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Umeboshi Pickling Workshop

Posted on May 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)



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Japanese Umeboshi (Salted Plum) Pickles

 

This is one of the classic pickles of Japan made from a type of green sour apricots (ume). My memories of growing up in Kamakura centers around making umebosh (salted plums)i and umeshu (plum wine) with my grandmother every June. Umeboshi is regarded as a medicinal food to aid digestion. There is an old Japanese say that an umeboshi a day, keeps the doctors away!


Umeboshi makes a delicious filling in rice balls. It is also used to season meats and vegetables. You can have it with green tea. I will show you how. This is a hands on class. I will show you umeboshi in different stages of pickling, what to do with the plum vinegar and how to dry them in the sun. You will take home the salted pickles to complete the fermentation at home.  The plums will take about 3 months to pickle.  Sorry for the last minute notice but the ume season came a month earlier and will end soon.  


Fee: $100 includes a picklling container with lid and ume plums. (The cost of ume is very high at 40 to 50 cents per ume) so I had to allow for ingredients cost.


Tasting menu:  Grilled Onigiri with Umeboshi, Edamame, Hijiki, Cucumber salad with Ume dressing. Panfried Pork with Ume shiso sauce.  

Place: Highland Park

To register contact:  sonokosakai@gmail.com  tel 310-600-4263

 

Space is limited so hurry!

Bento Box/Soba Workshops - Two On May 21

Posted on May 10, 2015 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)
I will be back at Gourmandise Cooking School to teach a class in Bento Box making and Hands on Soba Noodles.  If you like to take both workshop, you can do them back to back and hang out with me in the kitchen all day. It will be fun!
 https://www.cookingschoolsofamerica.com/thegourmandiseschool/index.php?page=classes#2273" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Here is the link to register.












Soba Workshop May 23

Posted on May 8, 2015 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I am going to be selling soba-to-go at Arroyo General in Highland Park starting in late May.  Visit their website for the exact date.  I will also be teaching a soba workshop on May 23. Please register through  http://www.arroyogeneral.com/classesworkshops/  


Soba in the making


Japanese Pickle Workshop: Koji and Nuka

Posted on May 8, 2015 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I am very happy to work with Arroyo General, a beautiful shop in Highland Park.  They are promoting my upcoming classes, so be sure to check this link for details about my Pickle class and Soba class in May.

Quick Radish Pickled Onigiri


Hakusai Pickles in the making






Kimchi Workshop April 25 10 am -1pm

Posted on April 6, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)


This is the first Asian pickling class I will be offering.  My friend Sonya Chun has been treating me to her mother's delicious kimchi for sometime, so one day, I asked her if I can learn how to make that kimchi. She said, of course, let's do a workshop.  That conversation took place last year. I have made kimchi on my own but you really need to work with someone who grew up with it, to understand the depth of flavors.  My research and trial workshop with Sonya started wth a trip to the Korean market and going through the produce section and spice section - you get a whole new perspective on what these ingredients mean to Korean people.  Fascinating. We spent the entire rest of the afternoon and evening making kimchi. It's quite laborious but well worth the trouble. Even the lightly pickled kimchi tastes delicious. Wait till the fermented ones. In our Kimchi workshop, we will try to give you as much information as possible, so you can incorporate what I learned from Sonya.



Class description:

KImchi & Beyond... If you love Korean food but have been timid about cooking it at home, the best place to start is by learning how to make kimchi. Kimchi is rich in vitamins and minerals and fiber. This “soul food” of Korea often appears on “super food” lists. There are over 200 different kinds of kimchi. Sonya Chun, Sonya's mother, and Sonoko Sakai will guide you through three types of kimchi including the classic whole cabbage kimchi, delicious citrus “water” kimchi, and a fresh seasoned kimchi. You will learn to prep, taste, and understand the fermentation time. Your class will be followed by a delicious lunch of Pa-Joen (Korean Chive Pancake with shrimp & pork),Citrus “Water” Kimchi, Nyeng Myun (Cold Korean Buck Wheat Noodle Soup), Freshly Seasoned Kimchi, & Classic Napa Cabbage Kimchi. Dessert of Homemade dried Persimmon, in a ginger and Cinnamon soup. April 25 from 10 -2 pm. $95. You will take home the classic Cabbage Kimchi to complete the fermentation.  To register E mail sonokosakai@gmail.com

Soba Workshop April 18, 2015

Posted on April 3, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The April soba workshop will feature "fresh bamboo" from Penryn Farms.  I have been buying bamboo from farmer Jeff Reiger for three years in a row.  He knows to alert me when the shoots are coming up. Where else in America does that happen?  I feel so lucky and his bamboo shoots are absolutely delicious. If you want to join me on April 18, please e mail me at sonokosakai@gmail.com.


Tehachapi Lilacs

Posted on April 3, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The lilacs are in full bloom.


JCCNC Rice Workshop March 21, 2015

Posted on March 12, 2015 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

I am heading to the Bay Area to teach a class on rice, one of my favorite topics. At this workshop, I will be featuring rice in all forms: Fresh and Fermented, Sweet and Savory. Come join me at JCCNC. This place has become my community away from Los Angeles.



 

 

Menu

Seasoned rice dish with sukiyaki beef, shirataki and pickled ginger

Chirashi Sushi with Seasfood, sesame and shiso

Miso Soup with Fava, tofu and herbs

Fermented Nuka pickles from scratch

Shitarama with Adzuki bean paaste

wuith Okinawa brown sugar syrup


 

 

 

For more information visit http://bit.ly/cookingwithsonoko

 

Fee: $100

 

You will take home Nuka for your pickles

 

Jcccnc 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco Tel 415-567-5505



 

 

 

Gluten Free Soba Noodles Workshop - March 14, 2015

Posted on March 8, 2015 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)
Soba Workshop in Highland Park on March 14, 2015
Hours: 11-2pm

I just received 100 lbs of stone-milled buckwheat from Japan.
Will be offering a hands-on experience making noodles.
We will do tastings of three types of noodles - zarusoba classic, soba with walnut sauce and duck soba in a hot broth.
Some homemade koji pickles and Shiratama rice desert will be part of the tasting menu.  Fee: $95
To register, please contact sonokosakai@gmail.com

 

Onigiri Workshop for Children

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Join me for a hands on Childrens Onigiri Workshop in Highland Park on February 28 from 11-2pm. $25 to participate.

For details, contact me at sonokosakai@gmail.com.  

SHED Rice Workshop, featuring Onigiri

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)




 

Workshop from 11am - 2pm on 2/6 $95

 

In the United States rice is often served as a side dish, but in Japan, rice is the centerpiece of a satisfying meal. Rice is nourishing, delicious, versatile and gluten-free. Join Sonoko Sakai, Japanese food writer and teacher, and Robin Koda, proprietor of Koda Farms, the oldest rice farm in California, as they share their knowledge and passion for rice.

Sonoko will teach a variety of classic and modern Japanese rice dishes using brown, white rice, mixed grains, and legumes while Robin will share her expertise on growing and cooking rice. Participants will learn how to make plain and sushi-style Onigiri rice balls, winter soup with Kabocha and scallion miso and Nuka pickles. For dessert students will make shiratama mochi balls with sweet azuki bean paste. After the hands-on lesson, we will sit down for a communal meal of all the things we’ve learned to prepare.

 

Students will take home Nuka base and complete the fermentation at home. Please bring a cutting board, kitchen knife, a plastic or glass container (3 cup size) with a lid, and an apron.

 

Sonoko Sakai is the founder of Common Grains, a project dedicated to providing a deeper understanding and appreciation for Japanese food and culture. She is currently working on a rice themed cookbook titled Ricecraft (to be published by Chronicle Books in Spring 2015).

 

Robin Koda is a third generation Japanese-Californian rice grower who, along with her brother, farms, mills, and packages heirloom rice on their homestead in the San Joaquin Valley. Koda Farms is the oldest family owned and operated rice farm and mill in California. It was Robin’s love of the cycles of rice cultivation that brought her back to the ranch after earning an MFA from the School of the Chicago Art Institute.

 

All workshop participants will receive 10% off in SHED’s retail store and cafe the day of the workshop, perfect for stocking up on cooking supplies to make Japanese food at home.

 



Common Grains - Grain Growing Project

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (1)





A wonderful story in the Los Angeles Times about our grain growing project.  It was no small effort - that was for sure..  But I am happy we have come this far.  We still have a ways to go before we see local flour but
we are almost there. Maybe this fall!  Here is the link to the full story. 


2015 Soba Workshop - Gourmandise Cooking School

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (1)





Happy New Year!  I defitely feel like I am off to a fresh start.  My resolution of 2015 is to keep the blog current,, fun and informative.  For fun, there will be two soba workshops in January at Gourmandise Cooking School in Santa Monica.  Both classes are three hours long, and totally hands on.  Let's get our hands in flour and make noodles.  
To register, please go to the Gourmandise Website (https://www.cookingschoolsofamerica.com/thegourmandiseschool/index.php?page=classes#1975" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Here is the link).  

Grilled Ongiri - A perfect July 4 weekend BBQ treat

Posted on June 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Here is the story which appeared on Zester Daily about my favorite snack food: Yakionigiri. 

Koda Farms Kokuho Rose Brown Rice Onigiri

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (1)


I opened a box of Koda Farms Kokuho Rose brown rice. It's an organic heriloom varietal grown in Northern Caliornia near Merced by the Koda farmily. I love their brown rice.  I soaked the rice overnight and cooked it in a rice cooker on the brown rice setting.  It came out fluffy and sticky   - an important factor when making onigiris.  I made two onigiris - one coated with white sesame seeds and the other with Aonori flakes.  The only seasoning is salt.  This could have made a satisfying lunch but since i had some fermented soy beans (Natto) in the fridge, I decided to put it on top of my Aonori onigiris.  Natto plain tastes plain and slightly cheesy. Add a little soy, and the flavor becomes  milder, even sweeter.  These onigiris were my lunch and dinner.

I love rice with Natto so much that i can easily say that this could be my last meal.  Some may find Natto horribly slimy and stinky but you can imagine how Asians felt when they encountered cheese.  It's all a matter of getting used to it and acquiring a taste for something fermented. Natto does your body good. It aids in digestion and it's full of minerals and fiber, and low in calories.  The combination of natto and brown rice makes a perfectly balanced meal.


Killer Onigiris

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)





I've been eating Tartine bread non-stop for breakfast, lunch and supper but after two days, I felt like eating rice for lunch.   Onigiri came to mind, but of course, I wanted to celebrate RICE CRAFT - the ongiiri book I am going to write for Chronicle Books. One of the reaasons why I was in SF was to close the deal, and closed it is!  It's a good feeling. The book will be published in Spring 2016. A long ways to go but I have to get to work because some of the manuscript is due in September. I will make killer onigiris.  
 


Gluten Free Soba Workshop

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)



I have a dedicated soba room in our house - our second bedroom.  But for this gluten free soba workshop, I wanted to do it in a larger space, so I moved the workshop to the living room and dining room.   I asked Sakai to make me a second large table to accomodate the number students that signed up for this class.  The arrangement worked really well.  We had good light, plenty of space, and we got to stay together as a group.  This was a gluten free class but it turns out that everyone was gluten tolerant and most of them just wanted to make 100% buckwheat noodles.  I used fava beans soy sauce to make the dipping sauce.  It tasted fine.  We tasted two sobas:  the classic zaru soba and a leek and mushroom soba in a hot broth. I made koji pickles with market carrots, radishes and cucumbers, an egg omelete and for dessert, an plum and apricot agar jelly with tanba black beans.  Everyone enjoyed the workshop.
By 7pm, I was out of the house, driving to Tehachapi.  



Restoring Ancient Grains to California

Posted on May 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is a story I wrote for Zester Daily on Caliofrnia farmers efforts to grow Landrace grains. (Go to link)

Pet wisdom on how to stay cool

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)


How to stay cool:  
1. Take it easy.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Use your master's buckwheat cover crop to cool off.


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