Bayley, our sweet crazy mutt dog, turned three last week (that's 21 in dog years). His birthday is March 1st. He's adopted, which means we do not know what his exact birthday is, so we gave him a made up birthday when we got him. I make sure to give him a few extra hugs on his birthday (he's a big time hugger, he loves getting hugs).
I am a bit of a crazy dog lady. I'm that person who has to stop every dog on the street just to give them a scratch and say hello. I love the dog culture and the conversations you have with other dog owners.
"This is Spot, don't mind him, he's a bit ant-social."
"Oh, Roofus loves to play, can he pay with your dog."
"Jack gets really excited when he sees big dogs, he thinks he's bigger than he really is."
It's amazing how much a dog's personality reflects their owner's. I like to think that Bayley got his happy and loving attitude from us.
The other day I was walking him around our neighborhood and a random guy stopped us on the street and asked if he could pet Bayley. This guy spent a good couple of minutes scratching him, hugging him, telling him how beautiful he was. Bayley was eating it up. Then he told me he just lost his dog and that it felt good just to pet another dog. My heart sank, but I totally knew what he meant. It just feels good to love from a dog.
I walked away with a giant smile on my face knowing that my dog made that random guy on the street so happy and brightened his day.
Owning a dog is not 100% love 100% of the time. There are definitely moments when I think to myself, why on earth am I taking care of this pain the butt animal. When he jumps on my friends when they come over to our apartment, or when he whines to me during the day because he would rather be outside playing. There are many moments of frustration.
But all of those moments added up do not even come close to negating the fact that animals bring so much happiness into a home.
My all-time favorite thing that someone said to Bayley on one of our walks: "That dog sure does love life."
Yes ..... yes, he does.
So for Bayley's birthday this year, he got hugs + I got a bowl of soba noodles with a ginger tahini dressing with lots of greens. Because I was more in the mood to celebrate with a bowl of soba noodles than a piece of cake.
I could eat this every day of my life and be happy. There is something about the creaminess of the tahini that gets me excited. Since I stopped eating dairy, it's the healthiest way for me to get a creamy fix.
It's no secret that I love a big bowl of noodles or a big bowl of greens, so combining the two it just double happiness for me.
The great thing about this dish is you can add any type of green or vegetable that you like, it goes with just about anything. Collards, swiss chard, carrots, cucumbers + tomatoes when the summer comes back around. Same thing goes with pairing this dish. You can add soba and tahini to so many meals as a side dish, or you can just eat it alone for lunch. Yum.
I think I am going to make this every year for Bayley's birthday, and for many of the days in-between.
soba noodles + ginger tahini with crispy kale, shallots + romaine
enough for 4 people
for the tahini:
1/3 cup of tahini
1/3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 heaping teaspoons of grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of tamari
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
pepper + red pepper flakes (optional)
a package of soba noodles
a drizzle of grapeseed (or another neutral tasting, high-heat oil)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
5-6 leaves of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
4-5 romaine leaves, roughly chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
some sesame seeds or gomacio (which is a sea salt and sesame seed blend)
- Being a medium sized pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package.
- While your noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the tahini. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- When the noodles are done, run them under cold water to cool them down. In a serving bowl, Toss the noodles with the tahini and set aside. You can also place them in the fridge while you prepare the rest if you like your soba noodles cold.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat up the oil over medium heat and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for about two minutes before adding the kale and romaine. Add the kale and romaine and cook until everything gets crispy and starts to brown a little.
- Toss the kale, romaine, and shallots in with the noodles. Top with the green onion, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes (if you like).