Thursday, December 11, 2014

Premium Short Grain Rice by Tamaki Farms Now Available!

Brown rice and white rice by Tamaki Farms

I am so excited to announce that the premium Japanese short grain rice, grown in Uruguay, by two Japanese rice masters, Ichiro Tamaki & Mori Onodera (Tamaki Farms), is now available to ship nationwide in the US!

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Perfect rice to cook in our double-lid donabe rice cooker, Kamado-san!

This short grain rice variety is a type of Koshishikari, a premium Japanese variety, and this rice is made by the venture of Michelin-awarded sushi chef, Morihiro "Mori" Onodera (formerly the owner/ chef of Mori Sushi in Los Angeles, CA), partnered with Ichiro Tamaki, renowned rice expert and farmer. They found Uruguay’s terroir is similar to Japan’s rice growing regions, and more ideal to grow Japanese premium short grain variety than in California. This is the 2014 harvest, and it's the first time for their rice to be available directly to consumers nationwide.

Their first harvest in Uruguay was in May of 2013, and the quality and flavor of the rice has exceeded their expectations. The moisture retention and texture of each grain is superb, due to the ideal climate and water supply in Uruguay, in addition to the excellent quality of the seed they are using. This premium Japanese short grain rice from Uruguay becomes perfectly chewy in texture and has subtle sweetnes in flavor.

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Seriously, look how shiny each grain is cooked in Kamado-san! I hope you will enjoy the ultimate rice experience with this rice and Kamado-san.

2014 Premium Japanese Short Grain Rice by Tamaki Farms is available at toiro kitchen's website.

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kamado-san Donabe on Martha Stewart Living!

Our double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san" is in this year's holiday gift guide selection by Martha Stewart Living!

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It was selected as one of the BEST in the FOOD & DRINK gifts category. We are so thrilled. Visit our Press Page 
Visit Kamado-san product page

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dry Mushroom Risotto with Kyoto-style Shallow Donabe

Kyoto-style shallow donabe makes perfect risotto

Ever since I returned from Italy, I've been crazy about donabe risotto!

The shallow classic-style donabe, "Kyoto Ame-yu", is perfect for making risotto, as the shallow body can cook the rice more effectively and evenly during simmering. It makes the great presentation and also the rice stays in the right texture for a long time after the heat is turned off.

I got really nice dry morel mushrooms and black trumpet mushrooms from Sonoma, so I made dry mushroom risotto by using both kinds of mushrooms.

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As soon as the rice is al dente, I add the butter and Parmesan cheese to finish. The risotto becomes nicely rich and creamy.

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Oh, and this risotto is made from Japanese short grain rice! It makes really delicious risotto with the great texture. I'm so addicted to donabe risotto.

And, yes, you can find the recipe in toiro kitchen's website. So, please check it out.

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Japanese dinners in Bay Area

Sylvan's kombu-cured tai (sea bream) sashimi

Last week, I went back to San Francisco/ Bay Area just for two nights.

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I was invited to a cocktail party at Ten Speed Press, a publisher of my upcoming DONABE Cookbook (Fall 2015). It was held at their offices, and it was my first time to be there and meet my editor, designer, and others. It was so nice to meet them, and I had a great time with Champagne, oysters, and charcuterie.

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After the cocktail, my friend, Tamaka, took me to Ramen Shop in Oakland. They make serious and unique California-inspired ramen there. It was such an exciting experience! I had Meyer lemon vegetable ramen, and it was so delicious. Their dishes are so original and real. I also enjoyed watching Chef JJ making ramen...he's the master!

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The following evening was the first (soft opening) night of the much anticipated restaurant, Izakaya Rintaro, by friend Sylvan! We were the very first customers of the first night!! The restaurant has the beautiful Japanese look, with the counter seats surrounding the open kitchen and booth tables. We enjoyed Sylvan's authentic Japanese dishes, including donabe chestnut rice. They were so delicious.

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The night was a lot of fun. After 7.30 pm, the restaurant was completely packed!

Can't wait to go back again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Donabe Sushi Rice for Chirashi Sushi

My Tasmanian Ocean Trout Chirashi Sushi

I was invited to my friend's birthday dinner.

My friend and her husband import premium seafood to the US, and they generously provided all the seafood for us to cook for the dinner party.

I was assigned to Tasmanian ocean trout. It was freshly filled, packed, and delivered to the kitchen just a day after the fish arrived to LA. So, I made sashimi of this super fresh fish, first.

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White gloves on! Jody and Jimmy took these silly looking photos of me, as well as the top photo...thank you!

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I made sushi rice with my double-lid donabe rice cooker, Kamado-san, and spread half of the sliced ocean trout over the sushi rice (garnished with thinly sliced omelet and chopped red shiso). You can find the basic chirashi sushi recipe in toiro kitchen's website here. Just change the toppings to make variations. The dish was a huge hit at the party! Of course, the quality of the fish was outstanding, and people were also just so amazed by how delicious the sushi rice itself was. I received comments from many people that they could actually taste each grain of the rice and the flavor was so delicious. I must say, it's because the rice was made in Kamado-san! It's the donabe magic.

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I also made crab salad.

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There were so many dishes and also wines...9 to 10 seafood courses and a dozen wines (among 10 people)! What a feast!

Happy doanbe life.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Back home from Italy...Donabe Risotto with Donabe-smoked Scallops

We left the hotel on Saturday morning and drove to Milano Airport. Everybody else was going back to Tokyo, so I said good-by to them at the airport. I will miss them until next time...we travel together every year, and they are such wonderful companions.

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Travel back to LA was not too bad. During the flight from Milano to Frankfurt, they served a dish of smoked lamb and tuna. Both were basically raw, and I was surprised that they serve raw meat on the airplane! But, it was actually tasty. The dinner during the flight from Frankfurt was surprisingly good, it was chicken with morel mushroom sauce. I had a few glasses and fell asleep nicely!

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Back home, and I had a ritual of unpacking party. Upon Jason's request, I got nice local cheeses. All the wines were in perfect condition. I was so happy, and the cheeses tasted amazing.

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I brought home a bag of risotto and spice mix, from a rice producer in Alba, Piemonte. So, I translated the recipe by Google translate and made the risotto with my Kyoto-style shallow donabe, "Kyoto Ame-yu". I realized that this doanbe is perfect for making authentic Italian risotto because of the shallow body and how it distribute the heat. Right before finish cooking the rice, I added a slice of butter and blanched and cut asparagus.

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While the rice was cooking, I smoked scallops with my donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin". Then, served them with the donabe made risotto. The dish came our perfectly!! Wow, I tasted the wonderful collaboration of Italy and donabe. I was so happy.

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On another day, with bottarga from Sardinia (I bought it directly from the producer at Salone del Gusto), I made bottarga pasta with radicchio in tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san". I grated almost 2 sacks of bottarga and also sliced some for topping. While boiling the pasta, I sautéed sliced garlic and radicchio in olive oil in the skillet of Fukkura-san. Once the pasta is ready, I transferred the pasta to the Fukkura-san and added the grated bottarga with a slice of butter. Quickly tossed everything and topped with some sliced bottarga and black pepper. It was so decadent and delicious!

Happy donabe life.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Trip to Italy (October 2014 - Piemonte)...Finale dinner at Ristorante alls Torre

Beef with Gattinara wine sauce

Our great adventure in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta was coming close to an end already.

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After visiting Antoniolo, we visited Lake Orta. It's a historic town with a beautiful scenery. Inside of the lake is a small island. I loved the view and also the architecture.

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For dinner, we returned to Gattinara, to go to Ristorante alla Torre. The place is a recommendation from Rosanna of Antoniolo. They serve regional style Piemontese cuisine there.

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We had a private room and enjoyed our wrap dinner party. The dishes were so delicious, and so as the wines.

We are going home tomorrow...I don't want to leave Italy yet.