I love eggplant, and am always looking for fresh ways to cook with it. Steaming the eggplant turns it into a soft and silky sponge ready to soak up a flavorful Asian-inspired marinade. This recipe is inspired by one from the New York Times for a cold summer salad, but since it’s winter where I am, I’ve adapted it to be a lovely topping for nutty, hearty buckwheat soba noodles instead, which can be enjoyed warm, room temperature, or cold, and I’ve added baby spinach to the overall dish instead of serving it atop greens. But if you like, you can go with the original recipe’s plan of serving it over baby arugula, or perhaps over zoodles (zucchini noodles made with a spiralizer) if that’s your thing. How’s that for versatility? Continue reading
kimchi soba noodles
Helloooo! Did you miss me? I took a wee holiday break from blogging, due to all the end-of-year craziness and celebration, and I am back all bright-eyed and bouncy! Speaking of celebration, did you know that many Asian cultures ring in the New Year by eating noodles, which represent long life? My good friend described to me how to make kimchi soba noodles – not just for New Year’s, but as a simple everyday one-pot dinner using ingredients that are easy to keep on hand. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and have a hearty, nutty flavor which is perfect with the strong garlicky flavor of the kimchi. I’ve added tofu and spinach for extra goodness, and you should feel free to add whatever vegetables and protein you like as well. Continue reading
sesame kabocha soup with crunchy maple topping
Feeling like making something a little lighter, yet still comforting? Soup is your friend! Or maybe you’re looking for something to do with a random squash, like a kabocha, in your possession, and you’re ready to go beyond simple roasting. Here is a lovely and light, low-fat yet filling soup for your winter nights. Don’t skip making this topping – it is SO GOOD. It kind of reminds me of those little Asian sesame stick snacks which are my absolute favorite snack of all time – in fact, I can’t keep them in the house! And it does all this while being naturally vegan, darling. We had this with avocado toast on the side. (For avocado toast: Take a slice of hearty, whole grain toast, mash 1/2 avocado on top, and lightly salt & pepper to taste. Eat with everything!) Continue reading
hawaiian poke tuna
Poke (pronounced POH-kay) tuna is tuna sashimi marinated in a flavorful blend of sesame oil, ginger, garlic, lime, and soy sauce, topped with scallions, sesame seeds and nuts. I believe kukui nuts or macadamia nuts are the classic nuts to use, but you can substitute peanuts if you haven’t got any of those lying around. Although it seems exotic, this dish is actually very easy. Perhaps this is obvious, but there is no heat involved, so it’s fabulous for summer. It is usually accompanied by seaweed salad, either mixed in with the tuna or on the side.
blistered radishes with sesame soy sauce
Behold, the humble red radish, my namesake. Broiled, the bite goes away and they almost resemble baby red potatoes – I’m not kidding – but with a tiny kick remaining… and NO CARBS, BABY. My husband mowed ALL of these (I had a dainty few). OK maybe 2/3 him, 1/3 me. LOL. My point is, they’re really good. I feel like this could be the next cauliflower. (Veggie that gets all kinds of star treatment due to being a carb stand-in!) Continue reading
grilled tuna steaks with sesame ginger dipping sauce
Since we are urban apartment-dwellers, grilling = broiling for us. It’s like an upside down grill! Or at least ours is, because the heat source (flame) points down from the top of the oven – not everyone’s broiler is the same. Check yours out.
We made this on a cast-iron, enameled grill pan (like this) to get a nice sear and the grill marks on it (which serve a purpose – searing protein creates a Maillard reaction which intensifies umami, also known as savoriness). It helps a lot if you heat your grill pan up under the broiler, place your food on it (it will sizzle!) then put it back in the broiler. Nice! These tuna steaks are a hearty treat. We probably could have made them a little less well-done, which we will try next time. The dipping sauce is pretty intense, especially if you add wasabi – you gotta try it. Wasabi nose, whee!! (That feeling you get when the wasabi heat goes up in your nose! Ever notice how chile heat affects your mouth and lips but wasabi heat affects your nose? Know why? Me neither!) Continue reading