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Recipe Fri Jan 17 2014

DIY: Panera's Soba Noodle Salad

sobasalad.jpgImagine my shock this week when I entered a Panera for lunch and didn't see my beloved Soba Noodle Salad on the menu board. I was completely dumbfounded. Before I knew what was happening my grandfather's voice jumped out of my mouth, "What do you mean you don't have the Soba Noodle Salad anymore?! I just had one the other day!"

My grandpa could not wrap his head around the idea that each restaurant has its own concept and set of menu rules. He thought of restaurants as food stores, where whatever he wanted to eat could be made and brought to him whenever he wished. Grandpa hated that he had to order from a set menu and couldn't just ask for whatever food he was in the mood to eat. His irritation and complete disregard for how restaurants work provided endless hours of entertainment when I was growing up. It still makes me laugh when I think about it. "No, grandpa, we're in a Chinese restaurant, you cannot order a cheeseburger!" Well, friends, be careful the things you laugh at they will turn around and bite you.

I worked in restaurants for years, so I know that menu items come and go. So when the next thing popped out of my mouth I wanted to punch myself in the face probably just as much as the server did. "Don't you have the ingredients, can't you just make it for me?" There's my grandpa again. I can't believe those words came out of my mouth. I was so embarrassed that I excused myself from the line for a bit to pull myself together and find something new and different for lunch.

Cooking inspiration can come from the strangest places. I sometimes try to recreate my favorite restaurant items at home. I'm not always 100% on target, but it sure is a fun challenge. If I can figure out how to duplicate my favorite Thai take-out dishes, I'm never ordering take out again. If I don't stop letting my grandfather pop out of my mouth, I won't be missed!

Salad Ingredients
4 ounces buckwheat Soba Noodles
1 cup sliced red cabbage
1 carrot (grated)
5 ounces baby spinach
½ lb. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 package broccoli and cauliflower steamed (optional)

Directions
Cook Soba Noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse, drain and let cool. Toss the salad ingredients in a bowl along with the salad dressing (recipe below) and serve.

Peanut Butter Salad Dressing
½ cup peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp peanut oil (or other flavorless oil)
red pepper flakes to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in small food processor or blender. This recipe is really just a guide for you. You can really play around with the ingredients to get the flavor and consistency that you prefer. If the dressing comes out too thick add small amounts of water.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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