Thursday, July 24, 2008

Soba Salad (Page 322)


  • Date: Sunday, July 13, 2008 -- 10pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B+

This soba salad was a component of a scallop dish which will be my next post. I absolutely love this kind of thing: noodles, vegetables, and a light, vinegary dressing. Yum! This salad was a very good addition to the dish. It was refreshing, crunchy, and light, which complemented the richness of the scallops nicely. I couldn't find mizuna anywhere, so I used some chopped arugula in its place, and that worked just fine. My one major complaint about this salad is that the vegetables didn't incorporate with the noodles very well. I think the salad would had been better if the veggies had been chopped relatively small rather than cut in matchsticks -- that way they would have mixed better with the noodles, providing a more uniform salad. Also, while this soba salad was excellent as part of the scallop dish, it would be a touch bland on its own. The salad was dressed, but the dressing was very mild. It is the pan sauce from the scallop preparation that added a lot of flavor to this salad. So if you are looking for a soba salad that can stand alone, you might want to try a different dressing than the one in this recipe.

Here is the recipe.

I got a lot of responses to my complaints about the crazy "break-up" emails I have received from my fellow mathematicians. To go along with that post, a little story. The setting: it was the very beginning of my first year in graduate school. I was in the MIT math department common room with my good friend Mike, and another mathematician who we will just refer to as B. B and Mike had met years ago, but were catching up for the first time in a while. I had never met this guy. B had just finished his PhD at MIT, but hadn’t yet left for his new junior faculty position.

“Why are you always drinking my tea!” I had, apparently, grabbed Mike’s cup. “Teena, I’ve had just about enough of you. You are constantly taking advantage of me. First you eat my cookie, now you’re drinking my tea. I think we should start seeing other people.” Mike was breaking up with me. This happened at least three or four times a day. The shocked look on B’s face renewed the humor of the situation. I tried to explain:
“You see, a mathematician friend in college once called to break up with me. But strangely, we weren’t dating. Over and over again he insisted that we should be ‘just friends,’ and over and over I reassured him that we were just friends. I of course made the mistake of sharing this story with Mike, and have since been dumped multiple times each day.”
B laughed, “That’s funny, that exact same thing happened to me. A girl called me just last week to say she didn’t want to see me any more. But we weren’t seeing each other at all.”

I was glad to know that I wasn't the only one who had that experience. That evening, back in my apartment, I wrote an email.

Dear B,

In light of our conversation at tea this afternoon, I think we should just be friends. I know this is hard to hear, but in the short tenure of our relationship things between us have just gotten too serious. I am not ready for that type of commitment.

I hope you understand.

Best, Teena

Sending it, to a near stranger, I thought, "I hope this guy has a sense of humor." A couple hours later, he responded:

Teena my love,

My sincerest apologies that it has taken me two hours to respond to your email. I would have -- of course! -- answered instantaneously, but it is unfortunately very difficult to see the computer screen through these tears, and my convultions of misery have made typing something of a challenge. Teena of Teenas, light of my life, please forgive me for this delay. Perhaps, heavenly Teena, you do not realize how our lives have inexorably changed since the moment we met, since the electric instant that we first laid eyes upon one another. Perhaps, my Teena of the Gods, I have not done enough to convince you of the celestial beauty that accompanies our every interaction. But Teena, my Teena, ideal Teena, just give me one chance -- one more chance! -- to show my appreciation. Teena -- I beg -- I plead -- I kneel -- I will not let you down again.

With love, with longing,

Your one and only,


I laughed, and laughed, and laughed...

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