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.

 

Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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Thai Bird’s Eye Chili Oil

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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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This is very easy & makes a spicy oil you can cook Asian & other spicy foods in – or just leave it on the counter looking pretty.

Thai Bird’s Eye Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

A large quantity of Thai Bird’s Eye Chilies (enough to tightly pack whatever jar you use)

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

Pick over the chilies & throw away any that are spotted or spoiled in any way.  Throw away twigs & leaves.  Shove them into a jar & fill with oil.  I then poked a knife into the center to split the ones I could not see & allow some heat to leak out.  Close the jar & let it sit for several days.

UPDATE – After about a week or two – I drained the oil into a clean bottle & threw the chilies away.  The oil is infused & spicy – but those peppers were fading.

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux) with Homemade Chili Oil

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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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The other day, I posted my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles – seen above – in the top photo under the one of me.  Today – I revisit Dan Dan – and, this time, I made it with Beyond Meat’s Feisty Beef-Free Crumbles – seen below.

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I changed the ingredients up a bit & I used a homemade chili oil.  Both Dan Dans were yummy – and the “meat” element could be interchanged.  I again used the Chinese pickled radish (where ya cai is called for  – or other Chinese preserved vegetables) – but, though this adds “authenticity,” I don’t think you need this ingredient – not really.  So lose it (if it is hard for you to find) – and make this comforting & yummy dish.

I used chow mein noodles this time but linguine or ramen or any pasta will do.

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Homemade Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

1 cup oil (I used half grapeseed oil & half olive oil but any lightly flavored oil will do)

1/4 cup crushed red pepper

2 star anise

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 TBS whole Szechuan peppercorns

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DIRECTIONS

Combine in a pan & heat until it boils – and turn off heat.  Let it sit until it cools.  With a slotted spoon, remove the star anise & the cinnamon.  Put in a jar & chill.

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux)

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb noodles (cooked as per directions)

2 heads Bok choy (optional)

for the meat

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

3-4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1 TBS sesame oil

2 tsp tahini

1 TBS chili bean sauce

2 tsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine (not vinegar)

1 tsp dark soy sauce (or regular or tamari)

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/3 cup ya cai or other preserved Chinese vegetables (optional)

4 garlic cloves – minced

for the sauce

2 TBS tahini

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari)

2 tsp sugar

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/2 tsp ground anise or Szechuan peppercorns (I ground mine with a mortar & pestle)

2 TBS chili oil (recipe above) – more if you like spice & are not worried about the dish being more oily

2 garlic cloves – mined

1 cup vegetable stock or pasta water or water

GARNISH – red or green diced jalapeno, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

for the meat

Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan & add all the other ingredients.  Heat through & set aside on the lowest heat.

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for the sauce

Heat all the ingredients together & bring to a boil.  Set aside on lowest heat.

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Cook the noodles – adding the bok choy (if you are using it) to the final minute of the cooking pasta.

Drain & assemble the Dan Dan.

Ladle sauce into two bowls.  Top with noodles & bok choy & the meat mix.  Garnish.  Eat.  Rejoice

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Homemade Black Pepper Fettuccine Pasta with Summer Truffles, Parmesan and Butter

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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I made this dish with THESE noodles & simply added a tablespoon of ground pepper to the eggs before kneading them into the dough.   Any dry pasta would work, too, but fresh noodles are just that much more delicate and the flavors here benefit from that.  If you cannot (or don’t care to) make homemade pasta – maybe buy the fresh pasta available at most supermarkets in the refrigerated section.

I found these truffles at my local Gelson’s for $14 and could not resist trying them – for that low price.

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Ultimately, they were very, very lightly flavored – so I added a drizzle of the truffle oil above.  Still, the flavors were almost imperceptible but that was OK because I discovered that noodles with butter & Parmesan (and maybe some fresh parsley) are pretty awesome, too, and had that as my second meal with the homemade fettuccine.

If you ever come across actual fresh truffles, come back to this recipe & try them this way.   Or – if you have a truffle oil you love, drizzle that on the pasta & skip the actual truffles, altogether.

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Homemade Black Pepper Fettuccine Pasta with Summer Truffles, Parmesan and Butter

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb fresh pasta (or dry pasta of your choice)

2 Summer Truffles (optional) – sliced at thin as you can muster

Truffle oil

2 -3 TBS of the highest quality butter you can find (preferably grass fed)

1/2 cup or more of Parmesan cheese (highest quality you can find) – grated or shaved

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh parsley – chopped (if you are not using truffles)

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta – reserving about 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan (large enough to hold all the pasta).   I drizzled a bit of the liquid from the truffle jar in the butter & a few little bits of the truffles.

When the butter is melted, add the pasta & the Parmesan.  I used about 1/2 cup but the amount of cheese is really up to you.

Stir to blend & warm through.

Plate the pasta & garnish with sliced truffles, truffle oil, salt & lots of freshly cracked pepper.  Add more cheese, if you like.

If you are not using truffles, freshly chopped parsley is nice.

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Vegan 15 Bean Soup with Arugula and White Truffle Oil for the Slow Cooker

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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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First – two cool things about LA: the vintage cars that lined Wilcox the other day – evidently there for a period scene in a film and the gorgeous sunrise in that un-retouched or enhanced image above.

Now for yet another insanely easy vegan recipe for a slow cooker.  Even a child could pull this off.  I added arugula because I had it & it was beginning to wilt but it was no match for 5 hours in a slow cooker and basically disintegrated so – if you want to add arugula, stir it into your soup just before serving.

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Vegan 15 Bean Soup with Arugula and White Truffle Oil for the Slow Cooker

INGREDIENTS

20 ounces of mixed beans (throw out the gross ham flavor packet)

10 cups vegetable stock

juice of 1 lemon

1 onion – diced

5 carrots – sliced

5 celery stalks – chopped

2 red potatoes – cubed

3 garlic cloves – minced

Arugula (optional) – as a last minute add in (CHOP IT – or else you will have long strands of red hot wilted arugula hitting you in the chin)

Parsley – chopped as garnish

White truffle oil to drizzle (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Put all that shit (except the arugula, parsley & truffle oil) into a 6 QT slow cooker & set on high for 5 hours.

Garnish as you like.

See?  EASY!

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Smoked Gouda & Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko

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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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This is the second installment of my mac & cheese hat trick.   Easy & THIS one was the crowd pleaser of the three.  The other day I posted Chipotle Gouda and Guinness (Stout) Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pulled Chicken (or Pork) in Homemade Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce – seen just above.  I kinda liked that one the best but this one is simple & elegant.  Just do not be heavy-handed with the truffle oil because it gets overpowering quickly,  Also – be sure it is not old – because it goes rancid faster than most oils or, maybe because you typically use it sparingly, it just sits around past its shelf life but be sure to sniff it before using it.

Here is the mint & zucchini mac & cheese!

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Again – I cooked these for a birthday party (the three versions) and did not photograph them out of the oven.  The photos in ramekins were taken the following day as I reheated leftovers.   You could cook yours in a casserole pan or in ramekins.  Either way, it still tastes delicious!

Without further ado – I present my Smoked Gouda & Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko!

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Smoked Gouda & Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked, drained & cooled under running water

12 oz smoked Gouda – grated

2 cups mozzarella – grated

A few tsp truffle oil (black or white) used in a quantity to suit you particular tolerance of the flavor

1 TBS Dijon

4 cups milk

4 TBS butter

4 TBS flour

S&P

1-2 cups panko

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook & cool the pasta.  Drizzle about 1 tsp truffle oil on it & stir it in.  Set aside.

Warm the milk.

In another pan, melt the butter over med-high heat & then add the flour.  Whisk constantly & it should bet thick pretty fast.  Heat it until it starts to turn a golden sandy color.  Then, reserving ONE CUP of the milk to the side for later, add the remaining 3 cups of milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking the whole time, until all the milk is incorporated & it is sorta thick – but still pourable.

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Whisk in the Dijon and a tsp of truffle oil.  Taste it & decide whether you think it could use more truffle oil.  I did not add more here – but you can if you like.  All truffle oil is not created equal & some may be stronger than others & the amount required is a matter of personal preference.  Add S&P.

Now add the smoked Gouda & the mozzarella.  When the cheese is all melted & incorporated, mix in the pasta.  Taste it.  Does it need more truffle oil?  You decide but try to go light with it.

At this point, I felt my pasta was too dry & might get ruined in the oven so I stirred in the remaining cup of milk.   This is also a judgement call.  I like wetter mac & cheese – others like it drier.  Use your judgement.  The top picture is before I added milk & the next shows what it looked like with a cup of milk added.

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The truffle mac & cheese is above on the right.

Treat a casserole pan or a bunch of ramekins with cooking spray & put the pasta in.  Top with panko.  I sprayed the panko with cooking spray.  It helps add some crunch to the breadcrumbs.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until it is all melty & the panko is beginning to brown.

Serve with additional truffle oil on the table so folks can add more if they like a heavy truffle flavor.

Enjoy!

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