Monday, May 3, 2010

Green Machine

Lately I have been craving GREEN.  As I suffered through yesterday's premature summer swelter, slightly hungover, lugging my gimpy roommate around Yankee Stadium (all for the sake of the Yankees destroying the White Sox), I contemplated how good a giant salad would make me feel.  Cold and crispy and greeeen.  I know you're thinking,"What a freak... who eats greens to cure a hangover?"  Yours truly, as luck would have it.  I could go for a green smoothie right about now too, even though I'm only just now recovering from my veggie overload at lunch.  (I discovered Cafe 28, and I think it might mean trouble.)  And it's basically torture looking at this picture below, remembering the crunch of ever-so-slightly-boiled-then-chilled broccoli.  Drool.

I got this recipe for green soba noodles from Heidi, obviously pulled in by its green magnetism.  I really enjoyed this recipe, and for once I actually cheese where she did not.  This is rare, seeing as if there are two ingredients on which Heidi never skimps, lemon zest and grated Parmesan they would be.  But I really liked my addition, though I imagine it might have been improved upon by actually grating the cheese rather then crumbled it between my fingers into chunks the size of chickpeas.  Oh, the things I will do in the name of not washing the cheese grater.  My one complaint about the recipe?  You try pulling 2 cups' worth of cilantro leaves off the stem and tell me what you think.

Cilantro Noodle Bowl

Adapted from Heidi Swanson's 

8 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 3 cups baby Romanesco or broccoli florets (would like to try Romanesco at some point because they're pretty!)
zest of one lemon (token Heidi lemon zest)
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (it pains me to use that much olive oil, and with reason.  I used more like 1/3 of a cup and it was just fine.)
Grated (or crumbled) Parmesan/Romano cheese, to taste
Cook the soba in a big pot of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender - but about 20 seconds before the pasta is done cooking add the broccoli to the pot. You want it to barely cook. Now drain and rinse under cold running water. Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.

In the meantime make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, cayenne, salt, and olive oil. Blend in a food processor or chop by hand. Taste, adjust for more salt if needed and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, broccoli and a couple big splashes of the cilantro dressing. Toss until well combined. Add more dressing and a couple pinches of salt if needed. Turn out onto platter and crown with a couple pinches of cayenne and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves about 4 - 6.

What to do with all that leftover Parmesan?  My mind immediately went to soup, as it generally does.  When I remembered the below tomato soup, I considered making Mark Bittman's grilled cheese croutons, since we all know that tomato soup and grilled cheese is the best combo on earth, but I had a vision of them disappearing, hot out of the oven, before even coming within feet of the soup.  Mind you, this is probably the best packaged soup I've had in a really long time.  Great ingredients, great nutrition facts, and super creamy.

I decided to nix the carbs and just throw the cheese (yes, I yielded to the cheese grater) straight into the soup.  Huge success, if I do say so myself.

Thinking about it, these two dishes would actually go pretty nicely together, if you just wanted a little pasta side dish for your soup.  And FYI I think I liked the noodles better cold, and not just because I'm lazy.  Ok, fine, at least a little because I'm lazy.

A big announcement!  Ok, not really, but I'm psyched.  I'm getting a LANDLINE on Wednesday!  What?, you say, They still make those?  Yes, indeed they do.  This way I will be able to work from home instead of coming into the office every time I have a phone meeting, which, as it turns out, is every moment of every day.  So I should have more time for cooking/blogging/redefining exactly what it is I am blogging.  This should work out well for us all, no?

Hope you're managing on this icky sticky Monday!


  1. I made those cilantro noodles once, except I made them with brown rice because it was before I started running like a fiend and became a tried and true pasta aficionado.
    Point of story: Still good.

  2. Oh my goodness, those vegetables look SO GOOD. Me encanta el cilantro. But I can't say I'm envious of the weather you've described. New York humidity is its own unique creature and I'm not looking forward it...