Ah, summertime. Those three glorious months where everyone is simultaneously taking advantage of outdoor grilling and lovely patio dining. Unless you’re me. Or anyone else suffering from the invasion of seventy-three bazillion insects.
I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in mine, the cicadas have taken over with a vengeance. Just in the last couple of days it’s become unbearable to walk outside. I will kindly spare you the details – since this is a food blog and all – but let’s just say they are so loud you can barely hear yourself think . And there’s a lot of shedding going on. And loud crunching beneath your feet. Ok, maybe that’s too much detail.
But what would typically be a peaceful and quite June, with lots of evening grilling, has instead become hiding out indoors. Which isn’t so bad if you have some good summer recipes up your sleeve.
On the positive, I have several go-to dishes – like this one — that don’t require too much heat and are packed FULL of flavor. I cook tuna a lot in the summer months anyway because it’s light and refreshing, and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. And it’s friendly on the waistline — serious bonus. So, if it’s going to be healthy, easy, and really tasty, the cicadas can just keep on keepin’ on. Ok, not really. But this dish is really good. Really.
Sesame Ginger Rice Noodles
- 8 oz thin rice noodles (also called Rice Sticks – I used KAME brand found in the Asian aisle of grocery store)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp sesame seeds (I used black, but you can use either, or both)
- 3-4 scallions, green part
Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Let noodles soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile in a medium-sized pot, with the heat off, stir together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and ginger. When there is about 3 minutes left of the noodle soaking time, turn the heat to med-high and bring the mixture to a slight boil. Drain the rice noodles and add then to the pot, stirring to break them up (tongs work well for this).
Continue to stir the noodles and mix them around into the liquid until they are cooked and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. If the liquid has evaporated, but the noodles are not cooked completely add a little more water to the pan until they are cooked.
Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add the sesame seeds and scallions and toss well. Serve either warm, or chill for 30 minutes and serve cold.
Asian Cucumber Salad
- 1 seedless english cucumber
- 1/4 red onion, diced thin
- 1/2 shredded carrot
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated garlic (about 1 clove)
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp salt
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and then with the flat side down, slice the cucumber thinly. In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix together the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger and salt. Add the diced cucumber, carrot and onion and place in the fridge for about 10-15 for the flavors to meld.
- 4 Tuna steaks
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Heat oil in a large saute pan to high heat. Season tuna steaks very generously with salt and pepper on both sides. When the oil is smoking add the tuna carefully to the pan and sear on each side for 1 minute only.