Sugar Snap Peas, Shrimp, Somen
peas-and-nasturtium_2675Spring in the garden begins with hope; planting seeds is an act of faith, anticipating a bountiful harvest to share. In May, I planted a short row of sugar snap peas in the window box outside the dining room window. The picture in my mind was of green vines shading the meals we’d share together from the hot summer sun.
I also planted some nasturtiums at the front edge of the window box because they have brilliant peppery edible flowers and leaves. I anticipated that they would provide color once the spring/early crop of peas needed to be removed.

These fruits of my labor inspired this very seasonal meal.

Korean Cold Noodle Soup with Radish Water Kimchi

eating Korean noodles with a fork
Eating cold noodles in winter, preferably in front of a great big fire, is a way of enjoying the best of two seasons.

We made a meal of this when Mr. Tess returned from Philly after working there for nearly two months. As a dyed-in-the-wool noodle-lover it was the best thing I could think of to welcome him home.

I don’t think he was disappointed in the menu; at any rate he was happier than the cats were.

Steamy Shrimp and Bay Scallops

Mr. Tess worked out of town several weeks this summer. Cooking for one: white grape juice, directly from the bottle. Tuna and mayo on macaroni. Thin spaghetti with butter and pepper. Vanilla ice cream in front of the freezer. What do you eat when no one is looking?
Here is a “cooking for one” meal which had some healthy green things to supplement the essentially white starch and carbohydrates I was over consuming.

Spicy Sesame Noodles for Lunch

I thought sesame noodles would be a great lunch for my friend and her daughter.

Ever since they cat-sat for us last summer, the young lady has been eager for us to leave town again so she could play with the kitties. Spring break was a good time to invite them for a visit. Gracie, Mikey, and Sula were happy to wake up for the special attention, petting, and playing with strings.

All went well until, as my daughter once said, “My mom doesn’t have any children so she doesn’t know what kids like!”

Noodles and Japanese Shells

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.

Hot Somen with Chicken and Eggplant
Spring dances toward Michigan with a leap forward, two steps back, and turn about. Yesterday was 70° (21°C) and bees were sluggishly sucking nectar from crocuses. Though crocuses wilt quickly when temperatures rise, today they are stiffly closed against a chilly 44° (6°C). There are rumors (otherwise known as weather forecasts) that it will snow tonight. This Japanese-style chicken noodle soup is comfort on a cold day. The pretty green peas and okra chips remind us that spring is coming.

Sesame Noodle Sauce

Ginger-Sesame Sauce for NoodlesI’m making an effort to cook for just myself, rather than noshing or skipping meals. Here is a simplified version the seseame sauce for noodles I’ve made in the past: I made a smaller recipe so I won’t be eating it for days and days, and I didn’t grind my own sesame seeds, added some spiciness because I was feeling hot (it was 85°F !!! —last week I had to scrape ice off the windsheild), and garnished the noodles with asparagus so this dish would be a complete meal and not a snack.