RECIPE: Mushroom Soba Salad with Yuzu Ponzu Dressing

Mushroom Soba Salad with Ponzu Dressing

This is my friend’s own recipe, inspired by the different types of soba salads she has had; this light and tasty salad has become a staple on my menu.  I also made this for our New Year family gathering, and most recently for my friend’s birthday potluck party.

We made this dish together a few months ago when sea asparagus was in season; it was an excellent addition and added a different texture and taste (“sea-salt”) . As this is a homemade recipe, the quantities and ingredients can be changed according to your taste and dietary needs.

“Poached Pear Queen”, thank you very much for sharing (OO).

Ingredients: (Serves 4 – as light meal)

1 package 100% buckwheat noodles (200g), 1 Tablespoon grape seed oil, 6 to 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms (thinly sliced), 1 package white organic shimeji mushrooms (approx. 100g), 1 package organic buna shimeji (beech) mushrooms (approx. 100g), 1 to 2 cloves of garlic (finely minced), sugar snap peas 250 g (lightly blanched and sliced on the bias), 1 large red (or orange) pepper (thinly sliced), 2 pieces satsuma age (Japanese already cooked fried fish cake) thinly sliced, 1 medium onion (thinly sliced), green scallions (chopped for garnish), 1 Meyer (or regular) lemon zest (for garnish), 1 to 2 teaspoons of Japanese mirin, juice of half a Meyer lemon (or regular lemon), sake (just a dash for mushrooms), kosher salt (a little for seasoning mushrooms), drizzle of sesame oil (optional).

Dressing: 4 to 6 Tablespoon yuzu ponzu sauce, 1 to 2 Tablespoon Japanese soy sauce, 1 small red chilli peppers (thinly sliced), 1 to 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, black pepper for seasoning to taste.


– Prepare ponzu dressing (Yuzu ponzu to soy sauce – 3 to 1), add sliced red chilli pepper and mix well.

– Lightly blanched sugar snap peas, peel and slice on the bias.

– Separate the white and beech shimeji mushrooms into individual stalks, slice shiitake mushrooms, onion, red pepper and fish cakes, set aside.

– In large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.

– Add onions, sautéed until lightly browned, add mushrooms, garlic, Japanese sake, mirin and season with kosher salt (a pinch to lightly season the mushrooms) and black pepper, stirring occasionally until they begin to wilt, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.

– Add red pepper slices, cook for another minute, then fold in snap peas and fish cake, add Meyer lemon juice, mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Keep in mind you would like to keep the vegetables “crunchy”. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

– Cook the Soba noodles in boiling water according to package instructions;  cook until they are al dente (treat it as pasta). This step requires your full attention as soba noodles can be overcooked easily.  When they are done, rinse under cold water (until water is no longer murky), toss and drain the noodles thoroughly.

Soba noodles rinsed, tossed and drained thoroughly.

– In large mixing bowl, (by hand using plastic disposable food prep gloves or tongs) toss mushroom mixture with soba noodles, the lemon zest and green scallions, slowly drizzle dressing and toss well with all ingredients.

– Taste and adjust with your choice of seasonings (soy sauce, yuzu ponzu, black pepper) according to your own preference.

– Lightly drizzle with sesame oil or garnish with toasted sesame seeds (optional).- Served immediately or chill until ready to serve.


– Meyer lemon has a very distinctive flavour which is slightly resembles yuzu.  It is not as sharp as regular lemons which work just as well and adds a different flavour.

– When adding the dressing, do it slowly; some of you may prefer a even lighter or heavier dressed noodle salad, you may not use all (or you require more) dressing. Be prepared!  If you choose to chill the salad before serving, it’s best to have more dressing available as noodles may become a little dry after refrigeration.

– The small red chilli pepper is spicy; so beware! if you want “kick”, add another one (OO).

– You can make this entirely vegetarian by omitting the fish cakes.  Back in September 2013, we made this dish with sea asparagus, maitake and crimini mushrooms, be adventurous and change the ingredients!

– Here’s a picture of some ingredients: organic soy sauce (top left), Yuzu Ponzu (top right) and 100% buckwheat noodles (bottom).  In Vancouver, you can purchased all ingredients at Fujiya Japanese food store (912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC).  The organic packaged mushrooms are also available at T & T Asian supermarket (various locations).


RECIPE: Zucchini Ribbons


A simple and easy way to prepare zucchini; instead of pasta, I recently served this with Tomato glazed meatloaves (see other recipe posting).  

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 medium size zucchini, kosher salt and pepper to taste


– Using a vegetable peeler, from top to bottom of each zucchini, slice the zucchini into ribbons.

– Place ribbons in a covered microwave safe dish

– Nuked them high for two minutes

– Drained the excess liquid (if any), and toss with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Notes: An old fashion vegetable peeler or mandoline works.  To turn zucchini into “spaghetti” style noodles, you will need a spiral slicer.  Enjoy the zucchini ribbons raw as a salad!  Enjoy (OO).

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower and Cremini Mushrooms with garlic and rosemary


This is an idea and recipe which I’ve adapted loosely from the December 2013 issue of Fine Cooking; instead of cooking the vegetables in a skillet, I opted to roast everything together and served as a side dish with our roast prime rib dinner; I will try the slow saute method next time.

Ingredients: (serves 4 to 6)

1 Tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Pure Maple syrup, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (more to taste), kosher, salt, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Head of cauliflower (medium), 1/2 pound of Cremini mushrooms (trimmed, halved if small, quartered if large – approximately 3 cups), 8 large cloves of garlic (peeled and halved lengthwise), 3 rosemary sprigs, 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (optional).


– Pre-heat oven to 350 F, lined roasting pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

– Prepare the cauliflower and mushrooms; for the cauliflower, cut off the stems and leaves (discard); Cut the cauliflower into half, then slice florets and stalks into bite size, cut the florets so they have a flat side.

– Combine red wine vinegar, maple syrup and lemon juice in a small bowl, set aside.

– Toss cauliflower, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on baking dish.

– Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and golden brown.

– Remove from oven and gently stir in vinegar mixture and butter (optional). Discard the rosemary sprigs and season to taste with more lemon juice and salt (if necessary).  Serve immediately.

RECIPE: Eggplant and Porcini “Meatballs” in Tomato Sauce

Eggplant and Porcini mushrooms “meatballs” in tomato sauce with pecorino romano and fresh basil

Meatless Mondays only or do you find yourself having more vegetarian meals lately?

I found this recipe in the Food and Wine magazine’s August edition on innovative “vegetable-centric” eating; I thought this recipe would be perfect for Fall and Winter months when we yearn for comfort foods. The addition of porcini mushroom to the eggplant and its liquid to the tomato sauce was a stroke of brilliance; it made the dish more savoury.

The recipe is originally from “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy” by Domenica Marchetti; just like other home cooks, I adapted the recipe and made some changes: I baked the “meatballs” instead of pan frying them, they are more crispy and less greasy; and I made the tomato sauce slightly spicy.


1 Large eggplant (1 to 1/14 lbs), 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, Boiling water, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 small onion (minced), 4 garlic cloves (finely grated), Two 28-ounce cans imported whole Italian tomatoes (seeded, pureed with juices), 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil plus leaves for garnish, 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from 6 ounces crustless country bread), 2 large eggs (beaten), 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (freshly grated and more for serving), 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, all purpose flour *(for coating meatballs(I omitted this ingredient)), kosher salt, pepper and chilli pepper flakes (*for sauce, can also add as seasoning to “meatballs”)


“Prickly” Eggplant

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prick the eggplant all over with a fork and set it on a baking sheet.  Roast in the center of oven for approximately 1 hour until very soft and collapsed. Let cool slightly, then slice open eggplant and scrape the flesh into a large bowl and let cool completely.  Discard the skin.

– Meanwhile in heat proof bowl, cover the dried porcini mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and let stand until softened, approximately 30 minutes.  Drain, reserve the soaking liquid.  Rinse the porcini to remove any grit, then finely chop the mushrooms.

– In an enameled cast-iron casserole/pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.  Add the onion, half the garlic and chilli pepper flakes, cook over moderately high heat, keep stirring until softened (5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and pour in the porcini soaking liquid, stop before reaching the grit; bring it to a boil.  Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, approximately 1 hour.  Add half of the chopped fresh basil, season with salt, pepper and chilli pepper flakes.

– To prepare the “meatballs”: Fold the chopped porcini, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, remaining garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant.  Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (adjust according to your own taste and dietary concerns). Line the baking sheet with wax paper.  Form the eggplant mixture into 1 3/4 inch balls, rolling tightly. Dust them with flour lightly and refrigerate for 20 minutes (*note- I skipped the flour completely).

Brush “meatballs’ with olive oil; ready to bake!

– *(this step deviates from the original) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, brush meatballs with olive oil and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, turning them a couple of times to ensure all sides are browned all over.  When they are ready, add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

– Garnish the meatballs with fresh basil leaves and grated cheese; serve with crusty bread.


Dried Porcini mushrooms: available at Italian markets / fine food stores; I purchased mine from Cioffi’s ( and they are the best I’ve purchased to date; when I opened the package, it was unbelievably fragrant; I look forward to using them again in other dishes. 

I’ve used less oil than the recipe calls for; and I added chili pepper flakes to make the sauce slightly spicy, this is optional and adjust according to your own taste (I did not provide specific measurements).  When binding the ingredients, I added a little half and half as I felt it needed a little more moisture. This recipe is a definite keeper; I may try it with more eggplant and a little less breadcrumbs.

We had our dish with ciabatta bread and a side salad; almost made a “Meat and Bread” Sandwich “meatball” that’s an idea (OO)

For the original recipe; here’s the link: