Ugh, summer. I mean, sure, who doesn’t like to go to the beach or eat ice cream on the porch, but not every day can be spent driving for an hour while your kid screams for food (“NACKYYYY!”) so you can go to the beach only to have them say, “No water. NO WATER!” Likewise ice cream probably shouldn’t be an everyday food. You gotta mix that up with icy poles every now and again. Anyway, all but one day this upcoming week is going to be over thirty degrees, and tomorrow is FORTY degrees, and one of the things that always collapses in my family on hot days is the idea of dinner. Who wants to turn on an oven or stand over a pot of boiling water? No one, that’s who, and so when it gets hot we don’t always eat spectacularly well. Pies and salad, maybe, pico di gallo if we’re feeling super lazy. But one of my favourite things to make when it’s hot is my soba noodle salad, adapted from the delicious one I frequently order when we go to the Vegie Bar; mine is not quite as delicately flavoured, but at least I’m much more generous with the cherry tomatoes.
Soba Noodle Salad
dried soba noodles (I get them in a pack that has three handfuls banded separately; I use all three.)
cherry tomatoes (as many as you desire, cut into halves or quarters)
couple of spring onions, mostly the green parts, cut diagonally. or however you like, I’m not the boss of you.
1 avocado, diced
decent handful of snow peas, halved or diced or whatever
1/2 packet of Japanese teriyaki marinated tofu, in 2cm cubes. I mean sure you could marinate your own, but that’s not how we roll in this house.
tbsp-ish of sesame seeds, toasted in your frypan
A few splashes of soy sauce
A couple shakes of sesame oil
Basically, you boil the soba noodles – it only takes about four minutes – then rinse them under cold water. Throw everything else in and shake over the sauce and oil. It’s cold, it’s amazing, I would eat it every day if I could. It doesn’t last spectacularly well overnight, but it’s pretty straightforward to cook again the next day if, perhaps, you want it again. Which I do.
Another good thing about this dish is that it’s easy, when deconstructed, to give to the Rocket. I slice the snow peas into long strips (sometimes she eats them, mostly not though), quarter the tomatoes, dice up the tofu, add some avocado, and pile on some noodles. She loves it. We love it. Everyone loves it! I even had a request to bring it to a Lunar New Year potluck, though I had forgotten to adapt it for those guests who couldn’t eat avocado. But secretly, you know, more for me.
What other good hot-day foods do you like? Pre-veg we always had zaru soba, where you have a big heap of soba noodles and you dunk them in your bowl of zaru soba sauce along with a swish of wasabi and some spring onions. It was heaven, but we have yet to make our own vegetarian sauce (we used to buy it from our friendly neighbourhood Asian grocery, though haven’t found a pre-made brand without fish in it), though I’ve seen recipes online. When we were in Japan in summer we ordered it everywhere, and I miss it. Here is a picture of zaru soba to break up this post, because I never take pictures of food. Also, in my salad above, the avocado inevitably goes mushy when tossed and makes everything look a little unsexy.