Thursday, August 30, 2007

spicy soba noodles with shiitakes

cold soba noodles with edamame

Alex has been narrowing his eyes at my ever-growing periodicals stack lately, and I don’t blame him. How did someone whose life so fully revolves around the Web end up with so many subscriptions to print magazines? Hint: I am only paying for one of them. Hint: Most of them are available ink-free on the Web.

That said, he has a point. When you’ve got (at best) 660 square feet of floor area, and (at best) 20 square feet of table/counter area, it is less than ideal to give up any of it to dead tree media. So, I finally caved, or more like focused my attention span long enough to quickly breeze through pages this weekend, and Gourmet? I’m sorry. I hope the sixteen pages I bookmarked over three issues will compensate for my allowing you to collect a thin layer of dust. Your photography still makes me whimper with envy.

udon and edamame, draining

And the thought of those soba noodles with cabbage, shiitake and edamame in the fridge makes my stomach grumble with disappointment that I left it at home today. Though it was not exactly the 30-minute main they promised–though the fact that I was making/snacking on bean dip and Scrubs was on might have prolonged the prep portion of the meal–it was the kind of spectacularly easy thing that can really make the difference between Tofu Pad Thai in a little white box and something you actually can monitor the ingredients of on a Monday night.

sauteed napa cabbage and shiitakes

It also helps that I really love the combination of mushrooms, edamame and cabbage with noodles. I replaced the Korean chili paste with Thai chili-garlic paste because that was what we had on hand, thus I can’t attest to whether a tablespoon of the former would be way too much for a spice-moderate palette. The level of Thai chili paste was perfect.

The only thing I’d change next time is to add a splash of dark-toasted sesame seed oil to round out the acidity. I won’t go as far to call this THE soba dish I will come back to time and again, but for a Monday night dinner with leftovers you still crave on Thursday, it’s not bad at all. Oh, and July/August/September Gourmets? We’re just getting started.

cold soba noodles

Aww: I want to thank everyone for their sweet and smooshy comments on the anniversary post. I love the fact that the internet will come out and celebrate our anniversary with us… Group hug! What is completely unfair is that you were unable to join us for the seriously, ridiculously good dinner at Gramercy Tavern. The vegetable tasting menu made my year. I am not sad, however, that I don’t get to share my new earrings with you.

Serious Eats: In The Myth of French Golden Arches Revulsion, I question the idea that only Americans love fast food.

One year ago: Roasted Garlic Soup with Parmesan Cheese

Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Cabbage
Adapted from Gourmet August 2007

Makes 4 servings

For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons Korean hot-pepper paste (sometimes labeled “gochujang”)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

For noodles
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (8 cups)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

Stir together all sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved, then set aside.

Toast sesame seeds in a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, then transfer to a small bowl.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute ginger and garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shiitakes and saute, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add cabbage and most of scallions (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

While cabbage is cooking, cook soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until noodles are just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water to stop cooking and remove excess starch, then drain well again. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sesame seeds and vegetable mixture. Serve sprinkled with reserved scallions.

Epicurious’ note: If you aren’t able to find Korean hot-pepper paste, substitute 3/4 teaspoon Chinese chile paste and reduce the amount of soy sauce to 1/4 cup.


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