Welcome to the FINAL Secret Recipe Club for 2014! I can’t believe this year is almost over – it has flown by way faster than I thought possible. While the year hasn’t been the best at times, I’ve come out of it stronger – or at least more determined than ever to succeed. Enough about that, time to focus on the recipe! This month I was assigned the Saturday Evening Pot which is run by a husband wife duo, which is rather awesome. Their motto is “Faith, Family, Food: Flavors of a Fabulous Life” and fully covers everything they feature on their blog. There are so many amazing recipes on their blog, some created by Chef John while others are ones sent in from friends all over the globe. I was immediately drawn to their Okinawa Cooking Class recipe for Yoka Soba – minus the pork of course! Instead I greatly increased the amount of vegetables already featured in the dish, to include adding in a second type of cabbage.
I also added some sesame seeds for a crunch, but that’s just me – they can easily be left out. For those craving a meaty version, please check out the original recipe! I also have a feeling tofu would work great, but still on a low-soy diet as we get ready for next round of fertility treatments. In theory our transfer will be in a few weeks so will know if it worked sometime around the start of the year. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll be going for a session every other month for essentially the entire year. A lot to take in – but hopeful that 2015 will be our year!
In food news, there is a mini-SRC post coming up in two weeks so for those of you looking for something sweet make sure to come back on the 15th! The next “real” SRC post will be in early February, which seems so far off now but will be here in just a blink of an eye.
Braised Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce
Eggplant is a standard ingredient in my house, it can be cooked in so many ways and essentially goes with everything. However I tend to always prep it the same way – pressed – and cook it one of two ways: stir fry or baked. I’ve branched out once before with poached eggplant and wanted to do that again, even it meant having pasta on hand just in case. So I searched the internet, and my cookbooks, and decided to give braised eggplant a whirl after seeing claims of a softer more flavorful dish. It’s closer to how eggplant is cooked in most Oriental restaurants and I liked the idea of the eggplant absorbing more sauce, and with that more flavor. This cooking method also meant I needed to salt my eggplant, instead of pressing it, to insure it was as “dry” as possible for maximum sauce.
Coconut Soba Noodles
Sometimes the best dishes are the ones that result from emptying out the cabinets and seeing what all is hiding. I was inspired by last month’s Random Recipes to continue going through my pantry as part of my fall cleaning. In doing this it turned out that I have a large collection of soba noodles, probably because I only have a few recipes for cooking them and lately fresh ginger has been scarce. So I decided to start throwing ingredients together, based on some of my favorite ingredients. The result was a very rich dish popping with flavor and crazy filling, the fact that it came together in no time at all just made it even better.
One day I’ll get better about keeping my cabinets clean, but until then I’ll be turning to quick and easy pantry cleaning recipes. I will certainly keep experimenting with the soba noodles, there are a few Thai inspired recipes I want to try as well as another Burmese noodle dish.
Japanese Soba Noodles with Ginger Soy Sauce
When I first saw the /52weeks of cooking challenge for last week was Japanese, I was all sorts of excited. While I have had Japanese food a number of times, outside of some girls nights doing “sushi” I have no experience cooking the cuisine. So off to the cookbooks I went to get some ideas! Unfortunately my cookbooks turned out to be very light on Japanese recipes, which is probably why I haven’t cooked it. I might have over a dozen curry recipes but I was only able to find locate one Japanese recipe that didn’t have a notation about being fusion or “in the style of”. So I start Googling Japanese restaurants, hoping that I would find inspiration in menu items, something that I have done before with some success. After seeing a few dozen recipes calling for Soba Noodles in some type of sauce I decided to give them a whirl. I also decided to go out of my comfort zone and work with ginger, an ingredient that has caused problems for me in the past. For the vegetables I decided to keep it simple and green, since I wanted the noodles and the ginger to be the start of the show. I grabbed bok choy, which I had never cooked with before, and kale, and old friend, and headed off to heat up my wok.
I’m know this recipe is more “in the style of” Japanese cooking, seeing as how bok choy didn’t make it to Japan until the early 20th century, but it has certainly inspired me to find some vegetarian Japanese cookbooks. With that said, if anyone has a cookbook, vegetarian or not, that they would recommend please leave a comment! I look forward to many more Japanese cooking adventures in my near future.