Summer Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

This recipe came with our CSA Newsletter a few weeks ago. Bun bowls are one of our favorite dishes at Vietnamese restaurants, but we had never tried making one ourselves. The recipe was easy and delicious (especially with a squirt of sriracha). You can easily substitute or add other vegetables (ours included some shredded kale).


Salad:

  • 8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
  • 1 ½ cups cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2–3 medium carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large or 2–3 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
  • 16 ounces cooked tofu, chicken, or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Dressing:

  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
  1. To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and the jalapeño. Whisk well. Set aside. (Note: The dressing will store in the refrigerator for 3 days to a week.)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (or according to package instructions), until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water to cool them. Shake the colander to drain away excess water.
  3. When the noodles are well-drained, put them in a large bowl along with the vegetables, herbs and tofu or meat. Spoon dressing over the entire mixture and toss well to combine.
  4. Serve with chopped peanuts or almonds on top.

Recipe adapted from Food52.com.

Circus Camp

Maggie completed a week of circus camp today. She tried out an array of different acts and performed in the German Wheel and Low Casting (a mini flying trapeze). Lighting and audience layout made it hard to take good pictures, but we’ve got two decent video clips of Maggie performing and a photo of her with her group.

Maggie posing with her group after the show.

Legoland

We usually avoid places like Legoland. They’re expensive, crowded, and cater to a materialist brand-oriented ethos that we dislike. Did I mention expensive? But this year, knowing that we were going to San Diego, and we might not be back until Griffin’s too old, we considered checking it out. Grummy and Grandpa Stape jumped in, offering to give Griffin and Maggie gift certificates for their birthdays. That clinched it, and the kids were bouncing with excitement during the intervening weeks.

To our great surprise, all five of us had a great time and we stayed all day… we closed out the park! We went on a cloudy Wednesday and the park wasn’t as mobbed as usual. Lines were short, people (guests and staff) were kind and cheerful, and food options were better than expected. Oliver even took an afternoon nap in the stroller while Griffin and Maggie played at the waterpark. Lounging in a cabana while the older kids played and Oliver slept was not-at-all what I expected from a trip to Legoland. Moreover, the lego models were wicked cool.

Camp du Nord II

During the week of June 16, we took our second trip to Camp du Nord. (Our first visit was the summer before Oliver was born.) It was a glorious way to kick off our summer. We were way up north, totally unplugged, and getting into a more natural rhythm (going to bed early, rising with the sun, getting dirty, washing in the lake, walking everywhere, etc.). We stayed in a platform cabin (“Deer”) which was perfect for us. Here’s the description from the website:

Deer Platform Cabin 6 — Enjoy one of our “off-the-grid” eco-cabins. These newer cabins are simple, yet very comfortable. A screened porch with picnic table and stainless steel table make outdoor cooking a breeze. The sleeping room includes 2 elevated long twin over queen bunk beds. Nearby water spigot, showers, biffies, and refrigeration are available. Solar lanterns and all dishware and cooking utensils are provided.

We stayed in a backpacking tent last time, and although we love tent camping, we found it challenging to manage for a full week with cooking, washing, bugs, and unpredictable weather. The cabin gave us more sheltered space without adding electricity and plumbing.

Our pictures are in the gallery below, arranged roughly in chronological order. Note that we only took pictures of a few moments during the trip. Unpictured elements that we all remember fondly included, in no particular order:

  • age group activities for the kids in the mornings
  • cooked meals with the community up at the dining hall
  • afternoon ice cream at the trading post
  • the polar bear plunge into the lake every morning
  • the sauna
  • hiking on the nearby trails
  • easily achieving 20,000+ steps each day by simply walking around camp (if you wanted to go beyond that, the hiking trails extend pretty much infinitely)
  • filling downtime with non-electronic activities (Bananagrams, crossword puzzles, reading, writing, drawing, inkle weaving, etc.)
  • a week without news headlines

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version and then scroll through the slideshow.

The latest news from Sarah and Andrew.