Pink Soba with sushi toppings

Cream cheese and cucumber, avocado and krab, salmon and scallions, tuna—
these are some of my favorite sushi things.

Sushi rice is not hard to make, but it takes some planning and effort, which I somehow neglected in the sticky heat. But why could I not eat noodles with
a few of these things?

Soba, those long thin buckwheat noodles, served cold with a light dipping sauce, are refreshing in summer. And I had pretty pink kanesu ume soba to make the meal festive; it was our anniversary after all: why not live it up!

Oh, but more non-planning affected the festivities. Due to a series of unfortunate events, Mr. Tess did not get home until midnight. We each ate solitary meals.

He said he enjoyed his food. And I’m sure mine was prettier.

On the plate, from left to right: julienned Japanese cucumber, krab (kanikama), cream cheese balls rolled in black sesame seeds, avocado with lemon juice, and tomatoes, just because I had them.

14 thoughts on “Pink Soba with sushi toppings

  1. What a beautiful meal and how perfect for an anniversary dinner. Too bad Mr. Tess arrived home so late. Our anniversary this year was so many years I didn’t like to think about it.
    A composed dish is really one of the nicest and most attractive ways to present food to my mind, and you were so very clever about the noodles in place of rice.

    • I felt bad for him: he’d worked on Saturday because another guy couldn’t find a baby-sitter. The job had to be finished and it took longer than planned. In early evening, he still had to drive several hours to get home.

      In thirty (plus) years of marital bliss, we’ve had both better and worse moments. His “weekend” was less than 24 hours, but he said he was glad to be home with me.

      I make meals like this especially in summer; the fruits and vegetables are so colorful.

      • Congratulations to you and Mr. Tess on thirty (plus) years of marriage. Mr. Tess sounds like a dear; not just everyone would work for someone who couldn’t find a sitter.

        It’s something my husband would do, and I love him for his generous heart.

        I’m so enjoying the beginning of spring and summer produce. Local strawberries have just ended and cherries are here, now, both sweet and tart. I know Michigan is famous for its wonderful cherries and other fruits as well.


  2. Happy Anniversary!

    I loved the pink soba, wish I can get some, so gorgeous!

    Too bad Mr Tess was a little late, but I’m sure he will compensate each day of this following year… :-)

    • I bought the pink soba in the spring, for eating sometime around cherry blossom viewing. Somehow it got pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgot about it. What a nice surprise to discover the package again when I was in search of another ingredient.

      It’s Mr. Tess who deserves the special treatment; I know he does not like this job or that place very much. I figured out how to make video and audio chat work, so we had dinner together last night in front of our respective laptops.

  3. Wow Tess! I’m really looking forward to trying these lovely summer noodles! I have never had “ume soba” before! Besides the lovely pink color, do they taste anything like Ume? If so, I would probably throw in a handful of julienned shiso leaves, and maybe a couple of ume pickled plums as well! The cream cheese balls in kuro goma? Delightful! By the way, I’m sure that many delightful summer evening repasts with Mr. Tess will ensue!

    • They should not be hard for you to find (I think I’ve also seen a green tea version, but have never tried them). Check the ingredients: sometimes the pink is food coloring.

      This was the first time I’ve made these so I was surprised that you can taste the ume! Buckwheat has such a strong flavor. I’m not sure I’d have identified the flavor as ume boshi but it was definitely there. I’d think adding some nice fat umeboshi would bring the flavor of the noodles to mind and would not be “too much of a good thing.”

      The krab was sort of sweet and salmon or tuna would be better. I was really craving cream cheese (LOL!) but I didn’t want a spread or a dip. Next time I would just roast the black sesame seeds and roll the cheese in them. Grinding them made the texture “gritty.”

      I think my shiso is growing a little, but it’s been cool and cloudy here so it’s not robust.

      Did you know that the Koreans call shiso “sesame?” A couple of years ago I saw packets of seeds at the Korean store and recognized them as shiso. But they were red shiso so I wasn’t positive. I asked, “Shiso??” The young woman shook her head and said, “Sesame!” I bought the seeds anyway, Googled, and indeed
      shiso = sesame.

  4. Hi again Tess, Wow! About the sesame! I always thought that Shiso was a member of the “nightshade” family, i.e. mint, basil, tomato. Here’s a link to my favorite seed company. EvergreenSeeds.
    I just rented a new apartment, and have a wonderful little patio now! I can’t wait to get started!

    • I ordered my first shiso seeds from that Evergreen Seeds site! Excellent place.My shiso self-seeded a couple of years, but I don’t see any this year, so we bought some plants at the farmers’ market. I bought the red shiso seeds from the Korean store. Those have self-seeded.

      Glad to hear you have a patio now! Don’t cover the shiso seeds: they need light to germinate; just press them into the soil. Also they take forever to germinate.

      This might be interesting for you:
      Basil and shiso belong to Labiatae (Mint family). Mints can be identified by square, hairy stems.
      Chinese: ao geeso (green), aka geeso (purple)-;
      Japanese: shisho
      English: beefsteak plant/leaf, perilla
      Vietnamese:tía tô
      Korean: kkaennip, kkaennip namul, tulkkae;
      From Wikipedia:
      re Korean names: deulkkae or tŭlkkae (들깨 which means ‘wild sesame’.)
      The literal translations of deulkkae (“wild sesame”) and kkaennip (“sesame leaf”) are in spite of perilla’s not being closely related to sesame, and Korean cookbooks translated to English sometimes use these translations.

      Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce are classified as nightshade foods.

  5. WOW Tess! Now I know! Thank you! My Ao Shiso and Aka Shiso re-seeded in my last garden for many years. In all the wrong places, Just like my mint did. We had also planted lemon grass, but our Gardener thought that a massive weed had taken over a pot, and dug it up! I had also ordered Japanese eggplant, mitsuba, Thai basil, and cucumbers from Evergreen as well. Two years ago our little seedlings were just beginning to germinate, so we moved them from the grow light in the garage outside. The next morning, there were some really happy squirrels hanging around. Oh well.
    But I think that come late summer, I’ll go down to a very famous old Japanese hardware store named Anzen in Little Tokyo Los Angeles and buy his seedlings. Something about the “En” of buying them from an old Japanese hardware store. Especially considering the history of Japanese-Americans during WW2. You would go nuts, Tess! Like the little neighborhood stores still left in rural Tokyo! There’s more stuff crammed in there than you would ever guess!

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