Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Is anyone home?

It’s clear that we M’s are missing in action.  After such a long hiatus you’d think we’d have a bit of magic up our sleeves.  Well, we do, but it comes in the form of this update:

M1 is enjoying her new venture into the world of wine, M3, hers within the homegrown cotton industry.  (okay, maybe M3 is into a bit of wishful thinking.  Her cotton hauls, to-date, have yielded a simple sandwich bag of fluff.  Let’s go easy on her.  She dreams, and schemes, wildly….Oh, and have I caused you concern for M1?  Shame upon me!  That girl is working within the wine industry.  Yes, it does involve a bit of sampling, but things are okay. This is her employment, and let’s face it, if you can get a job like that, well, why wouldn’t you? 😉 )

We’ll be sporadic in our postings….ugh, that’s kind of clear, isn’t it? Our apologies.  We never meant to leave you up in the air, but as life happens, so do adjustments.  Please check in from time-to-time.  You never know what we might offer you.  After all, we are rogue, in more ways than one.

Personally, I might show you my cotton.  We’ll leave the beverage part to M1.

😉

Come, let’s meet, Rosa…..

This bit of wonderful is the inspiration of Rosa Mayland.  I’ve read Rosa’s blog for years now,  yet I find myself asking,

Why has it taken me such a long time to delve into her wonderful and wondrous array of culinary delights?

Perhaps I’ve simply been so wrapped up in the joy of her photography, or the shared interest of all things feline, that I held myself back from enjoying the obvious.

(Soba noodles are made with buckwheat!  I was surprised to discover this specialty, having always thought that buckwheat could only be found in a pancake item.  Silly me! These are wonderful.)

Today, I ventured beyond the horizon, dipping my senses into the unexpected.  The ninja in me caught a bit of action, slicing, dicing, boiling noodles, as I plotted.  Thank you, Rosa! My taste buds were challenged, my senses, renewed.  This is a dish that will be enjoyed often, especially while fresh produce abounds and there’s an ample supply of my new favorite noodle.

The Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Recipe by Rosa Mayland, August 2011

Ingredients for the vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons sweet Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman is her suggestion)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 3 teaspoons (1 T.) fresh ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black or white, roasted is her suggestion)

Ingredients for the topping

  • 2 medium carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/3 cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks


Method for the Soba Noodles

  • Bring a large pot of unsalted water to the boil
  • Add the noodles, sprinkling them strand by strand into the water
  • Gently stir to immerse them completely
  • Simmer over low heat for about 4 minutes, or following the package directions
  • Drain and rinse with cold water
  • Place in a bowl and set aside

Method for the vinaigrette

  • mix all the ingredients together
  • Pour over the salad & mix together thoroughly before adding the sesame seeds and tossing again
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, so that the flavors develop

Method for the garnishes

  • add the carrot & the cucumber, mix
  • serve…..

I went rogue when it came to a few additions.  There was a small handful of orange, itsy-bitsy cherry tomatoes and a mild Hatch green chili pepper that found themselves involved in my bit of mischief.  Oh, and then I had scored a bit of wasabi-flavored sesame seeds from my favorite market. 

Visit Rosa’s site to see for yourself what other amazing items abound.  This lovely lady is amazing in more ways than her food and photography pursuits, she’s a rather gifted soul that has a very special sense of being.

Allow your soul to be nourished.  


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Hummus

I think that mom and I are both boycotting our ovens this month due to summer time temps.  Actually, mom is boycotting the oven because of the heat and I’m boycotting cooking because I have a new job that requires me to be on my feet most of the day, thus resulting in me being in a constant state of exhaustion.

I suggested hummus as the recipe of the week because it’s easy and always yummy. I don’t really follow a recipe for hummus, but mine always turns out super garlicy.  I used both fresh and roasted garlic.  And for this batch I used one can of garbanzo beans and one can of cannellini.   I think I’ll stick with this for a while because the cannellini added some extra creaminess to the hummus.

I topped off the hummus with sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden.  I probably should have mixed some basil directly into the hummus, but I made a batch of pesto the other day and the plants haven’t replenished themselves yet so my basil supply was limited.

…..

Almost vegan…..’cept for the sour cream addition, but what the heck, this is so tasty that you’ll probably quickly forgive me, or, perhaps you’ll simply opt for a non-dairy, vegan option when it comes to that particular item. (Yeah. That’s it!)  😉

M1, shouted the heads-up for this weeks recipe idea:

“Hummus!”

There is no way to fail, in this household, when it comes to serving up anything that involves that trusty little gem, the garbanzo bean. They are simply, glorious!

Garlic Hummus with Tahini

  • 3 1/2 cups of garbanzo beans + about one cup of broth
  • 2/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 8 large gloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, freshly squeezed
  • 1 large lime, freshly squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/8 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil

Prepare dried garbanzo beans by soaking overnight.  Drain and cook as you would any bean, seasoning to your own liking.  Once tender, remove from heat and allow to cool before proceeding.   Be sure to keep a bit of the broth, about one cup.

In a large food processor, or blender, process cooked garbanzo’s into a paste, using a bit of the reserved liquid.  Consistency should be more paste like, than fluid.

Once the beans have been processed, add other ingredients and continue to blend, fully.  (I processed mine until they had that ‘mashed potato’ look about them, being sure to  incorporate and purée all my ingredients.)

This recipe rewards you with a rather large amount of dip.  I’ve taken to freezing half of mine for use at a later date.  I’m not sure how well it will survive the deep-freeze, but with the Texas heat burning a hole through my britches, I probably won’t give a darn. Anything that’s frosty will surely be welcomed.  Now all I have to do is think before I eat…..you know, like, remember to thaw it a day ahead in the topside of Miss G.E.

P.S.  This is known to keep vampires away.  And dragons are known to eat this before flame throwing action.

😉

…..


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Radish, Cucumber & Apple Salad

What better way to stay refreshed than with a crunchy bit of cool.  And that’s exactly what this salad was.  I’d hoped for a bit of leftovers, but those two hungry bears arriving for dinner had feasted most feverishly, and all that I have to remember this bit of history is the veggie & fruit photo-op’s.

Wait here, while I stir things up…

(Stone ground mustard, olive oil, rice vinegar, a bit of lemon with a bit of salt and pepper.)

…..

Crunch, crunch, crunch…crunch…I lost the photo of the apples, or more precisely, I ditched it. Twas not a pretty post-op.  Mixed up, it wins, but naked, well, it was just ugly.  😉

(The original recipe didn’t call for any jalapeno’s, but I’m a rebel, living for a thrill ride down the back alley of veggie-ness, messing things up with a bit-o-smoke.)  😉

Some folks just have big-time Mojo.  They know how to toss the unexpected into the mix, knowing full well that the result will exceed all expectations.  Dara, the sweet soul behind, Generation Y Foodie, ups the ante with more than a few tasty ideas.  I’m so happy I stumbled upon her food blog. I’ll be perusing her offerings for future feasts.

Dara’s recipe can be viewed here.

…..

I never would have thought to put apple, cucumber and radishes in a bowl together, but now I’m sad I waited so long to do so.  I wish I’d thought to put jalapenos in as well!

This salad was so cool, refreshing, and delicious.  I will definitely make this again in the near future.

I’m glad I invested in the new jar of stone ground mustard.  I stood in front of the mustard aisle for a few seconds trying to decide it whatever mustard I already had in my fridge would suffice, but decided to splurge and purchase what the recipe called for.  Definitely worth it!

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Guac attack!

Chipping my dip…

A dish that doesn’t require exact measuring; just my kind of thing on a busy summers day.

The jalapeno’s weren’t as zippy as I would have liked, but they still held their own amidst the cilantro.

I found another use for my pastry cutter:

I’d thought about making a guacamole ice cream recipe, initially, but in the end I rallied around the old standby of a salad/dipper.

….

If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would definitely be guacamole.

The spicier, the better.

(purple onion and a couple of cloves of garlic didn’t make their way into the picture, but they did end up in my bowl of guac)

The final product turned out to be more yellow than green, but I promise that it tasted delicious!

So yummy!

I smiled when mom commented on using her pastry cutter to mash up her ingredients.  When I was younger I thought the pastry cutter was specifically for guacamole.  I would use one if I had one, but I had to make do with a potato masher 🙂

 

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Caprese is easy…

And guess who opted for ‘easy’?

This week’s choice didn’t need a lot of planning on this side of the fence.  The garden is offering a bounty of basil and those lack-luster tomato plants have forgiven me for one more week.

Here’s a peek-see at the ingredients necessary to put this plan in motion:

We are green with envy around this shack.  If one didn’t know any better they could claim that I simply posted a redux of last week’s fare, siphoned off and served up in a different vessel.

Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

But I promise, I didn’t fudge.

This weeks inspiration comes after I set my eyes on several other foodie bloggers posting about Caprese, on a stick.  Some folks opted for skewers, other’s used the stand-by, and ever ready, toothpick.  It doesn’t matter how you serve this refreshing bit of salad.  Just serve it!  You will enjoy the respite.

I guarantee.

The fabulous, Jaden Hair (www.thesteamykitchen.com), is responsible for this fantastic recipe.  I adapted it with the bounty of my garden; it’s a glorious find and one that I’ll be enjoying for as long as there is fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

http://steamykitchen.com/5086-caprese-salad-with-basil-vinaigrette.html

……..

This was perfect for a warm weekend meal.  It will be even better later in the summer when I can (hopefully) use tomatoes from my garden.

I want to use this basil vinaigrette on everything!  For any non vegans, I think it would be wonderful on some grilled chicken.

I will definitely be making this all summer long.  Perhaps I’ll even cheat a little next time and use fresh mozzarella instead of my non dairy mozzarella cheese.

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Green Smoothies; Yum City!

Today’s foodie item was the brainchild of M1.  My first thought was,

Can I feed this to Hubs and M2?

You know, can I disguise it to the point that they’ll take the plunge?

I had my doubts, after all, this wasn’t a steak from the grill, a steaming bowl of mac and cheese; I was pushing a new boundary with them.  So, when the two of them ventured away from the house mid-day, I set about to gather the goods and plan my mischief.

M1, said she would most likely use either kale or spinach.  Initially, I thought I’d go with kale, but then I remembered that pleasant little surprise awaiting me in the garden. Swiss chard, and although the plants aren’t hefty in size, the thought of a harvest still intrigued me.

This morning had me gathering bunches of basil in an effort to use all that I could before it bolts.  Temperatures in Hades are unforgiving, the humidity, relentless these days. Rain is dancing in the west, but the cap of high pressure sits determined over north Texas.  Watering the raised beds is a daily ritual and even with that effort the little garden lags listless.

I grabbed dill weed along with the basil, snipped an onion or two off the lonely braid that sits curing, and reminded myself that there were proceeds from three dying tomato plants that might enjoy being rescued.

Yesterday found me in the kitchen making yogurt.  It’s been months since I’ve made any. But today I was rewarded, handsomely, and even though we can’t call this a ‘vegan’ item at this household,  it is fully wholesome in my book.

Green Smoothie Recipe

Swiss chard

Onions

Tomatoes

Dill weed

Basil

Yogurt

I used a fistful of chard, two or three segments of basil and a handful of dill weed.  As you can see by my photo, those onions weren’t mammoth sized, just itsy-bitsy.  The tomatoes were an orange cherry variety and the yogurt was made with a two-percent cows milk.   The trusty kitchen blender was my hero appliance, offering up a frothy, and quite smooth, delectable smoothie.

……

That looks so yummy and refreshing!  It never even occurred to me to make a savory smoothie!

I ended up using kale AND spinach in my smoothie, but I also added a lot of fruit.

(spinach, honeydew melon, green apples, bananas, agave nectar, almond milk and kale)

 

I originally started to blend my drink in an actual blender, but I don’t have a high quality blender and it was not up to the challenge.  Helloooo food processor, please save me!

It did a fine job, although the food processor takes up way more room in the dishwasher than the blender.

Yummy green goodness….

I mistakenly put too much agave nectar in the mix though and it was way too sweet.  I had to add extra bananas to neutralize the taste. The melon probably provided enough sweetness, but I failed to test it before adding the nectar.  Lesson learned.

In an effort to maintain full disclosure, it must be noted that I prepared this healthy snack while eating a leftover Taco Bell burrito.  It was a vegan burrito though!

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Using up the fruit

This week’s endeavor was inspired by all the wonderful fruit I’ve received in my CSA boxes the past couple of weeks.  I have no trouble clearing out recently purchased fruit, but I wanted to do something special with it this week.  I was flipping through my cookbooks and was inspired by Lauren Ulm’s Blueberry Grunts. I’m not much of a baker, but these seemed easy enough so I thought it was worth a try.

I ended up making two different “grunts”, apple sweet potato and strawberry rhubarb, because I had so many things I wanted to use, but not enough of any one of them to make an entire cobbler.

I started with the strawberry rhubarb.

I cooked the rhubarb and then added the berries to the mixture.  I set that mixture to the side and began on the apples and sweet potatoes.  After a lot of peeling and chopping, they were ready for the stove.  I added apple juice periodically to keep the mixture extra juicy.  I used my mom’s recipe to season the fruit and it was so yummy.  I always keep my phone nearby when cooking something new because I typically have to call my mom to ask questions.  She’s always happy to help and doesn’t mind if I call her several times 🙂

And the finished products…
I know the biscuits look uncooked, but they really weren’t.  I think the vegan ingredients prevent the golden brown color you would typically get.  But who knows, it could just be my lack of baking skills 😉

Also, I wish I could report on which one was my favorite, but they were equally wonderful.

…..

When M1 asked me if I wanted to do the Blueberry Grunt recipe, it didn’t take me thinking twice.  Bake, rather than, cook?  Bingo!

Both of us knew that blueberries were most likely not our go-to fruit.  I don’t know about California, but here in Texas it would require that I sell my car for those needed in the recipe.  Those babies are pricey, but hopefully that will change soon. Arkansas likes to spoil us with their bounty, and here’s hoping that this year is no different from the past.

Each of us had agreed that apples ‘might’ be an option, but when M1 told me she was thinking about using sweet potatoes to supplement her apple supply I think my heart skipped a beat.  Apples + sweet potatoes + cinnamon + butter + sugar.  How on earth can we fail?

And while M1 was supplementing her apple cache with sweet potatoes, I was begging an apple or two of mine to sit out this weeks game.  There was one very lonely sweet potato that had somehow been abandoned from previous game action.

Once the fruits were divvied up it was time to play with the chess pieces in the spice cabinet.  Somewhere back in time I had fancied up an apple pie with the likes of something known as, Grains of Paradise.  Actually, I can’t take credit for thinking up the pie, the use of the spice, or even prior knowledge of this beautiful little gem.  Alton Brown whizzed into my living-room via the t.v. once-upon-a-time and attempted to instruct me with a fancy-pants idea of an apple pie.  Before setting about to bake that creation, I went on one heck of a scavenger hunt to find that little known (to me), spice. After countless searches of grocery stores it became obvious that I might just want to ‘ask’ someone, in the know-how, as to where I might find such an item.  And so it happened, standing amidst the bulk section of spices at a beloved market when I would brave the water only to be warned that they’d be right back, and we’d take it from there.

I usually do as I’m told, especially if the request is made politely enough and the diving pool appears to be free of shark matter.

A mere three or so minutes later, and this person returned with a bag in hand.   Noticing their tight grip, and a rather firm stance about the floor, it became obvious that a somewhat suspect transaction was about to take place.  In a hushed and ominous tone, the clerk warned how guarded and kept under wraps this thing was.  With this came an immediate interrogation:

What did you want this for?

Hey, I’m not interested in what others care to do with this stuff.  My intentions are to bake an apple pie.

How much do you want?  

I don’t know?  How much does it take?

What are you doing with it?

I said…I’m making an apple pie.

Are you going to do anything else with it?

No.  Should I?

There’s a deer-in-the-headlights look about me, yet I somehow manage to free myself before being harangued by the other associates.  Forty-four cents later, and I was driving free of the parking lot. I kept groping myself all the way home just to be sure  I hadn’t been packing, you know, concealed weapons.  Something about me wasn’t right.  I’d been shaken down in the spice aisle.

I dialed self-help immediately.

Mr. Google, can you help me?

Pricey.  Expensive.  Not-always available.

Secret ingredient, #2


I need to go now.  It’s apparent that there is money to be made, should one play their cards, just right.

No need for robbing a bank or getting oneself involved in other nefarious activities.

Organic gardening will be my answer.  Grains of Paradise, my method of deliverance.

Taste?  Somewhat lemony and peppery.  Put that with some cinnamon, maple flavorimg, lemon, and a few apples, a sweet potato, and expect to find yourself in the midst of an arresting development.

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