1. Save the gin bottle from the airplane. It’s the perfect leak-proof bottle to store salad dressing for picnics or for salads you bring to work (just make sure to soak in hot water and rub off the label, lest your co-worked get suspicious)
2. Ditch coffee shops and drink our morning coffee on the dock, the place we will dream of drinking our coffee for the rest of the year.
3. Wear shoes you would never, ever wear in real life
4. Don’t worry about trying to get clothes on your kid. And let them pee next to a tree instead of running all the way into the cabin. Potty training is much easier in the woods!
5. Duck for cover under a pine tree during an afternoon sprinkle of rain
6. Try to re-create take-out dishes we crave from back home
Korean Noodles with Veggies (Japchae)
I like to load this noodle salad up with veggies, but you can add as many or as few vegetables as you like. Tofu and meat can also be added. The overall flavor is mild, slightly salty from the soy sauce with a hint of sweetness from brown sugar.
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles (Japchae) or mung bean noodles (also called cellophane or glass noodles)
1/2 a head broccoli, cut into tiny florets
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling
A little less than 1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
A drizzle of cooking oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed etc..) for sauteing*
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 package frozen chopped spinach (around 8 ounces), defrosted
1/2 onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
small squirt of lemon (optional)
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes. (If my broccoli florets are really small and I don’t want them overcooked, I wait and add them after the noodles have already been boiling for 2 minutes)
Drain the noodles and broccoli and rinse well with cold water. Use kitchen shears to cut the noodles into shorter pieces. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, mix the soy sauce and sugar together in a small bowl with the 2 tsp sesame oil. I microwave it for 25 seconds, to help the sugar dissolve. Set aside.
Now you’ll simply be sautéing all the veggies in batches, adding a little bit of garlic and cooking oil* to the pan each time you cook a new vegetable. Keep the pan over medium-high heat, cooking the veggies quickly. I prep the garlic and all the veggies and put them in bowls next to the stove for convenience.
*Olive oil will add a flavor that doesn’t blend with the rest of the dish, so sunflower/canola/grapeseed oil is reccomended for sauteing – also because these oils handle high heat better. If you must use olive oil, use one with a light, bland flavor.
Here we go: Put a drizzle of cooking oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add a little garlic and the defrosted spinach. Saute a few minutes until the liquid evaporates and the spinach is hot. Transfer the cooked spinach to the big bowl of noodles and broccoli.
Heat a little more oil and then saute the onion and carrots until just softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the noodle bowl.
Finally, saute the mushrooms and remaining garlic until the mushrooms are soft and lightly browned. Add to the noodles.
Stir the soy sauce and brown sugar mixture well and pour evenly over the noodles, stirring to evenly cover everything. I like to add just a little squirt of fresh lemon juice too, to heighten the flavors. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Add tofu to make this noodle salad a main dish (or add stir-fried chicken or steak). Or serve it alongside salmon or perhaps BA’s Citrus Chicken.
We paired our noodles with weenies roasted at the campfire, but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend that pairing.