Grilled Pineapple, Peaches and Plums

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Pineapple
Light brown sugar
Peaches
Vegetable oil
Plums
3 pounds good-quality lump charcoal

Cut the pineapple into wedges or spears. Press the cut sides into the brown sugar. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and lightly oil the peach halves. Lightly brush oil onto the plums.

Set up the cooker for direct cooking: Open the top and bottom vents. Pile 2 pounds of the charcoal in the bottom. Load a charcoal chimney one-quarter full of charcoal and light it. When the coals in the chimney are glowing, dump them on top of the pile already in the cooker and close the lid. Adjust the vents as necessary to establish a steady temperature between 350to 375 degrees for direct grilling.

Open the cooker and spread the fruits evenly over the charcoal, cut side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they soften and are nicely marked. Pull the fruits off the cooker and arrange on a large serving tray.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Nodaiwa: Unagi Restaurant

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Nodaiwa is a traditional unagi restaurant (grilled freshwater eel) established during the late 18th century in Tokyo. This michelin-star restaurant has 4 locations in Tokyo and one in Paris. Its main location is in Azabu, near Tokyo Tower. The 5th generation chef, KANEMOTO Kanejiro, is running the restaurant.

The building in Kamiyacho is an old style kura (storehouse) brought to Tokyo from Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. the restaurant stands out juxtaposed to the tall office buildings around it. The shop in Azabu dates from the 1970s, but the history of the restaurant goes back 200 years with the first chef opening a restaurant called “Nodaya” in Azabu during the Kansei years (1789-1801). Many articles throw around the year 1850 around as the year of establishment.  The Japanese articles just state late Edo period (1603-1868) or the Kansei years (1789-1801).

Toasting Dry Spices

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Toasting Dry Spices

Spices are at their peak fragrance just after toasting.  Toast in small batches as needed. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the spice in an even layer on a sheet pan and toast until just fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes on average.

Alternatively, warm a dry pan over medium-high heat, add the spice to the pan, and toast, tossing occasionally as it heats, until just fragrant. Timing will depend on the spice, but should average 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before grinding.

 

Chadō (茶道): The Way Of Tea

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The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (抹茶), powdered green tea.

In Japanese, it is called chanoyu (茶の湯) or sadō, chadō (茶道), while the manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called (o)temae ([お]手前; [お]点前).  Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony. Much less commonly, Japanese tea practice uses leaf tea, primarily sencha, in which case it is known in Japanese as senchadō (煎茶道, the way of sencha) as opposed to chanoyu or chadō.

Culinary Fun Fact: What is a Moderate Oven?

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Oven Temperatures

                                      ºF                     ºC                      Gas Mark
very cool                     250–275           130–140                ½–1
cool                              300                    148                         2
warm                           325                    163                         3
moderate                    350                    177                         4
moderately hot         375–400           190–204               5–6
hot                                425                     218                        7
very hot                      450–475             232–245               8–9

 

Culinary Fun Fact: What is Sous Vide?

Even If you’re not sure what sous vide exactly is, chances are you’ve tried it whether at that fancy French restaurant you save for special occasions or the egg bites you have with your latte at Starbucks.

A sous vide machine or immersion circulator is used to preheat a water bath to a precise temperature. Food is sealed in plastic bags, though you can also sous vide in glass jars and eggs can be cooked in their shells, and immersed in the bath. The food eventually reaches the same temperature as the water, which is often set to the ideal serving temperature of the final dish.

For meat, poultry, and fish, there is usually a quick searing step before serving. As opposed to conventional stovetop and oven methods, in which the heat used is much higher than the serving temperature of the food, making it imperative to remove the food at just the right moment, when it’s done but not overcooked.

Using sous vide there’s usually no risk of overcooking, making it a tempting technique, especially for temperature-sensitive foods such as fish or steak. The low cooking temperature ensures meat remains juicy; it’s never dry. And dialing in the precise temperature creates exceptionally consistent results that can’t be achieved with traditional methods.

Culinary Fun Fact: Making herb or compound butters

Chop fresh herbs with slightly softened but still cold butter. Once the herb is well mixed into the butter, form the butter into a rough sausage shape on a sheet of wax paper and roll it up tightly. Twist the paper at the ends in opposite directions to tighten the shape.

Wrap this in aluminum foil to help it hold its shape and to keep the wax paper from coming away from the butter. Freeze for up to a year; refrigerate for up to a month.

Cut into slices and use it to top grilled meats and seafood or to whisk into other sauces.