ASIAN BUCKWHEAT NOODLE SALAD

I have noticed the last little while a growing food trend for Asian noodle salads. I have seen many variations on the classic Asian noodle dishes but one of my favourite recipes happens to use buckwheat noodles. Growing up in a Korean household I have had my fair share of buckwheat noodles. We had them with spicy and sweet sauces, kimchi pieces and other vegetables mixed into this versitile noodle. Recently, I was inspired by a cold noodle salad recipe by Chef Bobby Flay. I tweeked the recipe here and there and served it for dinner one night. My husband, never had tried buckwheat noodles, was understandably a bit skeptical about the dish. Even though it is a real looker with all the bright veggies, the dark colour of the noodles could be intimidating to some. He gave it a try and gave me a thumbs up! It was a real winner. The slightly sweet but tangy dressing was terrific for this salad. I will definitely be making this again.

Adapted from Chef Bobby Flay's recipe "Buckwheat Noodle Salad" from the television show Grill It! with Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz buckwheat noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • half a cucumber, cut lengthways into thin strips
  • 2 green onions, cut into thirds, and then diagonally
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 5 radishes, sliced thin
  • large handful of mixed greens

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/8 cup + 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

In a large bowl, add in the rinsed noodles and vegetables listed in the ingredients. Using your clean hands, gently toss to combine. In another bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, veggie oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the noodles and veggies and toss using tongs, until the dressing has distributed evenly. Serve the salad immediately.
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CLASSIC BUTTERMILK SCONES

Here is a classic scone recipe that I found in one of my newest cookbooks (The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book, 2008). There is actually a story behind the very scones you see in the picture... My Great-Uncle-in-law Bob was in the hospital recovering from a fall and I had one day gone to visit him to see how he was doing. We were having a really nice conversation and we started talking about one of my favourite subjects, food! I had asked him what kinds of baked goods he loved to eat and he simply answered, "I'm not sure what they're called but I love the triangular buttery bread". Being an avid baker I knew what he was talking about so I answered "oh, scones!" and he smiled at me, and answered "yes!". I asked him if he would like some freshly baked scones and he didn't say no and just smiled widely. I knew what that meant. The following week I baked a small batch of these and sent two along with a note with my husband to take to Uncle Bob. I heard from my hubby that he loved them! A couple weeks afterwards we sadly found out that he passed away in the hospital. I was so glad that I was able to give him even a moment of joy eating one of his favourite baked goods. That why I just love food, it brings out a smile in a all of us. Uncle Bob will be missed greatly, and whenever I bake these again I will fondly remember him, and envision his smile once again. This post is dedicated to this wonderful man.

Adapted from "Our Finest Buttermilk Scones" recipes from the Canadian Living: The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book, 2008.

Makes 12 scones

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Baking time: 18-20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp each: baking soda and salt
  • zest of one lemon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside for now. In a large bowl, combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until it resembles a crumbly texture. The butter should be distributed throughout. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, and then pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until it comes together to form a soft dough.

3. With lightly floured hands,  form the dough into a ball. Lightly flour the surface, and gently knead about 10 times. Pat out a 10 x 7-inch (25 x 18 cm) rectangle.

4. Cut the rectangle into 6 squares; then cut each diagonally in half. Place each onto the prepared baking pan. Then place it into the centre of the oven and bake it at 400 F until golden brown, or for 18-20 minutes. Let it cool a bit before taking the first delicious bite!
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