Saturday, July 28, 2012

Silverton Farms + Thai Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

If you've been reading for a while you might remember the healthy cooking class I went to a few months back where we made the white bean dip. My friend Forrest and I have been trying to make plans to go together again for a while now, but I don't usually get home from work in time. Well on Tuesday I worked from home rather than in the city, so it was the perfect chance to go.

During the summer, Maureen's classes are held at Silverton Farms, which is an organic farm about 10 minutes from my house. I'm so glad I got a chance to go to a class on the farm, it was beautiful! There were about 25 people in the class, including a few more of our friends plus Matt's parents who came to check it out for the first time. We sat outside on picnic tables shaded by big trees, looking at the crops in the evening sunlight and sipping on cold Red Zinger iced tea while learning new recipes. Perfect evening!

Maureen picks a different topic for each class, and this week it was all about cucumbers.

Maureen had made some Greek tzatskiki sauce, which was really refreshing and went great with veggies. She also made some refrigerator pickles; they were similar to the ones I made last week, but Maureen added sliced jalapenos to hers so they had a little zing. Loved them!

Next up was a cucumber and avocado tea sandwich. Can't go wrong when avocados are involved.

 The last menu item was my favorite, though. Everyone at our table was raving about the Thai Peanut Soba Noodle Salad. I'm a huge fan of peanut sauce, and this one didn't disappoint!

I will definitely be making this dish again. It was the perfect cold noodle salad for a 90 degree day, full of veggies and with a really light Asian style dressing. I think it'd be a great side to bring to a BBQ.

Maureen explained that soba noodles are a great choice since they're made with buckwheat and have a lot of protein (I think it was 11 grams per serving), but they can be tough to find and/or a little pricey, so whole wheat cappelini or angel hair will work just as well here. Check out her recipe below - it may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it all comes together quickly and the flavor is amazing!

The farm store usually closes at 5, but the owners picked a bunch of fresh veggies in the late afternoon and kept the store open just for us class-goers. I couldn't wait to check out the goodies, and left the very proud owner of a big container of heirloom tomatoes.

The whole quart was only $5! And to top it off, the owner dumped a pint of sugar baby tomatoes (those are they sweet yellow cherry-size tomatoes) in my bag for free. Sweet! I can't wait to make a tomato salad with these guys.

If you're a local, definitely check out this little slice of heaven out in Silverton (it's on Silverton Rd. in Toms River). All the produce is 100% organic, fresh and delicious, the grounds are pretty and the owners are really friendly. They're planning a couple of events over the next month or two, including a movie night on the farm and potentially a music festival, which you can bet I'll be at. ;-)

Maureen's Thai Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

Serves 6-8

2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup rice or red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. red chili flakes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. Thai chili sauce (optional - adds heat)
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (optional)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 pound soba (buckwheat) noodles (may substitute whole wheat cappelini)
1 large cucumber, halved, peeled, deseeded, and cut into small slices
2 red pepper, julienned
1 or 2 large carrots, grated
1 small bunch scallions, sliced
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

In a bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, chili flakes, sugar, mustard, coriander, soy sauce, lime juice, Thai chili sauce and ginger until smooth. Whisk in canola oil and check for seasoning. In a large bowl, toss dressing with cooked pasta, cucumbers, red peppers and scallions. Garnish with peanuts and serve.

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