Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing

IMG_7374Hello Old Friends,

I’ve had a lot of requests lately for vegetarian recipes, so I thought I would dust the cobwebs off my blog and share one with you. Oh the technical hurdles I had to leap to get here! But now that I am here, it feels right. I apologize for my pictures. My Nikon (like my hair) have seen better days so I am taking my pictures with an iPhone (and eating lots of biotin).

This recipe is an adaptation from the cookbook Plenty and was recommended to me by a friend and amazing mom-chef. It’s become a staple at our table much to my youngest daughters dismay. Hey, three out of four likes at our dinner table is a success in my mind.  I hope you love it as much I do!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients

1 package organic soba noodles,

1/4 cup shelled edamame, blanched

1 cup chopped broccoli, blanched

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 red bell, thinly sliced

avocado

cilantro and green onions

nori

For the dressing

1 clove garlic, minced

2 t ginger, peeled and minced

1 T sesame oil

3 T natural, smooth peanut butter

3 T lime juice

2 T tamari

2 T- 1/4 cup filtered water

First, set a large pot of water to boil. Done.

Next, assemble and prep your veggies. There are no rules here, so use whatever you like or whatever you have in your fridge. I quickly blanched my broccoli and edamame, everything else is raw and thinly sliced.

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Once the water comes to a boil, cook your soba noodles according to the package directions.

While the noodles are cooking, let’s make the dressing. Combine the minced ginger and garlic with the sesame oil, peanut butter, lime juice, tamari, sugar and water. The amount of water you use is up to you. I personally like the sauce to be on the thinner side. I feel like it blends better and still coats the noodles nicely.

Drain your soba noodles and add them to a large salad bowl.

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Top with your prepped veggies, and toss with your peanut salad dressing, chopped cilantro, and green onions.

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I like to add half an avocado sliced onto each plate. Next time I make this I will also add chopped up strips of nori. 



IMG_7382This is one of those righteous dinners that leaves you feeling full and satisfied but not weighed down. Make enough so you can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day!

 

Lentil and Farro “Falafel”

I’ve been trying lots of new things lately in the kitchen and in life.

I find that the older I get the more anxiety I have about this.  It is most important to try new things when you feel a resistance to stepping out of your comfort zone.

Why you ask?

Well for me, it is so I can find the compromise between the person I want to be and the person I actually am.

The person I sometimes think I want to be is a bit of an extremist. She has a clean car, organized closets and she is radiating health from a raw food diet and a day of kayak surfing.

Yeahhhhh.

I made I made a raw, vegan cashew cheese. Have you ever had that before? It’s pretty good. But then I remembered that I’m not vegan and not on a raw diet and real cheese is really just so much better. I made it half a day on raw cashew cheese and salad and then had a feeding frenzy snack attack like none other when my kids got home from school.

And as for kayak surfing, the only wave I caught was the shore break that sent kayak, paddle, hat, and myself scattered along the beach in front of a small but notable audience.  Not exactly the graceful ocean exit plan I had in mind. Luckily for me awkward is the new cool. [Read more…]

Spinach, Feta and Roasted Bell Peppers in Puff Pastry Shells

If you have ever been to a party at my house or if I have ever catered for you, chances are you have tried these little puff pastry treats. I always make these for a party. They taste great, they make the house smell amazing, and there are never any left over which I take as a good sign. But the real reason why I always make savory, spinach puff pastry shells is because I can make them and freeze them weeks in advance.

Yep, I just totally blew my cover, but that’s ok, we’re friends. Right?  I’m sure Super Woman has a few tricks up her sleeve. Not that I think I’m Super Woman. Well make these for yourself and see if you feel at all like a culinary super hero.

If you are planning a big party and attempting to do most the cooking on your own it is essential that you find a balance of low maintenance foods and foods that require attention and detail. If you don’t find that balance in your menu planning it is very likely you will go down in flames in the kitchen with frizzy hair and a frazzled expression on your face in front of all your family, friends, guests and/or employers. Overly dramatic? A little. Serious? Very!

These Greek inspired puff pastry shells are a low maintenance menu item, hooray! All you have to do during your party is pop them in the oven and set a timer. All the high maintenance work is done in advance on your own time. So a few weeks before your party if you have a day where you’re just cruising at home, make a batch of these and keep them in the freezer. You will not be disappointed. They taste so much better than the pre-made frozen ones you buy at the store, it’s not even comparable!

You will need a mini muffin pan. This recipe makes 48.

Get creative with these. Everything tastes good in puff pastry so go wild and use what you have on hand. I’ve made fillings of brie, cranberries and pistachio, also roasted artichoke hearts and olives, how about mini apple pies? Yum.

Ingredients

2 Puff Pastry Sheets Defrosted

8 oz cream cheese (room temp)

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta

2-4T Milk

1 head Garlic

1 bag frozen chopped spinach (defrosted with all the water squeezed out)

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 t finely chopped fresh oregano

1 T finely chopped fresh parsley

flour for dusting

Directions

Preheat your oven to 450.

First thing to do is get roasting. Chop the top off your head of garlic. Put it on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Wrap it up in the foil and put it in the oven next to your red bell pepper on a sheet pan. Leave the garlic in for about 25 minutes or until your house smells like roasted garlic and you remember to take it out.  (No harm no foul) Unwrap it and let it cool. The cloves should be soft and squeezable.

Flip your bell pepper over every so often until the skin is evenly blackened and roasted on all sides. About 45mins to 1 hour. Once you have accomplished this put your pepper in a ziplock, close it up, and let it steam.  Once it has cooled down you can peel off the skin and scrape out the seeds. Try not to rinse it under water cause that will wash away all the flavor you just worked so hard to achieve.

While all that roasting and steaming is going on, get out your mixer and add your cream cheese, feta, milk, parsley, and oregano. Squeeze out all the cloves of roasted garlic into the mixer. Turn it on with your paddle attachment until you have a nice thick and creamy mixture. You can add more milk if you need to thin it out a bit. You can also do this by hand if you don’t have a mixer.

Next get your spinach ready. Put it in a pot with a few tablespoons of water and cook until it is not frozen. Drain, and I mean drain! I like to squeeze out all the excess water through a clean dish towel. Add the spinach to the mixer. Dice up your roasted, peeled and deseeded red pepper and add it to the mixture.

Lightly toast your nuts and add it to the mixture. It should look something like this.

Now that your filling is ready lets get to work on the puff pastry. Lightly dust your clean work surface with flour and unfold one puff pastry sheet on it. You can even it out with a rolling pin if you like just be careful not to overwork the dough.  You are going to cut the dough into 24 pieces. This requires a little thinking. 3 cuts one way and 5 cuts the other way, right?

Get your mini muffin pan, and spray it with Pam. As a rule, when in doubt, spray Pam! Fit your puff pastry pieces into the muffin pan and add about a tablespoon of spinach mixture into each.

 

After they are all filled up, cover the pan with syran wrap and put it in the freezer. You should have about half the spinach mixture left, put it in the fridge. Eat some lunch, take your kids to ballet, do some laundry, maybe some crunches. Whatever.

Once they have frozen into their new and improved muffin tin shapes, pop them out using a butter knife and put them into a ziplock freezer bag. Store them in the freezer for up to one month. Repeat with the other puff pastry sheet and remaining mixture.

During your party, calmly preheat your oven to 425. Put your pan in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.  Let them cool a bit before popping them out with a butter knife and serving. They will go fast but you will be ready with another bag in your freezer.

Hope you have a great party!

Love,