Private Seafood Class with Japanese wine ~February 2018~

The menu was;
Swordfish and salmon with Nanban-zuke sauce
Lotus with Mentaiko(salted Cod roe with red chili)
Eggplant with sweet & savory Miso sauce
Mis soup with clams
Rice, Pickled vegetables (Nuka zuke)

My guest for this class was a foodie lady from Boston, USA, who was interested in trying some Japanese wine (not Sake but wine produced at vineyards here) with Japanese home-cooking meals.

That was a very rare request as we usually choose Sake along with Japanese cooking. Some typical Japanese favorite like Siokara (salted squid) are so yummy with our Sake, but it will be a nightmare to pair it with wine.

On the other hand, there are various seafood dishes in our traditional meals and I love drinking wines from various parts of the world, so why not?

Here we are two happy girls being adventurous and we tried a few pairing! (I am very sorry our food were almost gone in this picture but please kindly think of this as a good sign!?)

I picked up a bottle from Yamanashi prefecture and another from Nagano pref. My guest told me that she has been studying not just wine tasting but also wine making at wineries! It was a perfect opportunity for me to get an authority’s opinion about pairing Japanese dishes with our domestic wines, how she like or not-like each pairing, how she would describe each taste, etc.

The words my guest chose to express her feelings, various aromas and tastes were truly impressive but all I remember now is that it was just a very happy few hours. Next time she is here, I swear I take notes.

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Ramen class; what really are inside this irresistible bowl? Nov 2017

Our beautiful season of Autumn was almost gone and the request from my American guest on this day was a bowl of Ramen, a perfect hot noodle dish for a chilly day.

He explained  that he was not really planning to prepare Ramen on his own after returning home, but he loved this food so much that he was curious to find out what ingredients and cooking method are used.  He said he wanted to understand what Ramen is exactly.

I was impressed that is a very nice approach and happy to share what little knowledge I have learned about Ramen.

We also made Gyoza, everybody’s favorite companion with Ramen, as well as simple cucumber & sesame oil salad.

IMG_6906 IMG_6912

I buy my noodles from supermarket but soup stock is 100% home made. Pork leg bones are the main ingredients for my base soup stock and  some chicken wing tips and seafood Dashi stock are combined together. Then of course finish up the soup with soy sauce &  Mirin  used for simmering pork slice.

My American guest has been travelling several Asian countries such as Cambodia, Korea etc.  Japan was his final destination before flying back home and the day he visited my kitchen was his final full day in Tokyo so I really  hope he was happy  spending  his last hours cooking with us.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Passionate Japanese food lovers honeymooning from Israel, Oct 2017

Many of my guests are really passionate about Japanese food and it is always a great honor to get a chance to meet up with such people. This honeymoon couple  from Israel was definitely one of them.  They were fascinated to try a Japanese style vegetarian meal, including Tofu.

So the main dish was Sushi rolls with green vegetables, pickles and sesame. The couple chose a private lesson so we also did a few vegetable side dishes with three different sauces; sesame sauce, sweet miso sauce and creamy tofu sauce, as well as miso soup with vegetable stock.

IMG_6570 IMG_6578

They were also very knowledgeable about Japanese history and interested in some antique plates and traditional  earthenwares, too.

One of my favorite Japanese earthenware is Oribe-yaki, old potteries in Gifu prefecture and known for its dark green colored glaze. I used my Oribe plates for our eggplant dish at this class and my guests kindly told me that they liked them  as well as various food we prepared together.

The next day, the couple surprised me with a news that they bought a rice cooker to take home after my class!

I hope they are now enjoying cooking Japanese food at their sweet home…

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Heard about Nuka-Zuke? -Private class on October 2017

Sometimes my experience with visiting guests reminds me of good old day’s memory with my grandmother, who was always busy in her kitchen.

Prior to this class in early October, I received a very interesting request from  a Canadian lady, who is keen to learn about fermented vegetables, if I can show her an active Nuka bed for Nuka-Zuke.

Nuka is the rice bran, looks and smells like wheat. After rice harvest, the bran is taken away from rice and we eat only the white core part of rice. But this rice bran can be used for fermented vegetables, or Japanese pickles, called Nuka-Zuke.

We add a little salt and some water to rice bran powder, which makes a perfect bed to culture lactic acid bacteria.  Once the condition is settled, you may add your favorite vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, radish etc.

The problem with this fermented pickles making is that you need to stir the Nuka bed at least once every day, or the good bacteria die out and bad ones become more active, in other words your vegetables would get rotten. My grandmother used to do all these works for her family and I enjoyed eating her beautiful works as a kid.

Yet it was so much work in modern days when you have a job outside your house, so my mother did not keep it going, nor did I, util I received this inquiry from my guest lady.

Suddenly I remembered what I used to be eating and wondered if I can do something. Thanks to our internet age, I found a Japanese pickles company who sells Nuka-bed for fridge!  You don’t need to take care of your Nuka every single day but once in a week with this product.

IMG_6426

So here we are at the class, with my Nuka-Zuke works of carrots and cucumbers, as well as mackerel with Miso sauce.  As is well known, Miso is  one of our traditional seasonings and it is made by fermenting steamed soy beans with salt.

I hope my guest liked my home made Nuka-Zuke.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Another ramen class on October 20th

It’s been so much rain in Tokyo in these days and this morning as well.  I believe taking cooking class is a good activity during rainy days.

I welcomed beautiful couple this morning for my ramen class.

IMG_0556

Look at his concentration!

I heard the woman, Ms. K is a good cook, and the  man, Mr. N doesn’t cook that much before the class his self-reported.   However, he is a good concentration and does precise work so Ms. K and I are impressed. So I call him as Chef N. at the class.

We enjoyed chatting during the cooking time mainly about how to prepare Japanese cooking. Ms. K is such a gentle and joyful girl.

IMG_0560

Then our highlight of the class, making gyoza time.

IMG_0572

Then  the work conduct in beautiful shapes of gyoza and all satisfied with them.

As TV crew came for shooting our gyoza lesson in Akiko’s class the other day, it seems gyoza become Japanese popular dish these days.  It is fun to make gyoza as well as eat them.

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

Ramen Class on October 13th

I welcomed three participants today in the class ; a  couple from Israel and  a man from Mexico, who visited for annual Food Show exhibition.

We made ramen, gyoza and a cucumber dish today for lunch time.  I’m glad our ramen class become popular and we can share many people to cook home made ramen without MSG.

We prepare so much vegetables, so our  ramen and gyoza menus are quite healthy.

IMG_0490 (1)

 

In my class, I  cook braised pork and seasoned egg the day before. Because it is too short time to cook  pork, we call it char shu, in 2 hours our cooking time. I tried to cook it in 2 hours, hopefully I could show how to make the pork from scratch, in the result it is still chewy, the meat is not enough to soft.  So I decide it to prepare the day before. So far the people understand it and enjoy soft and moisture braised pork on ramen noodles.

Today’s participants enjoy cooking ramen, also making gyoza wrapping. Every body try to make nice shape of gyoza, which is fun.

IMG_0505

Look at his well done gyoza flairs and super smiling!

IMG_0515

Then the participants have ramen together with chatting.  Lunch time become social time, the participants enjoy to talk about their different food culture.

 

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Sweets Class on October 5th

I welcomed a pastry chef from Niece, France this morning to make Japanese sweets.

She requested Japanese cheese cake, matcha rolled cake and dora-yaki.

She is really professional ,  works as a pastry chef for years.

IMG_0459

Look at her position which is about to roll the jenoise with azuki cream.

IMG_0461 (1)

And cut the cakes carefully and beautifully.

IMG_0464

Look at this flawless cheese cake!     I shared my cheese cake recipe, but she made it much nicer than I expected.  I also learned her professional techniques making soufflé successfully.

She also made daifuku- mocha and “onigiri” for her lunch.  We made them successfully.

Many thanks,

Kisshy

 

Sushi Class on September 22nd

I welcomed new students  from London and L.A. in the class this morning.   They just arrived in Japan just a week before and will stay in Tokyo for one year.

This class is a gift from a mother of a girl from London.  I’d love to give a class that will be a good wish and the good start of her life in Tokyo.

 

IMG_6336

We prepared cucumber with creamy sesame dressing, sautéed eggplant with sweet miso paste.

IMG_6341 (1)

Then making Japanese egg omelet. Even though they haven’t seen Japanese egg omelet, the square one, but they made good shaped egg roll eventually.

IMG_6348 (2)

Look at her work!  She made beautiful sushi roll. The sushi contents fresh salmon sashimi, egg omelet, cucumber and seasoned fried tofu.

They enjoyed Japanese meal at the class. It was really precious time to talk about their new life in their dorm.

Many thanks!

Kisshy

Japanese Sweets Class on September 21st

I welcomed a couple from Australia this morning.

They requested Japanese cheese cake for the class.

I often hear about “Japanese cheese cake” from tourists in my class. I wondered what a Japanese cheese cake and I knew it is soufflé cheese cake what we call in Japan.    However, I sometime hear about the cheese cake that became one of Japanese sweets as popular as mochi sweets.

Today’s menus are Japanese cheese cake, matcha rolled cake and daifuku-mochi with grapes.

IMG_6319 (1)

They both made each sweets and competed which sweets will be well done.   IMG_6322 (1)

They both work for matcha  rolled cake together.  Rolling azuki cream with jenoise  sheet is the most difficult work in the class.

IMG_6326 (1)

They were doing great!

IMG_6330 (1)

 

Finally they accomplished Japanese sweets plate!

Many thanks!

Kisshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class with TV crew! -September 2017

After my  summer vacation, this was the first class at my place and very memorable one indeed, as I hosted 2 fun  couples from NY and Paris.  We also received an inquiry from local TV in Tokyo that they wanted to film visitors coming from overseas for Gyoza making class!

I was very nervous but thanks to my cheerful & talented guests, everything went really nicely!

A young lady from Paris already had good skills for Gyoza making and her frills on Gyoza were just amazing! There were lots of Wow!s at her works during the class.

Another lady from NY is a professional voice actress so she’s got a beautiful & soothing voice,  and she was such a mood maker which helped a lot to make me feel confortable even with TV people with big camera etc.

TV  people asked many questions to my guest, such as “have you known Gyoza before coming to Tokyo?”,”why you wanted to try making Gyoza?”

I was curious to hear their answers and found out that there is a Gyoza bar in Paris now. In NY you often find Gyoza in Bento box with rice but these Gyoza are usually fried, not grilled.

My guests said that Japanese style Gyoza are crispy on the bottom, then the top part are tender, which is different form Chinese styles of steamed or boiled Gyoza.

I adore Chinese style dumplings and personally I think they are more authentic with a great variety, but requires much more skills & practices(at least to me…).  What I like about Japanese style Gyoza is simple; it is so easy to make, ingredients are very reasonable, and fun to eat with your families and friends!

By the way we made delicious pork Ramen,too! Here are some photos. Sorry Gyoza are almost gone at this stage but you must come and find yourself!

IMG_6346IMG_6343

 

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko