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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

If in Zürich, take a cooking class with Sherly!

It's a cold and rainy day in Interlaken. Fog lifting from the among the trees on the mountainsides. We are lucky to be taking a cooking class in Zürich, however.

It was only sprinkling as we walked to the Interlaken West train station. Took the train to Bern. Switched trains in Bern to one that would take us to the Zürich main train station. We then switched to a regional train to take us to the Wollishofen stop. We walked three football fields, and we were at Sherly's Kitchen.

Bus and train rides are always amusing. Last night when we were coming back from Zermatt, I suggested we take the bus back to Interlaken West instead of waiting for the train (can you say the German train that is always late) which was 5 minutes late. This time we went through Leissingen and Därlingen. The driver was a young man who wasn't as daring or aggressive as the other drivers we have had. All bus rides are like a Disney amusement park ride. This one was one for children instead of the fast hold on turns we have previously experienced.

Both the train to and from Bern were full today. First class usually isn't as crowded as second class cars. Amazing how people can't figure out if they are in first or second. It isn't rocket science to figure out you are in first or second class by looking at the headrest number. Duh!! Most times, the conductor will tell someone who has a second ticket to move from first. Yesterday, the conductor wasn't either in the mood or she was a rule follower as she fined the guy sitting close to us. Also, he had to pay the difference between the second and first class fare.

Today, Michael and I sat in the quiet zone car to Bern. People who sit there want it quiet to read, sleep, etc. Some people sat down and starting talking loudly. They got the idea they were in the wrong car, when people pointed to the silent sign.

When trains are crowded, it is difficult to find a place for your luggage. An announcement had to be made saying not to place luggage on empty seats as the train was crowded and people couldn't find a seat.

The best ones, though, was a group who left their luggage right by the exit door so no one could exit the train. Then, the person who was next to the exit door couldn't figure out what button to push to open the door once the train stopped. When you have tight connections, it can cause you stress.

What would people do without their phones? A large percentage of people on the trains are using their phones to talk, read, play games, etc. During the week, I see people doing work on their laptops. Older people still read newspapers but in a generation, print papers will be a thing of the past.

On to the fun part of the day.

We have taken Swiss and Asian classes from Sherly over the years. She is also a cheese sommelier. Yes, there is such a thing. We have taken the cheese class from her, too . That was quite an interesting class where we learned about types of cheese, plating, types of knives to be used with different types of cheese, etc.

What a wonderful surprise to see our picture on the wall!!!

This was taken during the bulgogi class. We make this recipe quite often at home as well as many others we learned.

Today we took the Teriyaki Udon Noodle class. The eight of us made Japanese Udon Noodles and Teriyaki Sauce from scratch. We also learned to stir-fry in a wok like a pro!

Sherly always teaches a little history and culture along with the cooking, too. We discussed which Asian countries grow wheat. China, which is shaped like Mickey Mouse, grows it in the north while in the southern part rice is predominant.

First we made the dough for the udon noodles.

The recipe for 2 people

260 grams flour (all purpose)

1 teaspoon salt

130 grams water plus (depending on humidity)

Mix it all together. You may need to add a little more water to get all the flour incorporated.

Now it is time to knead the dough. Use the palm of the hand. Stretch the dough, fold over, turn, and repeat. You knead for at least five to seven minutes until it is soft and smooth. It should feel "soft like your earlobe". While we were kneading our dough, we passed the time by introducing ourselves. Such a fun group!

She told how Japanese men used to use their feet to knead and stretch out the dough. She told us a funny story of her trying it once during one of her classes and how people were not very accepting of the “feet method”.

Put it in a plastic bag with it unsealed and walk around.

Once the dough is soft, you make it into a ball, pinch the bottom together, cover it with plastic and let it rest for at least an hour.

Because of the length of the class today, we only let it rest for a half hour.

Next, we made the teriyaki sauce. It is so, so, so simple to make. There is no need to ever buy store bought teriyaki sauce again. What a wonderful taste!!

We also learned a little bit of history about teriyaki.

Teri means sauce and yaki means for the grill. So teriyaki is sauce for the grill.

Poor Japanese farmers working in the sugar cane and pineapple fields in Hawaii after WWII, wanted to make a sauce so they used local ingredients of sugar from sugar cane and pineapple juice.

Teriyaki Sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons sake (or white wine)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons (mushroom) water She soaked sliced dried shiitake mushrooms (not fresh ones) in water overnight.

Piece of ginger sliced (optional) Use the ginger as it gives it a wonderful taste.

Put all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat immediately and let cool. If you want a thicker sauce, use corn starch or rice starch as a thickener.

The vegetables for the stir-fry should be colorful and thinly sliced. Today, we had Chinese cabbage, green and red peppers, green onion, and thinly sliced carrots. When cooking, the vegetables should be crunchy to the taste (al dente). No soggy mushy vegetables.

Put the rehydrated mushrooms in with the vegetables

We took a 5 minute break while Sherly set up the kitchen with the woks.

We took the ginger out. It is used as an aromatic.

Sherly cubed chicken breasts and thighs. Asians would only use thighs because they think white meat is too dry.

Two tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken to marinate.

The small bowl in front is cornstarch. You could use potato starch, too.

The vegetables will be seasoned when they are put in the wok. The meat will be seasoned when it is cooked separately.

Making the udon noodles

Put a little cornstarch on the table and the rolling pin.

Roll out in a circle until 2 to 3 mm in thickness.

Cover both sides of the dough completely in cornstarch so the dough doesn't stick.

Then, you fold it like a letter to be put in an envelope.

Cut thinly 2 to 3 mm. Thin cuts and not thick cuts After you finish cutting, open them all at once and not individually. You don't want them to stick or dry out.

The water should be boiling before putting in the noodles. Do not add salt to the water! Cook for 12 minutes. Taste to see if additional time needed.

The noodles should rise to the top of the pot.

Remember hot wok and cold oil

Be very generous with the oil in the wok. Pour around the top of the wok and let it drizzle down. Hot wok - cold oil You are listening for that sizzle sound when you cook . Don't let the bottom of the pan go dry. Either add more oil or the mushroom water.

Drain the noodles. Rinse with cold water.

Add canola oil (or sunflower oil) to the noodles to keep them from sticking.

The wok cooking lesson on what to do.

Michael stirred and I seasoned and added more oil and mushroom water.

Woked food must be cooked at a very high temperature. When it gets too hot, turn it down to medium and as it cools, turn it back to high. You don't want the food to burn in the pan, so you have to juggle the heat between medium and high.

Delicious!!!! Yummy!!!! Michael and I definitely will be making this meal again and again.

This was such a fun class!! Delicious food, fun group of people taking the class, and interesting conversations!!!

So, if you are in Zürich and are looking for a cooking class, definitely check out Sherly's Kitchen!

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