DDD # 44 – Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

Serves 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

for the chili oil

1/2 cup oil

3 star anise pods

1-2 TBS chopped fresh ginger

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2-4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – chopped

for the dressing

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

for the soba salad

7 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained

1/2 – 1 pound tofu (I used pressed tofu)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp S&P

1 TBS sesame oil

Mixed chopped vegetables.  I used:

1/2 cucumber

4 radishes

1/4 red bell pepper

1 cup purple cabbage

2 scallions

(you could use edamame, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green beans or whatever you like)

Cilantro

Sesame seeds

Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles & set aside.

Whisk the dressing together & set aside.

Heat the oil for the chili oil in a pan.  Add the star anise & crushed red pepper.   Add the ginger & scallions.  When the scallions are soft & just starting to brown – add the garlic & heat for one minute.  Put the oil in a storage container to cool.  You won’t need all the oil for this recipe & the leftover should keep in the fridge for several days.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil.  Add the brown sugar & salt & pepper.  Add the tofu & heat until the sugar caramelizes onto the tofu.  Set aside.

In a bowl – toss the noodles with the tofu & veggies.  Add some dressing (not all of it) and a drizzle of the chili oil.  Start very light with both the dressing & the chili oil & add more to taste.

Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro & serve with lime wedges.

 

Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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Ugh – I am just having a shit couple of weeks.  The details are all, individually, mainly minor annoyances, disappointments & slights but – combined – they pack a wallop.   Add this to the triple-digit heat & the fact that I have no AC & you get a very despondent girl, thick with over-indulgence, self-pity & slimy sweat.  Ugh.

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So – at 7 am – I decided to get cooking – before it got too hot to do so.  My first effort was a mushroom & baby kale tofu frittata.   It looks OK there in the pan but it was, ultimately, very thin (less than half an inch deep) and would not have photographed well – so I ate some & saved the rest to add to my dogs’ dinner tonight.

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Next up, I wanted to use some stale French bread I had – so I attempted 4 little vegan maple-walnut bread puddings.  They started off looking promising – no?  But, even though I cooked them for nearly an hour – they never got crusty & when I let them cool, they collapsed in their centers & looked as defeated as I feel.  I tasted one.  Tasted good but they were definitely a no-go for the blog.

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By this time is was officially sizzling outside & I still wanted to make a blog entry – so – cold noodles!  These are really easy, really fast, customizable & light.  I added only 1 TBS of peanut butter to what would make 2 good-sized servings.  You can see that the noodles are not heavy with sauce – critical in weather like this.   I also added a good portion of spiralized cucumber noodles to lighten it up even more.   You can get these together in ten minutes.  I reviewed two different spiralizers in my Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes post but I recommend the less expensive hand held version seen below.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

Serves 2 very well.

INGREDIENTS

8.8 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained & run under cold water (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking)

Sesame oil

1 hothouse cucumber – spiralized (or cut into think matchsticks)

1 TBS tamari

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS ponzu sauce (or 2 TBS tamari & juice of 1/4 lemon)

1 TBS peanut butter

1 tsp sriracha for heat (optional)

GARNISH OPTIONS – sliced scallions, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sliiced red cabbage, black and/or white sesame seeds, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, chili flakes

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize (or slice up) the cucumber.  Cook the noodles.  Drain & run under cold when done (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking).

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, peanut butter & sriracha (if using).

Toss everything together & garnish with your selections.  Serve.

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Spicy Sriracha Vegetable Ramen with Homemade Noodles (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I have been wanting to make ramen noodles from scratch for a long time but, apparently, the recipe requires something called “kansui” – an alkaline mineral water that gives the noodles their yellow color & chewy texture.  I don’t have a Japanese market nearby but I found a recipe to make a version of it myself with just water & baking soda – so that is what I used.  I was not completely satisfied with the texture of the noodles (they were a bit gluey) and I am not certain why they came out that way.  Maybe I really needed kansui or maybe they didn’t rest, drying on my counter for long enough.  Maybe I overcooked them.  Maybe I should have made a recipe for the noodles that used egg.  I do not know.   What I do know is that I will try again.

The recipe below is really just for the spicy broth.  The vegetables you chose & quantity is entirely up to you.  And, obviously, if you are vegan – skip the egg.  🙂   If you like poached egg in your soup, try poaching them THIS way.  I did & it worked great. And you can even cool them for use up to 8 hours later.

Also – making the noodles is so not necessary.  Use packaged noodles (throw away the flavor packet), or spaghetti or soba or any kind of noodle.

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Homemade Ramen Noodles

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Put some baking soda (I used half a box so I would have more of this for future ramen efforts) into a pie dish & bake for one hour.

In a bowl (or in a bread machine), mix 2 tsp of the baked baking soda into the flour & salt.  Add the water & mix until a dough forms.  Once it is mostly together, use your hands to knead it a bit more.   Press flat & wrap in plastic wrap for an hour.

Using a pasta maker , roll the dough out flat & then into noodles.  This can be done by hand but, criminy, that would be a pain in the arse.  I used the awesome attachment you see below on my Kitchenaid mixer.

Lay out on a counter & toss lightly with rice or other flour & let dry an hour.

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Spicy Sriracha Vegetable Ramen 

INGREDIENTS

3 TBS sriracha (more if you like it very spicy)

2 TBS sesame oil

2 tomatoes – chopped

1 onion – diced

1 TBS ginger – minced

6 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp celery salt

1 TBS soy sauce (or tamari)

6 cups vegetable stock

Vegetable ideas: edemame, corn, sliced mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy, carrots, zucchini, spinach, bamboo shoots, sliced onion, scallions, bean sprouts, peas, water chestnuts etc etc…

Garnish: cilantro, basil, poached egg, hard-boiled egg, tofu cubes, lime wedges, shredded nori or this mix of nori & sesame seeds below.

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DIRECTIONS

Slice up your vegetables.  Boil water & blanch them by putting them in the boiling water for about a minute & then plunging them into cold water.  Drain & set aside.

Poach your eggs – if you are using them.   Plunge into cold water, drain & set aside.  Careful you don’t break them!

In a large stock pot, heat the sesame oil & the sriracha.  Do not get burned by splatter.

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Add the onion & tomatoes & saute until soft.  Add the ginger, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt and saute another minute.

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Add the soy sauce and one cup of the stock.   Stir it together.  Using an immersion or regular blender – puree this & return to the pan.  Add the rest of the stock & bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until you are ready to assemble the ramen.

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Cook the ramen noodles you are using according to the package.  Homemade ones are ready when they float to the top of the pot.  Drain & rinse under hot water.

Put some noodles into a bowl & ladle the broth on top.   Arrange some blanched vegetables on top & a poached egg (if using) & whatever garnish you opted for.

Mix it all up to heat the ingredients through & slurp it up!

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto (No Carb – No Pasta)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Did you happen to miss my appearance on Nicole Richie’s show –#CandidlyNicole @VH1? No worries! Here it is! I show up HERE after the break – about 16 minutes in!
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AND – if you missed my hour-long Oh, Mary! Show appearance this week – well – you are in LUCK! Here are all four segments! LOTSA dirty talk! Many laughs!

Here you go!

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-01/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-02/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-03/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-04/

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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps.  Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt.  If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project.  It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower.  This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there.  I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.

I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.

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You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto.  1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.

Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like.  Set aside.

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I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.

I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.

I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do.  And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.

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I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too.  Know that this stuff STICKS  – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.

Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.

You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things.  I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.

Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.

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Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above).  Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry.  Set aside & allow it to cool.

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.

I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.

Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit.  Add /4 water & steam them soft.  Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes.  Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley.  Saute another minute & remove from heat.  Set aside.

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat.  Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.

Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk.  This should take maybe 5 minutes.

Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts.  Set aside.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles

1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer

Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.

Prep your ingredients.  Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.”  Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot.  Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.

Assemble the lasagna.  I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited).  Then I added the layers in this order:

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it

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 Bake that son-of-a-bitch fr 25-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & looks the color you want it to look – whether JUST starting to brown at the edges – or a bit golden all over.
Let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with chopped parsley & eat it up!!!!

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Made From Scratch

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I do not eat meat.  No poultry, beef, lamb, pork or otherwise.  And I recently gave up seafood because of reports about what the Fukishima disaster is doing to sea life.  Call me crazy but I do not want to eat a fish that has such terrible radiation poisoning that it is bleeding from its gills & eyes.  And there are so many other carcinogens we are exposed to every day over which we have no control – I just think avoiding seafood seems smart from now on.  Freshwater fish – I might still sample.  We shall see.

So – no – I do not eat chicken soup but I did back in the day.  And my badass boyfriend, Miles, exists on a nearly 100% animal protein diet.  He is here in LA this week & arrived with a terrible cold – so – I made him this soup.  Though I was not able to try it, it smells outrageously good & is truly easy.  The key is getting a cooked chicken.  Or roast your own but that adds a whole procedure that seems more work than it is worth.

The cooked chickens at Ralph’s were $7 and anemic-looking compared to the Flintstones-sized, ginormous $5 roasted chickens at Costco.  Having purchased the Costco chickens in the past for my dogs – I can also report that they are juicier & far less greasy than the Ralph’s jobby I picked up yesterday.  So – if you live near a Costco – get the chicken there.

Like lots of my recipes, the ratio of ingredients here is just a suggestion.  The size of your chicken will determine how much you need of the other things.  Yes, people.  Size matters.  So – if you have a glorified Cornish game hen-sized chicken – this ingredient list will work.  If you get the whopper chicken from Costco – you might want to ratchet up the veggie quantity.  Also – this is a very traditional chicken soup (because Miles is an old-school kinda guy) but you could add chopped kale or diced zucchini or whatever the fuck you want in it.  Go crazy.

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch

INGREDIENTS

1 roasted chicken

2 onions

10 celery stalks

1 bunch parsley

5 garlic cloves

4 bay leaves

5 carrots

Several sprigs each of fresh thyme & fresh sage

1/2 lb noodles ( I used egg noodles)

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Extra parsley as garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a large soup pot, add a glug or two of olive oil.  Quarter ONE onion & roughly chop FIVE celery stalks.  I added the base of the celery to my pot, too.  Cut the garlic cloves in half.  Saute the onion, celery & garlic for about 2 minutes.

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Meanwhile – remove all the nice meat from the chicken & set aside.  If there is liquid in the COOKED chicken packaging (NEVER add raw chicken “juice” to anything!)  – feel free to add that to the stock.  Put everything else from the chicken (skin, bones, wings & icky bits – ALL of the rest) into the stock pot with the veggies.  Add the parsley, sage & thyme whole.  Add the bay leaves.  Add enough water to cover all the ingredients in at least an inch of water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for at least thirty minutes.  Get another large pot & put a colander over it.  Pour the stock through the colander & throw away all the bits the colander catches.  Return the fresh chicken stock to the stove. Dice the remaining onion & add it to the stock.  Add the reserved chicken pieces.  Dice the celery & add that.  Chop the carrots & add them.  Add the noodles.  Bring to a boil & simmer until the noodles are cooked & the veggies are tender.  If the soup needs more stock, just add water.  Add salt (at least 1 tsp – maybe as much as 3 or 4 – but TASTE IT after you add each quantity of salt).  Add pepper.  Serve it up with some more parsley & let the healing begin!!

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