A chilled reprieve: Zaru Soba

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It’s been a hot week. Sticky hot. The kind of hot where a walk down the block leaves your skin glistening, heart working a little overtime, and feet feeling a couple beats heavier. But it’s also been the last week of August and where we are, that may signal (possibly) the last of our summer. I really hope not. Some may call it denial, I like thinking of it as a hopeful optimism. So in anticipation of a little more summer spilling over into the September we kick off today, I’m posting on Zaru Soba: chilled buckwheat noodles. The perfect meal to satiate the lesser appetite that often comes with a stifling heat that also offers a little reprieve. Best part, it’s very fast and easy to make.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 200 to 250g of dried soba noodles (1/2 of a larger 500g package)
  • 1/2 cup of mentsuyu (you can purchase this in a ready-made bottle, or make your own homemade version – I’ll be posting the recipe up tomorrow.)
  • 1/3 cup of seaweed, shredded (about one sheet of nori sliced up)
  • 1-2 green onions, finely chopped (also called scallions)
  • wasabi
  • 2 teaspoons of white or black sesame seeds (optional)

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Arugula + summer fruit salad

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The first days of summer always seem to smell the sweetest. The sun burns a little brighter and no one seems to notice. But even the best seasons have their off-days and summer is no exception. You know the ones – where the air is thick, thunderstorms are in the air, and so hot that you would hide away in the fridge if you could.

For those hard dog days of summer where lifting a finger threatens to bring on another shower, this salad is a quick chop and toss (thankfully mostly toss!) away to remind you of summer’s best. If you’re in a pinch, add 3 tablespoons of rhubarb compote to dress your salad and forget the oil. After all, it’s summer and you make the rules.

  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup pea tendrils (optional)
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 cup Rainier cherries
  • 2 sprigs mint, julienned
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Gently toss together the ingredients and dress at the last minute. Serves 2-4.

If you could taste summer, it’d taste like this

On our way out to a local lavender festival a few weeks ago, my hubby-to-be, his momma, and I stopped for a picnic in the park. The highlight: her famous strawberry pie. It’s always been a favorite for his family, and now I can say that it’s definitely one of mine too. In a phrase, if you were to personify “summer” in a dish – this would be it. Fresh, sweet, slightly tart, and incredibly simple – this homemade strawberry pie is summer on a plate, and to die for.

Here’s my version of her incredible pie.

Ingredients:

Shortbread pie crust (prepared in advance):

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 150g of cold butter, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of iced water

Filling:

  • 6-8 cups (1.5-2 quarts) of fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1.5 cups of whipping cream

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Cool summer desserts for a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon

Photo credit: © Vivian Chan

(Originally posted on reKalibrate.com)

It’s the last day of the Canada Day long weekend. The weather’s been hot, humid, and beautifully sunny. It’s the perfect kind of weather that inspires cool, light desserts to go with that fruity beverage on a patio.

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