Some nights you just need a little detox, a light dinner to take the edge off days-in-a-row of too much rich food, or a little too much imbibing. OJ calls that meal, “Japanese Dinner.” It’s clean — simply cubed tofu topped with green onions and drizzled with soy sauce, served with rice and quick pickled cucumbers.
Is it Japanese? Yes, but it’s probably Korean and Chinese, too. It took David Chang to tell me, “Hey, why don’t you make that with noodles instead of rice? And add some ginger, too.” And Japanese Dinner, Momofuku style was born.
It’s perfect for a personal detox or just on a damn hot day. I know there have to be a few of those ahead of us this summer. On the noodles, some soba has a horrifying amount of sodium. I use Hakubaku brand, which is made in Australia, but is available locally in Seattle at both PCC and Uwajimaya. I’ve never seen their ramen here, which, I love you guys, but “Japan-easy.” Really?!!
The usukuchi (light soy sauce) you can do without, low-sodium shoyu works as well and no HFCS.
Japanese Dinner, Momofuku Style
1 package firm (or extra firm) tofu, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
1 270 g. package buckwheat soba noodles (3 bundles)
1 batch Momofuku ginger scallion sauce
A sprinkle or two of roasted sesame seeds (white or black goma, whatever you’ve got) to taste
Extra shoyu to taste
Make the ginger scallion sauce and let sit for 20 minutes.
Boil noodles according to package directions and rinse under cold water. Set aside. Lightly toss together the tofu, careful not to break it up much, noodles and ginger-scallion sauce. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and serve.
You’ve heard of the Donut Man in Glendora, California right? If not, let me introduce you, because what they do there, you need to know about it. The Donut Man is famous for their fresh strawberry donuts — that’s right, they take a glazed donut, slice it in half and sandwich in an enormous portion of fresh strawberries (or peaches, later in the summer) in goo. It’s ridiculously deliciously goo-d. Today, I was thinking about those doughnuts and meant to stop by Top Pot on the way home for a couple of glazed and then I promptly forgot. Instead, I came up with these baked strawberry shortcake doughnuts (or in this case: short, cake doughnuts). Doesn’t it look like one of those spongy dessert cups they sell right next to the strawberries in the produce department?
Escarole is one of those greens you don’t give much thought to until it turns up at the farmers market or in your CSA box. We’re so used to the dark leafy greens — kale, chard, collards, mustard greens — I couldn’t tell you when I last had escarole. And then it showed up in our CSA box last week — in June! Related to endive, the season usually runs December through April-ish, and with its broader leafy leaves and just a hint of bitterness, it’s perfect for a simple salad with red wine vinaigrette.
Snap Pea Soup just before Fourth of July weekend? I know, but don’t you feel like that’s how everything seems to be this year? Just a little behind. There were such beautiful sugar snaps at the farmers market, I’d figured on doing a little salad, simply blanching them and dressing them with a little bit of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. But then this Mark Bittman recipe popped up, equally simple, if not more so.
Right about now, we’re all waiting for the English peas to come in. What’s pasta primavera without fresh English peas? For the last couple of weeks tho, sugar snaps have been holding down the fort. I wasn’t even sure if I really liked sugar snap peas when I picked up a batch last weekend at farmers market. You remember last weekend — the torrential downpour that hit right about 9:30 a.m? Yeah, that’s when I discovered I *didn’t* have my umbrella in the car.
Anyway, sugar snaps. Ina Garten’s recipe doesn’t even blanch them. But I say you gotta. We had “Japanese dinner” last Sunday — tofu w/ shoyu and green onions, rice, sugar snap peas and sauteed Shanghai Bok Choy.
Boil ‘em for 2-3 minutes, drop them into an ice bath and then dress them w/ a mixture of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Go heavier on the vinegar. And then sprinkle w/ roasted sesame seeds. They were better at room temperature the next day with an extra dousing of vinegar.
Do I really like sugar snaps? They’re ok — made me feel like I was having a healthy snack before lunch. I’m still waiting for the English peas to come in.