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Tanabata is a summertime festivals which pays tribute to bittersweet star-crossed love between the weaver and the cow herder, represented by the constellations of Vega and Altair respectively. Destined to meet only once a night out of the year, these two celestial lovers are celebrated on the night of Tanabata – where it is believed that dreams and wishes come true. Colored paper inscribed with wishes are adorned to a bamboo branch and the night of Tanabata has a certain magical quality of the mysterious and unknown.
When it comes to Tanabata, soumen is the traditional noodle to eat. Delicate and white it represents the Milky Way the plate with star-studded vegetables to guide the appetite.
1/3 container soumen
1 Japanese cucumber, julienned
2 pieces ham, julienned
3 okra, sliced thin
5 mini tomatoes, cut in half
½ carrot, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon crushed sesame
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, lightly salted. While the water is boiling, prepare the sauce of the noodles. Combine sugar, soy sauce, and mirin.
2. Boil the noodles and once cooked, drain and run under cold water to cool immediately and soak in a large bowl full of ice water for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the egg. Whisk 1 egg with a dash of water in a small bowl. Heat a small frying pan to medium-high and grease with oil. Once the pan is hot, add the eggs and allow them to cook in a single layer. Once the bottom layer is cooked through, use a spatula to flip. Once cooked, let the eggs cool on a plate or paper towel. Once cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips and set aside.
4. Drain the noodle and arrange either a) in a large bowl or b) divided in separate bowls. Adorn the top with the cucumber, ham, okra, tomatoes, carrot, and egg.
Perhaps nothing signals the last hurrah of autumn more than the remnants of a bumper crop of tomatoes and zucchini. Zucchini have a reputation for being one of those types of vegetables that, once they get going, it’s hard to stop them. With any luck you’ll be harvesting zucchini until the end of September. Zucchini itself is a great vegetable. As someone once said, “They are a vegetable that doesn’t get in the way.” (Serves 2-3)
2 cups water
½ medium zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
1 3.5 oz. package shimeji mushrooms
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
1 large egg
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the zucchini. A minute later, add the mushrooms and chicken bouillon. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Turn off the heat. In a small cup, whisk the egg, and slowly pour into the hot broth without stirring. Let the egg set for a few seconds before stirring the broth. Serve and enjoy.
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