Summer Soba

This morning almost felt like summer. It was sunny, it was warm, and I felt kind of miserable on my run because of it. I’m just not used to temperatures above about 65 when I head out in the mornings! Can’t complain though…we definitely get spoiled here.

For about the four hundredth time I’m trying to make more recipes from my cookbooks. I pulled out Japanese Home Cooking and the Summer Soba instantly jumped out at me because of the warm day we had. I love how pretty and composed the plate looks, and of course I love just about anything made with soba noodles. I deviated from the recipe in the book a little bit – I marinated the cucumbers, and baked some tempeh to add a little extra protein. I like the flexibility with recipes like this – you could put all sorts of different fresh vegetables in here and it would look and taste amazing.

Recipe:
(adapted from Japanese Home Cooking by Shunsuke Fukushima)

makes 2 large servings

tempeh
8 ounces tempeh, thinly sliced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp freshly grated ginger

cucumbers
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar

eggs
2 eggs
salt and pepper
pinch sugar

dressing
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

noodles
2 bundles soba noodles (about 6 ounces total)
1 sheet nori, toasted and cut into thin strips
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Prepare the tempeh: mix the soy sauce and ginger, then evenly coat the tempeh slices, cover, and chill for about 4 hours. Then place in a greased baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let cool, then cut into matchsticks.

Prepare the cucumbers: toss the sliced cucumbers with salt and sugar, then stir in the vinegar and let stand for about an hour at room temperature.

Prepare the eggs: Beat well with a pinch each sugar, salt, and pepper. Heat a small nonstick pan over medium, add the eggs, and cook until set, then flip to cook through. Remove to cool, then cut into thin slices.

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients and set aside.

Boil the noodles just until tender, then drain and rinse with cold water. Arrange on 2 plates, then pour some of the dressing over the noodles. Arrange the avocado, cucumbers, egg, tempeh, and nori on the plate, and sprinkle with sesame seeds to garnish.

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