This weekend and upcoming week will surely be hectic for everyone preparing for the holidays. I've been doing some last minute chores today and suddenly realized I had skipped lunch. 💀
Since I knew I couldn't starve in the name of gift wrapping, I whipped up a single serving of peanut noodles and decided to share the recipe with you! It's a quick and easy meal or snack for when you're home alone or just in the mood for some noods. I'm always up for noods. 😁
These noodles are creamy yet light at the same time. They can be oil-free, in fact, if you omit the sesame oil garnish. I love the taste and aroma of sesame oil, so I drizzled a little on my plate after cooking everything. If you wish to make this dish without the oil, the sauce will still be decadent and satisfying while also providing you with protein. For the noodles, I used brown rice with green tea from Star Anise Foods. I love their products. Some of their noodles come with soup base, which I think is genius for a quick weeknight meal. I also love their name...so cute! ☺️
Peanut Noodles for One
Yield: 1 serving
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar*, Oil-free option
Quite simply, I thought this meal would look fabulous in black and white, as well as in color. These ingredients jumped to my mind when I saw this prompt so I ran with it.
This is a quick blog post, as it's mainly about the picture!
The recipe follows if you'd like to make some at home. The croquettes are a winner, I must say! If you don't want to fry them, you can try baking them, but I cannot vouch for the results. I would maybe oil them a tad just do they don't burn. The vegetable broth I've included is just to give the noodles a slightly soup-y texture, so it's optional. Enjoy!
Forbidden Ramen and Black Bean Croquettes
Today's recipe is a simple one that I love. I almost never make Korean inspired food. I also can't really go out to get it since Korean restaurants are typically not vegan friendly. When I was younger, I ate at a few Korean BBQ restaurants with my family. One of those restaurants was in Japan, believe it or not! There was a big beautiful yellow lab parked outside to greet customers. She was their mascot and the inspiration for their name, too.
My favorite part about Korean BBQ is the marinade, which is the case for many people, I would assume. For those who eat meat, they may feel differently. I took the simple yet flavorful marinade and slathered it on some tofu for a quick and absolutely delicious meal. No need for meat here. 😉
I served the tofu with some rice and pajeori. Pajeori is a dish I had never heard of before. It's a beautiful salad of julienned scallion and spiced with Korean chili flakes. If you don't have the Korean variety, just substitute regular dried chili flakes.
I cooked my tofu in a pan with some coconut oil. You can absolutely bake or grill it for a sightly charred effect. I wish I could grill mine, but it is quite chilly where I live! (Also, no grill. 😅
Any way you cook it, give it a try! Tofu is good any way you cut it, so spice it up next time you need a quick meal. Let's begin a love affair with Korean food together! What d'ya say? 😍🌶🍚
Korean BBQ Tofu with Pajeori
Free from: gluten, nuts, refined sugar
Yield: about 4 servings
Adapted from My Korean Kitchen
This MoFo prompt is my kind of low-key meal!
I love to cook, don't get me wrong. 😉
But, some days and nights are busy. I hate to make a ton of dirty dishes just to feed myself. My favorite quick and easy food used to be instant ramen in my younger days. This bowl of rice noodle soup is similar in taste but much healthier!
I've given you some photos of the most simple way to make rice noodle soup with basic pantry ingredients (well, if you keep these in your pantry...which you should!). Having tamari or soy sauce on hand will really help make your broth flavorful and rich. If you have liquid aminos, that will do just as well! I also dissolved some white miso into mine for extra flavor, salt and health benefits. This is optional, unless you have miso lying around!
The point of this meal is to be easy, right? I say, if you've got it, throw it in! I had some leftover strips of carrot that I had cut up, some baby kale, wakame, and some spices (garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes). You can throw frozen veggies in, tofu, tempeh, or whatever you fancy. 😍
When I add miso to a soup, I always take a spoon and dilute it with a little of the hot water. This helps the miso dissolve into the soup evenly and avoids it clumping up and sinking to the bottom.
Finished product! 😋
So, my post for today is featuring a dish that I think Rachael Ray would love if she were to eat a vegan meal.
Why I chose Rachael, you ask?
Well, for one, I love her.
She has been a very influential person for me with regards to how I've learned about food preparation and technique. My parents and I began watching 30 Minute Meals probably 10 years ago by now. That show alone inspired my mom to cook more from-scratch meals since she saw that it didn't take very long. From that point, we made the transition from semi-homemade meals to full scratch-cooking for dinner! What a treat. After that, we started to use products like extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO as Rachael calls it) and fresh garlic almost every day.
Don't get me wrong, my mom did cook from scratch before that point, but it wasn't every day. Normally, she would save scratch meals for certain dishes or special occasions. I don't blame her. Raising kids is hard and time consuming.
But, as my sister and I got a little older, we gave my mom more time to spend thinking about our family meals. At a certain point, I started to help my mom cook. That's where my story as a cook began!
So, as you can imagine, choosing a person to make a vegan meal for today was a pretty easy choice. Rachael Ray has always been someone I've followed. I also love that she embraces food trends as they evolve. She's recognized allergen-free cooking and vegan cuisine on her shows before, which I love. She also offers meatless options for many of her dishes on her cooking shows. She also loves Veganaise, so that's awesome! =D
Oh, yeah, and I hit it with a little organic white wine and made a side of gluten-free garlic bread. ;)
Vegan Fettuccine with "Clam" Sauce
Yield: Approx. 2-3 servings
Adapted from Linguine with Clam Sauce by Rachael Ray
Spread 1/2 Tb of vegan butter/coconut oil on each slice of bread. Sprinkle each one with some garlic powder, to taste. Top them with vegan cheese, if desired.
Pop your bread slices into a 350 F degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until they are toasted and the cheese is slightly melted. Enjoy with some pasta and maybe a little wine. ;)
Okay, so furikake is Japanese rice seasoning! (pronounced fu-ree-kah-kay)
The MoFo prompt for today is to focus on a specific nutrient.
I decided to go with one that not many people think about on a daily basis:
Iodine is an essential nutrient found in seaweed, fish, potato and iodized salts. It is essential for proper thyroid function. I always take vitamin supplements, but I also try to consume nutrients from natural sources as much as possible. Seaweed is not only delicious, but rich in iodine so you will never have to worry!
Furikake is a mixture of dried food that you sprinkle over rice or anything bland to give it flavor. When I was a kid, I used to eat a fish flavored furikake. Most conventional seasoning blends have fish or egg in them. I've found a flavor blend that is vegan and it's great, but I've always wanted to make my own with ingredients that I prefer.
Making furikake was way more simple than I thought. All I had to do was blend all the dry ingredients that I wanted together in my Vitamix. I think a food processor would have worked well too. I tried to make my seasoning blend a little more unique and healthful by adding dehydrated raw kale and raw hemp seeds, among other tasty things!
Essential ingredients for furikake are generally: salt, sugar, sesame seed (black and/or white), and nori (toasted seaweed). This alone is quite delicious, but I like to complicate things! ;)
Here is my recipe for furikake. It will last quite a while. Add a sprinkle a day on your rice, salad, sandwich, pasta, or whatever you like to give yourself a daily dose of iodine and other tasty nutrients! Also, enjoy the fact that this doesn't contain any MSG, animal products, or preservatives. <3
Homemade Vegan Furikake
Yield: about 3.5 oz
Free of: Nuts, Gluten, Refined Sugar
I have been continuing to welcome spring with light, cleansing dishes (for the most part! ^_^'). I recently found myself in my local Asian market looking for new things to cook with. I found some lotus root, which I have tried before in a tea/broth form. When I attended Natural Kitchen Cooking School, one of my classmates shared lotus root tea with everyone. She attributed the healing powers of lotus root to almost curing her chronic asthma. The lotus root supports lung health (which is interesting because it also looks like a lung when sliced open) by dissolving built-up mucus.
The tea that I had sampled was made by grating raw lotus root and steeping it in hot water. The resulting broth tasted almost like a bland, nutty potato soup with a less starchy texture. I was craving a simple soup tonight so I decided to boil the sliced lotus root with some other light cleansing vegetables. This soup is definitely something you should make when you either don't feel well or want to give your digestive system a break. If you would like, you may add some noodles or rice to it for a more substantial meal. I wouldn't, however, add anything too processed to this soup. Easter is coming up. Save yourself for the chocolate and jelly beans. ;D
Lotus Root Miso Soup
Well, I'm back. ^_^
I apologize for being so absent for the past couple of months! I found myself wrapped up in life after the holidays came to a close and my blogging has suffered as a result. For that, I am sorry...
The good news is, I haven't stopped cooking! I have managed to remain active on Instagram to prove that I'm still alive and munching. As the snow melts, I've found that my palette has changed dramatically. I'm craving light, crispy vegetables like sweet peppers, scallions, and bean sprouts among others. The winter has proved to be long, cold, and dark. I'm through with heavy food! (For now... ;D)
I'm beginning the new season with a light yet satisfying dish with all the flavor in the world. I mean, I can't promise you all the flavor, I suppose. I can, however, promise you as much flavor as I can. And right now, that's quite a bit.
I created this dish (and am still reinventing it often) based off of a delicious plate of food I ate one night in Savannah. I visited this beautiful city in the middle of January while the North East got slammed with a snow storm. I enjoyed a temperate climate, palm trees, noodles, and some good company. (Although, I did come home to a snow shovel. It was still totally worth it!)
I went to a local Asian fusion restaurant called the Flying Monk Noodle Bar. This place is lively, bright, colorful, and hip. The dishes are inspired by all different Asian cuisines. The dish that I made here is a take on their curry noodles, which were so insanely addictive. I may or may not have eaten them more than once in one night... >_>
These noodles were also modeled off a recipe that I found in a massive noodle cookbook/Bible (The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes). The recipe is called Singapore Mei Fun noodles. I've had a mild obsession with rice noodles lately and I like to put everything with them. This dish is wonderful because it can literally be a junk pile for any and all vegetables that you have lying around. Carrots on the ground? Into the noodles!
The best part of this whole dish is the fact that it is so flavorful. I added and entire tablespoon of curry powder into it...along with many other spices. Feel free to dial back the spice level by omitting the red pepper flakes and (maybe) cutting back on the curry. But, I mean, they're called curry noodles for a reason. If the noodles aren't enough for you, eat more. If you're still hungry after that, maybe consider preparing a protein of your choice to go along with (tempeh, tofu, seitan, edamame, beans, etc.). Oh, and a bottle of sake or soju is always cool too. ^_~
Curry Rice Noodles with Pan Seared Portabella
Yield: approx. 4 servings
Adapted from: Singapore Mei Fun Noodles, The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes
Ramen was such a household staple of ours back in the day. Only, our ramen looked a lot like this:
I'm not trying to discredit prepackaged ramen (okay, maybe a little), but it had it's place in my life and now I've moved on...
Actually, I ate this type of ramen far into my college years. This is quite a common dorm staple, as many people know. There was something amazing about instant salty soup with tons of noodles in it after a long night of...studying...
When I became vegan, I realized that prepackaged goods like ramen are probably best as a "last resort" food (like, if the zombies show up). When I tried cooking gluten-free, I was ready to give up ramen forever. That is, until I found this amazing product:
Yes, there is finally an organic, gluten-free and vegan ramen noodle on the market! Lotus Foods has a few different varieties of gluten-free ramen. They sell family packs like this one and also single-serve packs! I really loved the quality of these noodles. The shape of the noodle patty is very similar to what I was used to seeing.
This variety is a bit more "wavy" than "curly", but it looks good all the same! The noodles cook up in about the same amount of time as regular ramen, about 4 minutes or so. I prepared my soup before cooking the noodles to avoid over-cooking. Gluten-free noodles and pasta must be cooked al dente or under or they become mush. =(
The texture of the Lotus ramen was very similar to regular ramen. I thought there was a lack of oily quality, but that's a good thing in my book! I compensated for the lack of oil in the noodles by adding a little olive oil into my broth. This is totally optional, but I think it made the dish taste more rich and authentic.
The soup that I made for my ramen dish is very robust and velvety. If there is too much salt in it for your taste, you can dial back the tamari and miso, but be aware that it will lose some flavor. Cooking the soup with more mushrooms might help this!
I hope you enjoy this ramen as much as I did. It's been a very long time since I've had a homemade noodle soup like this and it's so comforting! Eating a bowl of noodles like this is best done on a chilly fall evening with a good book. ^_^
For garnish, I used thinly sliced red beets, gomashio (sesame salt), and marinated kamaboko-style tofu (fish cake). Kamaboko is a processed fish product that is often used for garnishing dishes in Japan. It has a spongy texture and a slightly sweet umami taste. I marinated some extra-firm tofu in dulse seaweed, ume vinegar, and mirin to achieve a similar flavor. I also added some sliced beet to the marinade for a slight pink color. Many kamaboko have white and pink colors to them. (I'm not really sure why...)
You may leave the garnishes off of your soup, but they really are a fun way to liven up your dish! The sweet earthy flavor of the beets cut through the salty miso, the tofu provides a little sweetness and texture (as well as protein!), and the gomashio adds texture and color.
Play around and add other types of garnishes to your ramen! Raw scallion, nutritional yeast, umeboshi, shredded carrot, bean sprouts...the possibilities are endless!
Gluten-Free Miso Ramen
Yield: about 1-2 servings
Broth recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh
Kamaboko-style Marinated Tofu
Slurp your way to happiness! ^_^
Tempeh is one of those things that I wish I had discovered sooner in life.
I have been eating tofu for pretty much my entire life. I usually had tofu with a Japanese dinner in the form of miso soup or as a side dish with some shoyu and scallion on top. Tofu is great, but definitely on the more bland side. Ever since I've discovered tempeh, I've shied away from tofu for the most part. (That isn't to say I don't still like it!)
I've read that tempeh can impart a bitter flavor. I honestly don't find it bitter at all. I love tempeh for it's "cheese-like" flavor, which i suppose is due to the fact that it's fermented. In this dish, I simmered my tempeh the day before just to "open it up" a little. I find that if you cook tempeh lightly (usually steaming or simmering) before basting or marinating it, it absorbs more flavor.
Tempeh benefits from adding soy sauce, I've found. Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy/hungry, I just pan fry tempeh in soy sauce and call it a day. It's very acceptable. (Also, make tempeh into "bacon". It's mind-blowing!)
The glaze that I've made for this recipe is similar to a soy sauce since it contains miso. I used white (shiro) miso but you can use any that you prefer. I normally save the darker or red miso for winter months. I also added a little coconut sugar to balance out the salt in the glaze. This made the dish much more complex than I expected. If you aren't too keen on a sweeter sauce, stick to just adding mirin. No harm will be done!
I highly recommend serving the tempeh over buckwheat soba noodles. The earthy flavor of buckwheat will stand out to the robust miso glaze. If you're more of a rice person, sweet brown rice would be my suggestion. I kept the broth for the soba on the simple side. I did, however, include some seaweed in the broth for a briny, fishy flavor. The seaweed is to replace the bonito flakes that are often found in Japanese broth. I absolutely love the taste of fish and seaweed, but I know that not everyone else does! You can omit the seaweed if you don't care for it.
To keep the dish gluten-free, I used Eden buckwheat soba. It's 100% buckwheat flour. There are many brands that mix buckwheat flour with wheat flour, so make sure to read their labels. I highly recommend Eden for soba and any of their other products.
Miso Glazed Tempeh and Soba Noodles
Yield: 4-6 servings
Source: Miso Glaze Recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh (great book!)
Miso Glazed Tempeh
**While you prepare the tempeh, start boiling a large pot of water for your soba!**
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.