Cottage Cooking Club: May 2015

Herby, peanutty, noodly salad

It’s time for another month with the Cottage Cooking Club, a project led by Andrea, The Kitchen Lioness. Andrea’s merry band of bloggers are collectively cooking all the recipes in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Veg, an inspiring vegetarian cookbook with a wide variety of recipes to suit many different tastes.

I was a bit of light-weight for the Cottage Cooking Club this month. It was by design, so I’m not apologizing. I’m just setting expectations properly. May has been a busy month of travel and surprise birthday parties and visiting with family and friends. It was all good, even great. May hasn’t been a month of much in the way of home cooking. Mostly meals eaten out or at someone else’s house. I’m not complaining. Sometimes that’s a welcome change.

The one recipe I set my sights on from River Cottage Veg was the Herby, peanutty, noodly salad from the “Hearty Salads” chapter. This simple noodle dish made with super-thin rice noodles and tossed with a multitude of green ingredients is served at room temperature. When I made it, the hot weather hadn’t descended but now that we’ve had a string of days in the high 80s, this would be a perfect dish to revisit.

Rice vermicelli is a no-cook noodle. Directions on the package indicated a soak in boiling hot water that’s poured over the dry noodles. Amazingly, you have soft pliable noodles ten minutes later.

The noodles are tossed with a bright and zesty dressing with an Asian flair. Lime zest, finely chopped hot pepper, and some garlic gave it some zing.

Zesty Dressing

The noodles are topped with roasted peanuts, sliced cucumber, scallions, snow peas and green herbs. I used cilantro along with fresh mint from my herb garden. I didn’t have fresh basil so left it out. There was so much flavor in the toppings, it wasn’t missed.

Fresh Mint from my Garden

Fresh Mint from my Garden

The mix of chewy noodles, crunchy vegetables and verdant flavorful herbs really hit the spot. I will remember this one for sultry hot summer evenings for a light dinner requiring a minimum of actual cooking.

Herby, peanutty toppings

My only complaint with the recipe is that the dressing didn’t make nearly enough for my taste. The noodles, while tasty, were a little bit dry. We had some leftovers, so I made a second batch of dressing and added that which did the trick. When I make this the next time, I will triple, or maybe even quadruple, the dressing and add more.

I invite you to check out the other recipes that the Cottage Cooking Club sampled this month. You can check out their reviews here.


Posted on 28 May 2015, in Cottage Cooking Club and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Betsy, your salad looks delicious. And something fairly simple to make with all of your goings-on!! I ended up making some more dressing as well (I let mine sit for a bit longer than ideal, I guess) – and I think it could use it in general, but I agree – this one is a recipe to make during the (long, hot!) summer!!

  2. It sounds like this dish was a great choice for your busy month. Reading your post reminded me of just how much I enjoyed it and I agree that it would make an excellent hot weather meal….perfect for today with a temperature of 28C expected.

  3. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, happy to see you had such a fun filled month, and we all do need a break from the kitchen at times, I can feel that need coming on in the scorching heat over the past few days. I too enjoyed the noodle salad and it really is perfect for parties, pot lucks, and barbecues which was my case- tasty and easy! Loved using the herbs from my deck planters. Thanks for your sharing in the midst. Happy Summer days ahead too.

  4. Dear Betsy, how wonderful that we all agreed on this lovely Asian-inspired noodle salad. And I also ended up making more dressing as was required in the recipe – I always seem to do that and it worked perfectly here. And, yes, I will also make this salad again when the weather warms up soon – I used whole wheat spaghetti her but will go for the rice noodles next time – your presentation is wonderful with the fresh mint and cilantro from your garden.
    I am happy for you that you got a break in the kitchen – I think I am ready to take a nice long break as well…so many end of term school bake sales, birthdays etc…
    Wishing you and Howard a wonderful weekend, dear friend and a big thanks for participating again this month,
    Andrea – love your price worthy expression “merry band of bloggers”. Love it!!!

  5. I know you have had a busy month, my friend, and it has seemed to be a happy one. I still am trying to get my arms around the picture of you, when you were vacationing in Maine over the Memorial Day weekend, surrounded with all those oysters. I’m from Iowa. Just never got into oysters. I had hoped to make the noodly salad but only got two of my five choices finished. Everyone who made the salad really loved it so it’s on my growing list of catch-ups. Now that FFWD is coming to a close and our administrative duties are wrapped up, I will be able to delve a little deeper into Hugh’s book. I like the cookbook very much. We are a “merry band of bloggers”, aren’t we. A nice group of gals. I am glad to be a part of this group and happy that you and I will continue to cook together. XOX

  6. Besty, this salad was one of the favorite things I’ve made lately! We loved its light and fresh taste. I used thin egg noodles and I wonder if that is why the dressing was enough for my salad! When Andrea started this group I bought the book and planned to cook along but haven’t been very successful. Now that FFwD is over I plan to make more of the recipes. I need to get more Veg in our lives:) Take care!

  7. We enjoyed this salad as well. I used whole grain thin spaghetti and thought it was perfect. I totally agree about the dressing! I halved the recipe, except the dressing, and felt it needed more still. This will make for a wonderful, warm summer, light dinner. Hopefully June will be a little less busy for you – then again, sounds like you were enjoying your busy month of May. Have a wonderful week, Betsy!

  8. I wish I had used the thinner noodles. I used the thicker ones (like the ones you get in pad thai) and it was fine the first day, but the leftovers were quite dry. You’re right about the sauce, too. It definitely needed a lot more of it.

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