Entrée, Soup, Spring, Winter

THAI SOBA NOODLE BOWL

I started writing a post about spicy chiles. I babbled about how I have made inedible food by underestimating the heat of tiny peppers - a lesson it seems you learn once per chile. That was the short of it because really I just want you to read this article: How to Love What you Do.

I found it via a good friend's twitter and while it seems to be written for photographers, I heard the whole thing speaking to the cautious me. The me who came back from her tax appointment last night thinking WHAT am I doing?!? A question I really need a good answer to given the amount of people asking me, "Your book is written! Now what are you going to do?".

You know how you are never to ask a lady if she's pregnant unless you're absoluetly sure? I would also love to officially add the what-are-you-doing-next question to that forbidden list. I will tell you when I know. Just like the pregnant lady.

I love number 5 about making decisions because it reminded me of all the things I've talked myself out of. The big and the little. I'm motivated and inspired and that's what I wanted to share with you. That and this soup, which is one of the most flavorful things I've made in a while. The broth started off like drinking fire, and then I fixed it and truly feel it's a wonderful recipe base that you can adjust to your taste preferences.

Noodle bowl or not, I hope you decide to think big today, because "doing is all that counts".

THAI SOBA NOODLE BOWL // Serves 4

Adapted from Food and Wine via Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop, New York

I know heat is subjective, so I am giving amounts for a medium spicy soup. I would start there and add accordingly. It's tougher to neutralize the spice in a soup like this, so start moderate. The original recipe calls for fish sauce, which I can't handle, so I opted for peanut butter and tamari. I'm sure you can find the original on their website.

1 14 oz. pkg. Extra Firm Tofu

2 Tbsp. Tamari or Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2 tsp. Sesame or Olive Oil

2 Thai Chiles or half of one VERY Small Habanero, seeded and chopped

3 Stalks Fresh Lemongrass, inner bulbs, finely chopped

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Large Shallot

1/4 Cup Peeled and Chopped Fresh Ginger

1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

2 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk (about a can and a half)

1 heaping Tbsp. Muscavado or Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Tamari or Low Sodium Soy Sauce

3 Tbsp. Natural Smooth Peanut Butter

Zest of Two Limes

Juice of One Lime

Salt and Pepper

2 Cups Roughly Chopped Mushrooms (I used medium portabellos)

Around 9oz. Soba Noodles, love these

Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish

Wrap the tofu in a few paper towels and set it on a plate to drain with another plate on top. Leave it for an hour or up to six. Preheat the oven to 400'. Cut the tofu into 2'' cubes, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with the tamari and oil and bake for about 25 minutes until the edges are browned.

In a blender or food processor, combine the chiles, lemongrass*, garlic, ginger, shallot and 1/4 cup water and puree until smooth.

In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil. Add the lemongrass puree and cook over medium high heat, stirring, until fragrant. About two minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, muscavado, tamari, peanut butter, lime zest and a cup of water. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

While the broth simmers, cook your soba noodles.

To the broth, ddd the sliced mushrooms, stir in the lime juice, taste for salt and pepper and let it sit another 5 minutes. Divide the noodles and tofu between your bowls and laddle the broth on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

* Lemongrass is a beautiful ingredient but try to find a store that sells nice fresh stalks. You can tell because they will be pretty firm. I find it easiest to smash them with the side of a wide knife and peel back an outer layer or two, then chop up the insides to cook with.

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