Akikosan asked if we would be interested in going to Shichinohe to learn how to make Soba Noodles and Shimekazari. We agreed it would be fun. We always enjoy the Friday Field Trips Akikosan goes on with us. She knew a group which would like to get into Green Tourism. I didn't realize we were their FIRST group....they did great. I hope they continue and are able to work out the details. One thing we discussed is the need for someone who can coordinate with groups of Americans, can speak both Japanese and English....because it would really be overwhelming if Akikosan hadn't been along. ::grin:: This would have made a GREAT PWOC outing...or a spouse Christmas get together...something a bit out of the ordinary.
Michael suggested we go even though he is recovering from surgery. At the last minute we all agreed to leave Zander home. He really wasn't looking forward to the outing and I really wasn't at peace leaving Michael alone. It was a good call for several reasons....not the least being that Zander was throwing up as I walked in the door. ::sigh::
I'm going to write the day up in two or three posts...... Here we go.....Soba Making...Buckwheat Noodles....this was fun!
OH - you should know it was COLD...much snowier up in Shichinohe....I hadn't realized there is a ski area right up there....and the big rooms in Japanese houses are just cold...so we were told to wear old clothes, wear warm layers, aprons and bandannas.
|I wondered what these were for when I walked in|
800 Grams of Buckwheat flour and 200 grams of Wheat flour are mixed......
THEN - using a SPECIFIC motion you mix it with your hands to get out all the lumps.....
500 ml of water is added a CERTAIN WAY (NOT just poured in), and then your hand motions change and you continue to mix, knead until the dough starts to form....
Note - the ladies in the back know what they are doing! WOW - they are professional...the men...not so much. Our Soba was better than theirs. ::snort::
Which you flatten on a floured table...the next step is to pat around the thing - making it bigger....must be patted and not rolled at this point....
Finally the long rolling pins come out. NOW you have to roll it up one end of the table, SLIDE it back towards you, then hit the pin up to the other end of the table again, rotate the pin, unwrap the dough, give it a quarter turn and do it again. We weren't sure WHY we were doing all this - but we followed the steps....
|This was SERIOUS and yes my TONGUE is OUT. LOL|
Eventually the dough stretches to cover (or nearly cover in our case) the long pin....
Nolan was best at "hitting the pin up the table" and so we came up with our own system to stretch this stuff.
Folding....nifty way to roll the dough on the pin as it it's really too thin to move...fold, rotate, fold...
They later told me they were worried about kids using these knives...they are HEFTY and HEAVY and SHARP....I was more worried about ME than them....we earned kudos for our knife handling skills.
|Note Stacia's worried expression|
|Stacia seemed to get more alarmed as her turn drew near|
|She did it|
|Akikosan - a dear friend|
I love Japanese homes. I love the walls of windows and the bright light it lets in, the wide open spaces, the moving walls...but they are often COLD. THIS was VERY welcome....a fire pit in the middle of the main room! I will have a fire pit in my living room in my dream home.
When we arrived we were given Mochi (pounded rice cakes) Sesame paste. YUM.....and now we were served grilled Soba (Buckwheat) Mochi....with some sort of seed paste. They showed me the seeds but no one could come up with the English name. I hope to figure it out before I move.
Wonderful lunch! Top left is onigiri (sweet rice ball) wrapped in a pickled leaf of some sort, a big plate of Soba (our SOBA), the bowl on the right had some picked veggies and evidently crab (it was on my hashi (chopstick) heading to my mouth when Akiko told me not to eat it - I'm allergic), bottom right is pickled Daikon (if we were here another year I'd seriously learn to make this myself - I love this), and bottom left is the Soba Soyu (Soba Sauce). Note the Soyu is covered with a small plate which has chopped onions and wasabi (hot) on it. This was a totally PLANT BASED MEAL....score. I have a policy to eat whatever Akikosan brings, regardless...but I was excited to have a great meal and stay basically on my eating plan.
You add the onions to the soyu, mix a bit of wasabi with your soba noodles, dip your noodles in the soyu and slurp. I find my missionary kid upbringing serves me well here. While the others tried to figure out HOW to eat without making a mess - I OBSERVED. I picked up my bowl and began slurping. Arielle looked slightly alarmed until I pointed out everyone but us was eating it this way. LOL
If you'd like to watch a Soba Chef teach what we did today watch this clip.
Living all of life before the face of God...