janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘noodle’

15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on July 22, 2011 at 5:47 AM


Please pardon my oven use during the heat wave. The Greek Baked Beans were worth it, though. Delicious lunch-friendly leftovers.

I should be absolved of my wrong doings with this meal. No oven. No stove top. Not even a blender.

Instead, I christened my new spiralizer (thanks Rob!) by making zucchini noodles. I have done julienning by hand, and this is infinitely easier, consistent and pretty! Just look at these long strands of zucchini! In 30 seconds tops, you have your noodles!


Of course, whenever you have a pasta dish, the meal is all about the sauce.

I went for a quick, super easy raw tomato sauce. 15 minutes, tops. I told you, no cooking or blender required.

A love of garlic, a must, though.

Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles
Adapted from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (the original recipe was posted here by Tess), this is a zippy, rich tomato sauce. The raw ingredients really make this sauce pop. All you do is mix together crushed tomatoes, raw garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, a bit of olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and you’re done!

You’ll be laughing at how simple and healthy this recipe is… but then afraid to bring the leftovers to eat at work, with all that raw garlic. 😛

Now, if you don’t have a spiralizer, this sauce would be equally delicious over linguine or spaghetti, but then you’d have to boil some water for that!

What’s your favourite sauce for zucchini noodles? Or your favourite pasta dish?


This is my submission to this week’s Presto Past Nights, hosted by Anu of Truth Personified, to this month’s Simple and in Season, and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Chilled Soba with Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas, Spinach and Tofu

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on April 26, 2010 at 10:07 PM


The weather has been fabulous for spring so far in Toronto.  A great time to start riding the bike! Warmer weather, though, brings cooler dishes, which is why I loved this dish.  It melds a variety of Asian flavours together with my one of my favourite noodles, soba. The fresh green veggies, including baby bok choy, snow peas and spinach, are lightly steamed, then combined with cool silken tofu in chunks and smothered with a ponzu soy sauce.

But what is ponzu?  It is an Asian  sauce made from mirin, rice vinegar, bonito flakes and kombu, and occasionally soy-based, with a note of citrus tang from yuzu. But what is yuzu?  It is a citrus fruit from East Asia, that looks like a small grapefruit but tastes like  grapefruit and mandarin orange. It is difficult to find yuzu here, so it can be substituted with a blend of juices from other citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc).  There are recipes to make your own ponzu sauce as well but I buy mine from the store.

I have discussed other Asian ingredients and where to find them in Toronto, in previous posts here and here, and ponzu sauce can also be found at Asian markets like Bestwin and T&T. I can’t say I’ve seen it at Loblaws and the like, but I haven’t checked. I found it on amazon as well.

Ponzu sauce is nice as a replacement for soy sauce in many Asian dishes and has the added benefit of less sodium. It is also a great dipping sauce for gyoza (Japanese dumplings).

Chilled Soba with Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas, Spinach and Tofu

This dish was adapted from Gourmet (July 2008), and despite having a long ingredient list and many directions, is quite simple to prepare but does leave many dirty dishes to clean. However, it is definitely worth it. You can use an assortment of seasonal Asian vegetables, steam them until crisp but retain their colour (blanch them if you are incredibly worried, but I chose not to dip anything into ice water and it was fine). The noodles can be cooked under the steaming vegetables, to save time.  The sauce is nice but the ponzu flavour is not overwhelming. If you cannot find the ponzu sauce, substitute it with a bit more soy sauce, or omit completely. It makes a lot of sauce, which is tasty but could likely also be decreased by 3/4 or more.  The crowning touch is the chilled silken tofu which melts in your mouth and brings that coolness to your palate. I found the dish best when served completely chilled the next day as leftovers, when the sauce is added just before serving.


I am submitting this glorious spring dish to a few places this time: my second submission to Health Nut Challenge 5 featuring Cruciferous Vegetables, hosted by Yasmeen Health Nut, to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Thyme for Cooking and to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays.

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Enoki somen (aka Enoki mushrooms with somen noodles)

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on January 11, 2010 at 7:23 PM

I really enjoy the simplicity of Japanese cuisine. A few ingredients can whip up a quick and tasty dish. I absolutely love enoki mushrooms, which are very popular in Japan. They are white and slender, with a very delicate flavour (they converted me from a mushroom hater). Like most mushrooms, they absorb their taste from the rest of the dish.

In this dish, they are paired nicely, and blend in almost interchangeably with somen noodles (can you spot the tips in the photo?).  Somen noodles are a fine white noodle made with wheat flour, and are the queen of Japanese noodles as they were a favourite of the imperial palaces and Buddhist temples. They are mostly machine-made but homemade noodles are pulled and rested at great lengths to make such slender noodles. Undoubtedly, the thin noodles are a joy to eat. They are typically eaten chilled during the summer months, but this dish, Enoki somen (Enoki mushrooms with somen noodles), adapted from The Japanese Kitchen by Kimiko Barber, pairs both in a warm dashi broth. I wasn’t sure what leftovers would look or taste like, so I modified to recipe to serve 1 and it was very filling.

This was a lovely noodle dish, a cross between noodles and soup.. a soup rather overflowing with noodles, or noodles dressed lightly with broth. Either way, I loved its simplicity and taste. Enjoy!

A note about finding these ingredients in Toronto:

Enoki mushrooms – These can be found in most Asian grocery stores, including those in Chinatown, T&T and Bestwin. I snap them up when they go on sale for 2 packages for $2 at T&T.

Somen noodles – Likewise, they can be found at all Asian stores and well-stocked grocery stores like Loblaws.

For tips about buying mirin, dashi and soy sauce, please see my suggestions, previously posted here and here.

This post is being submitted to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Gay from Scientist in the Kitchen.

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Salmon Teriyaki Miso Soup with Udon and Spinach

In Mains (Fish), Soups on December 23, 2009 at 9:18 AM

This is one of those stalker-like posts, but with a purely good reason. This month Tried and Tasted is scouring recipes at Closet Cooking! Before I started my own blog, I was a loyal follower of Closet Cooking.  Kevin, who also hails from Toronto, cooks with very creative ingredients and always has tasty posts.  I have always wanted to take a peak into his “closet kitchen” to see his cupboards, as he whips up such imaginative meals… and how does he manage to eat all this food (he has almost daily posts!)??  Furthermore, he shares a similar love of Japanese cuisine, so there is no shortage of inspirational recipes, including tons of fish recipes that look both tasty and easy, including Maple SalmonMisoyaki Salmon, and Broiled Halibut with Orange and Miso Glaze. I love how Kevin includes alternative recipes when he is faced with left-overs, so with my leftover salmon teriyaki, I thought his Salmon Noodle Soup (which I rechristened Salmon Teriyaki Miso Soup with Udon and Spinach) would be perfect.

A few notes, first, about Japanese ingredients in Toronto. There are many Asian markets in Toronto, some larger than others. This is a continuation from my post about soy sauce, mirin, and sake. My favourite stores (for price, variety and high turnover) are T&T and BestWin, but J-Town is also worth a trek up north.  It is worth looking into smaller stores, because some carry Japanese ingredients, including tiny mom-and-pop shops like D&Y Market. I have learned a few things about brands, so here are my recommendations:

Dashi – Dashi is the traditional soup stock of Japan, in both vegetarian and fish options. I have made it homemade, but sometimes I find it easier to use powder (Ajinomoto makes a good dashi). It is a fairly common brand and should be found at most Asian markets, including PAT and T&T.

Miso – Miso is a salty paste made from fermented soybeans (also rice or barley).  Miso soups are fairly common and easy to make but miso can also be used for sauces, spreads, for meat, etc.  There are many different kinds of miso, and not all are interchangeable, so it is worthwhile figuring things out as red misos are more salty, white misos less so.  Maki at Just Hungry has a great primer on miso.  I usually buy mine at T&T, but it is widely available and can be found in well-stocked grocery stores like Metro, Loblaws, etc. Basically, I look to see if it is white or red miso. I store it in the refrigerator.

Shiitake mushrooms – Shiitake are Japan’s most famous mushroom, but also hails from China. Known for its meaty, woody aroma, they are widely used in Japanese cuisine. They can be bought fresh or dried. Look for mushrooms that are whole. Dried mushrooms can be kept indefinitively if stored in a cool, dark place. They need to be rehydrated for 20-30 minutes with water, before use.  When looking for Asian mushrooms, there is no contest, you have to go to an Asian market. You can find them in the typical Sobeys, Loblaws, etc, but they are incredibly expensive. At T&T, BestWin and in Chinatown they are much more reasonably priced. I think at T&T I have seen fresh shiitake mushrooms for $2-3/lb. When looking for dried, I have found them in the same stores. They can be called shiitake, or flower mushrooms and winter mushrooms (from their Chinese names).

Udon – Udon are the thick, chewy Japanese noodles made from wheat flour. When I returned from Japan, I almost thought I was deprived of great udon when I tried the fresh stuff. I learned, though, that frozen is the way to go. I have tried the black package of Sanuki udon from T&T and love it. I plan to make udon from scratch one day, but until then, this stuff is great. Sanuki udon means it comes from a specific prefecture in Japan (Kagawa) and are chewier, thicker noodles (my favourite!).

Now onto the soup: It was wonderful.  Japanese cuisine is all about balancing salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy and the sweet teriyaki worked wonderfully with the salty miso, meaty mushrooms and bitter/spicy green onions. I will now plan to make excess salmon teriyaki just so I can make this soup!! Delicious! 😀

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Miso-Butternut Squash Soup with Soba Noodles and Spinach

In Soups on November 29, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Here I present an interesting miso soup with butternut squash, spinach and soba noodles. It had been a while since I made a Japanese dish, as I was sidetracked with buttermilk, pumpkin and cranberries, but I was craving a soup. I liked how the sweet butternut squash mixed with salty miso.  This soup was adapted from a recipe in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. I have learned that Asian recipes may not be the best from non-Asian sources, but this was pretty good although certainly not authentic Japanese. It attests to the beauty of soups and how hard it is to mess them up. 🙂

The hardest part of the soup was prepping the squash. I found it easy to microwave the squash first, let it cool slightly, then peel and cut the squash for the soup.  Alternatively, you could cut and peel before you microwave it. Roasting it would be easy as well, but takes longer and you are more likely to get soft (roasted) squash.

This is my submission for this month’s Monthly Mingle which is featuring Soups, hosted by Tongue Ticklers (update posted here).

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