Tempeh and Vegetable Stir Fry Rice Noodle Bowl

I’ve given up meat. Completely. It was a long time coming. I first became a vegetarian at age 13. I stopped when I became pregnant with my older daughter. I’ve been mulling this over for a while now. Then, over Shabbat, I realized how put off I am by meat. I don’t have a problem cooking meat. I know how to prepare meat and make it taste good. I don’t have any PETA-like issues with other people eating meat. I just can’t bring myself to eat meat anymore. For now, I will just go back to being a lacto-ovo vegetarian (will eat dairy and eggs). I may one day go vegan, but I think this works for me. I feel better when I don’t eat meat and I am happy with my decision.

Today was one of those days that I needed to go through the fridge, use stuff up, toss stuff out. I found a package of tempeh that I had been meaning to use. Dinner on these kinds of days often ends up being one of those kinds of dishes where 75% of the ingredients could really be anything. It’s what I had on hand. What makes a difference though, is the sauce. Still, everyone was happy with dinner. My younger daughter had a huge bowl of it.

Tempeh and Veggie Stir Fry in a Hoisin Peanut Sauce

1 8 oz. package of Tempeh, cubed
1 cup of veggie broth
1 onion, diced
6 cloves, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 package of mushrooms, sliced
1.5 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup baby corn, sliced

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 cloves garlic, mashed in to a paste
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 1/2

tsp. rice vinegar
1.5 tbsp. peanut butter
1.5 tsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp. sesame oil
red pepper flakes (optional)

In a wok or large saute pan, steam the tempeh in the 1 cup of vegetable broth for about 20 minutes.  Drain the tempeh and set aside.

Dry out the wok with a towel.

Saute the onions, garlic and ginger in teh vegetable oil.  Add in the tempeh. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the zucchini.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the rest of the veggies. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. You don’t want to overcook the veggies.

While veggies are cooking, mix up all of the sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Pour the sauce over the veggie mixture. Stir and cook for two more minutes.

I recommend serving the stir fry over some rice vermicelli noodles or perhaps some brown rice.


Vegetarian Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Among the various food carts and trucks to ogle in my area, is the Vietnamese banh mi cart. For the uneducated, a banh mi is a delicious sandwich served on a baguette. It comes in various flavors – it’s bumped up in flavor with some traditional Vietnamese flavors like lemongrass and cilantro. The near varieties often include a pate.

At lunch time, the line sometimes seems to be a mile long. As the line moves along, the ladies come out of the cart and cross of sandwiches as they run out. They have one vegetarian option – a tofu banh mi. 
I have yet to see a kosher restaurant sell an authentic banh mi. Aside from the pork varieties, there is nothing inherently “treif” about banh mi. I miss the days where I could stroll in to Chinatown and pick up a scrumptious three dollar Vietnamese sandwich. 
I decided to recreate it at home. I have been browsing Pinterest and eyeing the various banh mi options. I keep pinning and repinning ideas. I am happy with the way it turned out. I regret that I didn’t include a vegan pate in this version. My second regret is that I didn’t take the time to make my own baguettes. Baguettes will have to wait for another day.

The Bahn Mi I made, is made up of layers:

  1. Baguette
  2. Mayonnaise or Vegan Mayo
  3. Daikon/Carrot Pickle (recipe below)
  4. Baked Tofu Vegenaisse(recipe below)
  5. Sriracha
  6. Thinly Sliced Cucumbers
  7. Thinly Slice Red Onions
  8. Thinly Sliced Avocado
  9. Cilantro
Carrot/Daikon Pickles
recipe very slightly adapted from Viet World Kitchen


1 large daikon
2 thick carrots

1 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar 
1  1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
Cut the carrots and daikon up in to a thick julienne. I used my nifty new mandoline. 
Place the cut up carrots and daikon in a plastic bowl and mix with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Massage the mixture with your hands for a few minutes. The veggies will start to soften and some water will start to seep out. The vegetables will get a bit softer. Drain the liquid and then rinse the veggies in water and press all of the liquid out. Transfer to whatever container you will use to store your pickles.
In another bowl, mix up the rest of the sugar, the vinegar, and the warm water. 
Pour the brine mixture over the carrot/daikon mixture. Cover your container. Place in fridge and let them do their pickling.


Baked Tofu:
recipe slightly adapted from eat, live run

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt

Drain the tofu and slice the brick of tofu so it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the brick in half.

Mix the marinade ingredients.

Marinate tofu for about an hour.


Preheat oven to 350.

Drain 75% of the marinade ingredients. The rest will burn off.

Bake for about 15 minutes on each side.

Have all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go. Layer your sandwich together. Get ready to eat. Enjoy!


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

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!

Crab Spring Rolls: Well, actually Krab (Surimi)

Some people window shop for their next pair of Jimmy Choos or their next evening dress. Don’t get me wrong…I do that too. I also window shop our next meal. When I pass by an interesting menu, I get ideas for what to cook next. So much of what is out there that is tasty, is not served at kosher restaurants. I get tired of the bland and boring options out in kosherland. So I wander the ethnic restaurants paired up with ethnic grocery stores to find kosher options for my home.

I love a good Spring/Summer roll when I’m in an Asian restaurant. I love the fresh flavors inside. It’s so easy to make. You can change up some of the veggies, if you’d like. Play with it a bit. I don’t know why it’s never on kosher restaurant menus, but it’s so good and the ingredients are readily available.

Crab Spring Roll (Using the Surimi Sticks)

Spring Roll wrappers (found in your asian food section, or in a Vietnamese or Thai store)
Bean thread noodles or rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
Surimi Sticks
Avocado, sliced
Seedless Cucumner – sliced lengthwise
Red or Green leaf lettuce

Cilantro, chopped

Prepare all your filling ingredients.

Soak the spring roll wrappers in warm water. Soak one at a time. They are very easy to rip and hard to handle until you get the hang of it. Soak it for about 30 seconds, until the wrapper has a soft, leathery texture.

Lay the wrapper on a plate or cutting board. Fill the center of it with your filling, like you would do with sushi. Leave space around it to allow for folding.


Fold the bottom edge towards the center, and then fold the top edge down. Roll the wrapper jelly roll style. Be gentle and squeeze like ingredients in like you would with sushi. Slice the roll at an angle and serve with dipping sauce of your choice. I like mine dipped in peanut sauce.




Baked Five Spice Chicken

This Friday was a rare Friday that I had some extra time to burn. I took a rare vacation day. Let me tell you – I am totally jealous of all of you who either take Fridays off or work from home on Fridays. That lifestyle would be totally amazing. My 10:30 hair appointment felt so bizarre, so unlike me, and so luxurious! By noon, I started thinking about the coming Shabbat. In a perfect world, Shabbat meals would be totally planned out and mostly cooked by Thursday night. Alas, this is my world. I buy the ingredients on Thursday without a menu in mind. It works for me. For the most part, Shabbat is put together in the better part of the hour right before Shabbat. Having so much time this Friday for Shabbat planning was like a spa day in my eyes. Around 2pm, I pulled out the raw chicken I had purchased the day before. A whole, cut up chicken. What to do, what to do. I opened my overstuffed spice cabinet and some garlic powder and five spice powder containers flew down at me and hit my forehead. Well…if it smacks you in the head….turn it into a dinner? Isn’t that what they always say? I guess it could work…and it did! The five spice melded into the chicken beautifully! Sorry for the lack of pictures. It was Shabbat, and the chicken was devoured.

Baked Five Spice Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut up
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dry sherry
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. minced ginger
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tsp. five spice

Place the chicken skin side up in a baking pan.

Mix up the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk.

Pour over the chicken. Cover the the chicken and marinate for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 375.

Bake chicken covered for 40 minutes.

Uncover chicken and continue baking until done. Let the skin get crispy.


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