Although I live in New York, I spend a lot of time in Washington D.C. visiting some very important people in my life: my boyfriend, my brother, my sister-in-law and my best friend (who conveniently lives in the basement apartment of my brother and sis-in-law’s house!) Some visits are jam-packed with dinners and activities, which is always lots of fun, but sometimes it’s perfect not to leave the house and just cook, eat, and straight chill. My boyfriend* and I went shopping my first real day in town, and planned for the next few days (he’s type A, and I’m just really into shopping lists): Our Saturday night dinner had been something I’d been thinking about for a few days and featured one particular recipe I’d been dying to make: Cold Soba Salad from Short Stack Edition‘s Strawberries volume by food author extraordinaire Susan Spungen. I’d sampled the dish before and was eager to recreate it myself (plus, I love anything Japanese-inspired) Here’s the page from the book, with lovely illustrations by designer Rotem Raffe (see above). I’m including the recipe written out, too, as this one may be a little hard to read!
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white miso
1 hot red chile, finely minced, or more to taste [I couldn't find red chiles so added a squirt or two of Sriracha]
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
For the salad:
One 8.8-ounce package soba noodles
4 ounces shishito peppers (if they’re not in season, substitute cubanelle or poblano peppers) [these weren't available, but I did celery instead--not really an even trade, but the fresh crunch was nice]
1/2 cucumber–peeled, seeded and thinly sliced on the bias into 1/4-inch half moons [I used two little Persian cucumbers]
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (about 1/2 pound whole) [still surprisingly tasty from Trader Joes!]
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Make the dressing: Stir the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the miso, chile, and sesame oil; whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Drain well. Toss the noodles with the dressing.
Grill the shishito peppers on a grill or grill pain in a cast-iron skillet until they’re blistered and softened, about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Let them cool, then slice on a bias and discard the seeds. [I skipped this step, since I didn't use shishitos, but sounds pretty good, right?]
Top the dressed noodles with the grilled peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, scallions, mint and cilantro. Mix gently to combine and serve.
For the main course, I wanted to stick with Asian flavors, and decided to do a Soy Sauce glazed Roast chicken, loosely based on this recipe.
Here’s what I did, using a 5 1/2 pound chicken.
As I always do, I employed Mark Bittman’s super-easy roast chicken method, and turned the oven to 480 degrees F, and a few minutes into the pre-heat, put a Cast-Iron pan in the oven on a lower rack.
Meanwhile, I made the glaze for the 5 1/2 pound chicken (we wanted leftovers!), by melting about 9 Tablespoons of UNsalted butter, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce, and about a teaspoon of white miso paste (leftover from the Soba Salad!) [for this, make sure to use UNsalted butter because the soy and miso are both salty as hey-ull]
I had some leftover scallions also from the Soba Salad, and stuck about 3 of them into the chicken cavity, along with some garlic. Next time, I want to use only softened butter with the soy and miso and stick it under the skin. ANYWAY…Then, I stuck the chicken in the oven, scattered some garlic cloves around it, and voilà! 40 Minutes later we got this:
And, what’s dinner without these two things:
1. Cheese and Crackers (and a little Arsenal pride in the form of a coaster…) 2. Leftovers for Sunday night TV binge fest
No, I don’t want to talk about Breaking Bad ever again*I hereby promise I’ll never be one of those food bloggers that spends most of the time talking about their boyfriend. They’re the worst.