Yakimiso (Toasted Miso)
This mixture of buckwheat groats, miso, walnuts and chives is traditionally toasted on a wooden rice paddle and nibbled with chopsticks while sipping sake and waiting for the noodles to cook at soba restaurants. (Here, we broil it on a foil-lined pan for ease.) Serve with crackers or crudités, if desired. For a more Western-style dip, skip the broiling step and stir the mixture into 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt.