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Back In The Kitchen

June 19, 2011

There are many things I love about staying in hotels: the daily housekeeping service…the movies on demand…swiping as many mini shampoo bottles as I can carry from the housekeeping cart every time I pass by.

But, one of the things I hate about staying in a hotel for a prolonged period of time is that you basically have to eat out alllllllll the time.  Don’t get me wrong—I love a good meal out, and we went to some great restaurants in Huntsville.  But, I’m a kitchen gal, and given the choice, I’d almost always choose to stay in a cook over going out to eat.

Which is why it felt so great to get back in the kitchen yesterday!

Last night, we had our dear friends Casey and Rachael over for dinner.  If I were to make a list of all the things I’m going to miss about Altoona, Casey and Rachael would probably be at the top of it.

Actually, Walter would be at the top:

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I’m gonna miss that nut-loving bastard.

But Casey and Rachael would be right below him.

We’ve been trying to spend as much time with our friends here as possible…which is hard when you’re out of town every other week! It was great catching up with Casey and Rachael…and the food wasn’t too shabby either!

Since it’s been pretty hot lately, I knew a cold dish would be in order.  After some internet searching, I finally decided on a hybrid of a few different cold noodle salad recipes. Here’s what I came up with:

Cold Soba Salad


3/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsp. rice wine

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

juice and zest of 1 lime (about 3 tbsp.)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp. minced ginger

1 tbsp. sesame oil


1 package buckwheat soba noodles, cooked according to package directions and rinsed under cold water

1 mango, cubed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup each basil, cilantro, and mint

peanuts for garnish


To make the dressing, in a small saucepan, heat rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and salt until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and whisk well to blend.

As the dressing cools, combine the soba noodles, mango, and red bell pepper. 

Once dressing is complete, pour over the noodles, mango, and pepper, and toss well to combine.  Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to meld.

You can add in the herbs right before serving, or serve the herbs in little bowls of their own and allow each diner to take their own amount.

Garnish with peanuts!

Here are some pictures of the process:

Our soba noodles came in need little bundles:

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Cute, huh?

Here’s the dressing, cooled:

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And being served over the noodles:

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Chopping up mango:

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I’ve recently started peeling my mango, and then chopping them, and I love it! You get so much more bang (mang?) for your buck!

And then the best part:

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The pit chew.  So.  Good.

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I love the brightness of this meal! There are so many flavor combos going on—salty, sweet, citrus, ginger…it really is a flavor explosion!

We served our herbs on the side so that everyone could decide how much or how little they wanted:

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I love the addition of fresh herbs to a cold salad.  It just brightens up the flavor.

Along with the salad, we served grilled shrimp and chili-lime glazed grilled tofu.

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The tofu marinade was really delicious and easy…but alas, this post is long enough already! Another recipe for another day!

‘Twas a great meal with great friends! 

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!  We’re off to do some house-cleaning because we have our first showing today (!!!!).  Cross your fingers for us that they take one look and say, “We’ll take it!!” 

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2011 1:05 pm

    Oh it looks fantastic. And I agree – being in your kitchen cooking your own meals is the way to go.

  2. Emo permalink
    June 19, 2011 2:57 pm

    Wow — a showing already?! Good luck! Leave a plate of that noodle salad and some baked goods out and you’ll probably get an offer!

    • June 19, 2011 3:32 pm

      Ha, I know– I thought about leaving the leftover pie out for them! 🙂

  3. June 19, 2011 3:35 pm

    Agreed, I get tired of eating out all the time – pricy and stressful thinking about all the calories. The salad looks wonderful, great colors and pics!

  4. June 19, 2011 5:34 pm

    Good luck with the showing today! Your new house looks gorgeous! I love the meal you created- so colorful!

    I love that you have a squirrel that comes that close to your window- too cute.

  5. actorsdiet permalink
    June 19, 2011 7:50 pm

    it’s been SO LONG since i’ve had the time to be able to make something with leftovers! sadly, it’ll be a while before i will again, but i’m inspired by your creation!

  6. June 20, 2011 2:46 am

    I love soba noodles, this looks fantastic!
    Hope the showing went well. I always felt so offended when we were selling our last house and people would come see it but not make an offer. Like it was a reflecction of me. Ha!

  7. June 20, 2011 11:50 am

    that salad, the mango…mmmm, good!

    good luck on the showing. fingers crossed for you guys!

  8. June 21, 2011 11:21 am

    I agree about eating out. I was obsessed with Italy, but after almost 2 weeks of eating out at every meal, it got old.

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