Soba noodles with kale, tahini and ginger dressing

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Here we go: another quick, yummy lunch fix. I’ve been tripping on this no-cook dressing for weeks now. It can literally be ready in less than 10 minutes (not counting the time that it takes for your water to boil). But honestly, this is perfect if you are like me and rush home starving and want something quick, tasty and also healthy. I usually have these ingredients in my pantry as well, so it’s not as if any shopping is required for this.

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Prep. time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 bunch purple or green kale

25 gm (1 bundle) of soba noodles per person

1/3 cup tahini

2″ piece ginger, grated

1/2 cup warm water

1 tbsp. sesame oil (+ a dash more for noodles)

1 tbsp. sriracha (add more if you like)

2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. honey

1 scallion stem, finely chopped

1/4 cup sesame seeds, roasted

  1. Put about a liter of water to boil. In the meantime, remove the kale leaves from the stem and prepare your tahini dressing (combine tahini, ginger, warm water, sesame oil, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, honey and soy sauce).
  2. Once the water is boiling, throw the kale leaves in and blanch for about 5-6 minutes, until leaves soften. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves and set aside.
  3. Throw in the soba noodles into the same boiling water, carefully noting cooking times which will depend on whether you are using dry noodles or not. Once a la dente, drain noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water to cool. Add a dash of sesame oil on top of noodles to prevent them from sticking. Pour in dressing and massage into the noodles nicely.
  4. In a bowl or plate, arrange your kale at the bottom. Add the noodles and sauce. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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A kickass cup of (Mad Men) chai

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It’s been rainy and cold here in San Diego (well, for San Diego standards). We badly needed the rain, but the cold weather has created in me unquenchable chai cravings. Everyone knows that the rain (monsoon, to be more specific), pakoras and chai are a killer combination. But chai also always reminds me of weekly Mad Men sessions with friends in grad school and my friend Chika would usually ask me to make a cup of chai at some point, which I was more than happy to do. Chika, this one’s for you!

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Smashed ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. And yes, that’s my mortar and pestle. Now I really feel like I’ve revealed myself to you.

And nah, this isn’t the watered down, teabag chai from Starbucks or even your neighborhood coffee shop. I’m sorry, but no teabag chai, no matter how aromatic, can compare to the zing of this tea. For me, the ginger is essential here: it’s brightness and sharpness contrasts beautifully with the milky sweetness of this tea. You just have to boil these spices together for a few minutes. They will fill your kitchen with the most fragrant, beautiful aroma. And will wake you up.

The best damn chai of your life, I promise.

Serves: 2

Prep time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

3 cups water

1″ ginger piece, smashed

3 cloves cardamom, smashed

3 cloves

1/2 a cinnamon stick

1 tbsp. black tea leaves or 2 black tea bags

1/2 cup milk of your choice (rice/almond/coconut/soy/cow’s)

Sugar/honey/agave syrup (optional, per your taste)

  1. Bring the water to boil in a pot and then add the spices, all of which (besides the cinnamon) you should smash with a mortar and pestle to release the aromas. Let everything boil together for 2-3 minutes on high heat.
  2. Once the water has slightly changed color, add in your black tea bags. Lower the heat to medium and let boil for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off and pour in the milk. Gently swivel the pot around so that the milk distributes evenly in the tea.
  4. Using a strainer, pour into two cups. Add a sweetening agent if you like. Serve immediately.

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Sugar snap peas with breadcrumbs, chili and garlic

Happy spring! Apologies for the radio silence, lovelies….what can I say? First year on the TT is kicking my butt. But believe me, I’m determined to make time to blog again. And just slow down.

This week in my CSA, I got a beautiful bunch of sugar snap peas–bright, green, sweet, and crisp. In fact, when I was trimming the peas, they actually exuded this sweet fragrance. How amazing is that?

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This recipe, which I read and slightly adapted from food52.com, is super fast, super easy, and super delicious. It blew me away and I hope you enjoy it too. It makes a great side, light lunch, or appetizer. And now is the perfect time to enjoy them! I love how the crunch from the breadcrumbs complements the crunch of the peas. The heat from the cayenne and slight tanginess from the lemon zest work really well together here too.

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SUGAR SNAP PEAS WITH BREADCRUMBS, CHILI AND GARLIC

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 (as a side)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed

Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or red chili flakes

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or any breadcrumbs)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium saucepan on low heat. When the oil is hot, add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add the garlic clove, cook for another minute, then turn off heat. Put into a mixing bowl and zest the lemon into the mixture and add the cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. Set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, add another tbsp. oil and add the sugar snap peas. Saute for about 2 minutes, until they are still bright green but cooked through. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Mix everything together; squeeze some lemon juice on top. Serve immediately.

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