A lower alcohol alternative to distilled spirits, sake is an excellent base for flavored cocktails. Its delicate flavor pairs well with flowery green tea and pink grapefruit juice.
12 ounces spring water
4 rounded teaspoons (or 4 bags) Fleur de Geisha tea*
2.5 ounces Sake
2.5 ounces pink grapefruit juice
3 1/2 tablespoons cane sugar
1.5 ounces (or 3 tablespoons) Triple Sec
Pinch ground ginger
In a small pot, bring the spring water to a simmer over a low flame (Do not let it boil). Add the Fleur de Geisha tea leaves and infuse for 3 minutes. Filter out the leaves by pouring liquid through a mesh strainer or remove tea bags, if using.
Let the tea cool, and then place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
When the tea is chilled, place into a cocktail shaker along with the Sake, pink grapefruit juice and cane sugar. Shake.
Add Triple Sec and a few ice cubes. Shake vigorously until the outside of the cocktail shaker appears wet. Pour into glasses and garnish with a pinch of ground ginger, serve immediately.
Yields 5 servings.
*Inspired by the Japanese Hanami tradition of cherry blossom viewing, Fleur de Geisha is a refined
green tea, delicately flavored with cherry blossom.
In past few weeks while taking clients cars for service down the street, I noticed the arrival of Ani Ramen on Bloomfield Avenue in my hometown of Montclair.
I gave them a try for lunch today and tried their 'by the number' no 5, Mazeman (broth free, with chicken and pork), $12 a bowl. Menu and pricing is same for lunch and dinner which must make it a favorite of diners on budget. It's a BYOB place too.
Before leaving I took couple snapshots of Noodle Slurping Mural at Ani Ramen.
This recent addition to Montclair food scene opened its doors in May 2014.
Noodle slurping on the wall for Tokyo Thursdays # 286
A French guy always has a weekness for dishes with snails so I could not resist mentioning one of the dishes tasted by Robbie Swinnerton of Tokyo Food File on his visit to Sojiki Nakahigashi restaurant in Tokyo, dishes created by Chef Hisao Nakahigashi..
Funa Zushi, Fermented Sushi, served with Water Snails
Geisha your Margarita with Green Tea Geisha Cherry Margarita recipe created by Palais des Thes NYC for our summer parties.
Geisha Green Tea Cherry Margarita
Black cherry juice and cherry blossom-scented green tea give a luscious lift to a classic margarita.
12 ounces spring water 4 teaspoons of Fleur de Geisha tea* 12 ounces black cherry juice 2 ounces silver tequila 1 1/2 tablespoon agave Sugar and ground ginger for rimming the glass Juice from 1 lime Juice from half an orange Splash of triple sec 4 ice cubes Lime slices for garnish
In a small pot, bring the spring water to a simmer over a low flame (Do not let it boil.). Add the Fleur de Geisha tea and infuse for 3 minutes. Filter out the leaves by pouring liquid through a mesh strainer or remove teabags, if using. Let the tea cool, and then place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
For the margarita, combine a little sugar and a few dashes of ground ginger on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each glass then dip the rim into the sugar-ginger mixture.
In a large cocktail shaker, combine the green tea, cherry juice, tequila, agave, lime juice, orange juice, and triple sec. Shake vigorously with ice until the outside of the cocktail shaker appears wet. Pour in glasses and garnish each glass with a slice of lime.
*Inspired by the Japanese Hanami tradition of cherry blossom viewing, Fleur de Geisha is a refined Japanese green tea, delicately flavored with cherry blossom. Available in 3.5oz/100g loose tea canister ($19), 3.5oz/100g loose tea pouch ($15) or boxes of 20 gourmet tea bags ($13).
In his opening essay to WA: The Essence of Japanese Design (Phaidon Press, March 2014), product and graphic designer Kenya Hara notes that " extreme plainness-emptiness- can invite a variety of interpretations...This kind of emptiness is reflected in Japan's architecture, spaces, gardens, ikebana and poetry, as well as contemporary design."
Kenya Hara contrasts Japanese 'emptiness' approach with American- European 'simplicity' trend.
With Japan's rich design history, he wonders why Japan has no Design Museum of its own and is advocating along with other local designers for the creation of such a place.
Rather than present items chronologically, WA groups them around materials (wood, paper, metal, ceramics, synthetics, fibers, textiles) to highlight "connection between design and material in Japan."
Wood, Bamboo, Lacquer chapter opens with photograph of huge Sacred Rope (Shimenawa) 17th Century, at Izumo Taisha Shinto Shrine in Shimone prefecture.
Less peaceful yet striking Ichinotani Helmet (Momoyama-Edo period, 16th-17th century) in Metal chapter also uses lacquered leather and laces.
Getting back to a topic more frequent here than soldiers helmets, the Kasei Cooking Set with Mesh Design (Edo period) brings us all the way to 18th century (Soetsu V, attribution), a beautiful lacquered wood work.
The 'emptiness' aspect is fully explored in a contemporary setting with Ceremony Space (1986) by Toshiyuki Kita (lacquered wood, tatami mats).
I will not spoil your fun and let you discover the other many things and objects that make WA a voyage of discovery.
WA: The Essence of Japanese Design is a collaboration between Rossella Menegazzo, associate Professor of East Asian Art at the Unniversita degli Studi of Milan and Stefania Piotti who has worked as a translator, scientific coordinator on Japanese exhibits as well as editor of Japanese themed books.
Book is printed on craft paper and bound in traditional Japanese style.
David Pilling new book Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival (Penguin Press, March 2014) offers the author's take on contemporary Japan and how it strives to recover from challenges like its ageing population and natural disasters like the March 2011 earthquake.
Title is based on an old proverb. Japanese equivalent of making lemonade out of your lemons.
Looking up Tokyo Food File, one of my sources of inspiration in Tokyo, it did not take me long to decide what would be on the menu of this Tokyo Thursdays when I read Robbie's piece on KOME: The Art of Rice where he shares many details on the influence of rice in Japan from the average count of grains of rice in a tasty bowl (3000) to the influence of rice on landscape (dams had to be built to facilitate irrigation of rice fields) and to the connection between rice and Sakura (cherry blossoms)...
I will not repeat all Robbie wrote, I will invite you to read it.
"The critically acclaimed group Shomyo no Kai–Voices of a Thousand Years, comprising priests from the Shingon and Tendai sects whose mission it is to showcase the beauty of shomyo as an art form, performs the contemporary shomyo work Life in an Autumn, written in the aftermath of 9/11 by New York/Tokyo-based composer Ushio Torikai."
Lemon verbena is a perennial herb that imparts the bright flavor of lemon without the acidity. The combination of lemon and green tea tastes light, refreshing, and clean, making these cakes the perfect finish to a spicy meal. The tops and sides of the cakes are left unadorned for a minimalist look.
For the Cake 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour 1/3 teaspoon baking powder 1/3 teaspoon salt 1 ½ sticks plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar 1 ½ tablespoons matcha tea 3 large eggs 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Lemon Verbena Ganache 1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream 2 tablespoons light corn syrup ½ cup (4 grams) dried lemon verbena 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin 3 tablespoons cold water 1 ¾ cups (9.5 ounces) 31% white chocolate chips or fèves or chopped 31% white chocolate 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon ground dried lemon verbena
To make the cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with nonstick baking spray or butter and line with parchment paper. Smooth the parchment, making sure there are no air bubbles.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the matcha and beat for 30 seconds, or until the color of the butter mixture is uniform.
4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour into the creamed butter and beat until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix for 30 seconds.
5. Beating on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition. Scrape the bowl again and mix for 15 seconds.
6. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the cake appears firm and has a matte finish. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill the cake for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes before building the mini-cakes.
To make the Ganache
1. Put the cream, corn syrup, and ½ cup dried lemon verbena into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and poke a few holes into the top to allow steam to release. Let steep for 1 hour.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, until the gelatin softens.
3. Put the chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside.
4. Strain the cream mixture and return it to the pan. Add the gelatin and heat over medium-low heat, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved and the cream has almost come to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
5. Using a small rubber spatula, begin stirring the white chocolate mixture in one direction, concentrating on the center, until smooth and glistening. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon ground dried lemon verbena and stir until well incorporated. Put the ganache in the coolest part of your kitchen and let set, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, for about 1 hour before using. (The ganache can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; see instructions below.)
To Assemble the Cakes
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ruler as a guide, score lines 3 inches apart, both vertically and horizontally, on the chilled sheet cake. Then cut into 24 squares with a very sharp knife.
2. Place 8 cake squares on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread approximately 2 tablespoons ganache over each one. Top each with a second cake square and 2 tablespoons ganache, then top each with a third cake layer. Let stand until the ganache has set, then gently cover the tray pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
The cakes can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Using Leftover (or Chilled) Buttercream and Ganache
Leftover buttercream or ganache will keep in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, to be used for another dessert. And it will taste like fresh-made if you follow a few simple steps.
Chilled buttercream is very hard, so you need to let it come to room temperature and then aggressively whip it. Put the room-temperature buttercream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, and use a handheld mixer) and beat on low speed. As the buttercream starts to break up, increase the speed to medium. After about 1 minute, the buttercream will soften and separate. This may make you nervous, but just continue mixing, and within another minute or so, the buttercream will come back together and appear brand-new.
Ganache is not as malleable as buttercream, and leftovers require a more delicate handling. Let the ganache come to room temperature (do not try to rush the process—firm chilled ganache is likely to separate and become grainy when beaten). Then put it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, and use a handheld mixer) and whip on medium-low speed until the ganache forms soft peaks. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread it with an offset spatula.