I am not a good cook most unfortunately but I am improving slowly. The best way to improve your skills is to read and experiment with some guidance or on your own, and cook those foods you have confidence will turn out.
Cooking is not easy at all, and I respected my Mom’s natural talent, she could cook, watch Television, needle point and read a book, all at the same time – no joking. She was an amazing person, an excellent cook and good at whatever she tried, a natural talent.
So cooking dinner is half the battle, my biggest challenge is keeping the kitchen clean when preparing dinner. So I keep it simple, and don’t cook too many foods, especially with Jetlag to avoid falling asleep before guests arrive. I did and four hours later, I awakened with one hour before the guests arrived, not much time to prepare yikes [!!!].
Luckily I purchased a Poulet de Bresse, the ultimate French chicken, it is a regular visitor to our oven. I put into the oven before I went to sleep, I roast it slowly @ 62+ degrees for 4 hours and then rest it for 45 minutes. I awakened just in time to take it out and it was done.
Our friend staying with us from Israel thought I would be nervous, but I often cook for friends, many are professional chefs. So what do you cook for Nobu and VIP friends from Mykonos…..that is a good question. Well, step #1 is you call the head chef of Robuchon Tokyo and ask for help, a wise idea. Well its pretty simple, definitely no nigiri or fish or it would be a disaster. In fact, I rarely cook fish in Japan, as I hate the smell of fish that permeates in the house.
On a side note, if you wonder why, is it the fact that fish tissue contains an odorless chemical known as trimethylamine oxide. Once the fish is killed and the fish’s tissues are exposed to air, the bacteria in the fish’s body break down this chemical into two new chemicals that are derivatives of ammonia, and therefore smell pretty bad. But this is not the reason, when you cook fish @ home most cooks expose the fish to high temperatures and this causes the a chemical reaction of the fats, causing odors that are unpleasant.
But more importantly, every chicken needs a potato dish, so the first challenge is getting the right roasting potatoes. I had already purchased two small sacks of potatoes but it doesn’t matter how hard I try, my potatoes never turn out. I have tried everything, par boiling, in salted and unsalted water, etc. So this time, I decided to turn to our friend master chef, a native Frenchmen living in Tokyo and an expert in the kitchen.
Alain points me in the right direction suggesting to buy “Inca no Mezame” the ultimate potato for roasting from Hokkaido. He was right, there’s nothing like them, and there’s only one place to assuage your potato dilemma, and that is at the local farmers market. The Inca no Mezame is literally “Inca Awakening” are these not from Peru. They are cultivated in Japan and have the most amazing texture and vibrant yellow interiors.
The question is how to cook them and as Alain explains; cut them in half, place them in a cocotte and cover them after adding olive oil and butter, salt, thyme and whole peeled garlic. After 25 minutes they should be ready and they were the best I ever tried!.
The wines are essential, but the first dishes were inspired using fermented foods. A dish I rely on is “natto” fermented soy beans, I whip them with avocado, Spirulina, and Japanese spring onion, known as “neggi”. Nobu san rightly points out that the “neggi” turns the vitamin B found in Natto into a complex B. We served one of our favorite sake, Dassai 39, it is a Jumaidaiginjo, rich and fruity, perhaps too fruity but it helps break the ice and gets guests relaxed.
Later we consumed a small quantity of Haut Brion Blanc 2005, it was superb and later we tried 2005 Margaux, which was outstanding!
Categories: Life Cycles