Summer in Japan and San Francisco alike means the arrival of many of my favorite foods. I've learned much from both cities about the delights and nutritional benefits of eating with the seasons. Summer foods are a family favorite now as my daughter and I are learning to cook simple, delicious dishes together; we thought we'd share a few with our TATCHA friends today. These Japanese summer dishes feature many of the ingredients in TATCHA’s skincare. Not surprisingly, it turns out that what is good for our internal heath is also good for our skin – the body’s largest organ. I hope, as the weather warms and the sun shines bright, you have the time to create some favorites from the TATCHA kitchen for yourself and your loved ones.

Soba noodle salad
(Serves 4)

Superfood
Soba noodles: Soba, or buckwheat, noodles are gluten free, and high in proteins, amino, iron, and vitamins B1 and B2. Buckwheat helps stabilize blood sugar, a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity, and has been shown to help lower cholesterol. It also contains rutin, which is high in the antioxidants that eliminate cancer-causing free radicals.

Seaweed: Seaweed is one of the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet, containing 10-20x the mineral content of land vegetables, and is particularly high in vitamin K, calcium and antioxidants. It is also rich in chlorophyll, which is a powerful detoxifier that helps to draw out waste products, and iodine which helps to stimulate the thyroid gland to maintain a healthy metabolism. 

Ingredients

- 4~5oz of dry soba noodles (buck wheat noodles)

- 1/4 red pepper cut in julienne (or can be replaced with 1/2 of small diced and seeded tomato)
- 1/4 cup of cooked and shelled edamame
- 20g of dry hijiki seaweed (or other dry seaweed)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon good soy sauce
- Dash of salt

Preparation

Soak hijiki seaweed in a bowl of water for about 5 minutes. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain and cool. If necessary, cut to about 3 inches long, sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil and soy sauce.  Set aside.
 
Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Rinse under cold water; drain again. Transfer noodles to dish-towel-lined platter to drain. Transfer noodles to large bowl. Add seaweed, red pepper and edamame to noodles and toss with olive oil and soy sauce. 
Add freshly squeezed lemon to taste, if desired.


Avocado Temaki (Hand Roll)
(Serves 2)

Superfood
Avocado: Healthy fats and nutrients found in avocados include oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione– which can help protect your body from heart disease and cancer, as well as degenerative eye and brain diseases.

Rice: Rice Bran Oil contains bioactive fatty acids and antioxidant polyphenols such as ferulic acid, and has antioxidant, UV-absorbing, moisturizing, and brightening properties.

Ingredients

- 1 sheets nori, cut in half
- 1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, deseeded & sliced in thin strips
- 1/2 cup cooked brown sushi rice
- tamari or soy sauce
- fresh wasabi, grated
- pickled ginger (optional)

Preparation

1. Place the nori on a bamboo mat or a piece of parchment paper, shiny side down.
2. Wet one of your hands slightly to grab a small palm-full of rice. Place the rice on the left side of your nori and press your index finger into the rice to create a small dent where you will lay your fillings.
3. Rub a bit of grated wasabi onto the rice. Place a few thin slices of cucumber and a few slices of avocado diagonally across the rice, pointing to the upper-right corner of the nori.
4. Fold the left hand corner over and roll upwards around the rice and the filling. (At this point it's best to pick up the roll and finish the rolling with your hands.) Continue rolling the long part of the nori around the rice and filling until you reach the end. Seal by rubbing the edge with a touch of water.
5. Serve with soy sauce or tamari and pickled ginger.


Black Sesame Pudding
(Serves 8)

Superfood
Black Sesame: Black Sesames are high in antioxidants, calcium, protein, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.  They are also high in vitamin B-complex, which is important to improve the nervous system, organs, metabolism, eyes, muscles, skin and hair.

Ingredients

- 1 packet (.25 ounces) powdered gelatin

- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 
1/3 cup toasted black sesame seeds

- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 
1/2 cup granulated sugar

- 1 cup whipping cream

Preparation

1. Soften the gelatin: Put the cold water in a medium-size bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the water and set aside to soften.
2. Grind the sesame seeds: Place the sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar in a blender or food processor and grind until well ground.
3. Make the pudding: In a medium-size saucepan, mix the ground sesame seed mixture, milk, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar together. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from burning. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, add the softened gelatin and stir to melt and combine. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cream.
4. Cool the pudding: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice, then cover the ice with cold water. Pour the pudding from the saucepan into a slightly smaller bowl, and carefully place the bowl into the ice water bowl, taking care not to spill water into the pudding bowl. Whisk the pudding briefly, then leave it to cool for 5 minutes.
5. While waiting for the milk mixture to cool, set out 8 clean containers to pour the pudding into.
5. After cooling, whip the pudding for about 5 minutes (this whisking will produce a lighter pudding), then equally divide the pudding between the prepared containers. Cover the containers and place in the refrigerator to set up for a minimum of 4 hours, or until firm. Serve cold.

 

Always,

Vicky

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published June 2013

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