Soy and Soba Saturday Supper

image_1Although I live in New York, I spend a lot of time in Washington D.C. visiting some very important people in my life: my boyfriend, my brother, my sister-in-law and my best friend (who conveniently lives in the basement apartment of my brother and sis-in-law’s house!) Some visits are jam-packed with dinners and activities, which is always lots of fun, but sometimes it’s perfect not to leave the house and just cook, eat, and straight chill. My boyfriend* and I went shopping my first real day in town, and planned for the next few days (he’s type A, and I’m just really into shopping lists):photo(4) Our Saturday night dinner had been something I’d been thinking about for a few days and featured one particular recipe I’d been dying to make: Cold Soba Salad from Short Stack Edition‘s Strawberries volume by food author extraordinaire Susan Spungen. I’d sampled the dish before and was eager to recreate it myself (plus, I love anything Japanese-inspired) Here’s the page from the book, with lovely illustrations by designer Rotem Raffe (see above). I’m including the recipe written out, too, as this one may be a little hard to read!

strawberries layout copyCold Soba Salad from Short Stack Editions Vol 3: Strawberries by Susan Spungen (Serves 8)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white miso
1 hot red chile, finely minced, or more to taste [I couldn’t find red chiles so added a squirt or two of Sriracha]
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

For the salad:
One 8.8-ounce package soba noodles
4 ounces shishito peppers (if they’re not in season, substitute cubanelle or poblano peppers) [these weren’t available, but I did celery instead–not really an even trade, but the fresh crunch was nice]
1/2 cucumber–peeled, seeded and thinly sliced on the bias into 1/4-inch half moons [I used two little Persian cucumbers]
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (about 1/2 pound whole) [still surprisingly tasty from Trader Joes!]
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

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…Strawbz. Thanks Instagram for the mood lighting.

Make the dressing: Stir the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the miso, chile, and sesame oil; whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Drain well. Toss the noodles with the dressing.
Grill the shishito peppers on a grill or grill pain in a cast-iron skillet until they’re blistered and softened, about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Let them cool, then slice on a bias and discard the seeds. [I skipped this step, since I didn’t use shishitos, but sounds pretty good, right?]
Top the dressed noodles with the grilled peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, scallions, mint and cilantro. Mix gently to combine and serve.image_5

For the main course, I wanted to stick with Asian flavors, and decided to do a Soy Sauce glazed Roast chicken, loosely based on this recipe.

Here’s what I did, using a 5 1/2 pound chicken.
As I always do, I employed Mark Bittman’s super-easy roast chicken method, and turned the oven to 480 degrees F, and a few minutes into the pre-heat, put a Cast-Iron pan in the oven on a lower rack.

Meanwhile, I made the glaze for the 5 1/2 pound chicken (we wanted leftovers!), by melting about 9 Tablespoons of UNsalted butter, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce, and about a teaspoon of white miso paste (leftover from the Soba Salad!) [for this, make sure to use UNsalted butter because the soy and miso are both salty as hey-ull]
I had some leftover scallions also from the Soba Salad, and stuck about 3 of them into the chicken cavity, along with some garlic. Next time, I want to use only softened butter with the soy and miso and stick it under the skin. ANYWAY…Then, I stuck the chicken in the oven, scattered some garlic cloves around it, and voilà! 40 Minutes later we got this:image

And, what’s dinner without these two things:
1. Cheese and Crackers (and a little Arsenal pride in the form of a coaster…)image_3          2. Leftovers for Sunday night TV binge fest
          No, I don’t want to talk about Breaking Bad ever againimage_2*I hereby promise I’ll never be one of those food bloggers that spends most of the time talking about their boyfriend. They’re the worst.

Pickle Pantry Essential #14

Pickle Pantry Essential #14: Short Stack Editions Cookbookseggs_COVERfrontAt the risk of sounding utterly self-promotional, I’m featuring Short Stack Editions cookbooks as my Pickle Pantry item this week. While I’m deeply involved in this project, acting as the Marketing and Media Manager, in addition to shipping the books to all of your homes (hopefully!), it’s a series I truly believe in and think anyone interested in food or cooking should own! Each small-format volume is devoted to a single ingredient, and this summer we’ve released Eggs by Ian Knauer, Strawberries by Susan Spungen and Tomatoes by Soa Davies. Having read these books many times through, I know that each recipe is easy to follow and execute, and highlights the essence of each ingredient. We offer sweet and savory recipes, and ones for hors d’oeuvres, first courses, mains and desserts. This fall we’re excited to release Buttermilk, Sweet Potatoes, and Grits. Take a look, watch our video and place an order if you feel so inclined!

*images courtesy of Short Stack Editions, design by Rotem Raffe

Fall Over Here!

DSC_0036Although the weather seems to be switching around on us here in New York, it’s undeniable that Fall is on its way, with its promises of crunchy leaves underfoot, apple-themed parties and finally, less sweating.DSC_0032

Whenever the weather turns autumnal, I try to make as many visits to my parents home in Massachusetts. Now, New York in the fall can be beautiful as well, but nothing beats the true New England foliage and the image of my dog engaged in battles with leaf piles around the neighborhood. I also relish trips to Wilson Farm in nearby Lexington: DSC_0001 DSC_0010 DSC_0016DSC_0017In preparation for fall and its bounty of tasty ingredients like squash, sweet potatoes and the ultimate apples, I’m gearing myself up with a little pre-jaunt to the land of Hallowed Eves and Cinnamon-laced beverages.

 

Pickle Pantry Essential #13

Pickle Pantry Essential #13: Collapsible Colander
Having recently moved from a studio to a shared living situation, I’m realizing the kitchen-appliance-hoarding error of my ways. Luckily, I have a few space saving items which are saving me from the wrath of my lovely new roommates. One is this great collapsible colander from Chef’n: Picture 1It’s perfect for draining into the sink, and shrinks with just a flip of the hand!

Photo: Courtesy of Chef’n

Luxuriating in Lamu (and I’m back!)

DSC_0145Hopefully you’ve noticed that I’ve taken quite the hiatus over the past few weeks. After two glorious weeks in Kenya (more on this later), I returned to New York and immediately moved to a new apartment. But, now that the dust has somewhat settled, the first order of business is to reminisce on my African adventure with lots of food photos and descriptions of utter hedonism.DSC_0044

Although this was my first experience in Africa, my trip was far different from the traditional safari voyage; in fact  more of a relaxed beach vacation. After an 11 hour layover in London, 16+ hours of air travel, and time spent in the makeshift international arrivals area  (read: tent)  at Nairobi airport, my parents and I arrived in Lamu, a small island off the coast of Kenya.DSC_0059

A world heritage site, Lamu is the ultimate paradise—clear blue waters, long stretches of un-inhabited beach, and boats instead of cars. Days were spent enjoying long luxurious beach walks, sampling local seafood, and going for dips in the ocean.

Lunch at Lamu House Restaurant on the other side of the Island:

DSC_0090DSC_0098 DSC_0119 DSC_0115 DSC_0106 DSC_0103 DSC_0101 DSC_0100DSC_0099The local Swahili cuisine is an interesting mix of Indian and African—samosas, chutneys and pungent stews are pervasive, with an emphasis on seafood and tropical fruits. We ate almost entirely seafood-based dishes, ranging from Western-inspired to Swahili and even some Asian influences.

Fish Curry, Okra and a Spicy Fresh Salad:

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Langoustines and Roasted Vegetables:

DSC_0135 DSC_0141 DSC_0139 DSC_0137Whole Roasted Fish:DSC_0239Stuffed Crab: DSC_0274Fresh Fruit including the “Tree Tomato”, which was sour and had a distinct roasted meat flavor: DSC_0143 DSC_0159DSC_0257DSC_0244…And back to reality.