Thursday, December 24, 2015

Trip to New York (December 2016)...DONABE Special Dinner Events at Chef's Club New York

Me with Kyle before the dinner service (photo by Kyle)

On December 12 (Sat) and December 13 (Mon), Kyle and I did special dinner events at Chef's Club in New York. Chef's Club is operated by Food and Wine Magazine, and we were invited as visiting chefs to cook special dinner for two nights in their Studio.

So we created a special menu, including many of my recipes from DONABE Cookbook!

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It was another gorgeous day in NYC.

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During the day, we did final prepping for the dinner. The packages of hoshigaki needed for the first course were delivered just a couple of hours before the first service from California on Saturday. Hew.

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The Studio is a private room connected to the main dining at Chef's Club. Everything was set up and we were ready.

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Braised spicy kabocha from Hassun course was made in soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe".

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Sizzling tofu dish, cooked in tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san".

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Smoked Calamari dish was made in the donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin".

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Steamed black cod with fermented black bean sauce was made in the donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe".

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Niigata-style "sake nabe" was made in various sizes of classic-style donabe.

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Salmon hijiki rice with uni was made in double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san".

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Chestnut & pear steam cake was made in donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe".

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So happy that my long time Japanese girlfriends (for over 20 years) who now live in Connecticut and New York came to see me and taste our dishes! Thank you so much, Emiko, Chigusa, and Yuki!!

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Happy donabe holidays. And, here's the menu...

Plate 1: "Hassun"
Braised Spicy Kabocha
Roasted Ginkgo Nuts
Scallop, Quickly Cured in Tororo Kombu
Hoshigaki, with Creamy Sake-kasu Sandwich
Spinach "Shira-ae" with Tofu & Saikyo Miso Sauce
Steamed Yellowtail Shabu-shabu with Negi, Daikon & Ponzu
Wine paring: Vilmart & Cie, Champagne "Grand Reserve" Brut (Rilly-la-Montagne)

Plate 2: Sizzling Tofu & Mushrooms with Miso Sauce & Chunky La-yu
Wine paring: 2012 Schloss Vollards, Riesling (Rhingau)

Plate 3: Smoked Calamari Salad with Black Sesame Vinegar Sauce
Wine pairing: 2011 Moreau Naudet, Chablis Forets

Plate 4: Steamed Black Cod with Fermented Black Bean Sauce
Wine pairing: 2012 Red Car, "Hagan Vineyard" (Mt. Harlan)

Plate 5: Niigata-style Sake Rich Hot Pot
Wine pairing: Kirin-zan, Junmai Daiginjo (Niigata, Japan)

Plate 6: Salmon Hijiki Rice with Uni

Plate 7: Chestnut & Pear Steam Cake
Wine pairing: 2013 Carussin, Moscato "Filari Corti"

**Photo credit: Some of the photos are taken by Kyle Connaughton and Aaron Arizpe.

Trip to New York (December 2016)...Prep Day

Salmon Uni Rice in Kamado-san Donabe

It was Friday and we spent a long full day prepping in the kitchen for the special dinner events for Saturday and Sunday at the Chef's Club New York.

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Both Kyle and I worked non-stop, just prepping, prepping, and prepping with no break or sitting down for 15 hours. Oh yes, I did make a big batch of Chunky La-yu (recipe is in the DONABE Cookbook).

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Then, rehearsed some of the donabe dishes together.

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Donabe party!

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trip to New York (December 2016)...Shopping Day

Skate Wing dish at Contra

Kyle arrived in NY late Wednesday night, and we met on Thursday morning. We spent a day for shopping some items including specialty ingredients needed for the dinner events for the weekend. It was such a gorgeous day in NYC, and the temperature was close to the record high in the time of the year. I was wearing a thick coat and had to take off!

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For lunch, we went to Ivan Ramen on Clinton St. Kyle is a good friend with Ivan, and I had never eaten there, so we decided to go there. Although Ivan was in Tokyo the same week, he took great care of us remotely! So, thank you so much, Ivan. I totally enjoyed his creative ramen with rye noodle.

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For dinner, we went to Contra, which is also Kyle's friend's restaurant. We had late night dinner there. It was already past 10 pm when we got there but the restaurant was absolutely packed. I loved the vibe. They offer seasonal set menu (changes daily) with wine an pairing option. So, we indulged ourselves in everything they offered.

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Beet, apple, pistachio.
Kohlrabi, shrimp, sabayon.

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Skate, celeriac, seaweed.
Beef, brassica leaves, sorrel.

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Persimmon, tangerine.
Buckwheat, amaranth, yogurt.

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Wonderful dinner.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trip to New York (December 2016)...Accidental High School Reunion!

Aogaku friends! (Photo by Chigusa)

I traveled to New York from December 9 (Wed) to 14 (Mon), because I was invited as a "guest chef" to cook for two nights with Kyle at the Chef's Club NY. for a weekend.

I arrived Wednesday evening and got together with my friends from high school. This realized because I texted Chigusa, one of my friends from high school in Tokyo and now lives in NY, from the airplane right before the departure at LAX. I was so busy all past weeks and just didn't have time to tell any NY friends about my visit, and just before the take off, quickly texted Chigusa. Once the plane touched down at Newark Airport, I found a response from her. She said that she happened to have a plan to get together with our friends from high school for dinner and was so excited if I could join! What a great coincidence!

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I checked in at the Standard Hotel in East Village, and the dinner was at Mission Cantina, so it was a short walk from the hotel.

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So great to see everyone! They now all live in NYC. Three of them, including Chigusa, are from the same grade with me in both high school and university in Tokyo. We had so much fun talking about old times and everything!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Our donabe on Bon Appetit magazine!

I am so excited that our Iga-yaki donabe is featured on Bon Appetit magazine, both on the cover and inside! It's the latest January 2016 issue and titled, HEALTHY-ISH.

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Inside, our double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", and donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", appear in 3 full-color full pages in the feature titled, "THE NEW HEALTHY 2016 - JAPANESE HOME COOKING", starting from page 82. Kamado-san is used to make a hot pot dish, and the recipes by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat look so delicious!

Happy donabe life.

**On page 90, our Mushi Nabe is introduced as the "stainless-steel steamer" by mistake, but it's obviously, authentic Iga-yaki donabe, so it's an earthen ware:-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

DONABE Cookbook...More media coverage!

Wow...I learned more media are choosing my DONABE Cookbook as one of the best cookbooks of 2015!!

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Gear Patrol (news/ media website for men) chose DONABE as one of 15 BEST COOKBOOKS of 2015.

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DONABE is included in Leite's Culinaria's BEST COOKBOOKS of 2015.

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The Sacramento Bee, featured an article, including my comments, about DONABE, and it was also introduced in BOOKS! THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE MOST DIFFICULT PEOPLE ON YOUR LIST.

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Travel + Leisure, introduced DONABE in the article, 16 NEW COOKBOOKS FOR THE TRAVELER WHO LOVES TO EAT (my book concluded the list!).

Happy donabe life is spreading!