When I received word that one of my favorite cookbook writers, Candice Kumai, was going to do a cooking demo and talk at the Japan Society, I just had to get tickets. I had last met and spoken with Candice at an Elie Tahari event when she was promoting her book, "Pretty Delicious: Lean and Lovely Recipes for a Healthy, Happy New You". This time she was here to promote her newest book "Clean Green Drinks: 100+ Cleansing Recipes to Renew & Restore Your Body and Mind". I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy and preview the book before its release and so far it's really meeting all my expectations.
Ito En, JAL, UNITED and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were the official sponsors of the event. Kirin Beer generously donated beer and Cuisinart provided the ice cream maker (which I have to thank you for because now my mother wants the exact same professional ice cream maker for Mother's Day).
I was pretty excited to see how Candice was going to incorporate Matcha into her sweet and savory dishes. That's where Ito En comes in.
You can purchase these items at their Matcha Love store located within Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ.
President of Japan Society introducing Rona Tison, Sr. VP of Corporate Relations at ITO EN North America Inc., and Candice before they hit the stage.
Candice's heartfelt introduction really made me like her even more. She talked a little bit about her Japanese-American heritage/upbringing and it really resonated with me.
She started with a Matcha Crusted Halibut in a Light Matcha Dashi followed by a Coconut Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (non-dairy).
There was a Q & A session and then everyone got a chance to try the food. Yum, yum and more yum.
(Counterclockwise) Soba Noodles with Matcha Dashi topped with Matcha Crusted Halibut, Green Matcha Tea Loaf Cake and a Green Tea Smoothie. Everything was absolutely sensational!
I'm going to share Candice Kumai's halibut recipe with you because it is absolutely delicious (and it's great for you).
Matcha Crusted Halibut in a Light Matcha Dashi
1 1/2 lb fresh halibut or cod
1 pack of 8-10 oz. of buckwheat noodles, cook according to the directions on the package
Coconut oil spray (unrefined)
Sea salt to taste
Dry ingredients for the Pistachio Matcha Crust:
3/4 cup raw pistachios
1 tablespoon matcha powder, Ito En's Matcha Love
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Matcha Dashi Ingredients:
7-8 cups of water
4 large stalks of kombu
1 teaspoon matcha powder, whisk in before service, make sure all matcha powder is dissolved
1. Cook your soba noodles, strain with cool water and set aside.
For the Matcha Dashi:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add your water and kombu, and lightly simmer for approx. 45 minutes to one hour.
2. Whisk in matcha tea powder until all is dissolved right before service.
For the Pistachio Matcha Crust:
1. Place all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse until it resembles a crust, not into a powder. Transfer to a shallow dish.
2. Prep your fish, portion out into 4-6 servings, spray with coconut oil and crust the flesh side of the fish with the pistachio crust in a shallow dish. Dust with sea salt.
3. Lightly coat a stainless steel saute pan with coconut oil spray. Place over medium heat. Add in your fish and cook until firm to the touch.
Plate Up/To Serve:
1. Place one serving of cooked soba noodles into each bowl, add 1-2 ladles of matcha dashi and place cooked fish on top of noodles. Serve hot with a dust of extra matcha (sift) or pistachio crust.
I was lucky to get my copy signed and even got a little goody bag compliments of Ito En. Candice's book goes on sale today!
Happy Earth Day!
I can't understand why we don't have a Mariage Fréres in New York City? They have 15 locations in Japan alone! It drives me completely nuts. Luckily I had the opportunity to stop into the one in Ginza on my last trip to Japan.
Mariage Fréres Ginza is right in the heart of the Ginza district, down a small street off the main Chuo-dori Street. This most prestigious of Japan's Mariage Fréres stores has a graceful, wood-paneled facade, with wrought iron window bars upstairs that reflect its French origins.
Step inside Mariage Fréres Ginza and you are greeted by a very inattentive yet knowledgeable staff - as well as a wallful of teapots and tea canisters, as varied in shape and color as the kinds of tea offered here. I have to say, the sight of those oversized tea canisters set my heart aflutter. They also had books about tea and other little accessories.
The Mariage Fréres Ginza is comprised of a restaurant, tea museum, tea emporium and tea salon.
Their tea menu reads like a book. A staggering selection with exclusive teas not available in all their stores. I couldn't resist picking up a few teas while in the shop.
First one I chose was the Paris-Ginza, which is an exclusive flavored black tea blend.
The second one I chose was the Tokyo Breakfast Tea, a yuzu black tea.
I couldn't resist purchasing this Sel Matcha, a tea flavored Matcha salt that can be used for cooking or flavoring savory items. I might just sprinkle a little on my popcorn.
The last thing I picked up before heading out was some Moon Palace Tea, a blue tea from Thailand. Of course, that's only after I managed to get the attention of a nice young man, who was more than eager to help me choose some teas. The two French men standing near the counter barely glanced my way when I asked for assistance. The young man who finally did end up helping me (and I must have spent a good half hour smelling more than a dozen teas) was very patient and knowledgeable about the MF tea line. He answered all of my questions and showed a great passion for tea. In the end he suggested I might like the Moon Palace Tea so I bought it.
In conclusion, I thought the shop was gorgeous and the location is ideal, but I'm not sure I'll be returning to this particular location to pick up my teas in the future.
More on the specifics of the teas in a later post.
Mariage Fréres Ginza
Suzuran-Dori, 5-6-6 Ginza
Phone. : 03 3572 1854