Summer Salad

It was time to thin out the garden. If you follow me maybe you’ve seen a little glimpse into our backyard garden. It is so crazy how in mid May everything was still a bare patch of dirt. Now it’s overflowing and I’m placed with the hard task of thinning out the carrots and greens to let the others grow larger. I’m also slowly learning that I have more I want to plant, but I’m running out of space to put it until other things have run their course. It is no easy task for me to rip out the small, fragile plants I grew from seed, but I know I’ll get something better if I do.

This task reminds me to think of the whole picture. When creating, I can become so worked up in the end or final product, that I forget or begrudge all the small steps I have to take to get there. Good things take time and they sometimes take sacrifice.

So inspiration for this sunbutter noodle bowl; I credit the carrots… and the squash that is teetering on taking over very soon. I’m slowing that process by eating them young and stealing a few blossoms here and there.

On a side note, we’re packing our bags and leaving the keys for a friend to watch the house and garden, while Jared and I head south later this week for a work/vacation trip to California. We’ll be at the shows in San Francisco and LA and camping and visiting family in between. I am really excited for this trip. I love the OR and CA coast and it’s going to feel good to take a little road trip. I plan to eat crazy fresh food, stopping at the many road-side places that always seem to be in abundance in CA and hope to take lots of pictures of our adventure. If you happen to live in those cities, please come stop by and say hello during the show. I’d really like it and I’ll try not to be too shy : )

Sunbutter Noodles with Fresh Veggies / serves 4

I made my own sunbutter. It’s totally easy and I give instructions below. If you only want to make the sunbutter, I suggest adding a pinch of salt and a nob of honey to sweeten it up, delicious. I think leaving the sunbutter sauce on the thick side would make a great dip for fresh veggies too. Also, I use rice noodles here, but I think soba or possibly even spaghetti noodles would work as well.

1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (plus more for garnish) or 1/2 cup pre-made sunbutter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (depending on how spicy you like)
1/4-1/2 cup water
4-6 oz. rice noodles
1/4 lb. snow peas, washed, strings removed, sliced on the diagonal
1 bunch carrots, julienned
1-2 summer squash, julienned
4-5 squash blossoms, optional
1/2 cup packed cilantro, roughly chopped
green onion, roughly chopped

If making your own sunbutter, place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and blend until they become creamy and smooth, it’s going to take about 8-10 minutes total. After about 5 minutes, scrape down the sides, and continue blending. Once a creamy consistency, add the vinegar, tamari, ginger, honey, oil, ref chile flakes, and 1/4 cup water. Puree until smooth. If using pre-made sunbutter, place everything in at once. If you want the sauce to be thinner add more water.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Stir in about 3/4 of the sauce mixture and the cilantro. Add more sauce or water to get the the consistency you desire.

If you want a pretty serving (as in the first photo) plate the noodles and surround it with the fresh veggies. Otherwise, stir in all the vegetables and top with the green onion and extra sunflower seeds just before serving. Season with salt to taste and serve at room temperature or chilled.