Since I last posted I have:
Started a new job (from home but it even pays...)
Said good bye to my sister and cried for about 2 days because of it
Done the laundry, cleaned my house, grocery shopped, cooked and meal planned
Volunteered at my girl's school
Youngest started karate
Slept and not slept
prepped for my next round of visitors...Jenn (The Leftover Queen), Roberto and Pepperoncino!
that's about it...
Wait, I also got to have a play date with............Jaden of Steamy Kitchen!!! How lucky am I????
Jaden is truly an incredible person and a natural born teacher. Seeing as I have no (and I truly mean no) knowledge of Asian cooking beyond what I get served in sushi places or a Japanese Steakhouse she was kind and incredibly patient with all of my questions!
As an added bonus I got to leave with a grocery bag (no joke here!) of goods. I have jalapenos and lime leaves from her garden, tofu, noodles and some of the wonderful sauce that we made when I was there, and a plethora of other things that she so generously kept shoving in.
I have a noggin now full of photography knowledge and even some things I can do to help mine out without buying the Mother of all cameras!!! The only thing I did not get was some of that wonderful Wild Boar that they have in a cooler in their garage!!! Not yet butchered and I wasn't really up to doing that myself!
Did I get a picture of Jaden and me? Nope sadly not but she has one and will send it to me when she can and I will post it here.
What I did get was a great recipe with tons of instruction along the way! Jaden had chosen to try a recipe from Heidi of a 101 Cookbooks, granted it was heavily modified but this was the inspiration behind it...
Otsu (101 Cookbooks)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.
Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.
While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ⅔ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.
***I loved this recipe and now that I have gotten over my "fear" of Asian cooking I will be making this again and again. The ingredient list seemed so long and foreign to me but once it is broken down and explained it takes most of the intimidation out of it!!! I brought the leftovers home and my whole family was humped up over a big bowl of this just slurping away!