I've never met anyone who is as enthusiastic about grocery shopping as my dad.
Typically considered a chore done begrudgingly by husbands around the country, my dad is fully in his element when he's traversing the aisles of his favorite produce market, assessing the Swiss chard, sifting through the dried fruit section for his favorite variety of raisins, and tossing a head of cauliflower into his cart for no other reason than because of its appealing appearance.
His style of shopping can be described as the equivalent to ordering five entrees for two people at a restaurant. His eyes are perpetually bigger than his stomach, and growing up, it became a running joke in my family that Dad couldn't be trusted to return from the store with just one bag.
My brothers, mom and I would often play the game, "Guess How Many Bags" -- usually when we were stuck in the car waiting for my dad to return from his "quick stop" to get milk or batteries or something he deemed essential in that moment. Inevitably, he would walk up to the car with far more than just the milk.
"Oranges were on sale for 99 cents a pound," He'd boast as he'd lug two big over-stuffed bags of groceries into the trunk, one of them containing no less than ten of the discounted citrus fruit.
To his credit, the oranges, or whatever he had impulsively purchased, would usually be of worthwhile quality -- just of a quantity that even a family of five couldn't consume within a reasonable period of time.
While I still shake my head at the seven different varieties of onions hibernating in my parents' produce bin when I'm in Orange County visiting, I'd be remiss to say that some of my dad's shopping habits haven't rubbed off on me. I too, am guilty of buying more kale than a recipe calls for, for getting three red onions when one is all I need for the week, and for tossing ingredients in my cart simply because they look good or are on sale.
A couple weeks ago, as I was traversing the aisles of my local Gelson's market, idling over the various iterations of soy sauce, my eyes fixated on a package of buckwheat soba noodles that were on sale. Though I had no immediate recipe in mind for them, and hadn't cooked with soba noodles in over a year, I found myself tossing two packages into my cart. Because as my dad will tell you, if one is good, two is better.
30 minutes later, as I shoved the noodles into my pantry next to four packages of quinoa, a giant tub of farro and an untouched box of whole wheat couscous, I felt less enthusiastic about my purchase. That is until I stumbled across a picture of this Kale Soba Bowl with Avocado Miso Dressing on Misty from Noms Not Bombs' Instagram feed.
Suddenly my impulse purchase didn't seem so… impulsive. It seemed fortuitous, destined to happen - unlike the pineapple I decided I couldn't leave Trader Joe's without two weekends ago.
So this weekend I bought more kale, avocados, and limes than I needed to make the recipe. And then I ate it for lunch both yesterday and today.
Because as it goes to reason, if once is good, twice is even better.
Kale Soba Bowl with Avocado Miso Dressing
Adapted from Noms Not Bombs and A House in the Hills
Notes: I made a few adjustments to this addictive salad that I have a feeling will become the recipe of the summer - the thing I gorge on until avocados go out of season or I finally run out of soba noodles. I added shelled edamame for some extra protein, used extra lime juice, used walnut oil instead of olive oil to add a touch of nuttiness to compliment the sesame seeds, and then used a touch of that walnut oil to massage the kale before adding it to the salad. While the first time I made the salad I omitted Misty's addition of cucumber, I enjoyed it mixed in the second time around - feel free to experiment as you see fit!
1 small bunch dino kale
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 7/8 ounce package buckwheat soba noodles
1 cup shelled edamame
1 ripe, medium avocado
1 medium clove of garlic
2 tablespoons walnut oil, divided
3 tablespoons white miso
Juice of 1 small lime
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Wash and dry kale well. Sprinkle the kale with sea salt and 1 tablespoon of walnut oil. Use your hands to massage the oil and salt into the kale until softened, a minute or so. Stack the leaves on top of each other, and use a sharp knife to cut into 1/4 inch strips.
Meanwhile, bring a salted pot of water to boil. Add the soba noodles and cook according to package instructions, adding the shelled frozen edamame for the last five minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Combine avocado, garlic, remaining tablespoon of walnut oil, miso, and lime juice using a blender or handheld blender. Puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, edamame, noodles with the dressing. Toss to coat. Chill in the refrigerator, or serve immediately sprinkled with sesame seeds.