Even though I love cooking, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming since we require food pretty much constantly throughout the day. Every couple hours, there’s another decision to make: shall I toss something together, or grab a meal out? This debate for me starts the night before with the question of breakfast. If you read my post here, you know that my standard breakfast involves something piping hot out of the oven. When I’m feeling energetic, I make a batch of scones or muffins the night before. When I’m feeling super-crazy-optimistic, I leave the scone baking to the morning. While always worth the effort, it can get a little hectic on those days trying to get to school and work on time.
So that’s why I appreciate more simple recipes for weeknight dinners. My method is to work around whatever I have in stock, and tonight it was going to involve sweet potatoes and cucumbers. Luckily, I have an inspirational Food & Wine magazine on hand – the March 2012 issue of Healthiest New Ingredients. I found all kinds of clever ideas here for the weeks to come: salads with various grains, scallions, avocados, sprouts, nuts and some really great sounding vinaigrettes. My recipe tonight was inspired by the Super Sprout Chopped Salad.
I think it’s worth saying that I repeatedly prefer a home cooked (or tossed) meal to eating out. It’s not that restaurant food is bad, but it’s just hard to go out and find something like the dish below: simple, lightly cooked ingredients with a bit of a twist. My goal is to create a few five-ingredient staple dishes that I can fall back on for quick and easy meals.
Speaking of food and creativity, Food Revolution Day is coming up May 19th! As an Austin Ambassador for the event, I’ve been reaching out to leaders in the food world with some ideas for events. So far, we may see a few potluck picnics, farmers’ market activities, elementary school garden days, and a pizza party at a very special location! I encourage everyone to get involved… here are a few great ideas for starting an event:
And here is that recipe – serves two:
Sweet Potato, Cucumber & Soba Noodle Salad
1 sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ sticks
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1 handful walnuts
1 tbsp ume plum vinegar
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tsp honey
1 package buckwheat soba noodles
1/2 cucumber, chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
black sesame seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with the coriander, pepper flakes, olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil and sea salt to taste. Bake on a cookie sheet for 12 minutes, adding the walnuts in the last 6 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, mix the vinegars, tamari, honey and remaining tsp of sesame oil. In Place the cucumbers in a large salad bowl where you will mix the salad, and add half the dressing. Let marinate while you make the noodles.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil, and add the soba noodles. Cook according to packages instructions, 4 minutes or so, drain in a colander and rinse.
4. Add the soba noodles, sweet potatoes, walnuts, green onions and dressing to the cucumbers, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Enjoy!