mind that coffee roasting is a two-phase process, drying phase and chemical reaction phase.
I first thought that I'd dry the beans for 12 minutes, but first crack occurred at around 11:45, so I changed my mind and removed the lid. Then, I took this photo and replaced the gas cylinder with a new one.
コンロの火力によりますが、火を中か強にして焙煎を始めます。火力が2,600 kcal/h以上のコンロであれば、中火で始めたほうがいいと思います。私は、コーヒー豆の量が多いので、火を強にして始めました。
Also, keep in mind that first crack should occur at 12-14 minutes after the start of roasting.

First crack continues for about 1-2 minutes. At this point, the beans lose weight by about 15%. When you bring them to second crack, they will lose weight by up to 20%.

When you have roasted your beans to the desired level, cool them immediately. I have an electric fan (not shown).

I roasted my beans for a total of about 16 minutes.
I got 325 g of roasted beans.
焙煎した豆が325 gできました。
18.8% weight reduction.

Look at all the chaff generated during roasting:
I'm really glad that my pot roaster can roast 400 g of coffee beans properly.
私の鍋焙煎機はコーヒー豆400 gをちゃんと焙煎できて、うれしいです。

But, I have a new mission!
Yesterday, I found this great toaster oven sold for 500 yen at the second-hand store. Of course, I grabbed it!
Two heating elements at the top and one at the bottom.
It has a temperature control!
I think I'll convert this toaster oven into a coffee roaster.

To be continuted. I haven't yet talked about the features of my three roasters (milk can, kettle, and alumite pot roasters).

January 16, 2014

Everyday life in bygone days in Tokyo, 1966

Just wanted to share this video:
I was six years old then, and lived in Shibuya, Tokyo. The video brings me back a lot of memories.

January 11, 2014

An Ideal Coffee Roaster for Me/私には理想的なコーヒー焙煎機

I previously used a 26-cm diameter shallow, alumite pot to try to roast 200 g of coffee beans, but I failed, as I described here. After much thought, I decided to give the pot another try, but this time after making some holes at the bottom.
ここに書いた通り、以前、直径26 cmの浅いアルマイト鍋を使って、コーヒー豆を200 g焙煎しようとしましたが、失敗しました。いろいろ考えた結果、その鍋をもう一度試すことにしました。今回は底に穴を開けてからです。
300 g (not 200 g) of Brazilian coffee beans:
コーヒー豆(ブラジル)、300 g(200 gではなく): 
For the first 10 minutes, I placed this semicircular lid on the top.
After 15.5 min. roasting:
The beans are now 250 g in weight.
豆は重さ250 gになりました。 
16.7% weight reduction. Sounds perfect!
I know I need to refine my pot roaster slightly so that I can shake it more easily, but I'm pretty sure this is going to be an ideal coffee roaster for me.

January 4, 2014

Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year/和食;日本人の伝統的な食文化-正月を例として-

In December last year, Washoku was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. It's very important to note that Washoku as the traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese has been recognized as a cultural asset, not any particular Japanese foods or dishes.


The Nomination file no. 00869 for inscription in 2013 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity summarizes WASHOKU as follows:
WASHOKU is social practice based on a comprehensive set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food.


According to the leaflet introducing WASHOKU, published by the Government of Japan, WASHOKU has these four features:
Various fresh ingredients and using their natural tastes
Well-balanced and healthy diets
Emphasis of the beauty of nature in the presentation
Connecting to annual events

(To view the leaflet, go to this site first and then click the Japanese text below the leaflet image.)



Washoku video on YouTube, uploaded by UNESCO/ユネスコがアップしたYouTube上の和食ビデオ
Washoku video on YouTube, uploaded by kanteijp (prime minister's office)/kanteijp(首相官邸)がアップしたYouTube上の和食ビデオ