I’ve been flirting lately. Yes, and as you’ve probably guessed, Jim isn’t too happy about it. I think he’d like me to stop, but I know it’s a great thing for everyone involved, so I really don’t plan to quit anytime soon. Oh, maybe I should clarify: I’ve been flirting with vegetarianism. Now, now, don’t get too worried. I have no plan to stop cooking and posting about chicken wings, burgers, steaks, and shrimp po’ boys ANY time soon, but I do think limiting them, while adding in a wider variety of vegetables, is a benefit to our family on many levels, most notably cost and health.
First off, unless you’ve hid yourself in bomb shelter nestled cozily under a rock, you are aware that we’re in a down economy that’s being compounded my an even worse housing market, our condo has been on the market for 2 years!, and events over the world that are resulting in increased costs for food and gas, and, unfortunately, those items also effect one another. By skipping meat in some of our meals, like this egg bake, or making some dinners “meat light” like this pasta I posted recently that has bacon in it, but it isn’t all about the bacon, much to Jim’s chagrin. I would rather we skip, or limit, meat 2 or 3 nights a week and eat high quality animal proteins the other nights, than buy and cook lower quality cuts each and every night.
My desire to serve the highest quality of proteins that I can also feeds, pun intended, into the focus on health I noted above. While I realize that there are mixed messages and studies out there, don’t even get me started on HFCS, we can’t deny that a product from an animal that has been raised humanely and on high-quality feed is going to benefit both your physical and mental health. Hey, I’ll still eat steak, but I’d like to think that that cow had a nice little cow life playing with its cow friends on the farm before becoming my dinner, you know? I strive to buy meats and seafood that are fed a more natural diet and free of added antibiotics and hormones, if not fully organic, but admit that, due to cost, it’s sometimes difficult to do so. (Are you seeing the cycle?) Again though, my answer is not to remove meat products entirely from our weekly menus, but to limit them by the mantra: “everything in moderation”.
That long winded diatribe brings me to today’s post, which, incidentally, I served alongside some delicious organic salmon. I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats, a blog you’ll see I reference quite often, and know I’m not alone, as Annie was recently featured as one of Babble’s
Top 100 Food Mom Blogs for 2011. Way to go Annie! I didn’t make any changes to the dish you see below, with the exception of the noodles used. I’m looking forward to trying it with the Soba noodles feature next time around, but the store I stopped at on Sunday didn’t have them in stock (FAIL!), so I substituted the Somen noodles I already had in the pantry. The original recipe suggests whole wheat pasta as a good substitute too if you’re having trouble finding the Soba as well. We had this for dinner last night, but I enjoyed it even more for lunch today, as the flavors had time to develop, so I think it would be a great addition to a potluck or summer picnic, as it can be served cold or at room temperature.
- ½ cup Soy Sauce, reduced sodium
- 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
- 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced, pressed, or zested
- 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
- 1 lb. Soba Noodles, or whole wheat pasta
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
- 2 Carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1½ cups Edemame, shelled and cooked
- Toasted sesame seeds, for serving (I used black)
- Combine the soy sauce, sesame and canola oils, vinegar, garlic, green onions and cilantro in a small bowl. Whisk well to blend.
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain well and rinse with cold water.
- Transfer the noodles to a large mixing bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over the top and toss well so the noodles and vegetables are well coated with the dressing.
- Serve cold or at room temperature and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.