We’ve added a more descriptive title to this post… the old title: Where were you during the East Coast Earthquake?
Sorry, is that old news already? Maybe even asking about the hurricane would be a little “last weekend”…
In any case, we were in Portland visiting Z’s family (sister and brother-in-law, their two daughters, his parents, and his grandparents) when the East Coast shook.
With the exception of the thunderstorm that delayed our flight to Portland by 5 1/2 hours, our trip was disaster free. We spent our fun, but too-short-time there playing “find the dog” after his six-year-old niece hid her stuffed “Gabriela”, tensely stressing over some extreme Jenga games, leisurely taking walks with the grandparents, rocking out at one of Z’s dad’s concert, betting (and paying with push-ups) at poker with Z’s sister and brother in law, going with the whole family to play mini-golf, catching up with one of Z’s oldest and best friends (Better than Bouillon friend) over drinks at a Prohbition-style bar, and of course, eating delicious meals.
Our favorite dishes from the trip were made by Z’s mom. There were no leftovers, but we brought home recipes. We have already tried making them ourselves since our return and wanted to share them with you all. We promise you will enjoy them.
(Made by Val and adapted from Dr. Ben Kim)
(Serves an army as a side dish)
18 mini-cucumbers (the kind you would make into dill pickles)
1 tbsp and 1 tsp sea salt
1 small yellow onion
2 tbsp crushed or fine red pepper (supposedly best if you use ko choo kah roo, but we didn’t and it was still delicious)
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 heaping tsp garlic
Start by chopping the cucumbers into rounds and then halves. Then chop the onions. Put the cucumbers and onions in a bowl, add the sea salt, and mix. Let this sit while you prep the other ingredients.
Put the vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Slice the white and light green parts of the scallions into thin rounds.
Press the garlic into the bowl, add the scallions and the fine red pepper. This is going to make a small amount of paste, but it is potent, and definitely enough.
Thoroughly incorporate into the cucumber mix and let the whole thing sit for an hour or two.
Now turn your attention to Val’s Somen Salad.
Val’s Somen Salad
(Serves 4-6 as an entree)
For the noodles
1 lb Somen
3 eggs (with 1/2 tsp tamari and an 1/8 tsp sugar)
For the dressing
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
Start by boiling the noodles. The directions on the package usually say 2 minutes, but be very careful when you watch them. They overcook in an instant. We timed it and boiled them for about 1 min and 50 seconds and thought they were perfect. Drain and cool.
Next do the eggs. Crack three eggs into a bowl, add the tamari and the sugar. (Side note: both recipes call for shoyu, but Z prefers tamari, so we swapped.) Once you have added all the ingredients to the eggs whisk into a fury. Heat some sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then pour the eggs into the pan. You want them to cook omelette style so that they make a thin, flat sheet. It’s ok to let them brown a little.
When the eggs are cooked, remove from the pan and let them cool. Slice them into thin strips, 1/4 in wide and 1 1/2 in long.
Now cut the white and light green parts of the scallions into thin rounds. Mix the scallions, noodles and eggs together once all the hot ingredients are cool.
Next prepare the dressing. Toast the sesame seeds first so they have time to cool. We toasted them using sesame oil. Is that cruel? Like boiling a chicken in chicken broth? Hmm.
Toast the sesame seeds so that they get good and brown. Remove from the heat before they burn!
Add all of the other ingredients together (sugar, salt, olive oil, vinegar, and tamari). Add the sesame seeds once they are cool. Pour over the Somen, and mix thoroughly.
Put everything together for a tasty meal. We also made some tofu, seen below, that we will post about later.
If you make this amount for two (as we did), then you’ll likely have leftovers — which we hope will be a good thing. But if you don’t like it, invite us over and we’ll gladly finish the job.