When everyone else is clamoring about how they don’t want summer to end along with its bounty of berries, I’ll always be the one muttering something along the lines of “no but seriously...Fall is way better, and so are knee high boots and spice scented candles and people are just nicer all around", all whilst sheepishly sipping on a hot cup of coffee in the blistering 90F's.
Something about fall tends to slow me down in a positive way. I wouldn't say my life is currently packed with business meetings or back to back graveyard shifts, or anything of that sort really, unless you count back to back disciplining and the attempt to teach honorable things to your toddler in that same category, then yes it is equivalent to having a back to back something. The tempering effects of fall--if not resulting in the physical--then the mental and the spiritual, appeal to me more as years go by. They remind me to settle my heart and just be, to trust God and to hit the reset button whatever the circumstance. To reflect on current blessings, and to share them somehow along the way, often with a side of coffee and dessert on hand.
This year though, Greg (husband) and I noticed that a few things about me have changed exponentially. For example, I no longer rely on Stevia as evidenced by all my recipes from the past year. And summer fruit, as opposed to hard shelled produce like squash and pumpkin (LA has these all year round), has never been one of my greatest forms of sustenance up until this summer. Berries, watermelon (my favorite), and gigantic mangoes on sale are making a daily appearance in this household which indicate something's up, you guys. I love sales! But what's less obvious is that I don't mind things that remind me of summer, like this creamy and refreshing pasta dish. Experts do say however, that women tend to change more over the course of their 20s-30s than men do, so there's a lazy explanation. But I digress.
Given that my palate has evolved in so many ways since years past, I'm not so apprehensive towards fusion type foods anymore. I suspect this green tea soba with clams is a heinous sound to your precious ears. But it couldn't be any more lovely (surprisingly) in every sense of the word. The green tea soba is mild in taste and the wheat+buckwheat flavor still makes itself known--loud and clear. Clams also have a way of naturally flavoring any stock or pasta dish, so not many ingredients are necessary for the busy last-minute home cook. Clams and creamy soba make for an extremely flavorful pairing with a mysterious punch at the end, which is a result from minced garlic and the natural juices percolating from fresh clams.
Even though a creamy pasta base normally suggests a cloying of the taste buds especially when eaten in the peak of summer, fresh cucumbers lighten this up tremendously. It's amazing how one simple ingredient can transform the image of an entire dish, and now I'm curious what new found methods you are using in your kitchen! Please do share.
As a side note, always make sure to soak fresh clams in water for about 30 minutes. Doing so will rid the clams of sand granules and unnecessary salt, along with any nasty things we don't want in our bodies. Plus, it's actually kind of fun to watch them open up under water!
Green Tea Soba Pasta alle Vongole
Makes 2-3 servings || Inspired by Just One Cookbook
Time: Approximately 1 hour including the soaking method
200g dried Cha Soba noodles (or regular)
2 lbs. fresh clams
2 tbsp butter (unsalted preferred)
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-2 fresh cucumbers, grated
Place all the clams inside a large bowl and fill it with water, enough to cover all the clams. Let it soak for about 20-30 minutes and until most of the clams are opened up. When you are ready to use them shake any excess water out.
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot, add dried noodles, bring the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 5-6 minutes or until tender but firm. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter, place all the clams still in their shells and cook for about 2 minutes to get the flavors going in the pan. Pour in the cream, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir and simmer lightly for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, parmesan, and grated cucumber and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Cheese should be melted throughout and the cucumbers will be slightly tender but still fresh. Garnish with more cucumber if desired, along with toasted sesame seeds. This dish will taste even better the next day! Keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge.
What are your favorite Asian+European fusion foods currently?
In what ways have you changed in the past year or so?