mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: asparagus

green tea soba noodles . . .

DSCN0660Have you ever tried cooking soba noodles? They’re made out of buckwheat so they’re usually a medium brown color. There’s also a type of buckwheat soba noodles made with green tea (yep!.) and these are the ones that I turned to make supper for tonight when my piece of fresh salmon from Canada turned out to be perfect to be eaten in very thin slices of salmon sashimi dipped in Osawhwa organic soy sauce and wasabi.

We’ve had a beautiful day with a breeze, sun and temperatures in the mid-seventies. It’s not really hot but I thought I’d make a cool dish out of the soba noodles since the salmon sashimi was cool. Here are the steps I followed:

  1. I boiled two ribboned stalks of green tea soba noodles for about five minutes. I had prepared a shallow pan filling it with ice cubes to chill the noodles once they were drained from cooking. I let them set there for a few minutes while I prepared the vegetables.
  2. I had about six beautiful stalks of asparagus. I quarter cut them at a slant to where the stalks were too tough to use. I sauteed these asparagus pieces in canola oil until they were almost cooked. Then I drizzled in some “super sesame oil” – which has a little spicy taste to it – and a few drops of tamari (a darker soy sauce from Japan.)
  3. I also peeled a Persian cucumber and cut into thin lengths, then cut diagonally to make slivers.
  4. For the main noodle marinade, I poured about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/8 cup of Marukan seasoned rice vinegar, a few drops of honey, a squeeze of Meyer lemon juice and about 1/8 cup of spring water. I tasted it for a balance between piquant but not too sour with just enough sweetness.
  5. I drained the chilled noodles from their ice water bath and shook them until they were really dry. I poured them into a shallow serving dish, poured the marinade over them and tossed the cooked asparagus and raw cucumber into the dish. I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

Without salmon sashimi as the main protein “condiment” which was thinly sliced and dipped into soy and wasabi before eating, I would suggest that the green tea soba nooole marinade could be served topped with grilled or broiled shrimp, or perhaps some grilled flank steak thinly sliced on the side too.

In any case, we’ve inaugurated the warming Spring weather with this refreshingly cool supper tonight. Bon Appetit! or in plain English – TRY IT because it was YUMMY!!

 

“pasta primavera” . . .

Today’s weather was sunny and mild once the rain fell and moved on this morning. The result is a fresh garden with birds twittering along while I make dinner tonight.

Over the weekend, I bought a handful of fava beans in their shells – the most expensive green vegetable anywhere, as far as I’m concerned. You end up paying the weight of these massive outer skins to reveal a few fava beans wrapped in their protective membranes. Parboiling the shelled beans in their skins, then rinsing them under cold water, then enables you to peel that skin off of each bean to harvest the bright green, tender fava bean within. It’s worth it but it’s tedious.

With the fava beans (and plenty of crushed garlic,) I planned to quarter cut some fresh asparagus with the tough stems broken off. Earlier, I had a small bit of fresh spinach that I cooked in butter, chopped up and added a bit of heavy cream to make creamed spinach. When the fava beans were shelled (G. kindly lent a hand there,) I sauteed two cloves of garlic in a generous amount of unsalted butter, added the fava beans, asparagus and after they were cooked, the creamed spinach. What beautiful greens!

To a pot of boiling water, I added dried egg fettucine and cooked them through, draining them and adding back to the pot with a gob of butter to coat them, along with some truffle salt and chopped parsley.

To serve, I’ve begun plating pasta dishes in shallow soup dishes that  I found at Brimfield, eons ago – they turn out to be just the right shape and size for a good-sized serving of spaghetti, or in this case, fettucine with Spring vegetables. I also like to squeeze a crescent of fresh lemon over the dish after the vegetables and before freshly grated parmesan cheese is provided on top.

YUM YUM YUM! (and the kitchen smells divine with the garlic, vegetable, butter aromas wafting around. . . ) Now, to rescue the bottle of wine I remembered to put into the freezer a little while ago. The wine was divine – a wonderful one given to us by C. with an odd name: “Qupe.”

Happy Tuesday!

variations. . .

raw sweet potatoes with peeler . . .

raw sweet potatoes with peeler . . .

One of the things we most enjoy eating is Japanese sweet potatoes. Have you ever tried them? They have a thick red outer peel and a white/yellow very sweet interior. Once you taste them, it’s really hard to go back to the more commonly found yams, sweet potatoes or even garnet yams. Sometimes these Japanese sweet potatoes are found in smaller sizes, just right for a single serving at dinner. Other times, these tubers come in large sizes and seem too large to bake. All of these comments are by way of introducing the idea that tonight, I’m going to try making Japanese sweet potato FRIES!! Peel the red outer skin off; use the large Samurai carving knife to cut the peeled potatoes into slivers, dress in vegetable oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake until crispy, golden brown.

fresh out of the oven!

fresh out of the oven!

My daughter, C., also bought some boneless, skinless chicken thighs this weekend which I will dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg and enriched panko crumbs to fry gently in a combination of vegetable oil and unsalted butter.

pan fried chicken . . .

pan fried chicken . . .

A quick swizzle of fresh cut asparagus in some butter with cracked pepper and fresh lemon juice will complete our supper for tonight. Later, we’ll finish off the key lime pie that we still have two servings of in the fridge.

It’s been a breezy Spring day today. Last night, I tried the occipital bone massage on myself (and G. did too) before I went to bed. I didn’t take ANY sleep tablets of any kind and woke up close to the time we usually do. I must be letting go of some subliminal anxiety about how my foot is doing inside the heavy cast that has been on my leg for almost three months. In anticipation of two feet being available, I ordered a pair of graceful taupe, nubuck Birkenstock sandals that have closed fronts and easy to slip on backs.

I’ve also been toying with what to do about the length of my hair; whether to trim it tight and shorter in the back, tapering longer on the sides to the front. I’ve been tempted to try cutting it myself but caught myself in time from what is clearly foolish thinking!  Anyhow, there’s still plenty of opportunity to vacillate back and forth before I can get outdoors to a hair salon next week. In the meantime, my injured foot feels better inside the cast: fewer painful episodes, more freedom of movement when wiggling my toes and moving them back and forth with the cast on.

With the Boston marathon heading our way next week, all the stories on TV about the wounded who lost limbs has reminded me of how marginally injured I have been by comparison and how fortunate I am that it wasn’t much worse. Lots of perspective gained by lessons learned all around. It’s been a quiet transition from Winter to Spring, the white snowdrops in the yard and flowering tulips in the markets a harbinger of more colorful times which are soon upon us.

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