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Posts Tagged ‘Yoshihiko Kousaka’

These pickles are made from julienned vegetables. The thin cut is a part of the experience of eating these pickles, so it is important to have a very sharp knife to create long shreds of vegetables.

Ready-to-eat Japanese style pickles
Daikon
Carrots
Cucumber
Raspberries
Sea salt
Peel the daikon and carrot. Slice vegetables very thin. Combine in a bowl, and shake one handful of salt over the vegetables. Squeeze the vegetables with vigor. The salt and the squeezing draw the water out of the vegetables. Drain the water and taste a few shreds. If the mixture is too salty for you, rinse the veggies in water again. There are many ways to pickle vegetables, and this recipe offers quick, delicious, refreshing pickles.
I asked Yoshi if only some vegetables were good for pickling, and he replied, “Anything”. In fact, he had noticed a few ripe raspberries in the learning garden, and had tossed those into the pickle mix. He demonstrated that recipes don’t always need to be precise. The pickles he shared with the Esperanza Preparatory Committee and the Randall’s Island horticulture crew came spontaneously. Their ingredients were derived from what was growing in the garden. Yoshi didn’t seem to make huge distinctions between vegetables. Instead, he walked the garden, picking vegetables for taste. He was looking for bitter, looking for sweet. Laid across a sticky rice ball, those simple ingredients from the garden burst forth with simple and powerful flavor.

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By Nick Storrs

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With Yoshi helping the students use rice to create a fantastic lunch, I talked with them about how rice grows and helped them transplant our seedling into the Rice Paddies. We began by getting up close and personal with the true roots of rice. Our new rice roots are anchored in about 18 inches of compost. The student reacted with a wild mixture of horror, interest, and excitement at the sight of our deep, gooey, muddy compost. They learned about about how the different type of compost are formed, whether from vegetable matter or manure. As well as how the nutrients in the soil will be used to grow strong healthy plants, with nutritious rice kernels.

We then got to work by laying out the planting rows by pulling twine over the paddy and gathering together the trays of plugs. From here on in it was all about getting a chance to play in the mud! Everyone jumped in elbow deep as they eagerly stuffed plugs of rice plants down under the murky water into the soil beneath. It was a little tricky, at times, to keep the mud down in the rice paddies and not all over our neighbors but it was a lot fun.

When we were all done we had two large rice paddies all filled up with transplants ready to continue growing until our harvest in November as well as full bellies from our time with Yoshi. We really had a great day with Chef Yoshi, Chef Mihyun, and the Esperanza Preparatory Academy.

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By Phyllis Odessey
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, sushi man.
Cook me some rice as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with S,
Put it in the rice cooker for me and a guest.

Pat-a-cake, patty cake, sushi man.
Cook me a rice ball as fast as you can;
Roll it up, roll it up;
And throw it on a pan!
Patty cake, patty cake, sushi man.

I’ve made a lot of snowballs in my time, but none with rice. In celebration of the planting of rice in The Learning Garden, Yoshihiko Kousaka, master sushi chef of Jewel Bako Restaurant and Mihyun Han, General Manager of Don’s Bogam Restaurant demonstrated how to make rice balls and pickled vegetables to kids from Esperanza Preparatory Academy.

A rice ball called onigiri in Japanese; uses few ingredients, is delicious to eat, and most of all is fun to make. You feel like a sculptor. It’s a tactile experience: using your hands from beginning to end. First creating the ball, second molding the rice into a triangular shape and third adding a secret surprise sour plum to the center and finally wrapping your handiwork in seaweed.

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When you watch someone who is expert at what they do, you think it’s easy, because they are one with their tools and materials. After gathering vegetables from the garden, Yoshi began to slice the carrots, radishes and cucumbers. Like a virtuoso swordsman, Yoshi cut and sliced each vegetable in an artistic way; creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary. (The recipe will appear in a blog to follow).

We want to thank Yoshihiko Kousaka and Mihyun Han for an amazing day in the garden.

If you would like to participate in an event involving the rice paddy, please contact phyllis.odessey@parks.nyc.gov

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By Yoshihiko Kousaka

Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC

In 2010, I was featured as one of the best chefs in New York City as a sushi chef on France Chef TV. It was honor to be in with Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Daniel Humm, Ben Pollinger, Michael Anthony and Ed Brown. I also introduced some of my recipes on the episode. I would like to share one of them as a basic building block in how to make sushi.
Prep time: 4h     Ingredients for 10 persons

20 oz of Japanese (Koshihikari) rice
20 oz of water
1/4 filet of golden eye snapper
1/4 ocean trout
1/4 filet of tuna rim
1/4 filet of tuna toro
1/4 filet of amberjack(yellowtail)
1/4 filet of baby red snapper
1/4 filet of octopus rack
1 wasabi root
Salt
Sushi vinegar: 1 oz sugar, 1/3 of salt, 1 cup of rice vinegar

Wash the rice a few times with a little bit of water with a gentle rubbing motion until the water isn’t white any more. Let it dry in the chinois for 25 minutes. Put the rice in a towel and cook it in a pan with water during 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it rest in the towel for 20 minutes adding sushi vinegar. While it is draped in the towel, the rice will continue to steam. Let the rice and cool for 15 minutes.

Filet and remove the bones from the fish. Remove the skin/scales by slicing length-way. Cut the slices against the grain of the fish.

Peel and grate the wasabi root on shark skin rasp. Make a paste with the root.

Use the rice at the temperature of your hands. Make the rice balls in your right hand. Take the fish in the left hand and dip into the wasabi paste to smear a little onto the fish. Place the fish and rice together.

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By Yoshihiko Kousaka

Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC

I was born and raised in Japan. After high school, I worked at Azuma Sushi in Aichi, Japan. In 1985, I moved to New York and I started to work at Kuruma Sushi. A short time later, I owned Daimatu restaurant in New Jersey. After almost 6 years, I was hired by Megu 2003. I got hired by Jewel Bako, which is a beautifully designed hidden treasure in the East Village of Manhattan. I have been working as an executive chef since 2004. I also served The James Beard Foundation Dinner in 2009 introducing modern sushi Japanese cuisine. I always believe that the fish and rice balance as the most important components in my sushi work which is of the Japanese traditional Edomae style.  As you may imagine, I can’t separate myself from rice in my 27 years sushi career. It seems as though my life rotates around rice. When my friend EunYoung was growing rice and offered me to participate the rice event at Randall’s Island, I could not believe that they were growing rice in New York City. I am really excited and honored that I will be a part of the program. I can’t wait to be at the garden and to meet the children. Let’s make rice balls and have some fun!

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