Sesame Ginger Soba Noodles

Last week, I went down to Marshfield to hang out with my sister, and babysit my niece Maggie, and nephew James. We played outside on the swing set, ran around the yard,  played hokey pokey in the sprinkler, laid on the hammock, and talked about our favorite things. Favorite colors, favorite animals, favorite songs, favorite movies, and of course – favorite food. If you were to ask Maggie any day, anytime “what would you like to eat”, chances are it will be met with a very enthusiastic “NOODLES!”. I don’t know why, but it makes me laugh every time. If she could eat noodles for every meal, she would be the happiest girl in the world.

As I mentioned in the Spaghetti squash post, I too have a love for noodles. Perhaps not as strong as Maggie’s, but it’s still there.  So this week, I decided to make one of my favorite noodle dishes, Sesame Ginger Soba Noodle Salad. You can really put anything on this, but I kept it pretty simple with just veggies.

In my opinion, it’s the perfect summer salad.  Not only is it packed with healthy veggies and ingredients, but it is so easy to make, there is essentially NO way to mess this one up.  My favorite recipes are brainless ones.  My one goal when cooking is: DO NOT BURN DOWN THE HOUSE.  If I have a home at the end of the night, I have succeeded in my cooking goals. Also, I don’t want to use 30 bowls and utensils, and pots and pans, MAKE the clean-up easy.  Especially as we head into the hotter temps – nobody wants to be sweating over the sink cleaning pots and pans.

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SESAME SOBA NOODLE SALAD
*makes plenty for leftovers

INGREDIENTS:
2 bunches Soba Noodles (I use KAME brand – it comes with two packages inside.  I use both so I have leftovers!)
2c. thinly sliced Shiitake mushrooms
3 Baby bok choy
½ c. edamame
1c. Snow Peas (give or take)
1c. Shredded carrots
3 scallions finely chopped
2 medium Garlic cloves
¼ c. Sesame Seeds
Olive Oil

Sauce:
¼ c. Reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2T Toasted sesame oil
3T Rice Vinegar
1T Honey
2t Freshly grated ginger
1t Chili garlic sauce or Sriracha

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the dressing, whisk to combine all ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions, and set aside until veggies are done.
  3. Add 1-2T Olive oil to pan, and sautée garlic until aromatic, then add mushrooms, peas, carrots, base of scallions (leave the darker greens for garnish), and bok choy. Stir occasionally, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften, and bok choy leaves begin to wilt just slightly.
  4. Add the noodles to the pan of veggies, and add 3/4 of dressing to the pan. Stir to combine ingredients, and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has cooked into the rest of the dish.  Add the edamame and cook for one additional minute.
  5.  Transfer to large bowl, add the remaining dressing and sesame seeds, stir to combine.

This dish can be served, hot, room temp or cold…so really there is no BAD way to eat these noodles.

Fresh Rolls

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A couple weeks ago, I was up in Vermont with my family, and my mom just whipped up a batch of these to bring to a friends house for dinner, and ever since then I have been craving them!  Fresh rolls can be SO SO easy, super healthy, and are the type of dish that looks like you put in a ton of effort because they are so beautiful!  And as if these couldn’t get any better, we are going to dip them in a peanut butter dipping sauce…which really just makes everything 10x better.  My mom used a sweet chili dipping sauce for hers, but I live and die for peanut butter dipping sauce, and the recipe below I could literally just eat it with a spoon.

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If you’ve ever rolled a burrito, it’s kiiiind of like that. I’m sure everyone has their own way to roll them, but this is what works for me, and I’m a bit clumsy when it comes to delicate things, so if it works for me, you should be FINE. The other night, I used shrimp, vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrots, red cabbage, mint and butter lettuce.  These can be vegetarian, they can have chicken in them – really you can roll whatever you want into these babies and they will probably be good. In my opinion it’s the noodles and that peanut sauce that make it so good,  but what do I know!  Figure out what works for you!

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INGREDIENTS (that I used, but again – add whatever you want!)

ROLLS:

  • 10 spring roll rice paper wrappers – I used Blue Dragon Brand
  • Carrots (I bought a bag of matchstick carrots…because I was feeling lazy lol)
  • Purple Cabbage (again…bought it pre-chopped – because it’s just easier!)
  • 3 scallions, sliced very thin
  • 1 ounce cooked rice noodles/rice vermicelli
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • handful fresh mint (my sister also uses fresh basil which sounds pretty delicious)
  • Lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce), torn in half
  • 10-12 medium cooked shrimp, peeled and sliced in half length-wise (if you will be cooking them at home, poach them, and let them cool completely before using)

PEANUT BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE (a.k.a. sauce sent from heaven)

  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.
  • warm water to adjust consistency
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or chili-garlic sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped toasted peanuts (optional)
  • key to this…mix in everything except the water, then add water to create the consistency you want.  I add more hoisin or pb, maybe less sriracha based on what flavor I’m looking for.  It should be dip-able without pulling the ingredients out of the roll.  

DIRECTIONS:

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Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package directions – mine soaked for 10

minutes in hot water, then remove them from the water and let them cool.

Each rice paper will soak in warm water for about 10 seconds, or until it’s flimsy.  Place it flat on your prep surface and get to work!

Place all your ingredients piled up 1/3 of the rice paper wrapper. I usually put the ingredients on the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper so it’s easier to roll up. Biggest rookie mistake?  OVERFILLING THE ROLLS! This will take a bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it within a roll or two.

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Again, you are going to roll this like a little delicate burrito. Gently pull the bottom of the rice paper up and over the filling, tucking it just under the filling – don’t be afraid to pull at it a little – it should roll tightly.  Then fold the sides up, and roll baby roll.  Keep tension on the rice paper, but remember, its very thin, and can tear if you pull too hard.  Sometimes this does happen, but an easy fix is to just roll another rice paper wrapper around it!

Once rolled up, place them on a serving plate (I like to place them seam side down just so they don’t try to unravel. If you are making them in advance, just cover them in Saran Wrap, but they are best served within a couple hours of being made.

 

 

Have fun with these – they are great for summer, great for impressing guests, great for just an excuse for that peanut butter dipping sauce, great for just about any situation.  They can be made as an appetizer, lunch, dinner, you name it!

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Let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Hummus

Surpise, surprise!!  GARLIC!!  lol.  You may have caught on by now, that I will be happy IMG_3654 2with just about anything flavored with garlic.  YOU CANNOT GO WRONG.  However, if you are not into it, you can leave the garlic out for a more traditional flavor of hummus. Here’s the great thing about hummus though.  1) It usually leads me to make better choices with my food/snacks.  If I’m eating hummus, I’m probably dipping a veggie in it, or using it on a sandwich as a spread (usually instead of mayo), on a burger, you can put it on pizza instead of sauce, and the best part is, with all the flavor options you can create with this versatile spread, you can get pretty creative with how you want to use it!

Hummus is one of those things that is SUPER easy to make, but so many people don’t make it, and it’s usually because they don’t have one of the ingredients…tahini.  Every other ingredient you for sure have in the house already.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and you are set with a batch of hummus that will taste better than what you get at the store!  So here it goes!

INGREDIENTS:IMG_3652
1/4c. Lemon Juice
1/4c. Tahini (I used Sesame King Roasted Tahini)
2-3T Olive Oil
1 large clove Garlic – minced
1/2t. Salt
1/2t. Cumin
1/4t. Black Pepper
1 can Garbanzo Beans (chick peas) rinsed and drained
2-3T water

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a food processor, combine lemon juice and tahini.  Turn on and process for about 1 minute until it becomes light and creamy.
  • Add the olive oil, garlic, salt, cumin, and black pepper.  Continue to process for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the food processor, then process for another 30 seconds.
  • Add half the garbanzo beans, process for 1 minute, scrape down sides.  Process for another 30 seconds.  Add the other half of the beans, process for 1 minute, scrape down sides.  Add water as needed to make the hummus a bit creamier if it is too thick, but this is personal preference.  Start with just a little, then keep adding small bits – remember, you can always add more, but if you add too much water, you can’t take it out!  Once the desired amount of water is there, process for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve in a bowl, or store in an airtight container.  If serving, garnish with a little extra olive oil, or some fresh herbs.

I added my hummus to this delicious sandwich packed with veggies!
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