just a smidgen

“Number One” Salad… and the First of Many

Number One Salad

There are so many “firsts” in our lives. First time ever meeting someone who becomes a special someone…a friend or even more significant. And of course there are plenty of firsts to be praised, clapped for and duly noted when you have a child or a pet.

It feels like it might be time for the first snowflake of the season…

So many firsts also happen in the kitchen, from that very first spoonful of pablum! A lot of important “stuff” seems to happen in the kitchen and it feels like it’s time to give the kitchen it’s due.

How about the first time helping Mom in the kitchen, measuring and mixing like a chemistry lesson in heaven.  Food bubbling on the stove while a magical combination of ingredients transforms into something completely unexpected… like a chocolate birthday cake with Sea Foam Icing… which leads me to…

First time licking the beaters or spoon or entire bowl…

First recipe card… I still have my Gran’s box of recipe cards ♥

First cookbook, I think it was Betty Crocker’s Cookbook and is the one I still pull out when looking for temperature and times.

First recipe mastered… I know, I’ve already mentioned the Flour Fudge. (Should have made Gran’s “Remarkable Fudge”↑

First bake sale at school when you prayed someone would buy your Flour Fudge.

Your very first kitchen of your own, when all of the utensils were bought as a set on sale or handed down.

First set of dishes and how important it felt to select a pattern that reflected your personality, whether it was a pretty floral china, bright/white ceramic or rustic clay pottery.

First dinner party planned and almost successfully executed for friends. Excepting, perhaps, that cracked wooden salad bowl that found its way into the dishwasher and the dish languishing in the microwave.

First time baking cookies with your own kids with more flour finding it’s way onto their cheeks than in the bowl.

First Christmas baking marathon with an awesome friend and the bundled plates of treats bestowed on family, friends and teachers.

First kitchen entertaining disaster… already mentioned here.

First Diet… when everything is emptied out of the kitchen and even your pantry starts looking sad. When the cupboards are bare and not an ounce of chocolate is in sight. (Note to self: stop going into the pantry, searching for a morsel that you know isn’t in there because you were the one who threw it all out).

First family Turkey Dinner held in your own home for a crowd, who knew you could bake a turkey!! And the stuffing!! Thank god your Dad and Mom helped… and your dad carved the turkey!!

First Christmas morning with waffles or Wife Saver and Cinnamon Buns and coffee to wake up for the final time (after asking your kids to go back to bed every hour on the hour)

First kitchen hockey party (or soccer, basketball, orchestra…) with lots of wine, beer and laughter.

First taste of something completely out of the ordinary (I love this one!) when your mouth is surprised and your mind searches like a hung-up computer loop for a match and can’t find one. I think they call this an “amuse bouche”:)

How could I forget the first time writing a Blog Post, now that was scary wasn’t it??

One of my very first salad attempts was an Asian Mandarin Noodle Salad. I bet you know the one… vinegar, oil, and the packet of Ichiban seasoning thrown in… noodles, cabbage, sesame seeds… I thought I was a Cordon Bleu Chef pulling that one off!

Well, today isn’t my “First” time trying to eat healthy, but it could still be considered “Day One” of the never-ending cycle of nutritious eating.  It always starts with such grand intentions and eventually diminishes until the decision is made that it really is better to live to eat than eat to live. It is also Day One of my husband’s cleanse. (Any bets on the duration of that one can be emailed directly.)

I love this salad… it’s a mixed combination (like my dog!) or “overlap” of recipes I’ve found here and there and have decided that it’s really one of the best I’ve tasted. Harris Salat’s Wafu dressing was the starting point and then I meandered off the track. Wafu means Japanese style. It is definitely reminiscent of the old Noodle Salad but made from scratch with such flavorful ingredients.  The first bite is sour, then sweet and complex. I think you could pour this dressing on any salad and it would be delicious! It makes enough to use for a few days, but keep it refrigerated.

And because Ichiban means “Number One” I’ve decided to name it…

“Number One” Salad

“Number One” Salad
  • 1/2 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 cups red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted mixed nuts
  • 1 package dry asian noodle soup (such as Ichiban)
  1. Many of the ingredients in this recipe are found in local grocers. I shopped at a local natural food store (Blush Lane) to pick up the Brown Rice Vinegar, Mirin and black sesame seeds.
  2. In a glass mason jar mix together all ingredients from the brown rice wine to the fresh ginger.
  3. Wash, pat dry then slice red leaf lettuce and cabbage with a knife to make long, rectangular pieces. Add cilantro, onions. Sprinkle generous pinches of black sesame seeds. Stir or mix salad together with your hands.
  4. Just before serving, arrange salad on plates, then top with pear, extra black sesame seeds, a sprinkling of nuts. Then crunch a few pieces of uncooked noodles on top.
  5. Shake your dressing then, with a teaspoon, drizzle dressing over top.
  6. Serve immediately.


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