I’ve just returned from the most fun weekend. Friday evening I flew down to San Francisco for BlogHer which was a food blogging conference. There were interesting panels and highly successful panel participants but most fun for me were the terrific people. You see people write frequently that food bloggers are the nicest group of people and, having spent the weekend with a bunch of them, I have to agree. Open, warm, funny, generous, and interesting. I met a few people who I hope will become true friends. And any of them are welcome to come visit me in Seattle.
(On a side note, if you follow anyone on Twitter who was there, or you read the blog of someone who was there – yes, the food was THAT bad. Here is a terrific account of how things went wrong and where they should have gone right.)
Speaking of friends, I cooked for a good one last week. I have mentioned Deb here before several times. She used to be my neighbor and now lives just a few short blocks away. We try to get our kids together once a week at least to play since they are similar ages and they love each other. We also love to have our happy hour wine and catch up. Usually dinner is something really casual. It’s a break for her because she loves to eat vegetarian but is married to a meat and potatoes guy, and it’s a break for me because I get to not cook a big meal. Our standby is baked potatoes with toppings and a big salad but last week my mom was joining us and I had a full box of vegetables from our CSA.
I decided to make this soba noodle dish because, well, it just called to me. I was scrolling through the index of my much beloved Fields of Greens looking for recipes starring bok choy (yes, I got more bok choy) and of course this jumped out at me. Asian noodle dish? Yes please. The three of us loved this and with a little advance prep chopping, it came together incredibly quickly. I added tofu because I almost always do so to Asian food for the added protein.
Buckwheat Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms, Bok Choy, Ginger and Scallions
Adapted from Fields of Greens
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 large or 2 small heads of bok choy
12 oz. soba noodles
2 tbsp. light vegetable or peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
3 tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking sake)
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seeds
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Remove the mushroom stems and cut the caps into 1/2 inch thick slices. For small heads of bok choy, slice the stem lengthwise, leaving leaf and stem together. For a large head, slice the stems diagonally, 3/4 inch thick, and slice the leaves into 2-inch -wide ribbons.
When the water boils, add 1 tsp. salt. Add the noodles and cook as directed on the package, about 8-10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large saute pan; add the shiitake mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. salt. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chiles, and bok choy and sauté for 2 minutes.
Drain the noodles in a colander when they are just tender. Reduce the heat under the sauté pan and add the scallion, sesame oil, mirin, and soy sauce. Quickly add the noodles, taking care not to overcook the bok choy. Remove from the heat, toss the noodles with the vegetables and cilantro, and season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.