Microgreen Meatless Monday

I haven’t been blogging much about my microgreens. I’m new to the world of these tiny vitamin powerhouses, and I’m definitely on a learning curve. (I’ve been finding some interesting articles, though it has taken some creative keyword selection. Most of the information you find when searching “microgreens” relates to growing, rather than cooking.) To add to the learning time, it’s midterm season around here, so my student load is… well… insane. This means that I’ve mostly been using my microgreens as garnish on top of sandwiches or soup, which is not bad or inappropriate in the slightest; it’s just not really noteworthy.

Tonight was different. I got a real burst of inspiration, and I’m so thrilled with how it came out. I had lots of odds and ends to use up in my fridge, and I ran with the Meatless Monday theme. The result ended up being a tempeh, soba noodle, and vegetable salad, and it was sooooooo good.

First, I cubed some tempeh this afternoon and let it marinate. The marinade was a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, and maple syrup.

The rest of the work came closer to dinner time, as nothing took a particularly large amount of effort or time. I stir-fried the tempeh and big vegetables (broccoli, bell pepper, sugar snap peas) over high heat – I was going for a bit of a sear. I added the sugar snap peas last, because I did not want them to cook much.

Meanwhile, I cooked and drained the soba noodles – I only used one bundle, since that’s what I had left in my pantry – and rinsed them in cold water. After the vegetables had their quick pass in the  pan, I dumped them in a big salad bowl and stuck them in the fridge for a little while to cool.

Meanwhile, I made the dressing – some EVOO, garlic vinegar, basil-flower-and-orange vinegar (that I began steeping in September), honey, and brown mustard. This made WAY too much dressing, but I’m refrigerating the extra and will use it on salads.

Then, I began to assemble the salad. In went the soba noodles…

… and the greens.

The greens, by the way, were a mixture. I used the remaining garnet mustard from last week, as well as a hefty amount of the signature mix (which is brassica-heavy) and a bit of the alfalfa sprouts. I also threw in some basil leaves from the plant that’s hanging out on my windowsill currently.

A quick toss with some dressing…

Gorgeous.

Happy Meatless Monday, everyone!

The Season is Over (No, Really Now.)

Yesterday was the “Stock up share” pickup for CSA. This is the true end to the season – one last push  through a mountain of veggies. I made the slightly ambitious decision to plow forward and get a second share this year – several people had expressed interest to me but were worried that it was going to be too much produce for them. So, I divided up the second share and will be playing vegetable Santa over the next 24 hours or so. That still leaves me with 1 full share and odds and ends from the second. I also got 2 boxes of mixed apples from the orchard that supplies our fruit share.

This is what my kitchen looked like at about 5 pm yesterday:

I tweeted the photo with the caption, “I have a self-control problem.”

Today was the preschool bake sale (I made gingerbread cookies with Owen), and I’m hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday… and Friendsgiving on Sunday… so my days have been full of prep tasks. With all of this in mind, dinner needed to be fast, simple, and filling last night. I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of scrubbing last night, so instead of using fresh carrots, I used some I’d blanched and frozen a few weeks ago. That, along with broccoli, corn, napa cabbage (from the share last night), and tempeh marinated in garlic ginger maple syrup all went into the wok together for a stir-fry.

Rainbow Carrots are so pretty, aren’t they?

Even better, I had leftover rice from making Leek Rice Cakes the other night. (More on THAT later. Yum.)

Better STILL, my husband and I (Owen was not as adventurous) decided to top our stir-fry with the pickled daikon radishes I made the other night. (Again, more on that later!)

Fast, filling, interesting, accidentally vegan… and drastically different from the way we’ll be eating at the end of the week. Success.

Off-The-Cuff Buckwheat Noodles

I’m ridiculously proud of myself for my dinner creation tonight.

Tuesday is CSA day, of course, so usually dinner can go two ways – either I plan ahead and have something cooking in the crock pot, so I can focus on prep and planning for the rest of the week, or I scramble to figure something out from my share. The problem with the latter is that I usually freeze – an abundance of options can make it hard to focus!

Today should have been a disaster. I got a migraine headache early this afternoon. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Somehow, I managed to follow through on a previous commitment to pick up my friend’s son, as well as tutor him, with a stop to pick up my farm share along the way. After he left, I took advantage of my baby-sitter’s presence and decided to lay down for a while.

No joke, it was 5:40 when I finally returned to the main floor of my house, and my husband has to be out of the house on Tuesdays for an appointment at 7. The pressure was on if I didn’t want to resort to take out. Luckily, between some pantry staples and some gems from my share today, I came up with something delicious.

Luckily, I’d impulse-purchased some tempeh while I was out the other day. Tempeh is a soy-based protein that is fermented and pressed. Some, like this, have other things added, and I’m partial to the flax variety.

It comes in a solid brick like this. I cubed it up…

… and started it frying in the wok with some sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic vinegar, and soy sauce.

Added some German White garlic, as well as some red onion from today:

And one of the summer squashes from the share today, as well.

I let this all cook up together in the wok while I broke out the soba noodles. I added chopped up radishes closer to the end of the cooking time. They’re in this picture, though I missed an in-process pic.

Buckwheat soba noodles are fabulous. I go on at length about my love for the Thug Kitchen recipe Eggplant with Soba Noodles. I’m still working through the gigantic package of noodles that I bought at my local Asian market.

This particular brand came packaged like this, and two bundles seems to be the right amount for my family of 3.

These boil up quickly – about 5 minutes. I washed the greens from the radishes and chopped them up to finish off the veggie mix.

After they started to wilt, I added the cooked soba noodles. My husband and I added hot sauce to ours after plating, since we have to accommodate a 3 year old. If you’re in a spice loving house, I’d give it a good splash during this stage.

By 6:15, dinner was making its way to the table. Healthy, delicious, locally sourced, and almost totally pulled out of thin air.

I give a lot of credit to the Eggplant and Soba Noodle recipe as well as this Pad See Ew recipe (which is a GREAT dinner choice) for my general template for how this was going to go down.

And, with that, and well fed… I’m off to tackle the rest of this week’s share.