Recipe: Cold Vietnamese Soba

This recipe is from my week of failed menu planning. It was my second noodle dish of the week (first – Miso Eggplant Soba).

This is “Vietnamese” only because I added fish sauce and because cucumbers are vaguely Vietnamese (because lots of Vietnamese dishes have them; they don’t come from Vietnam). Vegan/vegetarian alternatives to fish sauce include (but are not limited to): vegetarian fish sauce, papaya juice, other fruit juice, rice vinegar + sugar, apple juice, and so on. I made this dish for lunches, and it was just as good as the other soba dish I made last week. Again, I don’t usually do noodles for lunch, but this was satisfying. I would probably have it for dinner (or even breakfast!) too.

Maggie’s Cold Vietnamese Soba


  • 1 bundle soba noodles (1.5-2 servings; they come in bundles)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (could cut this down)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small/medium cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • dash of soy sauce (or bragg’s liquid aminos)


  1. Cook noodles as directed (boil for 4 minutes; rinse in cold water).
  2. Toss noodles with olive oil, chili powder, fish sauce, scallions, cucumber, and soy sauce (or bragg’s). Add more or less of the saucey ingredients, to taste.
  3. Serve garnished with cilantro (last week’s herb of choice).

So simple. I made this on Sunday afternoon (last Sunday, the 18th) when I was in a cooking mood (2 batches for 2 lunches). Sunday prep makes it easier to bring lunch during the week.

What’s your go-to lunch?

New Jersey: Trail Making & Wedding Planning

I mentioned on Sunday that we had adventures in New Jersey over the weekend. I happened to wake up around 7:45 on Saturday morning and I caught up with my dad before he left to go work on a nature trail by my parents’ house. He had to be there by 8:30 so I quickly convinced Bobby to get out of bed and come with us (this took a ton of some effort) and we arrived almost on time.

We worked on the Rockhopper Trail (so named because of the many rocks by and on the trail) all morning. Here are some pictures that the organizer, a very nice guy named Alan, took.

That last picture features Morel Mushrooms that one of the volunteers (Ben) found.

We split up into groups for the trail work. I worked on clearing out some invasive Multiflora Rose (an evil plant that scratched my legs), Bobby got to work on a drainage ditch, and my dad made some really impressive stone steps on a few parts of the trail. We even met another Cornellian – Bobby worked with him on the drainage project and they got to reminisce together.

After the trail work we went with my mom and sister to Whole Foods… for wedding planning. Yes, I think I am going to have Whole Foods cater my wedding. I want something seasonal, reasonable, and Maggie-approved – and Whole Foods fits the bill. I may keep some of my planning secret from now on though. I know that a lot of people that are coming read the blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the big day.

I’m off to watch some Bones – my new Netflix streaming addiction. It’s yet another one of those formulaic crime dramas that I love so much.

What do you do after work during the week?

Book Review: Glorious

A few weeks ago I won my friend Missy’s book giveaway (I’ve known Missy since we were about 12, I think) and Akashic Books (a local publisher – they happen to be in Brooklyn – did you know I still haven’t been to Brooklyn? I keep getting made fun of for that…) sent me a copy of Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden. Glorious was a quick and easy read and I really enjoyed it. And did I mention it was autographed?

From Akashic: Glorious is set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights era. Blending fact and fiction, Glorious is the story of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and ultimately revival offers a candid and true portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.

Missy does a much better review than I could ever do, so I encourage you to check it out here. I will just say that I thought the book was great and I breezed through it in a few hours. I really like historical fiction and I haven’t read many books with African American heroines (I don’t know why, maybe there just aren’t that many?) so this was really new and interesting for me. I’d highly recommend it.

I’m excited to check out more books from Akashic too; I like supporting small and local companies that are not evil and corporate.

What have you read lately? (I feel like I ask this question a lot – but I love hearing the new responses.)

Nature Made Award!

A while back Nature Made contacted me to be part of the Healing Hearts Club which they started to promote heart health. Nature Made nominated me along with 4 others (Roni, Brett, Elise, and Melissa – all lovely ladies; go check out their blogs) and asked us each to pass on the award to another blogger. I chose my good friend (online and in real life) Coco.

When I got the Healing Hearts package I was very impressed. Nature Made sent me (for free) a six month supply of CholestOff, CoQ10 and Fish Oil supplements as well as an aluminum water bottle, yoga mat and carrying bag.

I have been using the water bottle constantly. I even brought almond milk (for coffee and tea) to work in it. My one coworker and I really like almond milk. We always chat about organic stuff and health food and we like to go to Whole Foods together on our lunch breaks. I used the yoga mat once, and while it can’t measure up to my favorite Gaiam mat, it was still very nice. I will probably let Bobby use it or I might give it to my sister or brother. I love the carrying bag so I’ll keep that.

A little bit about heart healthy supplements…

Fish Oil. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have “cardio-protective” benefits and improve hearth health in general. Nature Made doesn’t mention this next nugget of knowledge – EPA and DHA (the omega 3’s) are also really good for your brain. They can help prevent depression and they also help with brain function in general. Pretty cool, right? I learned that from Dishing Up Nutrition, my latest obsession. So I take the fish oil for my brain in addition to my heart.

CoQ10. This is actually Coenzyme Q10. It’s kind of like a vitamin and it helps with energy production. It’s also an antioxidant. It’s good for metabolism. I’m a metabolism fiend so I am definitely a fan.

Cholestoff. I don’t really know how this works, and I am pretty sure I don’t have high cholesterol, so I think I am going to give this to my parents or older relatives. I’m sure it’s awesome because Nature Made seems like a solid company.

Thanks, Nature Made and congrats to my nominee, Coco! And congrats to the other Heart Healthy Club members too. I hope we can spread the word and encourage people to think of their hearts. Nutrition is the basis of good health… I’m so glad people are starting to realize that.

I have a few other product reviews and mentions that I have been putting off out of pure laziness but they will be up this week. In case it wasn’t obvious, Nature Made sent me the goodies in this package for free and I am not receiving any kind of payment from them for the review (which wasn’t really a review, it was more of a thank you for thinking of me).

Do you take supplements? Which ones? I started up with calcium again this week – calcium and I have an on-again, of-again affair that is only ever off because I run out and keep forgetting to buy more. I used to take a multivitamin but I don’t think they actually do anything. Sometimes I take L-Glutamine and probiotics (bifido bacteria in particular).

Recipe: Miso Eggplant Soba Noodles

I first learned about soba noodles from my half-Japanese fiance. He introduced me to “zaru soba“, a favorite of his mom’s, which is simply chilled soba noodles that you dip in a soy saucey sauce. I made it way back in 2007. They are usually topped with scallions and bonito flakes and sometimes seaweed. Ever since my first bite of zaru soba I have been on the hunt for more delicious soba recipes. I found a recipe in The Dancing Gourmet and decided to Maggie-fy it into this…

(Note – I think this would also be awesome if you subbed mushrooms in for the eggplant. Just saying.)

Maggie’s Miso Eggplant Soba Noodles

Ingredients (serves 1-2; 1 as a meal or 2 as a side)

  • 1 bundle of soba noodles (it’s probably 1.5 – 2 servings)
  • 1/2 of a small/medium eggplant, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons water (or more, as needed)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber, thinly sliced (mandoline again)
  • a few spritzes of bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)


  1. Cook noodles according to package (usually boil for 4 minutes and then rinse in cold water).
  2. Saute the ginger and garlic in the olive oil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and reduce heat to medium; saute for 2 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if it starts to dry out.
  3. Add the miso, honey, and mustard and continue to cook over medium heat. Add more water as needed to make this into a creamy sauce. Cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the scallions, cucumber, and noodles. Spritz with bragg’s or soy sauce.
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro (or whatever is in your fridge).

This really was good. I brought it for lunch, which wasn’t the best idea as I don’t like having noodles for lunch, but it worked. I actually don’t like noodles in general so the fact that I liked this must mean it’s pretty delicious.

I have another soba recipe coming, so stay tuned…

What’s your favorite noodle? Do you even like noodles?