Monday, February 11, 2008

A Dish Served Best Cold. (Nope, not revenge.)

Hi folks. Sorry for then lengthy pause between postings. Over the last week, I've made a medley of old favorites - turkey meatloaf, baked turbot with lemon, cauliflower with scallions and orange zest, sauteed broccoli with roasted garlic, poached salmon with wine and dill, roasted root vegetables, mixed greens with hazelnuts and nutty dressing, etc. I even went out to eat (gasp!!) twice. I've posted most, if not all, of those recipes before. However, if you would like to try any and need the link, just leave me a message in the comments section.

I finally cracked a cookbook this weekend and tried a new recipe or two. Basically I surveyed what I had on hand - which was not much. I'm down to just a few bags of fresh produce - swiss chard, kale, italian parsley, scallions, shallots, sweet pototoes plus a garden of fresh herbs growing on my dining room window sill (apple mint, basil, thyme). We were totally out of chicken, ground turkey and fish in our freezer. I'm amazed. I never thought I would be able to clean out our freezer on a monthly basis. Oh, and I used up all of my eggs when I made scrambled eggs with Gruyere and Parmesan for breakfast on Saturday. As you can see, I've been busy. But I was still hungry last night. There was meatloaf left, but one can only have so much in a weekend. Oh, and the last thing I wanted to see on a Sunday night was a sink full of dishes.

So, the challenge was this: easy, fast, vegetarian and limited mess potential. Here we go:

Soba Noodle-Vegetable Salad by Ellie Krieger

4 ounces soba noodles, or whole-wheat spaghetti
1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 red pepper, julienne
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup shredded fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon walnut oil (or canola oil)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, or 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
6 large Bibb lettuce leaves

Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and cool. In a medium to large bowl, combine noodles, shallot, carrot, pepper, basil, mint, and cilantro. Combine all dressing ingredients, season with salt to taste, add to noodle mixture, and toss lightly.

Snap off Bibb lettuce leaves and wash and dry. To serve, scoop spoonfuls of noodle salad into the lettuce leaves.

  • Having just purchased my herb garden last week and hoping my inner green thumb would surface, I was delighted to see my herbs growing with vigor. It was really gratifying to have enough healthy looking herbs to take a pair of kitchen shears to and cut the amount of mint and basil I needed for this recipe. Our house gets a lot of great light, but the best southern exposure is in our dining room. Here's hoping everything is still thriving next week!
  • Please don't get angry with me, but I have a confession to make. I really dislike cilantro. I know many cooks out there love it and include it in everything, but the flavor is too strong for me. I usually substitute it with italian parsley. They are in the same family, but the parsley has a more subtle taste.
  • Do you have a Bloom supermarket near you? If so, I highly recommend you check this chain out. The layout is different than any grocery store I've ever been to (I'm positive the planners were drinking a lot good wine one night and drew up a sketch on a napkin placing the packaged sweet rolls in the middle of the produce aisle and hid the milk to encourage shoppers to take part in a scavenger hunt. But I digress.) There must be some genius to their madness, because the store is doing well. The reason I mention it is because I hit paydirt the other day while looking for some speciality items. They seem to carry everything in this store. This is where I picked up hazelnut and walnut oil. My point...oh, right. This recipe calls for walnut oil!
  • I used whole wheat linguine instead of soba noodles and I used soy sauce instead of fish sauce here. Did I have fish sauce? Yes. Did I screw up my attempts to open the bottle and was left cursing at the fish sauce even though it was not the bottle's fault? Yes.
  • Where is my microplane grater?? It wasn't in the dishwasher or any of the drawers. Sadly, my attempts at zesting a lime with a box grater were unsuccesful.
  • Even with all of these mishaps, this was a nice, light, fresh dish. I mistakenly heated up a bowl for lunch today and found that this salad was meant to be enjoyed cold -hence my post title.
  • By the way, what a cute idea to scoop it up with Bibb lettuce. Since I was on my own, I nixed this idea, but when company's over this will be fun to try.

1 comment:

Cakespy said...

Oh, cold soba. Swoon. I like this, stay cool while things heat up on Valentine's day. ;-)