Noodles—quick convenient comfort, ease and pleas-ing, satisfaction certain, and fine when cooking for me. While Mr. Tess was working in New York during the past two weeks, my meals centered on this flour and water paste: a blank canvas each time, with a palette of possibilities. Here is a selection of options to stimulate your imagination—the small pictures link to recipes which I’ve written about in the last year or so. And finally a tuna salad with echoes of Japanese flavors.
The day started sunny spring bright; the leaves suddenly screen the view of the florescent green plastic playground in the park behind my house, and the woodchuck (-chuckette? and possible future -chuckles?) has made its presence known by beginning a tunnel into the raised bed that will be our tomato garden. Mr. Tess cut the dandelions grass for the first time this year, glad that mower started right up—because he thinks he must have remembered to put [something] into the tank so it wouldn’t be filled with varnish. Then he realized that someone was hungry enough over the winter to nibble the gas line.
On New Year’s Eve in Japan, people traditionally eat toshikoshi soba noodles. “Toshikoshi” means end of the old year crossing to the new year. Eating noodles on New Year’s will bring longevity, a life as long as noodles. So we ate our lucky noodles!
I made the same recipe last year, but this year we ate the soba with our daughter, who is here for the holidays.
The third time is the charm! Cooking Japanese with noodles I made myself is an accomplishment after my two previous failures. This time I used a finer ground buckwheat flour, bread flour, and vital wheat gluten. I know that I’ll never be a soba master—100% buckwheat, hand rolled and cut noodles—require more than I’m able to do! But the dough was lively and resilient. The smell as I worked was pleasant and nutty.