Posts Tagged 'soba'

Simple Soba Salad

This has been a completely exhausting weekend.  Moving across the bay area, unpacking and organizing while caring for a 10-month-old with a 104 degree fever, and temperatures in the high 90s (with no A/C at the moment) really took it out of me.  We made the necessary Target/Ikea/BB&B trips, ate way too much takeout, and I didn’t run for four days in a row because of all the stuff to do.  But I couldn’t be happier.

After two years of never really feeling at home, this feels completely different and good.  I love feeling the sun, knowing our books and shoes aren’t going to end up moldy (yep, that happened), and being able to walk to pretty much every store you could ever want.  I have no illusions that now we’re here, life will be perfect, the end, but it does sort of feel like waking up from a long and kind of unpleasant dream.

I made this soba just before we moved, and again just after (there were only a few nights of pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in between).  It’s incredibly quick and simple, and leftovers make great lunch (like most leftovers, I guess).  I sometimes add chopped peanuts or top it with a fried egg, and sometimes I’ll add other vegetables, but this is the back to basics version that you can dress up however you like.




Soba Salad with Sesame-Miso Dressing

I really love soba noodles.  It all started with the recipe for Otsu in Super Natural Cooking, and grew from there into a mild obsession. I pretty much insist on eating them at least once a week, and I love the way they provide a pleasantly earthy backdrop for a huge range of flavors and textures.

Here, I added some red cabbage, sliced carrots, sauteed portobellos, blanched broccoli, avocado and fried tofu and tossed it all with a very simple miso and sesame oil dressing. Delicious!

In other news, we’re giving the state tests this week at school. I could rant for DAYS about my feelings on testing (and public education in general), but this is not the time or place. Instead, I’ll just say that no matter what our scores are, my kids this year have completely blown me away. I have students from Burma and the Philippines who’ve been in this country for just a couple years but can write a lab report with precise details and thoughtful conclusions. I have a student who asks the most awesome and insightful questions every single day. I have fantastic models of organic compounds built by the kids. I have their work all over my walls and I hear their thoughtful discussions every single day, and THAT is what shows how amazing they are , NOT a pick-the-best-answer-and-fill-in-the-bubble test.

I’ve been turning to kitchen therapy a lot this week. Not because work is stressing me out, but because I’m hardly running so I need somewhere to focus my energy. I bought some caperberries at the grocery store last week because I’d never seen them before and was curious.

They taste like a cross between a green olive and a caper (two flavors I love), but they have weird little grainy seeds inside so I think I’ll stick with either olives OR capers from now on. I did use them to make a pasta dish with roasted cauliflower, though, and THAT was pretty good.

Happy Friday!


Soba with Eggplant and Mango

I had two fantastic runs this weekend.  First up: 10 miles on a beautiful path with Mike and Ellie.

I woke up kind of dreading the run and I was in a pretty crabby mood, but about 3 miles in everything was good again. It was warm, my legs felt good, and it was nice to be able to run and chat with Mike (who pushed Ellie in the stroller – she loved it too!)
Afterwards we stopped at 7-11 and nothing sounded better than chocolate milk.  I guess that whole “refuel with chocolate milk” marketing thing worked on me.  It was divine.

Sunday morning there was a 5K in Golden Gate Park. It was same course as a month or two ago (when I ran 21:56), so I was curious how it would go with kind of tired legs. The weather was perfect for running (as usual) and I felt nice an relaxed the whole race. I ended up snagging a fifth place finish in 21:08, my second fastest 5K ever. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

I also finally got to meet Kristine, who totally killed it in her first 5K!

Sunday night I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, but this recipe sounded too good to pass up, and it ended up being pretty easy. I used regular eggplants, but next time I might switch to Japanese eggplants because they have thinner skin.

This recipe made plenty for both dinner and lunch the next day, and the mix of flavors was awesome: sour lime, smoky eggplant, sweet mango, and earthy soba. I added a chopped habanero pepper, but you can leave it out if you’re don’t want it super spicy.

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Soba and Kale Salad

I’ve reached the sugar-saturation point in the holiday season. The last week has been intensely cookie-and candy-filled, and now I want nothing more than vegetables, and tons of them.

I didn’t eat all of those, but I came close.

We had a couple holiday parties this weekend, and since my parents were in town, we were able to go out just the two of us for only the second time EVER!

I celebrated the occasion by curling my hair… I don’t even remember the last time that happened. I also made some chocolate-dipped pretzels to take to the party. So easy and so festive!

I really, really love my new lens.

Anyway, to counteract the insane amounts of sugar I’ve been living on the past few days, I made this salad. Twice. It was such a hit with my parents on Friday for lunch that I made it again for dinner on Saturday. I love it most after it’s had a few hours to chill in the refrigerator.


Garlic Soba Noodles with Edamame

I have a couple life updates to throw out there. First of all, this morning I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight! I gained 31 pounds while I was pregnant, lost all but 7 within the first week or two, and then the weight loss pretty much completely stalled.

A few weeks ago I decided to count calories for a few days just to monitor what I was eating (since being at home makes it way to easy to just graze on crap all day), and since then I’ve just been mindful about only eating when I’m actually hungry. I’m guessing all the running and Bikram I’ve been doing probably helped a little bit, too.

Second, I’m back at work and it’s AWESOME. The kids this year are so amazing. I had them write paragraphs explaining the difference between mass and weight, and was completely impressed with how well they write. Also, about a dozen students from last year (who are now in high school) stopped by one afternoon to visit and it totally made my day. I love this job!

Meals like this are perfect for those busy days (like yesterday, which involved work, a dentist appointment, and a trip to Costco to get stuff for our work party this weekend) that require something super fast and healthy. I served the noodles with a quick slaw made with red cabbage, mint, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.


Cold Soba with Dipping Sauce

I almost always order something really similar to this any time we go out for Japanese food, but I figured there had to be a way to make it myself. Unfortunately this isn’t vegetarian (I occasionally eat fish products), but I’ve done some research and apparently you can make a substitute for bonito flakes using dried mushrooms and kombu kelp. I plan on trying that really soon and I’ll add the recipe here as soon as I do.


2 bundles (about 6 ounces) soba noodles
thinly sliced green onion
sesame seeds

dipping sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 tbsp bonito flakes

To make the dipping sauce, boil the water, soy sauce, mirin, and bonito flakes together for about 5 minutes. Pour through a strainer and let cool completely.

Boil the noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until tender (5-8 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Pile some noodles on a plate and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with a small bowl of dipping sauce on the side.

Teriyaki tofu and soba sushi rolls

I can be really, atrociously terrible at following directions, and this dinner, unfortunately, is a perfect example.

I’m not always like that though. When I worked in a lab and was doing all sorts of crazy things with DNA, using primers and different chemicals that completely intimidated me, I was the best direction-follower ever. I had to be, because I was doing someone else’s work and I really, really did NOT want to mess it up for them. When I’m baking a really complex dessert with a bunch of different components, I read through the whole recipe a bunch of times, and follow instructions to the letter. But a simple sushi roll with soba instead of rice? I thought reading the directions was kind of pointless.

This brilliant concept (which I will definitely be making again now that I know what I did wrong, comes from the fabulous vegan blog BitterSweet. Basically, you’re supposed to tie a bundle of soba noodles together at one end, boil it, then cut off the tied end and roll the bundle up into sushi. It seems so simple, but I just assumed you were supposed to tie both ends, boil, drain, cut off the string, and roll them up, starchy, clumped-together ends and all. I guess common sense isn’t really my forte. Anyway, after realizing that a bunch of the noodles were uncooked in the middle, I went back and figured out the error of my ways. I think I like sushi made with soba even more than sushi made with rice, and the addition of baked teriyaki tofu made this a complete, satisfying meal.

(inspired by BitterSweet)
1 16-ounce block extra firm nigari tofu (I used Trader Joe’s High Protein Tofu)
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 tsp grated ginger

sushi rolls
2 carrots, julienned
1 English cucumber, seeded and julienned
1 avocado, cut into strips
6 sheets of sushi nori, toasted (I just hold them over the low flame of a gas burner for a few seconds)
3 90g bunches of soba noodles
wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger for serving

To prepare the tofu, preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a shallow baking pan. Cut the block of tofu lengthwise into strips about 1/2″ x 1/2″ by 4″. Toss them with the soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and garlic, and arrange in a single layer in the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, until brown and firm. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the noodles, divide each bundle in half, and tie at ONE END with a piece of kitchen twine. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the bundles for about 6 minutes, or according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and let dry for a few minutes.

To assemble the sushi, cut the tied end off the noodle bundle and place the noodles on the nori. Add a few tofu sticks, some carrots, cucumber, and avocado, then roll up tightly using a sushi mat (or if you’re cheap like me, a piece of wax paper.) Slice with a very sharp knife and arrange on a plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients (you may have some tofu left over, but it’s great diced and added to salads.)

Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger.


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