Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soba Noodles for the Lunch Box & A Favorite Shop

To say I am an adventurous shopper when it comes to food is an understatement.  I enjoy finding new ingredients with subtle or even over the top flavors which will take a meal to the next level.  I have always enjoyed shopping in Asian markets & oddly enough Austin Texas has a fair share of them.  We have so many to choose from in fact that I could go to a different one each day for almost 2 weeks straight.  There is one which is my favorite, it has a small mom & pop feel to it.  The New Oriental Market on Airport Blvd is small enough to still offer personalized service & yet has more contemporary ideas like the frequent shopper card which the owner pressed into my palm one day when I stopped for a few things.  They have wonderful Chinese items, Grocery, Housewares, Japanese, Korean food items & even some offbeat items & strange items like Chinese ear cleaning spoons. (I did not make this up & they had happy wooden Asian doll heads on the ends) I do digress though!

I recently went to the New Oriental Market for Shiitake mushrooms & Buckwheat Soba Noodles. Both of these were part of a wonderful salad I took to work for lunch. I ran across the salad recipe in a cookbook called "From Our House to Yours" a cookbook about making comfort foods to give & share.  I shared this with no one but myself & hope you will enjoy the fruits of my labors as I "Share" it for a LUNCH BOX meal which has take away ease & fabulous flavors. Enjoy & if you aren't taking a lunch to work, why not?

Soba Noodle Salad with Tamari Dressing

Tamari Dressing
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp chili sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Juice 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
3 tbsp sake (optional)

1 lb dried soba noodles
3 tbsp peanut or canola oil
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed & thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp sake
3 mandarin oranges, peeled, segmented
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch green onions, cut into diagonal pieces

Make dressing, let sit for 30 min.  In large pot of boiling water cook the noodles until tender, about 4 min. Drain. Rinse in cold water & drain well.  Toss with 2 tbsp dressing. 

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, saute the mushrooms until browned.  Salt & pepper lightly & stir in the sake if using.  Remove from heat & let cool. 

Add the noodles to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss to coat evenly.  Add the oranges, cucumber, cilantro & half the sesame seeds.  Toss again.  Transfer to a large shallow bowl or container with lid.  Scatter the mushrooms & green onions over the top & then sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. 
Chill & serve.  Good room temperature or cold.  Enjoy!