Naked Pot Sticker Noodles

We recently visited our friends in the Methow Valley, and as always, had a wonderful time cooking dinner together.  I don’t always love cooking with other folks in the kitchen, mainly because I am secretly bossy and impatient.  Shhh.  But somehow when Brooke and I cook together its improvisational and fun and always turns out delicious. 

This time Brooke had all the ingredients for pot stickers and soba noodle salad.  When we ran out of pot sticker wrappers, we just formed that tasty filling into patties and fried them up naked.  It was a lot quicker and makes this dish do-able even on a weeknight when you’re alone in the kitchen.  Do feel free to improvise with the veggies to make this seasonal.  I made it recently with roasted asparagus and leeks (yum!).  Also, do expect your toddler to ask you to deconstruct the “sausage” by removing anything green, yellow, red or non-meat related.

Naked Pot Sticker Noodles – makes 4-6 servings

3 bundles soba noodles (270 grams)

Kosher or sea salt

1/4 Cup minced shallot

2 TB minced ginger

1 Handful cilantro (1/4 C. chopped) plus more to garnish

1 Pound ground pork

1 Teaspoon soy sauce

1 TB brown sugar

1 Egg

Peanut oil (for frying)

4 TB honey

3 TB Lime juice

2 Tsp sriracha (or other asian hot sauce)

2 Tsp soy sauce

2 TB fish sauce

2 Tsp sesame oil

1 large cucumber – sliced or cut into matchsticks

1 large carrot – grated

2 Cups salad greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, etc.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and cook the soba noodles according to pkg  directions.  Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the shallot, ginger, cilantro, ground pork, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp soy sauce, brown sugar and egg.  Mix with your hands just until all ingredients are well distributed.  Shape the meat into small patties about 2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick or so.  Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat, add a thin layer of peanut oil.  Cook the patties  in batches, about 2 minutes on each side, and set on a paper towel lined plate as they are done.

Mix the honey, lime, sriracha, 2 tsp soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl toss the noodles with the cucumber, carrot and greens, then toss with half of the dressing.  Serve the noodles topped with the naked pot sticker patties.  Finish with more cilantro, sriracha and drizzle on some more dressing as you like.

I Love Moms – and Beach Picnics

I am lucky to have so many wonderful Mom folk  in my life.  I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to you all by sharing a few thoughts and memories of some of my favorite Moms.

My Mom in law – who makes Sunday dinner for the whole family every week, rain, shine, hail or screaming stomping grandchild. Thank you for truly welcoming me into your family and giving me the gift of family traditions.

My sister (poo-pooh!) – who has more grace and patience as a single mom than I can conjure even on my best day. Thank you so much for always being the wild card, bravely putting yourself out there and not apologizing for it, diverting attention from me while I screw up quietly in the corner.

My best friends Toni and Mandi – One who nursed her 3 month old baby while helping me get ready to be married, and one who flew across the country for a girls weekend and ended up watching her baby take his first steps on her ipad (Lil’ Turkey!).  Thanks for always being there even from so far away.

My Grandma – who homesteaded in Alaska in the 1950s, feeding her family of seven creatively with, apparently, only foraged mushrooms, spam, rhubarb and the occasional potato.  Yikes! Thank you for telling me the infamous “pregnant teenager who was going to have to strap a baby to her back and scrub floors” story about 100 times. I’m pretty sure that’s the reason I waited until I was 34 to have a baby. Thank you.

And finally my mama – who I vividly remember waking me up in the middle of the night so that I could meet my brand new baby sister, even though I was 3 years old and probably didn’t go back to sleep that night. Thank you for being my mom and also my friend.

Since I am dedicating this post to my mama – I wanted to share a simple recipe for a picnic at the beach with your mom(s).  My mama has always loved the beach at Golden Gardens, so I always think of her when I am there. My daughter likes to look at pictures of beaches in her storybooks and shout “BEACH! I go to BEACH!”  So I thought she might enjoy a picnic at the beach with her mama.  A word of advice: when suggesting a beach picnic to a 2 year old, you should be fully prepared to depart to the beach immediately, or be subjected to the aforementioned shouting continuously until it is time to depart.

In this picture we are enjoying our beach picnic.  At 9:30am.  In Seattle, May is not a warm month. Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves for a full 10 minutes before decamping to the nearby playground.  Here is our simple picnic menu.

Spring Picnic at the Beach

*Peanut butter and jelly tea sandwiches for kiddies (Adams pb and strawberry jelly all the way)

*Triple cream brie and breakfast radish tea sandwiches for moms

*Mandarin oranges (separated into one pile “with seeds” and one “no seeds”)

*More breakfast radishes

*Roasted almonds and dried cherries

Spread blanket, place food on tray, fend off seagulls and crows by wearing shiny metallic ribbons in your hair.  Do not, I repeat, NOT, try to fend them off by throwing food at them. You will be sorry. Enjoy your picnic!