Emily Columpsi

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery" -Mark Van Doren

unbeLEAFable

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To kick off my salad category, I wanted to make something that was different and unique compared to the typical garden salad; I wanted to challenge myself in ways that a salad normally wouldn’t. As well, I was interested in looking at other online foodie websites than my go to Smitten Kitchen or Rachael Ray. I was looking and looking and finally my mom recommended looking at Pinterest. I personally do not have a Pinterest account so I was very unfamiliar on how to pin, heart something, or even how to search. My mom showed me the ropes of the website literally in 2 minutes. It actually wasn’t that hard to get around or search. I simply typed in salads, and a whole smorgasbord of options came up! It was literally overwhelming because all the pictures and recipes were so close together it was hard to tell what recipe was for what picture. However, I managed and while I was searching through all the delicious options one picture in particular caught my eye. People always say you eat with your eyes, and I feel like this was one of those moments. It stood out to me because of the colors and presentation so obviously I was tempted to figure out what it tasted like. That being said, my decision was made fairly quickly. I was making Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad.

As I was looking through the recipe and directions, I felt fairly confident. I knew all of the ingredients and how to handle/chop them, and the directions were all very clear. Actually, the directions were not only clear, but they were rather simple. As a result, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to do any online research because I found this salad pretty straightforward; as most salads are. However, I did promise that if by chance I found myself in a situation where I was unsure or lost I would take a moment and do some online learning.

Before I even started cooking, I ran through my cooking rules:

Cooking Rule #1: Make sure you have all the ingredients prior to cooking

Cooking rule #2: always read the proportions and directions carefully (more than once).

Cooking rule #3: Do not hold bread in your hand when you are slicing it

Thankfully, we had all the ingredients so I did not have to run to the store and also, this recipe did not include any bread! So if anything I just needed to constantly remind myself of cooking rule #2!

Recipe: Salad Ingredients

1 bag of coleslaw mix

1 packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (you will not be using the seasoning packet)

  • I actually used Ichiban noodles instead of ramen noodles. They have the same crunchy texture when they are raw so it was a reasonable substitute.

1 cup shelled and cooked edamame beans

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

½ cup thinly sliced almonds

½ cup thinly sliced green onions

Recipe: Salad Dressing Ingredients

2/3 cup of vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)

1/3-cup honey

1/3-cup rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

¼ teaspoon sesame oil

Pinch of salt and black pepper

Directions

I personally found the directions to be very simply.

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All toasted and golden

All toasted and golden

Heat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up spread the crumbled ramen noodles and sliced almonds onto a baking sheet. I mentioned above that I used Ichiban noodles instead of ramen noodles. I found that since you aren’t using the seasoning packet the texture of the noodles would be the same. As well, the Ichiban noodles did not come pre crumbled in the package, so I had to crumble the noodles myself with my hands, which really wasn’t that difficult. Bake the crumbled mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the almonds and noodles are slightly toasted and golden. Remove the baking sheet to cool once the noodles and almonds are nice and golden. Note: Kept a very close eye on the mixture because it can burn very easily. I checked on the mixture at three and a half minutes and I turned away for about 30 seconds and when I came back the almonds were a little too brown: aka slightly burnt. I immediately took out the mixture and let it cool right away. I also removed any burnt pieces from the mixture and tossed them away. Depending on how hot your oven gets, you might want to put the mixture in for 3-4 minutes instead of 5.

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IMG_1923While the mixture is cooling, chop and add all the other ingredients together in a large bowl, and toss until combined. Once the noodles and almonds have cooled add them to the mixture as well. Whisk together the vinaigrette until combined and then add to the bowl. I had to add more soy sauce then recommended because I found it to be way to sweet from the honey. Toss everything together until combined. Add the dressing a little at a time because it may be too much all at once.

Serve the salad immediately or cover and refrigerate. This salad is much better eaten the first day as the noodles lose there “crunch” the longer it sits. I made the salad a little early so I put it in the fridge for about an hour and a half to marinate a little longer.

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This salad was amazing! I was so impressed with myself. It did not look like the picture on the website, but what I made was still colorful and tasty. There were so many different textures and flavors going on in the salad as well. It was crunchy from the noodles and cabbage, sweet from the vinaigrette, salty and savory. It literally included everything that a good dish should: at least to my knowledge. My family loved it as well, especially my mom! She even saved and pinned the recipe on her own Pinterest page! I asked them if there was anything they would change or add and they said no. That relieved me. I personally couldn’t find anything that I would change either though. I do believe that by sticking to and reminding myself of my cooking rules really helped me to make a successful dish! That being said, I should or rather need to remind myself of these rules every time I cook until they start to become second nature to me. I am actually excited to cook next week because of how successful this salad was. I am searching for new possibilities as we speak! I got something delicious for you next week, so stay tuned!

Adios!

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