Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Soba Salad With Spinach, Edamame and Miso Dressing

I was looking for something quick and easy tonight. Not to mention something meatless. I think we're still recovering from Dinosaur BBQ this weekend where we ate our weight in wings, ribs and brisket.

I came across this recipe in the NY Times from Mark Bittman and it seemed to fit my criteria. I did need to pick up some things (anyone know what I can use a whole jar of miso for?), but once we started putting it together it took no more than 15 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight meal, and it tasted good too. The soba noodles had a bite to them, and the dressing had a nice Asian flavor, not too sweet like most dressings. And using chopsticks to eat it definitely makes dinner a little more fun, but then again I'm easily amused.

Soba Salad With Spinach, Edamame and Miso Dressing

Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 ounces soba noodles
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups edamame (frozen are fine)
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons white or light miso
1 tablespoon mirin or 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Drop in the noodles and carrot and cook until tender, 2 to 4 minutes; add the edamame for about 15 to 30 seconds just to warm, then drain everything in a colander. Set aside.

2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, miso and mirin or sugar. Add spinach, noodles, carrot, edamame, scallion, and toss; then taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with grated ginger at the table.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice

Up until a few months ago I had been a vegetarian. Well, actually a pescatarian once I gave into the siren song of sushi. That expanded my horizons for the time being, but eventually I find myself wanting more. Namely the chance to experience restaurants like Dinosaur BBQ and Momofuku without gazing longingly at everyone else's plates. So I finally started eating meat again and was surprised to find how much I like it. Ribs are one of my new favorite foods and I forgot how amazing a piece of bacon can be. Surprisingly the meat I'm least enamored with is chicken. Is it just me or is chicken sort of boring? It's good for a quick weeknight meal, but I've never had a chicken that wowed me. But I digress...

Before Dennis and I kick back and start our Labor Day weekend, I thought I'd make a recipe from Everyday Food that caught my eye. The recipe says it takes about 25 minutes, though it took me closer to 30-35 minutes. Still not too bad for a weeknight meal. We both thought it came out quite tasty, though I think next time I wouldn't seed the peppers quite so much. It could've used some extra spice. And maybe something crunchy for a nice contrast, like some crushed peanuts on top.

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice (from Everyday Food)

1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 TB plus 1 tsp fish sauce
2 TB plus 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 TB vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long hot peppers or red jalapenos, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
Lime wedges for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk and 3/4 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. (My rice overflowed once it started boiling so just keep an eye on it. Also, it was done in 15 minutes.)
When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice and with lime wedges.