Thank you so much ⅰ

Thank you so much for visiting my cooking class this year;
I'm so glad I could have wonderful time with all of you in my kitchen!

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Winter Kinton(sweet): awayuki;light snow
ingredients: white beans, yamato imo(yam potato) and sugar

Root vegetables ⅰ: flavors of earth

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Uzuki in Shiwasu;last month of the year

Home-made senmai-zuke : Senmai-zuke a la Uzuki
Senmai-zuke is Kyoto winter pickled kabu;turnip
Famous special shops' senmai-zuke is very nice, but expensive.
So I make it myself!

Hiryozu : Deep-fried tofu ball
This is originally from shojin ryori; temple foods

Renkon-mushi: steamed lotus root dish
with some fish and vegetables

Autumn-Winter ingredietns
clockwise, the top - lotus root,
sudachi(citrus) and yuzu(citrus)
the center - ginkgo nuts

Renkon, lotus root is a mystic vegetable to me.
Maybe this comes from the image of the lotus flower, a symbol of Buddha, a symbol of purity and Buddha is sitting on the flower. What an interesting plant! The noble flower is floating on the swamp, the root grows in the mud below the water’s surface.

Since I was a child renkon has been one of my favorite vegetables.
I love its decent flavor, crunchy texture and its pretty pattern when they are cut in round slices. Lotus roots savor of the earth, I feel somehow. They are nourishing, contain Vitamin C, dietary fiber etc.

They suit various recipes, such as sweet vinegar marinated, deep-fried, and simmered. Also grated lotus root is the wonderful ingredient for a winter steamed dish ‘renkon-mushi‘, deep-fried lotus balls etc..

For the Japanese, renkon is a special vegetable and an essential ingredient for New Year foods called Osechi-ryori as well.

Fuyu no o-bento : winter boxed meal

Shimotsuki : Month of Frost

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Uzuki showcase in Shimotsuki;November

kabura-mushi: steamed turnip with amber sauce

Alyssa, her mom and dad, Karin & Helmut

Kyoto traditional Dengaku : grilled namafu & scallops with Kyoto style miso sauce
Their dengaku looks cute!

Inoko-mochi:Shimotsuki(November)special mochi-rice cake

Autumn flavor from the mountains and sea

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In Japanese/Kyoto cuisine, the combination of ingredients in each dish is one of the most important elements. As Japan is blessed with nature, we have a large variety of ingredients both from the mountains and sea. We like to find and enjoy the best possible combination of seasonal fish/seafood (or meat) with vegetables (or seaweed). We call it ‘umi no sachi ‘ (blessing from the sea) and ‘yama no sachi’ (blessing from the mountains) in Japanese.

In October what you must not miss is the combination of matsutake and hamo.
Matsutake is a mushroom that has an elegant flavor, particularly the ones grown in Kyoto. They are quite expensive, though. (So not necessarily the ones grown in Kyoto) Hamo is a fish that also has a very good but modest flavor, thus doesn’t compete or interfere with matsutake’s wonderful flavor. Hamo's season will end soon; please hasten to it!

Dobin-mushi of matsutake & hamo

'Dobin-mushi' is a Kyoto autumn special; kind of a clear soup dish. Using a tiny pottery tea-pot, we cook it and we drink the soup in tiny sake cup

Matsutake mushroom

Simmered taro potatoes with prawn amber sauce

For meat-lovers: taro with ground chicken sauce

Another combination from the mountains and sea:
Nagaimo yam(potato) and fresh tuna(fish) cocktail

Shiitake mushroom and prawn tempura

Matsutake gohan : cooked rice with matsutake mushroom

Shimeji gohan : cooked rice with shimeji
Shimeji is other kind of mushroom

Topping-ginkgo nuts

One class : fish・fish・fish

O-sashimi: raw fish dish with wasabi

Sushi and grilled fish

In the moonlit night

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Uzuki showcase in the moonlight

By the old lunar calendar it is considered that the most beautiful full moon appears in the mid-autumn. This year tomorrow, on the evening of Oct. 3rd we'll be able to appreciate it. We Japanese love the moon viewing very much. When we have the full moon viewing in autumn, o-dango(tiny dumplings of rice cake) and some seasonal ingredients, like sato-imo(taro potatoes), kuri(chestnuts) and autumn fruits such as grapes etc. are offered with pampas grass to the moon.
Hoping to have a moonlit night tomorrow!

O-dango: tiny dumplings with a rabbit!
As we have an old folk-tale that rabbits live on the moon and pound rice cakes.

Shungiku-dango: dumplings of 'shungiku' green leaves with red bean paste

Shira-ae: tofu dressed salad
Traditional style - dried shiitake mushroom, lotus root and Kyoto carrot

Fruity one - kaki(persimmon) and green beans

Kuri-Kinton : An autumn speciality!

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When I think of autumn foods, kuri (chestnuts) comes to mind first.
It’s hard work to remove the burr, outside skin and inner skin.
But during the work, when I start imagining the tasty cooked chestnuts with the nice flavor, the preparation pain disappears immediately. 
To me, a Kyoto person chestnuts are a gift from autumn, or from nature, it seems.
After enduring Kyoto's hot and muggy summer, we are given a wonderful gift from nature: autumn and chestnuts.
Many people in the old days and today, too enjoy collecting chestnuts at chestnut groves in the countryside.
Although chestnuts are on sale at the market in season, it's more fun to gather chestnuts on our own and cook them.

During the chestnut season I make kuri gohan (rice cooked with chestnuts),
simmered chestnuts with chicken, healthy sweets and so on.
If there is just one chestnut dish on the table, the meal with it would become special, a celebration of autumn!

There are some kinds of kuri sweets, my fovorite is 'kuri-kinton'.
It's simple to make this sweet - Steam or boil chestnuts without removing skins, scoop out the inside, add some sugar to it and mix it. Please enjoy simply the taste and flavour of chestnuts and autumn!


Delicious exchange!

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The attendants and I often exchange recipes.
I'm so glad I can get a lot of delicious recipes from all over the world.
I really appreciate this fabulous opportunity!

Here is an attendant, Micaela from Parma, Italy. She also opens a cooking class at home in Parma. She gave me a very good recipe of gnocchi, which her grandma taught her. I introduced 'dashi'(broth) of katsuobushi(fish flakes) and combu(seaweed) to her. We cooked natsu-yasai no nimono; simmered summer vegetables with dashi together.

Lovely! Good recipes are handed down from generation to generation, and now we exchange them. This is a preferable globalization!

Micaela and Emi

Listen to autumn flavours!

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Here are Autumn vegetarian dishes, but Kyoto people
have these as usual dishes in autumn.
We appreciate fresh ingredient's flavour,
don't use a lot of seasonings not to destroy their natural
A Japanese word, 'kiki-zake' is listening to sake(wine);
'kiki-zake' means sake(wine)-tasting in English. Enjoying ingredients'flavours is
listening to their sweet voices, or their whispers, I feel!

Top-right: simmered yuba(soy-milk skin) & taro potato
with vegetable sauce

Chestnut rice

Aki no shira-ae:
Autumn salad with thick tofu dressing
shimeji mushroom, Japanese pear and green bean

Yaki-nasu no miso shiru:
Miso soup with grilled eggplant(aubergine)
Garnish: myoga

Kiku no Settuku : Month of Chrysanthemum

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Uzuki showcase in September
flower: hototogisu,kin-mizuhiki and chrysanthemum

Today I'll introduce 2 dishes. The first one is Japanese style simmered beef with burdock root; gobou in Japanese.
As you know, we started having beef around 130-40 years ago, when Japan started having westernization. When we use meat as an ingredient, we cook it, thinking of being well-balanced and well-matched;usually we cook meat with vegetables which go well with it. Beef matches well with burdock root, duck or chicken go well with negi(a little similar to leek).

Burdock is my favourite root vegetable! I love its earthy, mild flavour and the crispy texture. It contains dietary fibers a lot.

The second dish is inside-out sushi roll.
Usually nori(seaweed)-sheet comes outside, but this roll is different, sushi-rice comes outside.

Hazuki; in the hot month

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Uzuki showcase in August
flower : hangeshou

Hiyashi chawan-mushi: cold savory egg custard

Hamo-kyu:Kyoto summer salad dish
Sweet vinegared salad of hamo(fish) & cucumber

Dashimaki:Kyoto style egg-roll
This egg-roll is quite soft with dashi(broth)

Here is the word from Lidiana--
Cooking with Emi was one of the most interesting parts of my trip to Japan! Emi is very friendly and hospitable and she makes you feel like a friend that has come over for lunch, not just a student in a class. While we cooked, conversation flowed and good times were had!
Thanks for everything!

Gion Matsuri : Hamo Matsuri

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We have the dishes using hamo(fish) during Gion Festival!

Here are some hamo lovers and hamo dishes.

Sini is making her favourite hamo-zushi

Sansho peppers can be a good accent for hamo-zushi

Yuba-roll of hamo

My summertime kimono

O-sekihan: cooked rice with red beans
When we celebrate something, like wedding, birthday, festival, we make o-sekihan.

Tanabata : the star-lit night

Uzuki showcase in July
flower : kikyou

Tanabata, the Star Festival is celebrated on July 7th, which is from one of the ancient Chinese legends originally--on the Milky Way the two stars have the once-a-year rendezvour on July 7th, but if it rains that night, they are not able to meet. Wising for the star-lit night.......

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Kamo-nasu no Agedashi : Deep-fried Kamo-nasu with hot (broth) soup
Garnish- grated daikon raddish & cucumber and myoga (ginger bud)

Nagoshi no Harae : Summer Purification

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Since the old time, on the last day of the first half of the year (the last day of June) we have a purification ceremony at shrines in Kyoto.
This is called ’Nagoshi no Harae’ (summer purification).
We visit the shrine to purify every bad thing in the first half of the year and to pray for happiness and good health during the rest half of the year.

Chi-no-wa at Okazaki Shrine, my favourite shrine, here is really quiet
We pass through this big ring and pray.

Minazuki : In rainy June

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Minazuki is the old name for June,
to be precise, the sixth month of the lunar calendar.
Minazuki means month of water.
I love the old Japanese month-names, they are poetic.
by contrast, the modern month-names are not interesting;
just numbers are used!

Uzuki showcase in minazuki;June
flower: hydrangea

Fot this year's,I use a little yellowish, bigger ume fruits,'nankoubai'.

This is 3rd year's

Umeshu:sweet plum wine - Have a glass of cold umeshu
and you'll feel cool & fresh!

Ume is Japanese plum (or apricot).
ume tree gets in fruits in June. Also we have the rainy season
in June. I love viewing the wet and glistening ume fruits in the quiet rain.

Usually ume fruit is not sweet, not juicy, we seldom eat the fresh ones, but when they are cooked, they're tasty. The most typical ume food is umeboshi(pickled ume), which is very good for rice balls. And umeboshi has an antiseptic effect, so rice balls with umeboshi are good for packed lunch; it keeps them fresh. My grandma's umeboshi was very tasty. Although I try to make umeboshi, I haven't made the same good one yet, so far.

I make umeshu; sweet plum wine every year. It's not difficult to make; simply you put some young ume and rock sugar into Japanese sake(rice wine). But it's a kind of slow drink! You have to wait for about one year at shortest to have it.
The flavor of umeshu is very nice, and by aging its taste gets better. In the evening, after taking a bath, wearing yukata(summertime cotton kimono) I love to have cold umeshu. It makes me feel cool and fresh quickly. Umeshu can be a kind of dessert wine as well.
But I shouldn't have much! In The Tale of Genji Genji says, “Music, Poetry and Sake (Wine) are the three friends of the life, but, unlike the other two, one is not always a good friend.”

Early summer dish: Zaru udon; udon-noodles with seasonal vegetables & herbs

Early summer sweet:
Shiratama dumplings with amanatsu(a kind of summer orange) and
red bean paste.

Today's soba is with stuffed Kyoto-green peppers (Kyoto green peppers are not hot)