January 30, 2015

Roasting Coffee in the Garage in Winter/冬にガレージでコーヒー焙煎

Roasting coffee in the garage in winter is really tricky. First of all, I have to transfer several (three this time) gas cartridges from the storage room to my room, which is heated, to heat them to room temperature. The garage is probably at the same temperature as that of the outside (around 0C). The coffee beans, which I store in the storage room, are also cold (around 5C or so, I suppose).
Anyway, I succeeded in roasting 500 g of coffee. The weight loss was 16.8%.
ともかく、コーヒーを500 g焙煎するのに成功しました。重量減は16.8%です。
Recently, I'm more into posting recipes to COOKPAD, Japan's largest recipe site, than updating my blog. I posted a recipe for roasting coffee there.
My page in COOKPAD is here.

I think I'll return to my former self pretty soon...

January 22, 2015

Smoked Hokke Skin Furikake/ホッケの燻製の皮のふりかけ

This is my very first attempt to make smoked hokke skin furikake. I have diligently saved in the freezer almost all skin from the smoked hokke that I received from my father.

For information about smoked hokke, see a previous post.

First, I cut the skin into small pieces, using kitchen scissors.
Actually, I did the cutting late last year, and put the skin in the freezer. The incredibly heavy snowfalls have caused me to postpone the furikake making until today.

Put the skin in the blender and shred into smaller pieces.
Because of the small size of the blender, I had to shred the skin in three separate parts.

Transfer the skin to a frying pan. Stir-fry over low heat for 2 minutes or so.
The skin reduces in volume considerably.
I tasted the skin, and found it was good enough. You could sprinkle it over a bowl of hot rice and eat it, with no additional seasonings.

That being said, I added some white sesame seeds and katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings).
Stir-fry for another 2 minutes or so. Done!
I added some mirin for some additional sweetness.

The smoked hokke skin furikake was surprisingly delicious! If you ever get a bag of smoked hokke, don't just throw the skin away!

Seven Custom-Made Shigefusa Kitaeji Knives/特注の重房鍛地包丁、7丁

A person asked me to help him/her order seven Shigefusa kitaeji knives from Yoshizawa Riko last year, and he received these knives early this year. This person is the one who previously ordered five Shigefusa kitaeji knives, as I described here.

The seven knives are:
195 mm usuba
300 mm hamokiri
180 mm (jigata) nakiri
120 mm ajikiri
300 mm fuguhiki
180 mm wa (Japanese-style handle) petty
300 mm kirituke

He kindly provided me with these photos, along with some comments. He says he likes the fuguhiki the most.

As with other previous transactions between Yoshizawa Riko and customers, I acted solely as a "bona fide third party" in this transaction.
去年、或る人から、吉沢利工に重房の鍛地包丁を7丁注文するのを注文することを依頼され、今年の初め、 その人に7丁送りました。ここで述べたように、以前に重房の鍛地包丁5丁を注文した人です。

195 mm 薄刃
300 mm ハモ切
180 mm (地型)菜切
120 mm 鯵切
300 mm フグ引
180 mm 和ペティ
300 mm 切付



January 6, 2015

Shukan Flavor No. 154 Playing with the Wave Dripper/週刊フレーバー No. 154 ウエーブドリッパーで遊ぶ

Shukan Flavor No. 154 Playing with the Wave Dripper/週刊フレーバー No. 154 ウエーブドリッパーで遊ぶ

English only. Japanese version omitted.

0:50 Nakagawa starts by talking about how he cleaned the superheated steam generator.
3:00 Starts talking about today's topic: Wave Filter rather than the Wave Dripper.
Shows a big Wave Dripper. For those who don't have such a big one but want to make a large amount of coffee, he considers a unique way.
4:00 Shows a big 2-liter container. places a metal sieve, followed by a 27 cm diameter wave filter. 5:20 Shows a small Wave Dripper.
5:50 Shows a paper cup, and says you can use it instead of a Wave Dripper.
The female assistant (licensed Q grader) says he has dealt with this topic before.
6:50 He changes his mind and says he will use a tea strainer instead.

Note: Nakagawa usually does this show without rehearsal, and he often makes mistakes, makes stupid remarks, changes his mind, and does other funny things during the show. This episode is no exception.

7:10 He starts demonstrating how to brew a large amount of coffee using a sieve, a wave filter, etc.
He says he will brew using a "dote" (lit. embankment).

Note: The "dote" technique is one of his preferred methods, and it's brewing by pouring water only at and around the center of the bed of ground coffee, avoiding pouring water in the area 1-cm inward from the edge of the bed (thereby making an embankment).

100 g coffee, grind level of 3 on his commercial grinder (fine)

9:40 He shows another gadget from Kalita, Wave Style, and says he will also use it today.

13:09 He finally starts pouring water for blooming, in much the same way as the Matsuya method.
14:50 Starts pouring water for extraction, again in much the same way as the Matsuya method.
See how he avoids pouring water near the edge, making a "dote" (embankment) around the edge. Notice also that he has to stop pouring occasionally to avoid breaking the dote.
19:50 He lifts the sieve to check if water runs through the side, and confirms that most of the water runs down through the center.
20:00 He finishes brewing 500 cc (ml) of coffee. He then dilutes it with (an equal amount?) of water, again in much the way way as the Matsuya method.
22:05 Nakagawa and Nagaya (assistant) taste the coffee. They agree that it has a clear taste, although Nagaya says it's a little strong.

The next attempt is brewing with a tea strainer.
25:00 He says that the 6.3 mm diameter tea strainer comes with a Kalita drip pot.
27:20 He proves that the Wave Filter 155 has a diameter of 155 mm.

To be continued.

30:00 He asks Nagaya to grind 20 g of coffee at a grind level of 3 (fine).
32:55 He starts pouring water for blooming.
32:47 He starts pouring water for extraction. He pours a small amount of water at the center of the coffee grounds, stops pouring, and starts pouring again. He repeats the steps. Note that he uses the "dote" technique again.
37:50 He dilutes the strong coffee with water.
38:25 He tastes the coffee, and then dilutes it again with some more water.
38:30 The two agree that the coffee is less tasty than the first.
40:50 Nakagawa decides to brew coffee with a paper cup.
10 g coffee
42:30 He makes a hole at the center of the bottom of the cup. He decides to make four others.
43:53 He makes another hole on the side of the cup, as an air vent.
45:05 He makes yet another hole on the side, as an air vent.
47:55 He starts pouring water for blooming. He then brews coffee in the same way as he does for the second brew, using the "dote" technique.
51:27 He dilutes the coffee with water. He tastes it, and says it's good. Nagaya says that it's somewhere between the first and second brews.

To be continued.

53:00 Nakagawa goes on to the next topic: thinking of brewing coffee outdoors for Mr. Kim (one of the frequent viewers). Nagaya keeps telling him that his past similar attempts have ended in failure.
10 g coffee
1:03:24 After all is said and one, he decides to adopt Kim's idea: using toothpicks with the lower paper cup. He first uses four toothpicks and then two of them.
1:06:15 He makes a hole at the center of the bottom of the upper paper cup.
1:06:55 He pours a small amount of water into the upper cup.
1:07:45 He pours more water.
1:09:18 He pours a large amount of water, in an attempt to see if the air vent is effective. (Coffee comes out of the air vent, and seems not effective.)
1:12:19 He tastes the coffee, and says, "It's bad, isn't?" He asks, "It's the worst, isn't it?" Nagaya says yes.
Nagaya says that Nakagawa has poured a large amount of water at once (for the third time), suggesting that that's the reason why the coffee tastes so bad. Nakagawa agrees, saying that even if you brew outdoors, you have to pour water carefully.
1:13:57 He says that if you are to use a toothpick, you should just place it between the server (carafe) and the lower paper cup, like this, so that the air can be released from the server.
1:14:21 He says it's past ten o'clock, shows the Wave Style again, and says he can't try it today and will do so some day.

End of the video

January 1, 2015

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day/大晦日と元旦

On New Year's Eve, we had soba for supper, among others. Such soba is called toshikoshi soba (lit. year-crossing buckwheat noodles). My wife and I had this bottle of Nama Zake (Raw Sake) from Aoki Shuzo.

On New Year's Day, we had a late breakfast, which included a nimono (simmered dish) made by my wife yesterday, and
humble osechi.
My wife remarked, "It' no use posting a photo (of such humble store-bought osechi)", but I dismissed her remark. My intention here in my blog is to show our everyday life no matter how humble it may be.

Naturally, we also had ozoni.
Salmon is a required ingredient here in the Uonuma region of Niigata.

At lunchtime, I had another sake, Hakkaisan.