Saturday, December 22, 2012

End of jokes about using the oven for incubating Kome Koji

Cutting to the chase (is that the right idiom?).  Don't forget to check the incubation chamber before pre-heating the oven. Pictures to follow in the morning.

Yesterday, one ruined dairy thermometer.

Today one ruined batch of Kome Koji, Eff-en-eh.
"not for use in conventional oven"

Marilyn remembered to take the Koji out of the oven on Friday and didn't notice the thermometer.

I turned the oven on yesterday to heat dinner and didn't check first, crap.

For those late to the party, the oven-light keeps the oven in the mid eighties, perfect for Koji.  350 degrees is good for heating up the Spanakopita, not good for my Rubbermaid TakeAlongs.

Update, Christmas eve, having left the damaged bowl out on the counter waiting the dumping of the contents on the mulch pile, it is incredibly looking better than ever.  I think I will use it in a batch unless it shows signs of contamination, so far only white fuzzy Koji.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Noble Fish & Hopman's

Visited Hopman's for some brewing supplies and Noble Fish Japanese Market to find short grain polished rice.  Success on both counts.  Noble Fish is run almost exclusively by Japanese, the older people were very respectful of an old white guy that actually was making sake from scratch.

Got a giant strainer, some real straining bags and other supplies from Hopman's. What a nice store, everything you could need for beer and wine brewing. Marilyn got a cheese making kit so fresh mozzarella and ricotta are in the near future.  We have to find milk that is not "ultra pasteurized", haven't really looked yet.  

At Noble Fish we got a bamboo steamer, a fifteen pound bag of Nozomi premium short grain rice for more sake brewing.  They are famous for high quality reasonably priced sushi.  I got an eight-pack of California Rolls and they were excellent.  Very fresh, cucumber, avocado and crab meat.  No raw fish, hoping Marilyn would try them. Not.  Perfect amounts of pickled ginger and wasabi.  I'll be back.  

Sampled the sake pictured below last evening.  It is very good, a bit drier than the last batch and likely higher in alcohol by volume.  It fermented most of the time below 60 F, down in the low fifties for much of the time, just short of four weeks in primary fermentation stirred each day.  It went longer than I thought it would and was a little worried that it might be a bit bitter from lactic acid build-up.  The low temperature likely slowed fermentation in a good way.

I tasted it both the clear stuff and the combined stuff as it is supposed to be, the milky stuff has the nicer flavor.

There is another batch still going strong, with new rice and new Koji Kin I'll probably start another batch in the morning.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newest batch

Doburoku.  Both jars are full to the brim. The one with more fines is the second pour.  Straining though the bag I made out of a T-shirt and using a kitchen colander is kind of a pain.  I need something to make that process easier.   I'll be getting some brewing supplies today at Hopman's, I'll be on the look out for some labor saving devices.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 12:12:12



Couldn't resist a post at that time! Sorry.

BTW another batch of Doburoku is ready!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Grilled peppers

We use grilled peppers fairly frequently.  Often Anaheim peppers to eat with meat, mild red peppers on pizza, yesterday Poblanos to go with wiener schnitzel (pork).  Marilyn likes the Hungarian Hots, me not so much (the peppers;-).

You know, the darken up the skin with high heat and then let them steam in an aluminum foil envelope method.

Don't have a gas grille and can't see firing up the charcoal for a couple of peppers.

We have tried using the burners on the gas stove, lots of wasted heat and time consuming, but it works.  A little better method uses one of those BBQ stainless steel fish-grates over the gas burner, the grate distributes the heat quite a bit better, still difficult to get an even char.

I have an old Primus butane torch used for waxing cross country skis (yep, really old).  It works way better than the stove burners, much faster and more even cooking.  Can't find replacement fuel canisters in the states, only Europe and New Zealand. 

Primus X-C Waxing torch, the new Pro Culinary torch, both sitting on the Fish-Grate as mentioned above.  For those with eagle eye the blue masking tape is a reminder to not shut off the Koji incubation heating element aka (oven light).
So after searching tons of websites I found that there is a standard butane cartridge that can be found at hardware stores (even at Ace here in BFE) and in bulk at GFS.  It is the same cartridge used for those one-burner portable chefs stoves.

Research on the net yielded lots of culinary torches that use this common cartridge.  The Iwatani Professional Torch Burner model CB-TC-PRO has excellent reviews from commercial kitchens and chefs.  It has trigger ignition and adjustments for gas and air.  With four GasOne cartridges it was just over forty bucks on Amazon.

Marilyn's birthday present from Mark and Diana.  It arrived Thursday and was used on the poblano peppers with outstanding results last evening.  With the burners and other torch it was difficult to get  into crevices or the depression around the stem.  Where it didn't get a good char it was difficult to peel.  Not so with the butane torch.  It is almost scary hot and it is super fast.

I don't normally eat much dessert, but I may have have to make some Creme Brulee just to get another opportunity to play with my Marilyn's new toy.