|Posted on July 3, 2009 at 2:06 AM|
It's finally feeling like LA summer weather. The patio is turning into an oven. Perfect temperature to dry my laundry in the sun. I have worked out a primitive system for drying clothes. The sheets go on the big limestone table and get stretched like canvas. I hang the shirts on the chairs. Towels on the side table. The wrinkles don't come out and the clothes feel coarse but everything smells incredibly sweeter and cleaner, not to mention, I save energy. The last two summers I spent in Brittany turned me onto drying clothes this old fashion way. I haven't gotten around to putting up a clothesline in my house but that's coming soon. Drying clothes in the sun also brings me back to my childhood in Kamakura. There was a merchant that used to come around to our neighborhood selling bamboo for hanging clothes. They were freshly cut bamboo that was still very green. My grandmother bought new bamboo every year. Then one day, some of the bamboo merchants switched to plastic bamboo. I can still remember the first time I heard them calling out, "blue bamboo, blue bamboo that never fades." The bamboo was cobalt blue. I didn't care for plastic bamboos but I can still hear the man singing.
The sun also helps me decide what to cook. sunny weather calls for cold soba noodles, which brings us into summer. I am going to also make a fresh batch of dipping sauce.
With the steamed chicken I made last night I make a chicken salad. I chop some butter lettuce and scallions to make a bed of green. I slice the chicken and on top/. I get a little carried away and sprinkle way too much cilantro on the chicken. This dish is a failed work of art but the little red mound of pickled ginger (amazu shoga) gives a nice color against the turqoise plate.
COLD SOBA NOODLES WITH DIPPING SAUCE
For this lunch menu, make your life easy by fixing the dipping sauce and steamed chicken the night before so it doesn't become a big cooking project on the day of the lunch. This is one of the easiest Japanese lunch I can think of if you follow what I do. The noodles only take about 5-6 minutes to cook so do this part last minute. If you let cooked noodles sit long, they will go limp and starchy.
soba noodles chilling in ice water
BASIC DASHI DIPPING SAUCE
This is an all purpose basic dipping sauce that I use for dipping Tempura, Soba, Somen noodles. You can use this as a basic recipe and make some adjustments with the seasonings to suit your palate. The sauce is sweetened with Mirin, sweet sake, which unlike sugar has more depth in flavor.
NOTE: To make the sauce a little stronger in flavor, do 1/6 cup of soy sauce and sweet sake each instead of 1/8 cup. Use koikuchi soy sauce for soba.
STEAMED CHICKEN SALAD