Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Soba Noodles with Tofu and Cucumber in a Soy-Vinegar Dressing




I love soba noodles. If you're not familiar, soba noodles are the size of spaghetti and they are made from buckwheat. I can't believe I have never written a blog about them since I eat them at least twice a week. They're so easy and quick to cook up. I usually just boil them, add something green like broccoli or kale, add some tofu, and flavor with some sesame oil, braggs amino, and sesame seeds. Maybe I'll top with some cilantro and avacado - just depends what I have around the house. They're pretty tasty. 


One of my favorite Soba dishes is called Otsu from the Super Natural Cooking Cookbook by Heidi Swanson. Here is how I make it!

The Dressing:
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, chopped
1 tablespoon agave
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce or braggs liquid amino
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

For the Protein:
1 block extra-firm tofu
Red Pepper Flakes
Sesame Oil
Sea Salt

The Rest:
8-10 ounces dried soba noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


Make the dressing by combining the ginger, agave, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into triangles. Make a rub with the sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt and coat both sides. Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Flip gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and a bit crispy on both sides.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ⅔ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

This is seriously one of my favorite dishes. Some other variations I like to make are adding some or all of the following: sauteed brussel sprouts, lightly cooked broccoli, sauteed kale or spinach, edamame, shiitake mushrooms, or Gardein instead of tofu. I also like to top with avocado whenever I have that available. You really can't go wrong with Soba Noodles. Anything Goes!

Lately I've been listening to a lot of Neko Case. I really enjoy her latest album, Middle Cyclone. It's one of those albums that I like more every time I listen to it. I like to listen to it when I am cooking, but it works anytime. Here is a song from it, perhaps you'll like it as much as I do. 


Do you have a favorite Soba Noodle Dish? Make a comment or Email Me, I'd love to hear about it!

Namate, 
Monica

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Favorite Vegan Shampoo and Conditioner

I have been trying for a few years now to find a good vegan, paraben-free, and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. I have tried a lot of different brands and haven't had any luck until NOW! This coconut shampoo and conditioner by dessert essence is made of all natural oils and extracts (some organic) and made my hair shiny and feel smooth and healthy. My hair is thick and tends to be on the dry side, and it's been tough to find a product that leaves my hair feeling this soft. You can buy this online or at whole foods.

What is your hair type? Do you have a favorite shampoo and conditioner that is natural, paraben free, and vegan? I would love to hear about it. Make a comment or Email Me! Hope to hear from you soon.

Namaste,
Monica

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Cove and How to Take Action



Have you heard of The Cove? When I ask this question, most people they say, "Is that the dolphin movie? I can't watch that stuff."  Seriously people, avoiding this movie just because you don't want to see something that is going to make you sad and teary-eyed is not a good enough reason for me. Yes, it's horrific, but It's really amazing and inspiring to see this group of activists join forces and document their journey to a cove in Taiji, Japan where approximately 23,000 Dolphins are killed each year. This film is a must see. It will inspire you to take action, spread the word, and will leave you feeling empowered.

Please don't avoid this film -  It's a very powerful documentary that demands to be seen.

Please visit this website to find out how you can take action and  make a difference in whatever way you want just like the people in this film are doing.