Does anyone else have a fascination with grocery stores in other countries? In Japan, we spent lots of time at food markets, but we spent countless hours wandering the aisles of grocery stores. It was so fun just trying to figure out what everything was. I collected non-perishable(ish) items to bring back – miso pastes, spice mixtures, etc…
We also had a short list of items to get for a very good Japanese friend back home. A few of them were a little hard to find – buttered peanuts, and a specific brand of salad dressing. She eventually sent us some photos so we could identify the packaging… it sounds funny to say, but we spent a bit of time in the bottled salad dressing aisle of more than one store. On the last day, (as if I could fit one more thing into my suitcase), a bottle of yuzu-sesame dressing caught my eye. A combo I just had to try. Now I can officially say: I went to Japan and came home with salad dressing.
It ended up being terrible. Nonetheless, it inspired the idea for this salad. Not the toppings necessarily (although this squash-pear thing is tasty), but the dressing itself. I’m obsessed with it and I’ve tossed it into every salad since we’ve been home. Salty, tangy, nutty… If you can’t find yuzu, you can use a combo of lemon and lime. But it’s a fun versatile ingredient and it lasts a long time, so I think it’s worth seeking out.
Pumpkins and sweet potatoes seem to get all of the fall love. Rightfully so, but lately I’ve been having a mini obsession with pears. One day last week, pear pizza sounded like a good idea to me. No, I mean, literally, I just liked the way it sounded… with the two p’s.
I love a sweet component to savory foods, so I knew this would be good – I didn’t know this combo would be ridiculously good. While we were snapping photos, I let Jack have that missing slice. I knew we had a winner when he took a bite and his eyes lit up with excitement and surprise. Those eyes, they don’t lie. And they also don’t appease me.
The key here is that you want everything pretty thin – you don’t want dough that’s too doughy or huge chunks of onion or pear. You want those first few layers to nicely melt into each other.
And don’t skimp on the fried sage – it’s quick, easy and it’ll make your house smell like fall (and also strangely a little bit like McDonald’s breakfast sausage).
We rounded the corner onto Kappabashi-dori. My eyes lit up, my heart skipped two beats. At the same time Jack let out a big sigh and whined “oh nooo… today is going to SUUCK.”
Luckily, there was some free wifi in the area so he could distract himself while I carefully looked through every last copper pot, ginger grater, and tiny painted bowl… I have no words, really. Store upon store, stuffed with stuff (good stuff). Pinch me.
This recipe is a continuation of yesterday’s post… aka. my version of cooking once and eating 3 times. Adding some slight variations each time. These spring rolls are what you make with your leftover noodles when you have barely any left. A little goes a long way to filling these things up.
Cook a few mushrooms, slice an avocado, and add some herbs or greens. I would usually make a peanut sauce for dipping but there’s no need for that here because peanut-y goodness is already in the noodles. Serve with some ponzu or light soy sauce and enjoy.
I don’t make peanut sauce nearly enough. I forget how easy it is, and that I usually already have all the ingredients on hand. I’ve made other variations before, but this time I wanted to simplify it down to just the necessary six ingredients. It takes about 5 minutes (tops) to stir it together… then toss it with noodles & veggies. Dinner is done.
We rarely have leftovers at the end of a meal, but when we do, this is what my lunch looks like the next day. Of course you could just eat the cold noodles on their own, but I get bored easily so this is an example of how I like to slightly switch things up. In this case, I loved the creamy noodles in the crispy lettuce leaves. (And a little extra spice).