“Did you ever have rules when you were first dating someone?”
“No. No, I don’t think so.”
“Really? Because I feel like all girls have rules. Especially when we’re younger, in our 20s.”
I paused, wondering if I should tell Roo all the ridiculous ‘rules’ my friends and I had while in undergrad. “Well…” I decided to start off slow, “Never display any sort of bodily function in front of them, like burp or fart.”
“Right, because girls don’t poop.”
“Yes. And we also don’t cry while looking in the mirror.”
Roo nodded as he scooped up a piece of broccoli with his fork.
“Also, don’t laugh so hard that you snort or God forbid fart.”
“Didn’t you once -”
“When we were walking back from Thai Red Pepper -”
I grabbed a napkin to blot my mouth, “No. That never happened.”
Roo stifled a laugh, “Ok, what else?”
“Don’t sleep with someone before the third date,” I replied, half focused on getting a few sunflower seeds onto the tines of my fork, “And if you do sleep with that person -”
“After the third date of course.”
I smiled, “Yes. If you sleep with that person you must wake up before they do so you can freshen up.”
“Like get rid of swamp mouth?”
“And that oily mess you call your face, yes.”
“Well, what about dinner? You went from talking to that person to sleeping with them. Makes me think you were a bit -”
“Hey! Hey now. Alright, dinner. Well, never order noodles because no one wants to see you slurp and sputter sauce everywhere.”
Roo raised an eyebrow.
“I know, I know. They were ridiculous.”
“No, it’s not that.”
“That last bite you took of soba. I think you got some dressing on your shirt.”
I glanced down to see a giant stain on my right breast. It looked like I was lactating. “Great. See? This is why we have rules.”
This salad is a mixture of bold flavors and various textures. Heat from the sambal oelek, a certain brightness from the lime juice, and a bit of miso paste gives the dressing a bit of savoriness. Poured over fantastic components like juicy cherry tomatoes, nutty soba noodles, crisp green beans and slightly sweet toasted almonds, makes this salad a delightful, quite refreshing meal.
Adapted from Mom’s Summer Chicken Noodle Salad and Dad’s penchant for putting sunflower seeds on everything
Serves 2 – 3
A sharp knife
A small pan
A large pot
A small mixing bowl
A large mixing bowl
Tongs, two forks, or you can toss with your hands
For the dressing
*This makes a lot but I feel it’s best to have a bit set aside as some people like their salads swimming in dressing.
One third of a cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 – 5 limes)
1 tablespoon of miso paste (I used white miso)
2 tablespoons of sambal oelek (I like heat, but if you’re sensitive, start with 1 tablespoon)
One to one and a half tablespoons sugar, depending on bitterness of the limes
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of mild tasting olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
For the salad
1 bundle of buckwheat (soba) noodles, cooked al dente, drained and rinsed well with cold water
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
A large handful of green beans, cut into easily edible pieces (if you don’t like raw green beans, you can blanch them)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into easily edible pieces
2 scallions, green parts sliced
Quarter cup of slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
Fill your large pot three quarters of the way with water. Place over a burner on high heat. While waiting for your water to boil, make the dressing.
Add the ingredients for the dressing to your small mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together till well combined. Set aside.
Pour the slivered almonds and sunflower seeds into your small pan. Place over a burner on medium heat. Occasionally, give the pan a quick flick of the wrist, to toss the ingredients. If that makes you nervous, you can swish them around with a side to side motion of the wrist. Toast the almonds and seeds until they’re light brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
By now hopefully the water has come to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook. When done (I like the noodles al dente as they’ll be absorbing some of the dressing), drain the noodles into your colander. Rinse the noodles in cold water until the noodles are cold. Drain again and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the salad. Pour half the dressing in. Toss to combine until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated with dressing. Taste. Add more dressing to your liking. Serve immediately.