Archive for the 'Vegetarian' Category

Sesame Noodles with Made-From-Scratch Chili Oil

Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions

I procured some Sichuan peppercorns following our Chengdu travels two Septembers ago, but left them untouched in the cupboard until stumbling upon this recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions in the June 2013 issue of Bon Appétit.

What made these noodles something to talk about was the chili oil made from scratch with fresh scallions, crushed red pepper flakes, and tongue-quivering peppercorns. Mixed with tahini, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, the chili oil packed enough heat to make us sweat and imparted the kind of nuanced flavor that kept our chopsticks coming back for more.

I prepared these noodles to accompany a Chinese Wood Ear Mushroom Salad, because man cannot survive on fungus alone. Sharing similar flavor profiles, the two dishes complemented each other and made for a perfectly satisfying vegetarian lunch. Note to self: add broccoli, eggplant, and tofu to the noodles next time around for a well-balanced, one-dish meal.

For the chili oil

  • 4 scallions, whites and greens separated, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper, coarsely ground

For the noodles

  • 24 ounces Chinese wheat noodles (or spaghetti)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions

Cook scallion whites, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil is sizzling and scallions are golden brown, 12–15 minutes.

Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions

Let chili oil cool in the saucepan or in a bowl.

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Chinese Wood Ear Mushroom Salad

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

The Astronomer and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this past weekend. As is tradition around here, festivities included reliving our wedding banquet at Five Star Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel (the food was as delicious as ever) and cooking up a little something inspired by old school anniversary gifts. Thus far in our marriage, The Astronomer has been gifted Paper, Cotton, Leather, and Fruit.

Since it is customary to bestow wood upon one’s beloved in recognition of the fifth anniversary, I prepared a Chinese wood ear mushroom salad with edamame (mu’er maodou shala) using a recipe from Issue #140 of Saveur magazine.

This vibrant salad brightens snappy wood ear mushrooms with chilies and vinegar. It works great as a cold appetizer or as a side dish, depending on what your spread calls for. Really though, it’s impossible to go wrong, because nothing says “I love you” like prepared reconstituted fungus. Trust me.

  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, preferably wood ear
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen edamame
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour over 8 cups boiling water; let sit until soft, about 45 minutes.

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

Drain mushrooms; tear into large bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with edamame; set aside.

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Huckleberry’s Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Not last weekend but the weekend before, I attended the most spectacular brunch hosted by Zoe Nathan, Josh Loeb, and Laurel Almerinda to celebrate the release of their brand-new cookbook, Huckleberry.

Huckleberry Cookbook Brunch with Zoe Nathan Loeb

Inspired by their Santa Monica cafe and bakery, Huckleberry celebrates the bounty of breakfast. From pancakes to teacakes to muffins and egg-topped plates, this beautiful book has mornings covered (and then some).

Huckleberry Cookbook Lunch

Rather than host a traditional book talk and signing, Zoe, Josh, and Laurel dazzled a slew of Los Angeles’ food writers with a seemingly endless parade of made-from-scratch delights from their cookbook. The spread was nothing short of brilliant, and I probably ate enough for triplets!

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Red Curry Peanut Noodles

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

The Astronomer and I have been staying up later than usual these past few nights securing restaurant reservations in London and France for our European jaunt this summer. Skype-ing in French and stalking Open Table when we should be sleeping has been simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting.

While our dining itinerary isn’t completely settled (there are a few elusive restaurants that I’m still hoping to rope in), we are guaranteed a nose to tail feast in London, exquisite escargots and souffles in Paris, and wines of all stripes at every lunch and dinner. This trip is going to be epic.

In preparation for what will surely be two-and-a-half weeks of non-stop indulging, I’m making a greater effort to eat healthily at home in the month and a half leading up to the trip. This recipe for Red Curry Peanut Noodles from the February 2008 issue of Food & Wine is the latest addition to my solid lineup of meatless meals that pack a satisfying punch.

Peanut noodles are terrific straight up, but add in a few tablespoons of fiery red curry paste and everything gets turned up to eleven. Perking up the noodles is a saucy blend of peanut butter, cilantro, lemongrass, chilies, garlic, galangal, and kaffir lime. The original recipe calls for just bean sprouts and carrots, but I’ve added tofu, red peppers, and edamame too to kick up the nutrition quotient.

Even though I’m buckling down on my eating habits these next few weeks, I still insist that everything that passes through these lips be delicious. Red Curry Peanut Noodles—it’s just what my taste buds and waistline ordered.

  • 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (approximately 19 ounces)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 12 ounces shelled edamame, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain very well and set aside.

Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and lay on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. On medium-high heat, saute the tofu in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side to lightly sear the outside and heat the inside. Set aside.

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the peanut butter with the lime juice, red curry paste, stock, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro leaves and puree. Season the sauce with salt.

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