I’d like to open my birth month, June, with a recipe #fail. Otsu…which is now Yuck-su to me.
This is the first recipe from 101cookbooks.com that I have loathed. Hated it. Can’t stand it. Won’t make it again. I think I have made nearly every recipe Heidi Swanson has posted on her delightful website. It’s my “go-to” site. It’s the site that I direct people to when they are like, “you can’t eat anything good if you are a vegetarian” and it sucks them in every…single…time. I dare you not to like Heidi OR her website 101cookbooks.com. This recipe however, for me, didn’t suck me in. It. Just. Sucked. From the surface it looks like something I would eat myself into a food coma by; however, I felt it lacked a certain freshness I was expecting from the sauce. It just tasted salty to me and sorta, I don’t know, blah. The cucumber was a strange random addition at the end. I’m posting this because I think with a few additions or subtractions even, this might be a great dish…so go out there and tweak it to suit your tastes. Sorry Heidi, this one failed for me. I still love ya, but this one is getting black listed from my repeat list.
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 12 ounces dried soba noodles
- 12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.
Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.
While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ⅔ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.