Keiko and Taku Tsukamoto, the owners of Tortoise in Venice, and their staff have been very supportive of my cooking workshops, which began nearly two years ago. I used to do them out of my house in Santa Monica but now I do many at Tortoise' new adjunct gallery/workshop. It' a beautiful space.
Gathered here are the Tortoise staff and their families, some who were visiting from Japan. We decided to make soba on Labor Day. The store was closed so we had the use of the whole space.
Soba is meditative. It's also physical. I call it soba yoga.
Thomas is my workshop assistant. He looks great with the tenugui wrapped around his head. He loves food. He brought homemade pickles. They were very good.
It's hard to believe that nobody had made soba before. Look at Tomoko's knife skills. People make udon noodles by hand but there is a myth that soba is difficult. They learned that it's not the case.
The ingredients for making soba are just flour and water. Nothing more. You have to pay attention to the humidity factor, and how much water to add. Too much or too little is not good.
The other trick is to make it quickly and combine the water and flour evenly. If you take your time, the dough will dry out, and the noodles will fall apart.
Everyone's soba came out nicely, in all shapes and sizes. Maybe a little on the thicker side, which means, they will take aboutr 4-5 minutes to cook. We tasted them all.
Shuko, Sachi and Sumi washing the bowls. This can be an image of a modern day woodblock print.
The head scarfs - tenugui are quite colorfu and attractive.
Tomoko's husband is trying the professional soba knife. No sweat.
Sachi wears her mother's embroidered apron. Her mother wants her to wear more girly clothes but she prefers the funky chick look.
Someone's soba. Looks pretty good.
We did a pot luck. I made kinpira gobo. Shuko made eggplant with white paste. Sachi made a plate of crudite with miso dip. Sumi's mother made sushi. I also made hot duck soba. It was all very good. The best part was that we got to know each other better.