First: thank you all for the birthday wishes earlier this week! It was so nice to open my email to all your wonderful notes!
Now, continuing on. This Monday was Children's Day in Japan. We had a celebration at Max's school. I dressed in a kimono that I got from a friend. We brought in a koi nobori that we received from the wonderfully generous Debbie (more on this later), along with irises both real and paper, fusen (origami paper balloons), origami kabuto (Max calls them Viking helmets, I call them samurai helmets), and rice-based treats.
Max has been practicing his origami tecniques for a week and has made about 20 kabutos. We brought in extra paper and he sat down to teach classmates how to fold the kabuto.
The rice treats were yaki onigiri and mochi crackers. The mochi crackers were made from store-bought dry mochi cakes (I used these, the Super Seed variety), sliced into thin little bits and baked at 450 for about 5-10 minutes. They're cracker-like but with an interesting chewy texture.
While these were both good, I had spent the weekend attempting a different snack, mochi (the soft, fresh kind). I tried making it with mochiko (sweet glutinous rice flour), but my mochiko was quite old and I'm not certain it was the right kind. I usually get a certain brand, but I had gone to our local (and now defunct) asian grocery where the woman there assured me that this was the same stuff. After trying it, I'm not convinced. They were inedible and so were tossed. Next I tried making mochi from actual sweet glutinous rice grains, not the flour. I soaked, drained, steamed. The next step is to pound the cooked rice with mallets, but since our mallets are all out for repair, I tried kneading it in the bread machine (something I read online, but I can't find it now). After a long time of waiting and resetting the machine to knead some more, it made a dough that is reminiscent of mochi, but is not really mochi. For the children's day party I finally gave up, but I want to try this again and see if I can get it to work better now that I have more time.