vegan

Rice Noodles with Vegetables in a Garlic and Chili sauce

Do you ever have a craving for Chinese noodles? Rice noodles are a good alternative to egg noodles because they’re gluten-free and are a lighter option. I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat from my diet to see how it affects my body. Here is one of my fast 15 minute “Go to” recipes. Add any meat to it for added protein,but this recipe just has vegetables, specifically sugar snaps and bean sprouts. You might think that this recipe calls for quite a bit of bean sprouts, but I always use a lot of bean sprouts in noodle recipes and reduce the amount of noodles since it’s a little healthier. Feel free to use less bean sprouts or eliminate the ingredient altogether.

20120825-121811.jpg

Ingredients:
4 oz of rice noodles (medium)
1 cup of sugar snaps
1 cup of fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions (chopped with white and green parts separated)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of hot chili oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of rice wine (not vinegar)
2 tablespoons of water
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

Directions:
First, cook noodles like you would spaghetti, except only cook for a minute or 2 and check for texture. You want to cook the rice noodles until right before they are “al dente” because the noodles will continue to cook while you are sauteeing. Drain and run under cold water and set aside.
For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk the chili oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and water together and set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan, heat sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on high heat for about one minute, then add garlic and white parts of green onion, and cook for another minute or two, constantly stirring the ingredients. If you are going to add tofu, poultry, or meat, do it before you add vegetables and cook until almost fully cooked, set aside in a plate, and then add vegetables to the same pan. Add sugar snaps or snow peas and bean sprouts and continue to sauté for about one minute. I like using sugar snaps because they are really crunchy and still hold much of that crunch after heating. Add noodles and green parts of onion to vegetables and saute for about a minute and toss until everything is mixed evenly and then pour sauce over the noodles. Toss in sauce for about a minute or two, but be careful not to mix too much because the noodles will get too soft. Serve with chili oil (with little specs of chili in it) on the side for added heat.

Advertisements

Corn Salsa

This corn salsa is a very fresh summer appetizer to serve with blue corn tortilla chips or the “Scoops” by Tostitos. It can also be used as a topping for grilled tilapia, chicken, or shrimp. I just love the lime taste to it. To make it really “gourmet”, grill fresh corn on the cob, but if you don’t have the time or resources, you can use Green Giant canned white shoe-peg corn.
Enjoy!

Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

Yields: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

3-11 oz cans of Green Giant White Shoe-peg corn
2 cups fresh vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 bunch or fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 tsp garlic
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp of fine sea salt

Combine all ingredients and toss salad. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chayote Squash Salad

This is a very refreshing salad if you like vinaigrette dressing. Chayote Squash is used in many South American and Caribbean dishes. In my family we cook Chayote squash in soups and stews, but it was at a little Brazilian cafe, where I was introduced to the idea of using it as a side dish with oil and vinegar. Unfortunately, the cafe is no longer open, but the memory of the salad still stays with me.

Chayote Squash Salad

Yields: 4 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes

2 Large Chayote Squash
1/4 cup onion
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp of white distilled vinegar
2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (add more if salad is too tart to taste)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp of freshly ground pepper
Garnish with fresh cilantro (optional)

Slice Chayote similar to the photo above. Dice onion. Combine the rest of the ingredients and toss salad.

Tabouleh Salad

Yields 3-4 Servings

4 cups finely chopped parsley (about 2 large bunches)
3 cups chopped vine ripe tomatoes (about 5 tomatoes)
1 cup of finely diced scallion (green onion)
1 cup fine Bulgur wheat (Note: Eliminate this ingredient for Gluten-Free Tabouleh)
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon or 2-3 small)
1/4 cup of diced pickling or english cucumbers (Use as a substitute for wheat or if you just love cucumbers)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp of fresh mint
1 tsp salt or to taste
Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce for wrapping

Pick parsley and remove large stems. Place in colander and wash. Leave in Colander while water drains and parsley dries. Set aside. Use a bowl that can hold about 4 cups of liquid to soak the wheat. Place the wheat in a bowl or 4 cup measure and add water so that there is about the same amount of water on top of wheat as there is wheat. Set aside and wait for wheat to absorb the water and rise.
Dice tomatoes, green onion, and cucumbers and place in a 3.5 quart or larger bowl.
Chop parsley by hand or use a large food processor. See the pictures below for what the parsley, tomatoes, onion, and cucumbers should look like.
Parsley

Diced Tomatoes

Diced scallion (green onion):

Diced cucumbers:

Add the parsley to tomato mixture and add the wheat, oil, lemon, mint, and salt. Toss the salad and serve with lettuce similar to that of a lettuce wrap. Tabouleh can keep for 2 days. Some people think it tastes better the second day! Enjoy.

Tabouleh Salad

The Salad:

Most people in the states go to a supermarket or organic market and find Tabouleh on the salad bar. Every time I see this version, I chuckle because most of it is all wheat. It is wheat or Bulgur with some tomatoes and parsley. To make Tabouleh is more time consuming, but if you see more wheat in the salad, it is because it is easier to put more wheat because the parsley can be a headache.
If you are Lebanese or Syrian, the wheat is referred to as “Burghul”. The traditional salad has much less wheat and more parsley, curly parsley to be exact. Tabouleh is also made with diced tomatoes, green onion or scallion, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh mint, and salt to taste.
In my opinion, the key ingredient is the type and quality of your tomatoes. They must be vine ripe and juicy.
Everyone makes this salad differently. My friend, Rebecca Aboulhosn Ackley, would invite me over to her parents home for dinner when we were younger, and her Lebanese mother, Helen, would make Tabouleh with pickling or English cucumbers. I loved it. In my family, we never used cucumber. Then, I visited Hala Cafe in Jacksonville, Florida and saw the cucumbers in the Tabouleh there too. I, too, started including cucumbers in my recipe as well. It is an optional ingredient, but a healthy addition to this salad. Also, if you are going to make Gluten-Free Tabouleh Salad, this is a great substitution.
Traditonally, curly parsley is used, but when you visit the market, you will see Italian flat leaf parsley, and might be tempted to buy that as well. I tried this variation of Tabouleh salad at an amazing Lebanese restaurant in Paris. Cafe Rimal, which is on Boulevard Malesherbes, served up some Tabouleh salad with Italian flat leaf parsley and…NO BURGHUL (wheat). I loved it, of course, but this was very surprising to me. Also, this past week I made Tabouleh salad for Easter and when buying parsley from this Turkish market, the owner of the store expressed his preference of italian parsley over the curly one. Perhaps different areas of Lebanon make it differently.
If there is anyone who has more knowledge on this, please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you.

My version of Tabouleh salad, and it is a very traditional one, is listed under the Recipes section at the top, under Middle Eastern.

Enjoy the recipe and thank you for reading.

Lemongrass Tofu in Red Curry Sauce

Recipe for Lemongrass Tofu in Red Curry Sauce.
Light Tofu Red Curry

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes

1 -19oz package of refrigerated firm tofu
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/4 cup of canola oil for frying tofu
1-13.5oz. can of coconut milk (see note)
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (Thai basil is preferred)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 stalks of lemongrass
2Tbsp of Red curry paste
1 lime
Remove tofu from package, remove any excess water, and pat dry. Cut the tofu in cubes and pat dry again. Let the tofu sit and . While the tofu is drying, chop the basil, onion, lemongrass, and peppers, and set aside.
Place oil and lemongrass in a large frying pan on medium high. When oil is hot, lower heat just a little to medium and add the tofu. If the pan can’t hold all of the tofu, fry in batches. Have a plate with a paper towel on it to pull the oil from the fried tofu. Each side should take about 3-4 minutes to get golden. The tofu is done when it golden color and spongy. Place cooked tofu on a plate with paper towel and repeat with other batch. When all of the tofu has been cooked, remove lemongrass from oil and discard. Set tofu aside.
Drain some of the oil out and reserve just enough to saute the peppers and onions. Once finished, add chopped basil, peppers, and onion and cook the vegetables as desired. Some people prefer veggies crunchy and some like them tender.
“To each his/her own”… Once cooked, remove the vegetables and remove the oil from pan. Set the vegetables aside.
Don’t pat dry the pan. Just pour out the oil and set the pan back on the hot stove on medium-high.
To make the curry sauce. Pour coconut cream, not milk, into the pan. Reduce this down for about 2-3 minutes to release the oil and add the curry paste. Use a whisk to stir the paste into the cream. Reduce heat to medium. Let the curry-cream mix cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue to whisk the sauce. Once the sauce has come to a boil, mix the tofu and vegetables into the curry sauce. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Serve over Jasmine rice with a quarter of the lime and some basil for garnish. Enjoy!

Jasmine Rice:
Cook rice according to directions on package. I use a rice cooker. Rinse rice before using to get rid of starch. The ratio for cooking rice in a cooker or on the stove is 2:1. Two cups of water to one cup of rice. The other option is to cook it like spaghetti. This is tricky and requires skill because you have to make sure enough water is added. It also requires attention. Use a rice cooker, save time. ūüôā

Note: The coconut milk used should be the “regular” kind as the “light” version has fillers. Also, try not to shake the can because when coconut milk sits, the cream rises to the top. In colder weather, this is apparent, but in warmer weather, try putting the can in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When ready to use the coconut milk, spoon the cream from the top and reserve the milk for later on in the recipe.

Curry in a Hurry: Lemongrass Tofu in Red Curry Sauce

During Lent, ¬†cooking vegetarian can be challenging if you aren’t use to it. ¬†I decided, last minute, to make tofu in a light coconut curry sauce with lots of veggies. ¬†It’s a light sauce because most recipes call for 2 cans of coconut milk, but I used 1 can and the dish came out great. ¬†What a comfort food this is…By the time my husband, Adam, came home, the house was filled with the aroma of Jasmine rice.

Rice and Kitchen Gadgets

Prior to having my little one, Elias, I would cook the rice on the stove, which I still do, if time permits. But, there is a relief, similar to that with the crock pot, knowing that you can stick ingredients in a pot, and when a specific amount of time has passed, you know your dish is ready. ¬†There is something to be said for that. ¬†I didn’t appreciate these wonderful gadgets before, but now, as a mom with a toddler, they are coveted in the kitchen. ¬†And on that particular night, I had zero stress playing with my son while the rice was cooking and once that warm button clicked, I knew dinner was done. ¬†Curry is a different story, but nonetheless, was done “in a hurry”, hence, “Curry in a Hurry”. ¬†I don’t think I could ever stick curry in a crock pot. ¬†To me, that is borderline “sacrilegious”. ¬†Leave the stews, soups, sauces, even roasts for the crock pot, if you must, but with Thai, keep it real.

Coconut Milk

This curry recipe was made with less coconut milk than most other recipes. ¬†Curry with coconut milk is like butter in icing, DELICIOUS! ¬†We eat very healthy in this house and if I want to have a Thai dish without feeling guilty, then something has to give. ¬†Coming from a family history of heart disease, there are certain ingredients we just don’t eat, but it seems for the past twenty years or so, coconut milk has had a bad rap. ¬†See this article on how coconut milk is making a comeback: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/22/health/la-he-0322-nutrition-lab-20100322

Bell Peppers

This is the time of year that the markets have a barrage of peppers: red, yellow, green, and orange.  For the this dish, I only used the red and yellow, but throwing in some more color would have been great.

Chef Martin Yan did a demonstration on the today show on how to “Chop bell peppers like a champion”. You can view Martin Yan’s demo by clicking here :http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/41585929 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Go ahead and practice with 1 red and 1 yellow pepper. ¬†You can use these in the recipe.

Lemongrass

The difference between this curry recipe and others is lemongrass. ¬†Lemongrass in curry? I had lemongrass spoiling in my fridge because I was lazy and didn’t soak it in water like you are supposed to do to preserve it. Why not experiment with some lemongrass? ¬†Here is some background information on lemongrass. ¬†Traditionally, you only eat the white parts, but, you can use the green parts for infusing flavor. ¬†I chopped up 2 stalks very finely and in hot oil, while the tofu was getting golden. ¬†When the tofu was ready, I just fished it out and left the tofu in the oil. ¬†If I noticed the Lemongrass starting to get really dark, I took it out of the frying pan.

Recipe for Lemongrass Tofu in Red Curry Sauce.  
Gluten-Free
Vegan/Vegetarian

Light Tofu Red Curry

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                      Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1 -19oz package of refrigerated firm tofu
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil for frying tofu
  • 1-13.5oz. can of coconut milk (see note)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (thai basil is preferred, but not needed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2Tbsp of Red curry paste
  • 1 lime
Remove tofu from package, remove any excess water, and pat dry.  Cut the tofu in cubes and pat dry again. Let the tofu sit and .  While the tofu is drying, chop the basil, onion, lemongrass, and peppers, and set aside.
Place oil and lemongrass in a large frying pan on medium high. ¬†When oil is hot, lower heat just a little to medium and add the tofu. If the pan can’t hold all of the tofu, fry in batches. Have a plate with a paper towel on it to pull the oil from the fried tofu. ¬†Each side should take about 3-4 minutes to get golden. ¬†The tofu is done when it golden color and spongy. ¬†Place cooked tofu on a plate with paper towel and repeat with other batch. ¬†When all of the tofu has been cooked, remove lemongrass from oil and discard. Set tofu aside.
Drain some of the oil out and reserve just enough to saute the peppers and onions. Once finished, add chopped basil, peppers, and onion and cook the vegetables as desired. Some people prefer veggies crunchy and some like them tender.
“To each his/her own”… Once cooked, remove the vegetables and remove the oil from pan. ¬†Set the vegetables aside.
Don’t pat dry the pan. Just pour out the oil and set the pan back on the hot stove on medium-high.
To make the curry sauce.  Pour coconut cream, not milk, into the pan. Reduce this down for about 2-3 minutes to release the oil and add the curry paste.  Use a whisk to stir the paste into the cream. Reduce heat to medium.  Let the curry-cream mix cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue to whisk the sauce.  Once the sauce has come to a boil, mix the tofu and vegetables into the curry sauce.  Let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Serve over Jasmine rice with a quarter of the lime and some basil for garnish.  Enjoy!
Jasmine Rice:
Cook rice according to directions on package. ¬†I use a rice cooker. Rinse rice before using to get rid of starch. ¬†The ratio for cooking rice in a cooker or on the stove is 2:1. Two cups of water to one cup of rice. The other option is to cook it like spaghetti. This is tricky and requires skill because you have to make sure enough water is added. It also requires attention. ¬†Use a rice cooker, save time. ūüôā
Note: The coconut milk used should be the “regular” ¬†kind as the “light” version has fillers. ¬†Also, try not to shake the can because when coconut milk sits, the cream rises to the top. In colder weather, this is apparent, but in warmer weather, try putting the can in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When ready to use the coconut milk, spoon the cream from the top and reserve the milk for later on in the recipe.