Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"I want you to know my sweet emotion... this is the summer time."

It's definitely heating up here, so I wanted to try a Japanese dish traditional for the summer months, which is cold somen noodles. They cook in only a couple of minutes, and then you run them under water to stop them from getting mushy. I picked up a packet of green ones for the novelty a few weeks ago, but I'd been saving them for this kind of weather. You're supposed to dip them into sauce, but I haven't quite got the hang of using chopsticks to dip something without losing it. So I combined a couple of different recipes and did my own version - somen topped with grated carrot mixed with tuna and a little soy sauce and mirin, and some pineapple pieces.

It's a little psychedelic with all the colors, but sooo delicious! And fast because of the somen, and easy because I didn't have to worry about getting everything done at the same time to be eaten hot. It has exactly that light, clear flavor I'd been missing.

A few problems: (1) I bought the grater today because I want to be able to make things with grated daikon root and maybe even latkes. There was only one type of grater in the store and I wasn't sure it would work because it doesn't have that familiar scoop-shape. Well, it works - too well. It grated up the carrot extremely fine, almost into mush. It works for this recipe, but I'm not sure how it will be with things that need those longish pieces of vegetable. (2) All tuna in Japan (when it's actually tuna and not flaked chicken in the same cans - I learned that katakana quick, let me tell you) comes packed in oil which I find a little gross. I'm used to just draining the water off (for the benefit of whatever lucky pet is on hand) but here I squeeze the life out of it and even rinse it lightly. (3) This would have been perfect if I'd had some fresh cilantro, but I can't find any in the groceries around here : (

Watashi no Jitensha!

Some of the rice fields in the area:

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