WanderFood Wednesday: Japanese Year End Soba Noodles

by Samantha Scott
( December 30th, 2014 )

Soba Noodle Soup

Japanese Year End Soba Noodles (Toshikoshi) are a tradition in Japan for starting the new year off fresh. Toshikoshi roughly translates to “year-bridging” or “end of the old year, entering the new year.”

One of the best things about Soba is that there are several ways they can be prepared, and bonus! they are super healthy! Great way to kick start that “eating healthier” resolution you make every year…to begin AFTER the champagne of course.

Soba Noodles are made with buckwheat flour, and are often served with dipping sauces or topped with nori (seaweed). They can be served hot, in a broth, or cold like a salad. Here is just one possible way to make your Japanese Year End Soba Noodle meal:

Japanese Year End Soba Noodles


  • 6 Cups dashi: Dashi is a type of Japanese fish stock and can be found in any Asian market or in Whole Foods

  • 3 Tbsp mirin: Mirin is a very common ingredient in Japanese cooking and is similar to rice wine or sake

  • 2 Tbsp sugar

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • Soba Noodles, about 9-10 oz, cooked according to package directions

  • Shredded Nori (seaweed) and any additional toppings you desire


1. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the first 3 ingredients (dashi, mirin and sugar) and bring to a boil over medium heat.

2. Simmer on medium-low for about 3 minutes.

3. Being careful not to bring back up to a boil, slowly add the soy sauce, keeping heat consistent.

4. Fill individual serving bowls with the already cooked noodles and pour broth over them.

5. Top with a small amount of shredded nori or topping of your choice.

6. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits

Soba Noodles Soup: Jessica Spengler via Flickr

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5 Easy Make-Ahead Nibbles for New Years Eve

by Samantha Scott
( December 30th, 2014 )

Stuffed Mushrooms

Here are 5 Easy Make-Ahead Nibbles for New Year’s Eve. These bites are simple and fresh, but filling enough to last, which is good since it’s a long evening! They are easy to eat in one or two bites—you don’t want to have to set that champagne down for longer than you have to! And lastly, easy to maneuver while standing and mingling, no need to find a place to sit down and best of all, no or minimal clean up since they don’t require silverware!

1. Stuffed Mushrooms

Fun to make, fun to look at and delicious to eat!

2. Sweet Potato Squares with Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise

Seasonally appropriate and easy to eat. The perfect balance of sweetness to the primarily savory appetizers.

3. Baked Brie with Herbed Artichoke

Everyone loves cheese right? Baked brie is the pathway to even the snobbiest foodie’s heart.

4. Pistachio and Feta Dip

Adds a brilliant splash of color and a vibrant taste, a perfect dip for crackers or bread.

5. Roasted Grape, Rosemary and Ricotta Toasts

Elegant looking with an exotic yet modern flair.

What are some easy nibbles for New Years Eve that you like to make? HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credit: Stacy via Flickr

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WanderFood Wednesday: Dungeness Crab for Christmas Eve

by Samantha Scott
( December 23rd, 2014 )

Dungeness Crab

Happy Christmas Eve! Here in Northern California, a very popular meal on Christmas Eve is Dungeness crab. ‘Tis is the season for this delicious crustacean and people in the Bay Area wait impatiently all year round for the first catch of the winter.

Native to the pacific northwest, Dungeness is a quintessential holiday meal in many households in this area. I remember when I was in elementary school being shocked to learn that other families had crab for Christmas Eve, just like mine did. It was one of the first moments I became aware of how food, place, community and culture can become intertwined.

Cracked Dungeness Crab

There are many ways to serve Dungeness. It’s especially good in salads, but personally I love it best freshly cracked with my family’s homemade sauce. I love that it comes around this time of year because the holidays tend to be more about heavy winter dishes, which is great, but it’s nice to have something so fresh from the ocean around this time.

Happy Holidays!

Do you have a traditional Christmas Eve meal where you live?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits

Dungeness Crab: Tony Fischer via Flickr

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