Thursday, March 26, 2009

Japanese Flavors in Contemporary Menus!

The Culinary Institute of America-Greystone and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries teamed up in conjunction to present the 2009 Japanese Flavors in Contemporary Menus; featuring High Quality Japanese Ingredients. Some of the presenters were as follows: Chef Kimio Nonaga, aka "Iron Chef 2002" and one of the most recognized chefs in all of Japan.
And from just down the street in Healdsburg, Chef Douglas Keane, owner of the 2-star Michelin restaurant Cyrus.
Back to the high quality ingredients...............which included Wagyu Beef! Five times greater grading value than USA Prime beef, Wagyu is about as good as it comes (A5 Quality). Price on this Japanese goodness ~$150 a pound! Although it is rich enough to be spread on a crostini, let's see what else can be done with it...........
How about Nikujaga, aka Classic Meat and Potato.....................but with Wagyu beef compliments of Chef Kimio Nonaga.
Or how about some Wagyu Bou Sushi. Ryuhi Konbu Cured Wagu and Jade Egg from Chef Nori Kusakabe of Sushi Ran's in Sausalito, CA.
Or Wagyu Beef with Lotus, Burdock, Mitsuba and Myoga, in an Oxtail Umeshu Consomme from Chef Keane.
I think I took 5 years off of my life after those tastings of pure saturated goodness. But, there were more Japanese-influenced flavors to be experienced.
Like Seared Tuna with Black Garlic Puree, Battera Konbu and Scallion Salad, and Nagaimo Yam Fritter from Chef Keane.
And Yukari Style "Gyudon" or Simmered Beef with Burdock over Rice, also from Chef Nonaga.
Spring in a Cup? Beautiful colors, crazy texture. No idea what it was. C'mon, I am not a walking food encyclopedia!
The most interesting dish, was Chef Nonaga's Chilled Long Yam Soup. The base is grated Long Yam and Dashi. Probably not my favorite, but maybe I was just saving room for dessert.
Which just so happened to be Brown Sugar-Cured Tuna with Nagaimo Yam from the mastermind of sushi, Chef Nori.
Ever wonder where that green paste stuff on your plate of sushi comes from? Now you know.
After hearing that I had my picture taken with "Iron Chef" Cat Cora a few months back, Chef Nonaga was pleased to pose with a picture. Notice the Samurai sword prop. Chef had used that to filet a giant tuna flow in fresh from Japan about 30 minutes earlier. And by giant, I mean the size of a heavy set middle-schooler.
Ever wonder how those Sushi chefs can stand at the bar all day and roll sushi without their feet getting tired. Here is the secret. The century old debate is still on-going about who actually came up with the first wooden shoes, the Japanese or the Dutch, but I didn't want to ask the guy holding the Filet Sword.

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