I’m about to say something incredibly controversial. Are you ready?
Pumpkin spice lattes are fucking gross. They taste like chemicals. They taste like fake syrup. They taste like fake pumpkin. And while they usually don’t make me all that mad, they’re kinda irking me right now because it’s hot in Los Angeles and I’m sort of not ready for fall just yet. Too much pumpkin spice latte advertisement–calm down!!!
(If you like pumpkin lattes just know that we are still friends. I like you.)
During this strange seasonal transitional period, I like to make things that are flexible in terms of time spent in the kitchen and actual temperature. This soup is cold. The broth is cold, the noodles are cold, but if you’re feeling a bit chilly or want to make this in a few months, then eat it warm! It’s delightful piping hot.
I know so many of you are so cold right now. Every few pictures on Instagram are screenshots of what the weather is like in the Eastern United States. And you guys are literally freezing. I know your face probably hurts and you can’t feel your toes because of the cold, but honestly I’m kinda jealous. I wish I had snow boots on and got the chance to take pretty winter white landscape photos. And then I’d come in the house and have one of those rooms specifically designed for taking off big jackets and boots (what’s this room called, guys?! I forget!) and then I’d proceed to light a fire and make some soup. And maybe whip up this plate of healthy soba noodles because it’s January, after all.
It took me FOREVRRR to finally give soba noodles a try. I’m pretty sure I was scarred from my childhood nightmare, which consisted of tall stacks of healthy buckwheat pancakes. Buckwheat flour has never been my favorite, so I guess it’s no surprise that once I learned that soba noodles used this flour, I steered clear. A few years ago I was at a vegan eatery that forces you to feel grateful about your life, which actually just makes me angry. Like, don’t tell me to be grateful; I’ll be grateful if I want to be, you know? Anyway, I left angry but was delighted to learn that soba noodles could be very delicious. My opinion had been forever changed.
My favorite part of this dish are the bonito flakes. Have you had them before? When bonito flakes hit piping hot food, they dance. Bonito flakes are dancers. Really embarrassing dancers. Like the friend you have that starts to dance and everyone is like, yeesh, don’t do that for the sake of humanity please stop, please. Basically, bonito flakes dance like Elaine. (And if you’re too young to understand a Seinfeld reference, you’re dead to me. Not really, but PLEASE watch the entire series.)
These padron peppers are cooked in the same way shishito peppers are usually prepared: pan sautéed and blistered. And instead of just tossing them with a little salt, I decided to make it a little more interesting and top them with bonito flakes and fresh orange zest. It’s a fun little appetizer that takes about five minutes to prepare. And like all other awesome things, these should be eaten with beer.
The full recipe and post is over on PBS Food this week.