Taking a Breather

As you probably assumed given my month-long blogging hiatus, the month of October was an excessively busy one. But even through all the chaos, music and cooking were still very much a part of my world. The only problem? I had neither the time nor the energy to photograph any of my creations (and when I actually did, the lighting was atrocious). It’s worth noting that the “top hits” of the month will eventually make it to the blog…as soon as I get my act together and remember to bring a camera. In the meantime, here is a fun, delicious meal to brighten up any stressful day: Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce.
Poaching is a highly unappreciated method for cooking chicken. Sure, it won’t give you the beautiful crust that searing achieves or the depth of flavor that roasting manages – but it is a quick and healthy way to cook chicken, and the result is almost always perfectly tender. In this method, you actually allow the chicken to sit for an additional 20 minutes after it’s done cooking. Poached chicken works beautifully in a number of dishes, and especially shines in noodles salads…which leads to my favorite part of this dish…
Soba Noodles rock – there’s little else to say. The variety that I use (and love) is inaka soba – they are made from buckwheat that has been milled with the hulls, giving the noodles a darker hue than the more popular gozen soba. Both varieties can be served hot or cold, in salads or soups, etc. For this beautiful recipe, they are served in a peanut-ginger dressing that is to DIE for! You can find the recipe for this beautiful dish HERE. I couldn’t just have this dish with no side, could I? So I threw together a quick Miso Cabbage Slaw that practically stole the show (miso = a chef’s best friend). Click HERE to see that recipe!
For this pairing, I wanted a piece that could touch the soul – October was a crazy month, and I was drawn to relaxing and gentle music in the days following. Guitar has always been reminiscent of my childhood (my dad listened to classical guitar ALL the time), and I find myself tuning into this classical niche whenever I am stressed. That led me to the master of classical guitar, Christopher Parkening – his performance of Capricho Árabe, by Francisco Tárrega, was perfect. Tárrega was more intrigued by intimate performances than concert hall settings, giving his music a soulful edge. It pairs nicely with this dish in that its beauty lies in its subtlety – the perfect musical conclusion to a month of craziness. Enjoy the piece, and feel free to relax with a glass of wine and some lovely soba 😉

Sources Cited:
“Soba: Traditional Japanese Noodles,” Kikkoman Food Forum
“Francisco Tárrega,” Wikipedia.com

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