Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese-Rice-Noodles-SaladIt’s been crazy hot here on my part of the world. I’m trying to stay away from the stove as much as possible. I’m sure you all can relate.

I’ve been trying to come up with substantial dishes that can be served cool or room temperature that don’t require to much heating up of the kitchen. This especially applies to Shabbat, where I’m tasked with creating and serving multiple dishes for a crowd.

This Vietnamese Rice Noodle dish is a perfect example of a meal-in-a-salad that comes together quickly and is great both warm or cold. It’s also very adaptable. You can swap out some of the veggies and change the protein to whatever you prefer. For this dish, I used turkey. I knew that my guests would be looking for some kind of meat dish and I had the turkey ready to go.

I started by cooking up the rice noodles. I used the thin rice vermicelli, which I can pour boiling water over to cook. Super easy to do. After soaking for around ten minutes, I drained the noodles.

I then cooked up the turkey with some garlic, ginger, shallots and chopped shiitake mushrooms. I love the flavors that comes off of the meat. Once cooked, I added some tamari and lime lime juice to the meat directly.

I chopped up my veggies and made the dressing. I was ready to go.

I mixed the veggies with the noodles and layered the ground turkey over it and then poured on the dressing. Everyone was happy with the salad.

I also make a vegetarian version of this salad. When I do, I swap out the turkey and use chopped tofu or the soy beef-style crumbles. They work well. When I crumble the tofu, I tend to use an extra firm version and add some extra garlic, ginger and soy sauce for extra flavor.

Hope you enjoy!


Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: gluten free, salad
Ingredients
  • 1 package vermicelli rice stick noodles
  • 1 tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mint, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ½ daikon, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, chopped or julienned
  • 1 seedless cucumber, julienned or chopped
  • 1 cubed avocado
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
For the dressing:
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles by placing them in a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit a few minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large pan and saute the ginger, garlic and shallot.
  3. Add in the ground turkey and chopped shiitake mushrooms and cook until done.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a ½ lime and 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce over the turkey and mix.
  5. Prep all of the veggies and set aside.
  6. Mix up the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  7. Mix the rice noodles with the veggies and then layer with the ground turkey mixture. Stir in the whisked dressing.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice

We recently spent the day in and around Bucks County, PA. This area that stretches from the New Jersey border, near the Delaware River, is simply beautiful. Filled with beautiful farmland, old homes, and adorable little shops and wineries – there is just so much to see. As we were driving to our destination, we passed by a farm that advertised some fresh asparagus. I love asparagus! I got super excited, but we had somewhere to be. I made note of the sign and hoped that we’d be able to buy some of the good green stuff on our way home.

We stopped by the farm on our way back. At first I was disappointed to see that the place appeared “closed.” On closer look though, I noticed a small little shack with open doors that appeared to have farm goods inside. I got out of the car to inspect. They had a small selection of asparagus, herbs, greens and fresh honey available. There was no shopkeeper, but all items were priced and there was a locked box to deposit your money in. Love it! I fished out a few dollars and bought some asparagus! Love this kind of shopping. Further down the road, we stopped at another farm for fresh brown eggs. It was a lovely day!

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I was so excited to use this fresh and local asparagus. Earlier that morning, I had picked up some lovely fresh leeks. I love the way leek pairs well with asparagus. I was thinking about just sauteing the two as a side dish, but then it occurred to me to use the vegetables in my main dish.

Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice
 
Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. rice bran oil or canola oil (or any other high heat friendly oil)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. crushed fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. chicken-style seitan (or protein of your choice)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut to 1.5 inch pieces
  • 4 cups cooked and cooled rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Start by cleaning your leeks. Slice them in thin rounds and soak in cold water. The sand and grit will soak to the bottom. Blot dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a large wok or fry pan, heat up the oil.
  3. Add in the garlic, ginger and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften a bit.
  4. Add in the seitan chicken or any protein for that matter. Cook for two more minutes.
  5. Add in the cleaned and trimmed leeks and asparagus. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the already cook rice. Mix to incorporate well.
  7. Add in the rest of the seasonings. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring as you go. Taste and add additional seasoning as necessary. I love adding some chili pepper flakes and a squirt of sriracha when I eat it,
  8. This dish is very versatile. Feel free to add other vegetables or change up your protein.

 

 

Homemade Sesame Rice Crackers

Sesame Rice Crackers

I have made crackers a few times. Those Mary’s Gone Crackers copycats were big hit in my house.

This time, I was looking for something with a similar crunch, but a bit different flavor – perhaps a little less nutty. I wanted something similar to those packages of Japanese senbei crackers I get at Whole Foods, or perhaps the sesame rice rounds I get at Trader Joe’s. I wanted a cracker that met somewhere in the middle. I definitely wanted to keep it gluten free, but with a good crunch. I also didn’t want to have to run out and buy too many new ingredients.

These crackers fit the bill. I had everything on hand. Definitely happy with the way they turned out and will make again – perhaps with a few flavor tweaks. These crackers are great with tapenade or hummus, or anything you would pair with a chip or cracker!

Sesame Rice Crackers
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
3.5 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
3 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup warm water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky and should come together. You can add a little more rice flour if it seems too sticky and wet.

Let the mixture sit for five minutes.

Spray a large baking sheet.

Pull of little teaspoon size pieces of dough and roll in to balls.

Similar to my previous cracker recipe, take a small square of oil sprayed parchment paper and press the ball on to the pan. You can use your hands, or you could use a heavy glass.

You want the cracker dough to be very thin, but you don’t want it to rip. Even if it rips though, it’s still tasty.

The crackers do shrink a little in the oven – so it’s ok if your dough rounds are touching.

Bake in oven for around 15-17 minutes. Check to make sure they don’t burn,

Cool on rack.

Sesame Rice Crackers

Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Tribes-a-Dozen’s Voila! Hallah!

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Wet Burritos

I get so much of my food inspiration from social media these days. Everyone’s lunch or dinner gets posted to Facebook  twitter or Pinterest at any given moment. The photos are what get me motivated to cook and create new concoctions in my kitchen.

I have a growing list of friends from Michigan – either having grown up there or went to college there. At any given moment, a photo shows up in my Facebook feed of something that resembles an enchilada, but is really something so much more. It’s the Wet Burrito. It’s purely a Michigan concept. I can’t decide if it’s an upgraded or downgraded burrito. It’s not authentic anything, or perhaps it’s authentic Michigander food. Whatever it is, the spiced red gravy that tops the burrito is pure brilliance on a plate. And it’s easy to make.


Vegetarian Wet Burritos
Ingredients:
1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small zucchinni, chopped
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 can of black beans, drained
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1.5 cups cooked brown rice
Cheddar/Monterrey Jack Cheese Blend
4 large flour tortillas
Wet Burrito Sauce:
Ingredients:
1 can of Ro-Tel or chopped tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 cup of plain tomato sauce
1.5 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (Use a fish-free version)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
 
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat up the oil in a large saute pan. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spices and the chopped garlic.
Add in the zucchini and the sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.
Add in the black beans to one side of the pan and let them heat up. Mash up the beans a bit and stir in the vegetable broth.
Remove the pan from the flame and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, mix up all of the sauce ingredients. Heat on medium low for a few minutes. Puree with a stick blender.
Assemble the burritos.
Layer some rice then bean/veggie mixture then some cheese on top of a tortillas. Fold up in to a burrito. Set seam side down in a baking dish.
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Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Wet Burritos
Spoon the burrito sauce over the burritos.
Sprinkle over some cheese.
Bake in oven for about 15 minutes. If you have extra sauce, you can spoon more over the burrito as you serve.
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Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a free box of Tribes-a-Dozen Voila! Hallah! Enter here!

Meatless Monday: Vegetable and Rice Patties

My older daughter just left for camp. It’s so odd having one less child in the house. When I got home and started to prepare dinner this evening, there was nobody to complain. Nobody questioned the flavors that would show up on the plate. I kind of miss it! It is nice though to be left with just my kid who eats anything. It’s a nice treat to see everything eaten on the plate – even the onions.

I still miss the kid. A lot. And it’s only been a day.

We were gone over the weekend, and I have a limited selection of what is available in the fridge. As with any Monday, dinner must be fast. With a limited supply of veggies and some cooked rice in the fridge, these veggie rice patties were perfect for a light dinner. When paired with a salad, everyone is happy.

Vegetable and Rice Patties 
Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice, cooled (white or brown works)
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small zuchinni, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar jack blend)
3/4 cup panko crumbs or gluten free alternative
2.5 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tsp. garlic powder
4 eggs
2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil for pan frying

Directions:

Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. Shape in to patties and let sit on a plate for about 10 minutes to set.

Pan fry in a small amount of oil for a few minutes on each side – until browned.

Drain on paper towels.

Enjoy!

Vegetable Rice PattiesN
This post is linked to My Meatless Mondays

Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

I am the only eggplant eater in this house. No matter how much I try to experiment and offer different varieties – nobody seems to budge. They don’t like the texture or the taste. Still trying and I still love eggplant. Whenever I do want to make eggplant dishes, I prepare in small quantities or freeze in portions.

I picked up some Chinese eggplant recently. I have been craving some eggplant in garlic sauce. Haven’t had it in years. The other night, the kids had eaten and the hubster was out for the night. I finally had my chance. The house was quiet. Ahhh, peace. I should have probably taken a nap or something. Instead, I made a late dinner. It’s worth it though. I also made enough for lunch the next day. 

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Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
Ingredients:


3 Chinese Eggplants
Cubed, pressed tofu (I only added it because it was leftover – totally unnecessary)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup vegetable broth
chopped scallions
red pepper flakes

Cube up the eggplant.

In a large pan, Saute the eggplant in the vegetable oil. Add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for around 5 minutes.

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Add in the water and cover the pan. Steam the eggplant for around 10 minutes.

Mix up the rest of the ingredients (except red pepper flakes and scallions).  Pour and mix in to eggplant mixture.

Add in the scallions and red pepper flakes.

Garnish with scallions and serve with rice. Enjoy!

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Mushroom and Tofu Stir Fry in Black Bean Sauce

What do you do when everyone is hungry and it’s 7:30 pm? We had been grazing throughout the day, so hunger and the whole dinner concept dawned on us much later than a typical day. The big kid was begging for Chinese food. Of course, she was hoping for the take-out variety. The hubster suggested a stir fry. I kindly suggested he pick and chop the veggies – to which he turned down. Harumph.

Dinner still had to be made. I tossed some rice and water in a pot and peeked in the fridge. We had just been to the Korean market, so were flush with tofu and veggies. I had some chopped scallions and ginger left over from the scallion pancakes. Stir fry would work. I always have a variety of asian sauces around. I hoard them when I find them acceptable to eat. I picked up some yummy looking five-spice tofu when at HMart. I love when I find random kosher things there. I get giddy.  This five spice tofu comes already pressed and ready to serve. 
Dinner was ready in around 10 minutes. Ten points for me!



Mushroom and Tofu Stir Fry in Black Bean Sauce
Ingredients:
1 tbsp. vegetable oiil
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 scallions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.4 tbsp. ginger, chopped
1/2 pound of pressed tofu (five spice, or other marinated tofu) cubed
1 container cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas
1.5-2 tbsp. black bean sauce
3 tsp. black soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth mixed with 2 tsp. corn starch
Heat up the vegetable oil in a wok or large deep saute pan.
Add in the sesame oil when hot. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Let it get a bit fragrant and toss in half of the scallions.
Stir in the tofu, snap peas and the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes. Maybe five.
Add in the last three ingredients. If you can’t find a kosher black bean sauce, you could substitute with some miso paste. As I mentioned before, I tend to hoard obscure kosher products when I find them – or I figure out how to make  them myself.

Add in the remaining chopped scallions and plate it up with some white rice.
Enjoy!
On a side note, anyone want to go in with me on a large quantity of  kosher fermented black beans? Big plans, folks, big plans….

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Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Rice Bowl

So the other night around dinner time, J suggested we go out and get Chinese take-out. Of course he said this after dinner was already prepared. He also knows that the kosher Chinese place in the neighborhood pretty much sucks and I always get food poisoning when I eat there. Of course I looked at him like he had two heads when he suggested it.

Don’t get me wrong – I like take-out as much as the next gal; but a: it’s not in our budget and b: I refuse to pay for crappy food.

I do still try to consider what J wants when making the meal plan. He mentioned being in the mood for a greasy bowl of teriyaki chicken or beef – similar to what you could hypothetically get from a crappy Chinese take-out joint.

I hemmed and hawed about this. I even considered  being a nice wifey and getting him some $5 dollar special. Gasp!

We do have all the ingredients though and I had a package of tofu sitting in the fridge. I decided to make some teriyaki tofu. I figured that I could make it better, cheaper, and definitely healthier than any neighborhood joint. And none of us will get sick after eating it! Yay!

Teriyaki Tofu & Veggie Rice Bowl
Ingredients:

1 package of extra firm tofu
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. ginger, minced
2 shallots
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small zuchini, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup green peas
scallions, chopped (garnish at the end)
red pepper flakes

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:
4 tbsp. tamari (you can also use soy sauce or Braggs Amino Acids)
2.5 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. mirin
2.5 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp. sriracha (or more)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. warm water

Cube up the tofu and press it down to remove all the water.

In a wok, stir fry the tofu in a small amount of vegetable oil mixed wth a small amount of sesame oil. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the ginger, garlic, and the shallots. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Add in the other veggies. Cook for a few minutes. Let the zuchini soften a little.

Mix up the teriyaki sauce ingredients.

Add to the stir fry. Cook for a couple more minutes. Add in the scallions and some red pepper flakes.

Serve over some white or brown rice. Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice – The Kosher Way!

Last Sunday night, with two hungry and cranky kids in tow, we found ourselves wandering the grocery store in search of something quick to prepare.  I am rarely grateful for Acme Markets and their high prices. Except for nights like that. They have a kosher deli counter and a great kosher section that rivals our local kosher grocery store. Being that they are spawned from big corporate mayhem, they are also able to provide better sale prices every so often. 


As I perused the deli case, I noticed that they had a big selection of Jacks’s Gourmet Sausages on sale. I tried their bratwurst this summer at a BBQ, and we really liked them. Decided to pick up some chorizo. Figured that the extra spice would help. So glad that I chose that flavor. It was perfect for the dish.


As we drove home, we brainstormed how best to elevate the chorizo for a mid-week dinner. A special request was made for red beans and rice. J grew up in the South where he ate the real thing. I didn’t know if I could top that in a pork-less dish. I know it wasn’t going to be completely authentic. I figured I could at least try. It did come out well. I even brought leftovers for lunch the next day. I never bring the leftovers. It was that good.


Red Beans & Rice 

Ingredients


1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped (I know, not authentic – but added some texture)
salt
ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of cayenne
2 bay leaves
handful of chopped fresh parsley
a few teaspoons of fresh thyme
1 package of chorizo sausage, sliced
1 can of red beans (could even use two cans)
2 cups of veggie broth
Cooked white rice (I used basmati)


Cook your rice as you normally do. Keep warm and set aside.


In a large pan, heat up the oil. Throw in the garlic and onions and let soften. A few minutes.


Throw in the other veggies and stir, Let them cook for a few minutes.


Add in the spices and herbs. 


Now add the sausage and beans. Cook for a few more minutes. 


Add in the broth. Let the broth boil.  Mash some of the red beans. Let it cook for about a half hour. The flavors get betters as you cook it longer. Let some of the broth evaporate. It should still be saucy.  Serve over some white rice.


Enjoy!




Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos

It was a Thursday night like any other. Need to get some shabbat shopping in. Need to get some shabbat cooking in. Would love to get a gym session in. Any other night, right? On a typical Thursday night, we have a bad habit of running to get takeout. It’s so much easier, but it adds up, you know?  J doesn’t like pizza. The kids don’t like eating meat, and recently both J and I both get sick whenever we eat from the kosher Chinese place. Our options are limited for dining in town. I am trying to limit the eating out to places that are really worth it.  A $50 meal out where I feel good about eating it – both health wise and taste wise.

So this past Thursday, found me in the kitchen, as always, with little time to spare. The kids had pasta, cheesy noodles – a reward for behaving so well in the grocery store. All right, all right, it was a bribe. I admit. Through all this, I am also trying to clean out the kitchen for Pesach. Trying to use stuff up for the big royal clean up/clean out.  I found some soy chorizo in the fridge and this can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that have been begging to be used up. Burritos it is! Yummy!


Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos (serves 6-8)
Ingredients:


1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1  package soy chorizo (I recommend Frieda’s or Trader Joe’s brand – Frieda’s has a hechsher)
cumin
salt
pepper
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup corn
1 can small white cannellini beans
1/2 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
6-8 flour tortillas (depends on how much filling you like in your burritos
cooked white or brown rice
shredded cheese blend (monterey jack, cheddar – it’s all good)
sour cream (optional)




In a large saute pan, saute the onions and garlic in a small amount of oil.  Maybe two teaspoons.


Add in the soy chorizo and cook it a bit. Note: The casing is inedible in the soy chorizo. squeeze the soy meat into the pan.


Add in the cumin, salt, and pepper.


Add in the veggies. Saute for a few minutes..you don’t need the veggies too soft.


Now add the corn and beans. Cook a few more minutes. 


Stir in the peppers in adobo sauce.  This gives the whole mixture a nice smokey taste. So good.


Lay out your tortillas on a plate. It’s good if you heat the tortillas covered in warm oven for a few minutes. 


Plop some rice, then some filling, and then the cheese onto your tortilla.

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Now it’s time to roll up your burrito.  Fold the bottom in a bit and also the top. Now roll up from the side. Now take a bit. You know you want to. Enjoy!
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