Entrée, Gluten Free, Spring


cold sesame cucumber noodles

The postpartum appetite is a moody one. With a super frequent nursing schedule, I was eating like a high school athlete, except not exercising at all, just, you know, keeping someone alive with the food my body is making. Then it slowly starts to balance itself out and my portions have become more reasonable and I just recently hit the phase where I'd like to be eating a more wholesome diet than I was getting away with while grasping for energy and sustenance all day. My grandma told me that you crave sugar when you're tired and I'm not sure how factual that is but it felt very true to me. I still need a lot of food, but I'm trying to clean it up as of late. And it's Spring! How appropriate. Fresh things abound. I mean, look at that beautiful pea pod above. So Jeanine's book came in the mail at just the right time because her whole schtick is colorful and fresh and simple. I made her cold noodle salad for lunch with some crispy tofu bits on top but you could leave those out or add any protein of your choice really. It came together in 20ish minutes and I would guess you have most of these items on hand. It's an everyone sort of salad - open to adaptations, saves well to pack for lunch, crunchy and light but still filling. So good. 

cold sesame cucumber noodles
cold sesame cucumber noodles


Adapted from the Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio

Soba noodles can come in a wheat blend or a full buckwheat version, which would make them completely gluten free. The former are a little easier to work with, the later more appropriate for those with dietary restrictions. I like my noodles with LOTS of vegetables, like more salad with noodles in it, so I personally could have gone for two cucumbers but the original calls for one. I use this julienne peeler. 

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1.5 Tbsp. low sodium tamari
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 tsp. grated ginger
3 chopped scallions
12 ounces soba noodles
1 large cucumber, julienned
two large handfuls blanched snap peas

for garnish
sauteed tofu cubes
roughly chopped mint and cilantro
sesame seeds

cold sesame cucumber noodles

In a large bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, tamari, oil, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the scallions. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the noodles according to instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain, then run the noodles until cold water until chilled. Mix the noodles into the large bowl of dressing. Add the cucumbers and snap peas and stir. Add your tofu and lots of herbs and then chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Garnish with avocado and sesame seeds as desired. 

cold sesame cucumber noodles

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Entrée, Fall, Winter



I typically work on Saturdays, but this past weekend I had the day to myself. The only plan I made was to get up to the farmers market and stop by my grandma's on the way home. I like going to the market alone. I can watch, listen, feel, observe without keeping a conversation or trying to hurry. I collected bags of greens, citrus, deliciously crispy and crazy expensive apples, lots of herbs - my usual loot. Weaving through the people, I swear that every passed mumur was about kale. If that market was any indication, the hype is not passing yet. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the word 'kale', I would have bought more of those apples. So, since I like it, and the general public is still pumped on the dark leafy green, I pulled this recipe from the new Deborah Madison cookbook, Vegetable Literacy, coming out in a few weeks.

The book is serious. It is serious in the beautiful way that the author is comitted to and passionate about her subject. The book is hearty in size (certainly no shortage of information there) and the recipes are quite simple while still offering something unique. The book is divided by broad families of vegetable, and through text and recipes, shows how herbs and complimenting vegetables pair well or can be used interchangably. Heidi wrote a perfect description here. Madison has a long standing reputation in vegetarian cooking, and this book stands as further reference that the woman knows her plant based foods. The front flap says "a masterwork from America's leading authority on vegetarian cooking" - that's really all the introduction it needs.

This recipe comes in two parts in the book. First, I ran across the suggestion in the chapter involving buckwheat, seeing as soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour (at least in part). The recipe suggested tossing the noodles with the kale and slivered brussel sprout salad written in the cabbage family chapter. The thing about me and noodles, is that I like my vegetable:noodle ratio 2:1. I basically like a little bit of noodle in my salad. So when the recipe hinged on the salad recipe that you then toss with noodles, it sounded like I could have exactly what I wanted. The salad on its own is perfect, the addition of noodles classify it as a meal, either way this is a wonderful, quick dish.



Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison:Vegetable Literacy

The recipe originally calls for 4 brussels, but I wanted to finish up the bunch I had. I ended up using around 10 and discarding the tough core. There is enough dressing to bulk up the greens here, so the recipe below reflects that change. 

  • 1 bunch tuscan kale
  • 5 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 10 brussels sprouts
  • 1 plump clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 4-8 oz. soba noodles
  • 4 slivered green onions, for garnish

Slice the kale leaves from their stems and discard the stems. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll them up tightly lengthwise, and then thinly slice them crosswise into narrow ribbons. Put the ribbons in a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until they glisten.

Discard any funky outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. Slice them paper thin (mandoline works best) then toss them with the kale.

Pound the garlic until smooth in a small mortar (I used a bowl and minced the garlic fine). Stir in the vinegar, remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss well. This much can be done in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve, or enjoyed alone as a salad.

Bring the water to a boil. When starting the noodles, finish the salad with the sesame seeds, pepper flakes and green onions. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain well. Toss the noodles with the greens. The noodle salad can be served warm or cold.

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Entrée, Soup, Spring, Winter


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".


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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