I was at the store recently, when some kelp noodles caught my eye. As something new and interesting to try, they were calling out to me, but I'll admit that I was a little hesitant as well. I like sea vegetables when they have a mild flavor. I'm down with some arame seaweed or a little wakame. I can even handle a little bit of dulse in small doses, but I'm not an all-out seaweed lover...If the flavor is too strong it literally makes me gag. So, the first thing that crossed my mind was "what if they turn out really seaweedy?...Gulp!" But, as I read through the package, the words "Neutral Flavor" won me over.
There are a few recipe ideas on the back of the package. One for a miso/peanut noodle salad sounded especially tempting, and I'll try that next time. But today, I wanted to go for something more low-cal, so decided on a soy-wasabi salad:
For the veggie base, I used green onions, sunburst squash, red pepper, carrot, celery and daikon.
You don't have to cook these noodles; they're ready to eat right out of the bag. Here's what they look like:
According to the package, these little noodlers have a lot going for them: fat-free, gluten-free, low cal and low carb, and they are a source of many trace minerals including iodine.
My verdict? The texture is great, a little bit rubbery and toothsome...maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I really like it. The flavor is indeed neutral; the noodles add texture and serve as a vehicle for the dressing, while the core of the salad's flavor comes from the veggies you choose. All in all, I'm glad I gave these a try. They'll be fun to add to salads and switch things up a bit.
Part of the reason I wanted to eat light today was because yesterday (Easter) was quite a feast. We didn't plan on it being quite so sumptuous...it just sort of happened that way. For the vegan main course, I made some fettuccine in cashew-basil cream. It was a winner; everyone enjoyed it.
I didn't measure the sauce when I was making it, but here's roughly what I put in:
Cashew Basil Cream Sauce:
1 generous cup raw cashews, soaked in water for an hour or so
2 generous Tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8-1/4 cup nutritional yeast (to taste, I usually go for 1/4 cup)
6-8 drops ume plum vinegar (because it's quite salty and tangy, I just drizzle a bit in...you'll have to adjust to your tastes)
1 generous/heaping Tablespoon white miso
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice ( I usually go for more like 3)
1.5 cups water
Generous 2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Drain the cashews and blend in food processor with the rest of the ingredients, except the basil. Add the water gradually until you get the smoothness and consistency you want, I went for a thick consistency that was still "pourable". For a nice smooth consistency, blend it for several minutes. When you've achieved the consistency you want, toss in the chopped basil leaves and pulse a few times to blend through.
Toss the cashew/basil cream with some drained noodles that are just on the verge of al dente and gently heat through. Serve right away with lightly steamed green beans, and some pine nuts and basil shreds to garnish. Pretty yummy stuff!
In addition to the pasta we had broccoli, pineapple, sweet potatoes, salad, and some rye bread. My mom also made some awesome fresh tomato salsa for hors d'oeuvres:
We had strawberry pie and coconut milk ice cream for dessert...sorry no pics. See, what I mean about the feasting?
Now, for a rhubarb "mead" update for anyone who might be interested. Over the weekend, we broke open the rhubarb mead I posted about here. It's a lovely color, lightly effervescent and has a mild flavor, not terribly rhubarby though. (rhubarby...that sounds funny! :D)
Alessandra suggested that it might be more aptly named rhubarb beer...kind of like ginger beer, and I'm inclined to agree. There is only a trace amount of alcohol in it, which can be either good or bad depending on your perspective. Personally, I was hoping for something wee bit stronger. But, it is refreshing mixed with some sparkling water or other sparkling juice, and we'll certainly enjoy sipping it from time to time as the weather warms up.
And last but certainly not least, I want to give a big Thank You to Rebecca of Enjoying the Journey blog, who was my seed swap partner. Cassie of Vegan Fox fame hosted a seed swap this month, which I thought was a fun idea.
Rebecca sent me some kale, lavender, and lemon cucumber seeds, all of which I love. She also included a handy seed-starting guide and some fun animal rights stickers. Thanks Rebecca! I'll plant the kale and lavender now, and the cucumbers I'll start in early June.