Something has inspired us to break out of our usual surf, turf, pasta & salad Cape dinner routine. What could it be? Perhaps the miserable weather. We’re compensating for the lack of sun with food.

Last night, Jenya was babyless for the evening. Naturally, she chose to occupy her free time by preparing a Vietnamese dinner for twelve. To put it in Jenya’s words “This meal is super-easy, except for the prep.” There really is a whole lot of chopping and julienning involved, but it was totally worth the effort. And it helps to have so many hands in the kitchen.

Drew made miso soup to have alongside Jenya’s dish. The whole meal was so yummy and refreshing, I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch today.

• Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Shrimp •
serves 4

For the sauce:
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

For assembly:
(vegetable quantities are approximate, use as little or as much as you want)
16 large shrimp
sesame oil
sriracha sauce
4 carrots, julienned
1 regular or 4 mini cucumbers, julienned
2 cups sugar snap peas, julienned
a big handful of fresh mint, chopped
a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons salted peanuts, chopped
1 (8oz) package Mai Fun noodles
4 lime slices for garnishing

Prepare sauce by combining all ingredients, set aside.

Prep all of your vegetables and herbs and set aside. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Toss shrimp with sesame oil and sriracha, to taste, and cook them by your preferred method, broiling or grilling both work well. Set cooked shrimp aside.

Cook Mai Fun noodles in boiling water (per package instructions) and drain. Divide evenly between 4 bowls and top with sauce. Divide vegetables and herbs between bowls and top with chopped peanuts, shrimp and a lime slice. Enjoy!