Phew! What a day! I have been out straight planting and watering flowers, edging and hoeing in garden beds, composting and top dressing, and slapping mosquitoes! I am feeling so righteous ... so what can I do to top this day off? Well, I could just harvest two shopping bags full of prime spinach ... and use a few big handfuls to make a healthy, garlicky, cheesy platter of Soba noodles.
... Siberian iris and blue - my fave color!
This recipe comes to me from one of my favorite foodie websites ... Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. That Heidi, she's one to make me feel like such a slouch! It seems that everything she makes is righteous ... healthy, vitamin-packed, fiber-filled, and oh so fresh and natural! How the heck does she do it? She has such imagination and an innate sense of what tastes just right with what!
I thought this dish was weird when I first read the post, but after I thought about the peppery flavour of the radishes balancing the salt and garlic powder (yeah, I know.) in the spinach and noodles, the softness of the tofu balanced with the outer crunch of the Panko and cheese, the smoothness of the Soba noodles and the crunch of the radishes ... it all began to make sense!
Now, let's talk about tofu a bit. The last time I tried to cook with tofu, my children were in their 'tween years. I made a shrimp tofu appetizer that made my children gag - seriously. SB and I managed not to gag, but we were seriously put off of tofu ... for twenty years. No kidding. Well, I am definitely the more adventurous and forgiving of the two of us. The kids have grown and flown. SB has been on a bike trip for the last couple weeks, so when I re-visited Heidi's recipe the only fear I had was MY fear ... and no one would know if I gagged and pitched the dish. So what the Hell!
But, wait! Dang, but I was more than pleasantly surprised ... enough that I ate an obscenely large amount of what sat on that platter!. Good thing I halved the original recipe!
And speaking of recipe ... here you go! Healthy, meat-free, gluten free, low in fat, high in flavour. The only thing that isn't so great is that you need quite a bit of salt in the dish to bring out all of the flavours and counteract the peppery radishes. It sure was yummy, though!
Garlic Soba Noodles for Two
adapted from Heidi Swanson's recipe just a bit
4 oz. dry Soba noodles
6 oz. extra firm tofu, drained, dried off, and cut into 6 rectangular slabs1 egg, lightly beaten
a bit more than ⅓ c. of Panko crumbs
pinch of Kosher salt
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
About ¼ c. canola oil for frying
1 tbsp. olive oil4 spring onions/scallions, whites and greens chopped
6 big handfuls fresh spinach, chard, or other favorite green - stems removed and chopped
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ c. grated parmesan
4 radishes, washed and thinly sliced
Making the Dish:
- Cook the Soba noodles for about 4 minutes – until al dente. Drain and toss with a spritz of olive oil and some Kosher salt.
- While the noodles cook, mix the Panko, cheese, and salt on a plate. Dip the tofu in egg and coat with the Panko, salt, Parmesan cheese
- Heat the canola oil in a fry pan and fry the tofu until it is golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
- Wipe out the fry pan and place it over medium high heat.
- Add the olive oil and the green onions and greens. Toss until they begin to wilt.
- Add the noodles, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese, tossing to combine. Toss in the radishes.
- At this point, if you want things hot, zap the noodles in the microwave for just a quick warm-up.
- Turn the hot noodles onto a platter, slice the tofu and fan over one side of the noodles. Top with a few more green onion tops and serve.
Now for a little tour of the flower beds!
... chives and Star of Bethlehem
... honeysuckle for the hummingbirds
... Baptisia also called false indigo
... the last sprig of foamflower
... my favorite white Bleeding Heart