第一 Japanese Peach-Sake Jam
First, a word about Japanese peaches 白桃 (hakutō): amazing. They are typically about the size of my fist, with pure wine-white flesh and bright pink skin. They are sweeter and juicier than any other peach you may ever taste; eating one usually results in pure ecstasy, accompanied by a vast pool of peach water at your feet. They are well worth the $3 apiece (minimum!) price tag, always a very special summer treat. So what to use as a substitute? Ordinary white peaches will do, but you may want to add more sugar (or maybe honey?) to the recipe. And don’t you dare use yellow peaches or I will hunt you down and kill you.
The idea for this recipe came to me while I was drinking some kodaishu 古代酒, which is a blanket term for any sake brewed according to pre-modern methods. They are typically sweeter, slightly rougher and more funky and yellow than your garden-variety ginjō 吟醸 or honjōzō 本醸造 sakes (actually, kodaishu can generally be categorized as ginjō or honjōzō as well, but nevermind – just get something sweet and robust). Anyway, this particular kodaishu was very flavorful and also very, very sweet. I had managed to get down to the last third or so of the bottle, but I was afraid I might become diabetic if I polished it off. So what do to? It was too sweet to keep around for cooking. Unless, of course, I found a use for that sweetness.
1 cup plus 1/2 cup sweet kodaishu or other sweet sake (nihonshudo of -15 or below)
2 Japanese peaches or four white peaches, peeled and rougly chopped (save the juice!)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
11 grams pectin
- In an airtight container, macerate peach flesh in 1 cup of sake for at least 24 hours.
- Add sake and peach flesh to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add sugar and vinegar and stir.
- Allow mixture to boil, uncovered, until it forms a very thick, syrupy consistency. Stir often to avoid burning the mixture.
- In a separate saucepan, boil remaining 1/2 cup of sake. Remove from heat and add pectin. Stir well. Sake should become noticeably thicker.
- Once the sake-pectin mixture has cooled and gelled slightly, pour into peach-sake syrup mixture and stir well.
- Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least three hours to cool and set.
You can also can this if you want to preserve that peachy flavor into the winter months. I spread this on toasted walnut bread with warm Hokkaido Camembert. Try it with any nutty bread; my original thought was to use it on a black sesame seed bagel.
第二 Old Rasputin Ice Cream with Old Nick Chocolate Syrup
Imperial stouts and barleywines. Too rich and aggressive for warm weather, right? I certainly don’t think so, but if you do, consider the following sundae recipe for a strong ale experience as rich and robust as it is cool and refreshing.
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
vanilla extract, to taste
200 grams semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup Young’s Old Nick Barley Wine
1/4 cup buckwheat honey
sugar, to taste
- Warm cream and milk together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Do not boil.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved and the yolks have become pale yellow and slightly thicker.
- Temper the beaten yolks by adding small amounts of the hot cream and milk mixture at a time, whisking constantly.
- After adding about 3/4 cup of cream and milk, pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream and milk, add vanilla, and stir well over very low heat until a thick custard forms. It should be about the consistency of chowder.
- Once custard thickens, quickly remove and chill in a pre-refrigerated bowl or an ice bath.
- Pour Old Rasputin into a shallow bowl and whisk firmly to flatten carbonation.
- After the custard has chilled to slightly cooler than room temperature, add flat Old Rasputin and stir well, until mixture is homogeneous.
- Process mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- In a double-boiler or microwave, melt chocolate. Stir in Old Nick, honey, and sugar until mixture is homogenous.
If ice cream is too soft after processing, place in an airtight container and freeze for another hour or so to set. If ice cream becomes too firm to scoop, temper for 10 minutes at room temperature until slightly soft. Serve in pre-chilled bowls and pair with Amaretto and/or espresso. And be careful driving… since those beers are 9% ABV and 8% ABV respectively, this dessert may pack a punch.
第三 Sunset Trail Mix
I conceived this recipe when I was pondering what to bring to Sunset Live, a three-day reggae-oriented music festival held at the beautiful (and unfortunately jellyfish-dense) Keya Beach 芥屋ビーチ outside Fukuoka City. I needed something balanced, with plenty of protein and carbohydrates alike, and I also needed something that would last three days in the Kyushu heat without refrigeration. Also, it had to be something I could eat without preparation. And it had to be good. So here it is, a fairly basic trail mix featuring some homemade granola with a few Japanese quirks. Full of fruit, fat, fiber, and flavor.
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup puffed wheat
about 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
about 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1/3 cup black sugar (substitute brown sugar)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons prune extract (substitute molasses or buckwheat honey)
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon honey
mixed nuts, to taste
chocolate candy, to taste
raisins, to taste
dried tropical fruits, to taste
- Preheat oven to 250º (120º Celsius).
- In a large bowl, combine oats, wheat, sesame seeds, black sugar and coconut.
- In a separate bowl, combine butter, sesame oil, prune extract, and honey.
- Mix both mixtures together until dry ingredients are evenly coated with the wet ingredients.
- Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet, about 2 centimeters deep, and place in oven.
- Bake for half an hour, then drizzle on additional 1 tablespoon honey and stir in.
- Bake for another half hour or until firm and dry, then remove and allow granola cool to room temperature or lower.
Then you just add the rest of ingredients and shake it up in a big bag. (Do I really have to explain trail mix?) The granola is the hardest part of this recipe, and that’s actually shockingly easy. Enjoy! 楽しんでね！