Jul 13, 2009

relaxing summer suppers

this week i want to focus on some relaxing summer suppers we've enjoyed lately. 

lucky are we with farmer's markets and local organic produce, life is bursting with great options at the moment. the living is easy. the weather delightful. i could live out on the terrace with a glass of something cold and some light fresh appetizers all summer long. 

found some gorgeous very dark purple eggplant the other day at the japanese market. picked up some soba noodles (buckwheat), fresh tofu, scallions and our favorite dashi-based tsuyu sauce and put together a relaxing summer supper of warm eggplant salad, a mixed up version of sunumono with cucumber, carrot, radish, avocado and scallion, cool soba noodles with tofu and scallion. light and cool yet somehow earthy and satisfying. 

eggplant salad
serve warm or cool
serves 4
4 to 6 japanese eggplants, the small ones, cut into bite size cubes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dashi tsuyu sauce, all natural, such as morita brand
(in japanese markets)

soak cut eggplant in cold water for 5 minutes

steam eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes until tender, bamboo or other steamer
strain and allow to drain and cool slightly

squeeze eggplant gently if appears water-logged otherwise proceed to next step.
place in individual serving dishes.  sprinkle cut scallions over the eggplant. pour tsuyu sauce. serve.

cucumber, carrot, radish, avocado sunumono
1 japanese cucumber, sliced thin
1 carrot, sliced thin
4 radishes, sliced thin
1 avocado
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice 
scallion, thinly sliced
assemble ingredients in ceramic serving bowl. toss with vinegar and lemon. mix thoroughly but gently. sprinkle with sliced scallion


  1. Thank you Gretchen for all the wonderful addresses in NYC. I went to them all and it was a thrill. Now I must ask you since you know food AND the neighborhood so well: where to have an anniversary lunch? I'm looking for great food and perhaps a little hidden garden, but will settle for the garden part.

    xoxo from New York

  2. that is an easy one corine! i love gascogne, so romantic, and so charming is their garden.

    8th ave between 17th and 18th. the food, of course, is french from that region, and cassoulet is likely to be on the menu all year long (even in the summer) but it is wonderful.

  3. I love to eat soba noddles with scallions in the Summer! I love your food photos! Simple and elegant!