Saturday, July 4, 2009

Soba Noodle Salad with Shiso

I first heard of shiso this past spring from an herbalist. It's a pretty japanese herb in the mint family (perilla frutescens var. japonica) also known as perilla. Apparently, it is higher in rosemarinic acid than rosemary itself, and as such, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is also a source of Omega 3 fatty acids. All in all, this plant sounded interesting to me, so I decided to grow some.

There are both green and purple varieties; I'm growing a purple one:

Now, aside from medicinal uses, I'm trying to figure out how to use it.
To me, it tastes slightly bitter and a bit like cumin, which got me thinking that it might go nicely with sun-dried tomatoes. I made a pesto with shiso, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, and red miso paste...let's just say the recipe needs a little work. The best thing I can say about it is that it's anti-inflammatory.

I'm sure someone with a dabber hand in the kitchen than me could come up with a good shiso pesto. Meanwhile, I took an alternative route with the shiso, and tossed some into a soba noodle salad, which worked out a lot better than the pesto. The shiso added a cuminy, slightly acidic dimension.

Tofu and Soba Noodle Salad with Purple Shiso in an Orange & Ginger Dressing

(Apologies for the bad food photography...I'm trying to improve.)

I'll be trying to think of other ways to use shiso...but in the meantime, here's Cheeky nestled in a bag of potting soil. sentiments exactly: a big yawn. I love it when she yawns--she puts every ounce of her energy into it.

Happy Weekend!

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