Saturday, March 26, 2011

Soba Cabbage Salad

This is one of my favorite quick, easy dinners, and it's a great way to eat up lots of veggies!  Even if you're not usually a big fan of cabbage, I still recommend trying this.  I've made soba noodles a pantry staple.  I find them to be a nice change for stir fries from always eating them with brown rice, both for their nutritional value as well as for how much faster they cook.  In this dish, you can eat it warm like a stir fry or chill it for a delicious soba salad.  I've used cabbage here because it's in season, but try changing up the vegetables on this one at other seasons.  
-1 -12-oz package soba noodles
-1/4 peanut butter
-1/4 c rice wine vinegar
-1/4 c soy sauce
-2 Tbsp honey
-1 Tbsp minced ginger
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 medium onion, minced 
-1/2 head cabbage, shredded
-3 medium carrots, cut in match sticks
-green onions, crushed peanuts, basil, and/or cilantro as garnish (optional)

->Cook soba noodles in boiling water until al dente.  

Meanwhile, as noodles cook, combine peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce,  honey, ginger, garlic, and onion with a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium to low heat until all ingredients are well combined and sauce is thick and bubbly.  

When noodles are ready to drain, place cabbage and carrots in the colander.  Pour hot water and noodles over vegetables to drain.  

Toss vegetable-noodle mixture with sauce.  Either serve now warm as a stir fry or chill in the refrigerator to serve as a light but filling soba salad!

~*TIP:  Use the trick above as a way to easily incorporate more vegetables into any pasta dish.  For veggies that won't take long to cook or that you want to stay a little crunchy, just put them in your colander (like above) and pour the hot water over them as you drain your pasta.  For veggies that might take a little longer to cook or that you want more tender, throw them in the boiling water with your pasta a few minutes before it's time to drain it, then drain all together, and continue with your recipe.  *~

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Portabella Spinach Risotto

Risotto always sounds intimidating to me, but whenever I make it, I'm reminded of how simple the process is, and with such great results.  Local portabella mushrooms were on sale, so I paired them with local spinach and local goat cheese for a creamy and earthy risotto.  Garnish with garlic chives from the garden, and you have a great combination of hardiness and freshness for early spring!  
-olive oil
-1/2 one large onion, chopped
-2 large portabella mushrooms, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-salt and pepper
-4 c chopped fresh spinach
-2 cups Arborio rice
-1/2 c white wine
-about 5 cups of broth (veggie, chicken, or other)
-4 oz goat cheese
-1/4 c Parmesan cheese
-garlic chives for garnish (optional)

->  Heat broth in a saucepan and keep it simmering until needed later in the recipe.  

Sauté onions and mushrooms in oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown.  Add garlic and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  
Add spinach and stir until wilted. Next, add the rice and mix until coated with oil.  Add wine to rice mixture and stir until the wine is mostly absorbed.  Now, add broth about one cup at a time, stirring with each addition.  Add more broth whenever last addition is absorbed.  Throughout this process, stir constantly and keep risotto at a simmer.  When the rice takes on a creamy consistency and the grains are tender, but al dente, you can take it off the heat and stop adding the broth.  

Finally, stir in goat and parmesan cheeses.  Check seasoning, and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  Dish up and garnish with garlic chives.  Enjoy!

~*TIP:  Often when I get spinach from the farmers' market, it's covered in a sandy residue from the sandy soil it's grown in.  There's nothing worse than getting a big bite of sand in a bite of delicious risotto!  I like to wash my spinach by submerging it either in a sink or large bowl filled with water.  Shake it around in the water, and then let the water settle.  The sand will fall to the bottom.  Then remove spinach by picking it up out of the water, rather than dumpling the water off, leaving the sand at the bottom, and your spinach clean!  *~