Soba Noodle with Zucchini and Andouille SausageImage

Does it ever happen to you that you don’t feel like cooking? Believe it or not, as much as I love food, this does happen a lot in my household. That is a dangerous time, since it is so easy to grab those illegal foods in your pantry if you have them.

Wouldn’t it be nice that the most wonderful dish magically appeared on your table in the most romantic, adventurous surrounding ever? Pull yourself together and take a close look at what you have. Many of my recipes come about by doing just that. After reading countless books on nutrition, I have come to the conclusion that what should be on my plate are the following five ingredients: a healthy fat, a protein, a healthy grain, a green or colorful vegetable, and my favorite spice. This is always my starting point and I try to follow it as best I can.

On a recent grocery visit, I purchased a spicy, smoky Andouille sausage. Since I prefer not to keep fresh items for too long, this had to go first. Upon looking around my refrigerator and pantry I decided to pair this with soba noodles and zucchini. This sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? Noodles do need some moisture. Recently, a friend was curious as to what was in my pantry…

One of my favorite ingredients is a chipotle pumpkin salsa, courtesy of Rick Bayless, a very creative famous chef. Try to find it here, you will not be disappointed! This a limited item, so make sure that you purchase several jars. I currently have three jars in my pantry. If finding the salsa is too much trouble, feel free to experiment with pumpkin purée, chipotle peppers and regular marinara sauce until I come up with an adequate substitute recipe. Remember, use what is already in your pantry. As a salsa, I have paired this ingredient with beef, chicken, and eggplant empanadas, however, it is also my most favorite pasta sauce!

Speaking of pasta… in my quest of staying away from white and refined grains, I discovered a noodle that makes for an easy and fast dish: soba noodles, noodles made from buckwheat. These can be cooked al dente in 3-5 minutes. When I am in a rush this is a go-to staple. Make sure that you purchase the Japanese style buckwheat noodle. Other brands may result in a rubber band like texture upon cooking, which is not an appetizing texture on my plate.

As you can see, my other loves are flowers. As fall is soon over and almost everything in the yard has died down to resurface again in the spring, one little gem is hanging on. Her name is Gentian, or Gentiana scubra to be exact, not just a pretty purple, blue face, but known to be of many medicinal uses, mainly as a liver tonic. This is the first time that I introduced her into my garden. I will let you know how far her tubular blossoms will survive into the winter. Notice how Gentiana’s fall colors blend very well with today’s lunch in the above photograph.

Here she is again on her own:Image

Let’s move on to the recipe then, shall we? You will be pleased, this recipes takes only about 15 minutes to complete.

(Serves 2)

1 bundle soba noodles
2 chicken or pork Andouille sausages
2 teaspoons avocado oil
2 zucchini (quartered and sliced)
1/2 cup chipotle pumpkin salsa
1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Start by sautéing the sausages in a skillet or cast-iron pan, about 10-15 minutes depending upon thickness. Meanwhile, boil the soba noodles for 3-5 minutes and set aside. Sauté quartered and sliced zucchini in avocado oil, or oil of your choice for approx. five minutes. Add chipotle pumpkin salsa, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the soba noodles and chopped Andouille sausage and mix well. Garnish with fresh cilantro if using. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir and bitter chocolate as a dessert.

Life is good!

(Dedicated to my friend Senait M.)