Foods with beneficial properties certainly catch our attention in winter. This recipe comes from The Longevity Kitchen, a book that will be on shelves Feb. 26.The dish is made with 100 percent buckwheat noodles, which are not inexpensive. What makes them pricey and worth it? Besides being more complicated to produce, the pure buckwheat variety (Japanese) is essentially gluten-free, contains more fiber and protein than hybrid noodles, and harbors a full complement of essential amino acids. If you haven't tried them, this is a good place to start. Or you can substitute whole-wheat or multigrain pasta.This recipe called for hot-pepper sesame oil; we used toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes instead. Add heft to the bowl by tossing in cooked shrimp or chicken, or tofu.A helpful note from the cookbook: Most packages of buckwheat soba call for 8 minutes of cooking, but that will create gummy, mushy noodles. Start testing after 4 minutes and have a colander ready to drain them a minute later.Hot-and-sour sesame soba noodles1 tablespoon black or white sesame seedsHalf a seedless cucumber1 small carrot or 2 to 3 baby-cut carrotsQuarter of a red bell pepper1 scallionLeaves from 4 to 6 stems cilantroLeaves from 1 small bunch mint8 ounces dried, 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles, such as Eden brand (may substitute Barilla brand multigrain pasta)1/2 cup homemade or store-bought sesame-miso dressing (see note)1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes1 teaspoon maple syrupHalf a lime1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.2. Toast the sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, just until they become fragrant. Remove from heat.3. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber and cut it into small dice to yield 1 cup. Peel the carrot and cut it into small dice to yield 1/4 cup. Cut the red bell pepper into small dice to yield 1/4 cup. Cut the white and light-green parts of the scallion on the diagonal into thin slices. Coarsely chop the cilantro and mint leaves; combining them is OK.4. Add the noodles to the boiling water and stir. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for 5 minutes or until just tender.5. While the noodles are cooking, make the sesame-miso dressing, then combine it with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, crushed red pepper flakes and maple syrup in a small bowl. Squeeze a teaspoon of juice from the lime half into the mixture.6. Drain noodles and rinse immediately, then transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil and toss to coat, then add vegetables, herbs and dressing mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve warm.Note: To make sesame-miso dressing, in a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons mild yellow miso, 1 tablespoon tahini, 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger root and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper. Whisk until smooth. The yield is a generous 3/4 cup. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to five days.Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories, 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 11 grams protein, 70 grams carbohydrates, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 550 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams sugar, 17 percent of calories from fat.