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January 10, 2010

Soba and Kelp Noodles With Roasted Eggplant

W and I visited with my daughter "L" and her boyfriend today. They recently moved into their new condo, and we had not seen the little love nest yet. L wanted to make us dinner, but due to my dietary restrictions, I suggested that I bring the ingredients and she and I prepare the meal together. We agreed upon Soba Noodles with Roasted Eggplant.  (Note: I have not tried it, but this dish could be converted to raw if you eliminate the soba noodles, use only kelp and/or spiralized zucchini, and dehydrate the eggplant for an hour or more instead of roasting). 
We had such an enjoyable afternoon cooking together. They both loved the meal, but especially loved the Chocolate Lucanilla Ice Cream from the "Just Desserts" e-book for dessert. Without a high speed blender or ice cream maker, it was a tad challenging, but L grabbed her hand mixer, and after freezing the mixture in ice cube trays, we managed to whip it into a delicious, rich chocolate mousse. We topped the dessert with sliced bananas and some crumbled Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bar from yesterday . L and P devoured the Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bar, so I now know what I have to make more of when we visit the next time!

The Soba Noodles with Roasted Eggplant was refreshing! Here is my variation:
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course
Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, (1 pound)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
8 ounces soba noodles (optional to use 1/2 soba and 1/2 kelp noodles)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon safflower oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce
3 cups grated carrots, (about 5 carrots)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or 1/2 tsp dried  (optional)
1 cup diced cucumber

Directions:
  1. Preheat broiler. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Broil about 4 inches from the heat until the skin is blackened and the flesh is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
  3. With a chef’s knife, mash garlic and salt into a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and add vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, chile-garlic sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. 
  4. Whisk until blended. 
  5. Peel the cooled eggplant and discard the skin. 
  6. Chop the eggplant flesh to a coarse puree. 
  7. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking pasta. 
  8. Stir sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  9. Transfer to a small dish to cool. 

Note: If using kelp noodles, rinse and drain kelp noodles with warm water. Massage in a bowl of warm water, mixed with some lemon juice and let soak for 30 min. (this will soften the kelp noodles). Rinse and drain. 
  1. Cook soba noodles until just tender, about 3 -4  minutes. 
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Press to remove excess water, transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon oil to keep them from sticking. Using two forks, slowly add kelp noodles and mix together.  
  3. Add roasted eggplant, along with carrots, cilantro and the sesame seeds. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Just before serving, garnish with diced cucumber.

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