kruizing with kikukat

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cold Somen Noodles

Spring is here!

It's back to work today.  After a week off, school began today. . .kickoff the 4th quarter.  I've actually begun a countdown of the days left.  Some of my students requested it.  It is a reminder to both me and them how many days they have left in school. . .how many days I have left to prepare them for life.  It's actually a daunting thought.

Before I continue, I would like to extend my congratulations to two special people.  Kikukat friend CT has begun a new chapter in her employment life.  Way to go!!!  I still wish you were coming over, but that's me being selfish.  They are so lucky to have you and they will love you.  Enjoy the savings on gasoline and time...I wouldn't have realized it if I didn't go through it myself.  And after months of nagging, D1 finally got off her ass and took (and passed) the driver's permit test!  The minimum age for the driver's permit is 15 years and 6 months, so she was certainly in no hurry.  On the very day she received her permit, The Help took her driving.  I'm glad to report they both came back alive, although both were pretty well shaken.  Now to sign her up for driver's ed. . .

Spring break was busy, busy, busy.  Much to my relief, the 50-minute plane ride to Honolulu was smooth and unremarkable.  I was worried about the turbulence since there were high winds throughout the weekend.  Back in 1994, I flew to Hilo (from Honolulu) during a windstorm, and it was the worst flight I have been on (the flight to Anaheim in 2004 comes pretty close).  I actually considered postponing the allergist visit, but I decided to pull up my big girl panties for D1.

The allergist visit went well.  We made it to Queen's and found Dr. Kuo's office.  He turned out to be soft-spoken and pleasant.  D1 is bummed because he told her to stay away from shrimp, crab, and lobster.  She has loved eating shrimp and crab for the past 16 years, and it will be a challenge to get her to stay away.  She is old enough to understand but perhaps not mature enough to tow the line.  Dr. Kuo cautioned her that while her reaction was a mild reaction to crab, the close relationship of crab to shrimp and lobster calls for discretion.  There is no way to predict when a severe reaction could occur.  Mollusks are still fair game for eating, so she can still scarf clams and scallops.

Spending just one night in Honolulu was not enough.  We managed to do lots of things, but it would have been nice to do it at a more relaxed pace.  That's why I'm allowing us more time to do things when we go to Honolulu for LA's wedding in October.  Although we didn't make it to Goma Tei on this trip, I was able to run into Marukai to get a few goodies like hamachi kama and good-quality Japanese somen noodles.

Spring is the perfect time for having somen noodles.   If the weather is warm, which it usually is, the sauce can be chilled before pouring over chilled noodles.  If the weather is still nippy, the sauce can also be served warm/hot over somen (be sure to warm the noodles too).  We tend to eat this as a cold dish.  It's also a good choice for home-lunch since it doesn't require heating.  Some sauces are meant to be served in a separate cup and the noodles dipped into the sauce prior to eating.  This sauce is NOT a dipping sauce.  Dipping sauces tend to be stronger with a more pronounced shoyu flavor.  This sauce is mild and can be sipped when the noodles are gone (or while consuming the noodles).

Somen was something I learned to make after I got married.  I don't recall it being served in my house growing up.  I remember eating it at the old KK Tei restaurant.  It came on ice and it was called "hiyashi somen".  Mr. Dependable encouraged me to make it (his mom made it), and the first time I made it, I drained the cooked noodles and mounded the somen in a tupperware container.  It was a big sticky mess, and Mr. Dependable was not happy.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but it was Mr. Dependable who showed me how to make it into serving-size balls! 

I was originally going to post a recipe for a grilled shrimp, but out of respect and compassion for D1 and her allergy diagnosis, I'm posting something she can safely consume, provided it's made with katsuo-(fish) based dashi-no-moto.  Unfortunately, it was a different story in Honolulu.  I couldn't help myself and ordered the shrimp tempura at Kunio!  Sorry.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg dashi-no-moto (katsuo, for D1)
     3 1/4 c water
     1/4 c shoyu
     2 tbsp sugar
     1 tsp salt
     3 tbsp mirin

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Chill.  Serve cold with chilled somen noodles.  Garnish noodles with kamaboko, green onions and sliced fried egg.

1 recipe of sauce is enough for 3/4-1 lb of somen noodles, depending on how much sauce you use. 

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