Patty's Grilled Vegetables over Soba Noodles

When you become a couple you inherit your partner's friends. In my case, I gained Patty and Todd. Todd is a Professor at the University of San Antonio. He does a lot of research and tried to explain it to me once but it was a hopeless endeavor. It has something to do with birds and the sounds they make.
Patty is a Labor and Delivery nurse, a dog lover, an avid reader, fluent in Spanish and a darn good cook. One year she gave Dylan a small homemade cookbook which, lucky for me, I inherited along with the friendship. The recipe that follows is one that is in her book (albeit with a few of our own modifications) and one that we love and I think you will enjoy too.

The marinade and sauce work wonderfully together. Though January is not grilling season I find that I can fire up the gas grill on days when the weather is sunny or cook the vegetables stove top on a cast iron grill. You know the type of pan where one side is a griddle for pancakes and the other side is grooved for grilling? It does tend to make a mess of the stove, so be prepared to wipe it down after the vegetables cook.

Patty's Grilled Vegetables over Soba Noodles

Step 1-Make the Marinade

1/3 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Step 2-Make the Sauce

1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 1/2 tbsp soy
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Step 3-Gather and Prepare your Vegetables

These are the vegetables we enjoy but we mix it up, depending on what we have on hand. Feel free to use veggies you enjoy.

1 large or 2 small yams, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2 slices
2 baby bok choy, bottom trimmed and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1 large portabello mushroom, or a handful of shitakes, cleaned, cut into thick slices
1 yellow onion, cut into thick rings
olive oil for cooking, about 1/3 cup in a small dish

Now that you have your vegetables ready, put them in the marinade and toss to coat. As Patty says, "Let the vegetables marinate until you feel like cooking."

Step 4- The Noodles

You will need 1 package soba noodles. The ones I use are organic noodles made from buckwheat, they cook fast, in 4-6 minutes, be careful not to overcook or they will be mushy.


Put medium pot of water with a steamer bucket on the stove to boil. Steam the yam slices until almost done. Be careful that they are still firm and not too soft or they will be difficult to grill. 5 minutes should be sufficient. Keep the water as you will use that to cook the soba noodles in later.

Take vegetables out of the marinade and place on indoor or outdoor grill. Brush with oil, turn, brush again with oil and some of the leftover marinade. Continue to cook, turning half way through until they have nice grill marks and are somewhat soft. When cooked, vegetables can be put in a dish and kept in a low oven until the noodles are ready.

Bring water to boil. Add soba noodles. When done add the 1/2 of the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat.

To assemble, place a pile of noodles on a plate or bowl. Top with grilled vegies and drizzle some of the extra sauce over them.


Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

If you haven't tried quinoa (keen wah), here is a great recipe to start you off. This salad is tasty, crunchy, healthy and different from your everyday type of salad. Great thing to take in your lunch or to a work pot luck.

It has the highest protein profile of all the grains, has more calcium than milk and is a good source of iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, and vitamin E.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups veg stock or water


for dressing:

2 tbsp lime juice (1 lime)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

for the salad:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1 medium to large carrot, diced
3 green onions, white and 3 inches of green part, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
1 can black beans (preferably Eden brand) rinsed and given a lemon and salt spritz


1. In a medium sized soup pot bring stock and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes until all of the liquid is gone. Spread quinoa onto a cookie sheet, rake with a fork and let it cool.

2. Combine lime juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper in jar; shake to mix.

3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small saute pan, saute yellow onion for 2 minutes, add red pepper and carrot, saute 2 mins, add spices and saute 2 mins.

4. Toss gently to combine quinoa and beans, onion mixture, green onions and celery, then cilantro. Toss in enough dressing to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Serve with avocado if desired.


Quick Delicious Spinach, Avocado, Pumpkin Seed Salad with Lime Dressing

Okay, just a quick entry to inspire you to throw this salad together when you are in a rush but still want something healthy. Dylan and I actually had this as a 3:00pm snack last week...you know the after lunch but not quite dinner but I'm kind of hungry sort of thing. I saw this (or something similar) one night on Food Network while watching Nigella. She served smoked salmon strips with hers.

1 bag of organic spinach-I know it says "pre-washed" but I always wash it again and give it a spin around the salad spinner to dry it. Place in serving bowl.

1 avocado-slice it in half and remove the seed. Holding each half in your hand run the knife top to bottom then across to make little chunks. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado right into your serving bowl.

Pumpkin Seeds-use as many as you want, raw or toasted organic seeds. Throw those in the bowl.

1 Lime-halved. Juice each half into a jar, add an equal amount of olive oil and some sea salt to taste.

Poor the dressing over the greens, toss, and eat away. No, there's no picture, we ate the whole thing so fast there was no time!