Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer has come

I can't believe it is summer already. Summer started with my parent's visit and I didn't really have a moment to realize the fact spring is over. I took them to lots of places and that let me discover many things. How beautiful scenery is around here. How peaceful trees make me feel. The size of the sky and shapes of the clouds etc....

I don't have a green thumb. I call myself a "plant killer". But I am enjoying having a little garden and I got ambitious this year so I started growing Shiso which is basil like Japanese herb. When I was living in Japan 20 years ago, it was almost impossible to find fresh basil in even in Tokyo. Cooking books usually suggested to use shiso instead. Yet it is a lot different from basil. I associate the taste of shiso with traditional Japanese dishes so I am not a good candidate to describe the taste. However, shiso is nice with non-Japanese dishes, too. I particularly like to cook it with butter

It started to grow nice leaves, so I decided to make cold noodle with shiso for lunch.

1 Cup of water
1 1/2 Table spoon of Sugar
3 Table spoon of Soy sauce
1/2 Tea spoon of Salt
Crashed garlic
1 Table spoon of Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 table spoon of Rice wine vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

1 Japanese Eggplant
10 Cherry tomatoes
1 Scallion
3 Leaves of red shiso
3 Leaves of green shiso

5oz. of Somen Noodle

< 1 > Put water and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to boil, then take it out of heat. Put rest of the ingredients for the sauce and mix. Let it cool.
< 2 > Slice an eggplant and cook it in small amount of oil.
< 3 > Slice cherry tomatoes and scallion.
< 4 > Roll shiso leaves together and chop them to skinny strings.
< 5 > Boil Somen. Somen is very thin wheat noodle. Be careful not to over boil it. After it's boiled, run cold water until it's cool.
< 6 > Mix the vegetable and sauce with the noodle and serve.

Somen is very thin and white noodle. It can be found in Asian stores. I use Korean version of it and it tastes very good. Sometimes I saw "Soba" on a menu of Asian restaurant and I was served Somen. Soba is buckwheat noodle. Thin white noodle is Somen. Although this recipe would be nice with Soba noodle, too.

To me, shiso makes dishes very summer-like. Because it's summer herbs. Coupled with summer vegetable (or fruits?) such as an eggplant and tomatoes, it is very refreshing. 

I'd love to play with this herb more during summer.

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