Monday, November 30, 2009

Best ever asian noodles

I looove noodles. Pasta in all it's many forms, egg noodles, rice noodles, soba noodles. Whatever shape or colour they are taking on, I am guaranteed to love them. Especially cold, chewy, asian inspired noodles.

asian noodle salad

So when I saw this recipe for sesame noodles on The Pioneer Woman, I had to try it out. And I am so glad I did! I've always tried making asian sesame noodles at home, but have never been able to reach perfection. Usually I just toss soy sauce, sesame oil and sirracha together. That's not bad, but not great either. Not ultimate. Not i must devour all the noodles in this bowl kind of good. I bought a pack of egg noodles from the dollar store the other day, and made this salad twice over the past 4 days. In doing so I can say with experience that this recipe gets even better after it's been sitting in the fridge for a few hours. And there is no shame in eating leftovers for breakfast.
I also added some finely sliced red pepper, some grated carrot, and sesame seeds to get some nutrients in there. But these delicious sesame soaked noodles are just fine on their own as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poato Vegetable Soup

I just love a good soup. All you have to do is throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, let it cook and presto! - you have dinner.
Like tonight when I realized just how sad my produce level was. I haven't been working for a while, so  money has been very tight lately. The past few days i've been eating pasta and frozen foods. But today I yearned for something wholesome and homemade. When I realized I was seriously lacking in the produce department, and didn't have enough for a salad or a stir fry, my plans turned to soup. A welcome dinner at this time of the year.

It all started with what vegetables I found laying in my crisper. A green pepper, a zucchini, and some arugula. In my pantry I found some potatoes that were passing their prime, and chopped 'em all up as a base for the soup. I didn't even worry about not having any veg stock on hand, as I keep a jar of Better Than Bouillon in my fridge for such cases. I lucked out with a sole can of fire roasted tomatoes and broad beans in the pantry and with some fridge staples I had a delicious dinner. This soup really embodies the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to cooking. Which is a great approach to take, in my humble opinion. Yet it was different than most soups i've made. It was the lemon juice that really set it apart. Adding a fresh taste while still being a big warm bowl of comfort.

vegetable soup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
3 small yellow potatoes, cubed
1 clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp garam masala, yellow curry powder
1 tbsp mrs.dash, + dried italian herbs

2 1/2 cups of water mixed with 2 tbsp better than bouillon paste
1 small can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 can of beans (i used broad beans - any beans would work here -white beans, chickpeas sound good.)
1/4 cup lemon juce
1/4 cup red miso paste
1 tbsp green curry paste
1 tbsp capers, chopped finely
2 bay leaves
2-3 cups of arugula (or any leafy green)

Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the potatoes and cook for a few mins. Next add the peppers and zucchini until softened. Add the spices and cook for a min.
Add the tomatoes, the water with the boulion (or veg broth), beans, miso paste (make sure it's all dissolved in the liquid), curry paste, capers, and bay leaves. Simmer over medium heat for 45 mins. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the arugula. Serve with crumbled feta, or shredded parmesean cheese.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tofu Scramble

Every vegetarian or vegan out there has, or will at some point, come up with their formidable tofu scramble recipe. It took a couple years, okay almost 6 years- for me to discover mine. I started playing around with tofu scrambles about a year and a half ago. I'd throw some chunks of pressed tofu in a pan, dry it out, then toss in some vegetables, add a drizzle of soy sauce and call it a day.
And I wonder why I never really loved a scramble until recently....

Since I was a self taught vegetarian cook, and was afraid tofu for the first few years of being veg (I confess, the first 3 years of me being a vegetarian, my diet consisted of canned tomato soup and pasta.) I didn't fully realize what tofu scramble could really be until I tried some prepared by skillled, experienced vegetarian cooks at my favorite restaurant in my new city- The Naam. It was there I ordered a tofu scramble,  to compare with my own and see if I was doing it right. I learned that day what a tofu scramble could be. Soft, flavorful bits of tofu laced with an array vegetables and even tomatoes- something I never thought to add to my own.

After experimenting for almost a year off and on, this past July I discovered my ultimate tofu scramble. But since everyones tastes are different, I can only say how much I find it to be the best tofu scramble ever. Although my meat eating roommate who is afraid of tofu does enjoy it as well. So that has to mean something.

tofu scramble

(I know this photo is hideous, but I live in a basement apartment with no windows! And I have no good photo worthy light source.)

Erin's Tasty Tofu Scramble

1/4 block of extra firm tofu, cubed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
curry powder to taste (i use about 3 tbsp)
1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/2 bell pepper
1/2 small zucchini
5 large mushrooms
salt and pepper
seasoning to taste (i use Mrs. Dash)
small handful of grape tomatoes

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the onions and soften. Next, add the garlic and tofu. Using a wooden spoon/paddle break up the tofu as it cooks. You want the tofu to cook out, and get the liquid out. Once that is done (about 5 mins) add the curry powder, heat for 1 min, then add the vegetable broth to de-glaze the pan in two additions. Once the broth is absorbed, remove the tofu from the pan and let sit.

Next drizzle some oil and throw in the pepper, zucchini and mushrooms with some salt, pepper, and mrs. dash. When they are cooked, add the tofu back in the pan and let the heat and flavors meld together. (Now would also be a good time to add some chopped spinach or kale, if you have it.) Add the grape tomatoes at the very end, so they are just warm but still uncooked.
I like to sprinkle mine with some good ol' kraft parmesean, but to make this vegan some nutritional yeast would do well here.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I could go on about how I really suck at this blogging thing because I can't stick with anything, and make excuses about being too busy and moving twice and living in a dungeon with no light,  but why bother? I doubt anyone actually reads this except for me. So I will post this for me so I don't forget how make these tacos, because they are delicious.

topped with spicy guacamole, cheese, and lettucce.

This vegetarian taco recipe was taught to me by a friend of mine from mexico, who is not vegetarian but would eat these growing up.
Though i've never really been compelled to eat meat, after eating these tacos I don't see why anyone else would be!

Carrot Tacos
(Thanks Karina!)

You will need: (for the tacos)
corn toritllas
3-4 carrots, shredded
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup of cheese, shredded
lots of butter

carrot tacos

Heat some butter in a pot and soften the onion until translucent. In the meantime, grate the carrots. When the onions are translucent, add the carrots and some more butter, and salt. Saute until soft, around 5 mins or so. Next add the cheese and let melt. Heat the tortillas in the microwave until soft and pliable. (30 secs-1 min)
Get a medium saucepan and heat a few tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Take the carrot mixture, and put about 2 tbsp inside a corn tortilla. Roll tightly and repeat.
You can cook about 5 tacos at a time with a medium/large pan. Get a pair of tongs and flip them over while cooking to evenly brown the tacos.

For the spicy guacamole:
4 small avocados, pitted and halved
4 tomatillos
1 jalapeno pepper
1 garlic clove
3-4 tbsp cilantro
salt to taste
lemon juice

Peel and rinse the tomatillos. Put them in a pot with the jalapeno pepper and just cover with water. Boil until the tomatillos are slightly brown on the bottom, about 5-10 mins or so.
Throw rest of the ingredients together and blend in a blender or with an imersion blender. (That's what I used.) Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Top the tacos with shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and spicy guacamole. It makes for easier eating if you open up the tacos a bit to let the toppings fall in. Make sure you have lots of napkins.