Around the world in 12 dishes – Off to Japan

by Jen on July 7, 2012 in around the world in 12 dishes,craft,diy cherry blossom branch,green tea shortbread cookie,Haiku poetry,recipe

green tea shortbread cookies

The flight was delayed by a week, but we have finally landed in Japan. The girls are still chatting about last month’s trip to India and those super fun spice paintings. If you aren’t familiar with Around the World in 12 Dishes this is an amazing collection of bloggers who are cooking our way around the world with our kids. We’re exploring the food, arts and crafts of 12 different countries and cultures. This month we explored Japan.

Our first stop on our journey was at the library, where we found some great books about Japan. We read the books “Japanese Children’s Favourite Stories” and “Kids Around the World: We Live in Japan.” I asked my girls to take a look through the books and decide what they would like to do. My eldest daughter, Ehm, is always writing stories so when we discovered Haiku poetry I knew we had found her link to Japan. Haiku poems have some unique characteristics. A Haiku poem has only three lines; the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables and the third line has 5 syllables.  This is her series of Haiku poems.

Summer

You go to the beach
warmness is everywhere
happy face on you.
You sit by a tree
then you eat plums, yummy plums
then you fall asleep.
The next morning you rise
eat your cereal and milk
then walk to the park.
Now, I might be a little biased, but I think these poems are lovely. She really is a beautiful writer. Not to be outdone, my younger daughter, Cee, created a cherry blossom branch. She started by finding a twig in our yard and then simply cut out the cherry blossom petals from pink tissue paper. Using white glue, she stuck the petals to the branch. Cherry blossoms are a popular tree in Japan and they are the inspiration for many festivals in the springtime.
cherry blossom diy
child making cherry blossom branch
child made cherry blossom
So, what would our dish be? It has been so hot this month, so we had to really think about what we wanted to make. I have been drinking a lot of green tea iced tea, which got us thinking about how popular green tea is in Japan. Why not bake up some green tea shortbread cookies! We found the recipe over at Martha Stewart. Instead of using matcha, which is ground green tea leaves, we opted to grind up some of our own green tea. This isn’t exactly authentic…but it sure was a fun activity for Ehm to use the mortar and pestle. 
child grinding green tea

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

(adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp ground green tea leaves (or matcha)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1. Whisk flour, ground green tea leaves and salt in a small bowl.
2. Whip butter in a large bowl, until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add sugar to the butter and mix until combined.
4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat together until dough forms.
5. Roll dough on parchment paper, dust with icing sugar if dough becomes sticky.
6. Place dough on parchment paper into the fridge for about 30 minutes, until firm.
7. Use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut dough.
8. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet, in a 325F oven for 15-20 minutes…until they begin to turn golden.
Once again our adventures discovering a new culture and country were fun and educational! We ate some delicious food and created some unique art and poetry. The girls cannot wait to see where we are off to next. Have you ever been to Japan? 
So, the question is what has everyone else been inspired to do? Please, take a look at the other entries in the link-up or visit the other blogs that are participating. If you are a blogger and you have a post related to Japan, feel free to link up below. Stop by our Facebook page and share your stories there too! We love hearing from you!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ticia July 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Looks like your cookies turned out better than mine :)

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Valerie @ Glittering Muffins July 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Very cool Haiku! I would’ve love to see the tree finished, looks like it would be awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

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Missa July 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I love your daughter’s haikus! They’re my favorite form of poetry and so accessible for all ages.

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