Mariel here. Notice anything different around here? A little more color maybe? Some fancy new fonts? An entirely new design? You better, we just sunk a decent-size chunk of change into refreshing our beloved Feast on the Cheap.
It’s official, we’re coming for you Contessa, hold on to your macramé Martha, and Paula, you’re fine where you are, go back to buttering your toothbrush. That’s right, we’re ready for the big leagues.
For the past two years we’ve been steadily building a following and working to carve out our own little niche in the depressingly expansive food-bloggery scene. In honor of our 2nd birthday (ahem, it’s February 17th, thank you very much), we scheduled a much-needed face-lift – though not the kind my mom keeps clamoring for. We hired the infinitely talented Thomas of TCDawson Designs to revamp our digs and give this site the DJ-Jazzy-Jeff it so desperately deserves. We also launched a Facebook page (finally), so “like” us. We only have a handful of followers right now and we look like social network losers.
Anyway, what I’m really trying to do is introduce a new recipe. A healthy recipe. A very quick recipe perfect for our new “Last-Minute Meals” category. Since you undoubtedly stuffed your gob with an unholy amount of sliders, fries and jalapeno poppers, I thought you might be interested in something a little lighter. If you happen to keep a well-stocked Asian pantry, which we highly recommend, then this won’t cost you much. If you don’t, but love Japanese takeout and order often, this is infinitely more affordable than speed-dialing Megu. If you don’t fall into either of the above, you may have to fork over a few sheckles for several slightly more exotic ingredients like Mirin – but they’ll last awhile.
Soy-Glazed Black Sesame Shrimp with Soba Noodles
Shopping note: I scoured the “International Section” at two large grocery stores and could not find Soba Noodles. A stockist than wisely pointed me in the direction of the store’s “Health Food Aisle.” Bingo. I thought I’d share in case you come up against the same problem.
1 lb medium raw shrimp, cleaned and shelled (you can use frozen, just thaw them first by placing them in a strainer under cold running water for 5 minutes) – $7.99
10 oz of buckwheat Soba noodles – $2.29
2 Tablespoons of Mirin – stock
2 Tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce (you can use regular soy if that’s all you have) – stock
1½ teaspoons of chili garlic sauce, Huy Fong a popular variety (sub in ½ teaspoon of chili powder and one clove of minced garlic if you have a hard time finding it) – $2.69
4 teaspoons of sesame or peanut oil, divided – stock
1½ teaspoons cornstarch – stock
1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds (black or regular) – $3.69
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped finely (optional) – $0.89
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $14.86
Cost per serving: $4.95
1. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of sesame/peanut oil, cornstarch, Mirin, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce. In a large glass or plastic bowl, combine the marinade with the raw shrimp and let sit for about 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, prepare the Soba noodles according to package directions, then set them aside. FYI, with Soba noodles, generally err on the side of slightly undercooked.
3. In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over very high heat. Once smoking hot, remove the pan from the heat for 5 seconds. Return the skillet to the stove top over medium-low heat and add the shrimp & marinade. Saute – stirring often to prevent the sauce from burning – until the shrimp are pink all the way through and on both sides, this takes about 6-8 minutes total. Once the shrimp are cooked, sprinkle with sesame seeds coating both sides.
4. Toss the Soba noodles into the skillet and combine well. Heat through for an additional minute. Portion out the shrimp and Soba noodles and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.