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Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, July 23, 2010

CSI Week: Clearly in need...

There are two posts today, OGT's version of "Dinner and a Movie"...
Post #1...
As some weeks do, mine started off so-so and then got better. Kind of like this post will.  I am going to let the story start where it actually did, though, and lead into a delicious ending. Maybe there are some things in the middle that may be helpful. Just in case you have a week like mine.

This was my CSI Week: cancer screening intensive. Got 'em all done.There is a lot of cancer in my family: my dad, brother (diagnosed with 2 cancers the same day as my dad...baaaad day for us), cousin, mother-in-law and a couple others I won't mention to protect their privacy.

Our family is not unusual nowadays. You'd think there was something in the food and water...

One of the things that I feel needs a good health screening is the list of gloppy "clear liquids" okayed to drink before some tests. Good lord. Most were riddled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, tons of sodium, preservatives...all the suspicious characters that are linked to illness!! One "beverage" listed MSG, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils and hydrolyzed soy protein!!  No way was I going to down 48 hours' worth of those liquids. My parents had some beverage glasses with "Name Your Poison" written on them. Sure makes one think...

In case you don't want to slug back those sketch-y liquids or even if you just want a stash of healthy clear liquids on hand in case someone gets the flu, here is what I found that is tasty, refreshingly delicious and not at all toxic: all kinds of regular teas and herbal teas, coconut water, lemonade, water with cucumber and mint in it and tea made out of steeping a few star anise "stars" in boiling water. I also froze my leftover coffee for a "slushy". It was kind of fun actually, thinking up new clear "spa beverages". There are also many great sparkling beverages. Here are two of my fave's: Izze's Sparkling Apple and Reed's Ginger Beer.

Also here is an especially fabulous tea recommended by The Divine Ms M. Loved it just by reading the had me when it listed "playful" as an ingredient. It is really delicious and great if you are trying to de-soda yourself or kids. Just do it!

Setting that fun aside, here is what I made to celebrate the end of  CSI week, such a colorful and happy dish and a great one to take to a potluck:

Celebration Soba Salad

8 ounces soba noodles*
1 pound sugar snap peas
3-4 stalks asparagus (optional), cut into 1 inch lengths
2 carrots, scrubbed and julienned
1/2 medium yellow and red bell pepper (they can be quite large!), deseeded and julienned
3 scallions, diced
2 T sesame seeds (toasted until golden in a hot skillet and then cooled. Watch closely. They can burn easily. If they do burn, try again. Burned sesame seeds are really bitter!)

Ginger Dressing

3/4  cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup shoyu or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice and zest from whole lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Heat a pan of water to boiling and add soba noodles. Boil until done according to the brand you buy. Times will be listed on the package and vary between 6-8 minutes. I do not salt the water. When done, remove noodles from pan and place in a colander to drain quickly. Rinse with cold water, drain again. Blot with towel and then pour 1/4-1/2 of dressing over noodles. Set aside.

In noodle water, quickly blanch snap peas, asparagus and carrots for a minute or two to your desired doneness. Plunge into ice water and drain. I prefer to blanch these veggies for this recipe instead of using them raw, but go ahead and omit this if you want.

Add veggies to noodles, add extra dressing and toss lightly. Sprinkle with chopped green onions, toasted sesame seeds and wedges of lime. If desired for a veg main dish option, also add in cubes of tofu.

*If you don't care for the nutty flavor of buckwheat flour soba noodles, you can substitute a fine spaghetti. Also, the dressing makes a lot and is great for other salads and as a marinade.

And now, for post #2...

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