Category Archives: Flexitarian

Cold Sesame Noodles

I’m a huge fan of cold sesame noodles.  I have two packages of it sitting in my fridge right now, courtesy of my local Asian market.  Those have peanut butter as a main ingredient.  Fine with me, but the debate rages on as to peanut butter versus sesame paste.  Most recipes do feature peanut butter, but here’s one today with nary a peanut in sight courtesy of Serious Eats.

Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Cold Sesame Noodles

Posted by Blake Royer, June 2, 2011

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

While many of you could recognize cold sesame noodles and have probably eaten them more than a couple times, there seems to be little consensus about what goes into this popular dish. It should be a simple affair, but many recipes tend to overcomplicate things and lose the appeal of the dish’s simplicity. It should be made with Chinese noodles—the kind that retain more chewiness than regular Italian pasta—and the sauce should be creamy, salty, tart, and fiery.

I’m particularly taken with this version from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn,which is the first I’ve seen that relies completely on tahini rather than using peanut butter and excessive amounts of sesame oil. The result isn’t heavy or gummy—it’s lighter and creamier than any version I’ve tried. Along with the usual suspects in this dish—soy sauce, ginger, garlic—it’s got the hallmark balance of flavors that make cold sesame noodles so pleasing.

Ingredients

serves serves 4, active time 5 minutes, total time 15 minutes

  • 1 pound Chinese egg noodles, such as lo mein
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • Sriracha hot sauce or chili oil (to taste)

Procedures

  1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the noodles. When the water returns to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until just tender according to package directions. Drain well, rinse with cold water, then toss with sesame oil.

  2.  In the meantime, combine the sesame paste with water and whisk to combine, thinning into the consistency of thick cream. In a second bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic until the sugar is dissolved. Combine the mixtures, then stir in the ginger and almost all the scallion.

  3.  Toss noodles with sauce and season to taste with more soy sauce and hot sauce or chile oil. Garnish with remaining scallion.

Printed from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/06/dinner-tonight-cold-sesame-noodles-recipe.html

© Serious Eats

Risi e Bisi from Simply Recipes

I love SimplyRecipes.com!  I’ve found that every recipe I’ve made from that site comes out well seasoned and delicious.  Often, when I’m searching for inspiration, this is the first place I head.  That happened today when I was looking for inspiration for tonight’s dinner. For the vegetarian, use vegetable stock and consider using a flavored tofu for the ham.  Here’s what I found:

Risi e Bisi, Italian Rice and Peas

Risi e Bisi, Italian Rice and Peas

You must use a medium-grain rice here. Ideally, you’d use a variety from Venice called Vialone Nano, but regular Arborio is just fine, and Carnaroli is good, too.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 pound diced prosciutto or other dry ham
  • 1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 or more cups water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

METHOD

1 Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the shallots and stir to combine. Let these sauté for 2-3 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, heat up the stock and 1 cup of water in a small pot. You want this at a simmer while you make the rice.

3 Add the garlic and the diced prosciutto to the pot with the shallots, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Pour in the rice, stir again and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4 Ladle some of the hot stock into the pot and start stirring. Risi e bisi is cooked like risotto, and is supposed to be pretty soupy, so you need a lot of water and you need to stir it constantly. Let this first ladle of stock cook down before you add the next. Keep adding stock, letting it cook down and stirring until you’re done with the simmering stock. It is likely that you may need at least one more cup of water to finish the dish, because all that stirring in an open pot means you evaporate more liquid than you would when you cook rice the normal way, i.e., covered. If you think you are going to need more water, add more to the simmering stock.

5 When you get to this last cup of water, add the peas. Keep stirring until the water has almost cooked away. Taste some rice and test for salt and doneness: Add a little salt and some more hot tap water if the rice is still crunchy – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.

6 Add the parsley and the parmesan and mix well. Your finished rice should be slightly soupy, so it’s OK to add a tad more water before serving.

Serves 4.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/risi_e_bisi_italian_rice_and_peas/

Who knew…I’m a Flexitarian!

It seems that my education in healthy/almost vegetarian eating has quite a way to go!  Apparently I’m not a wannabe part-time vegetarian, I’m a Flexitarian!  According to Wikipedia a flexitarian is someone who follows “a semi-vegetarian diet focusing on vegetarian food with occasional meat consumption. A self-described flexitarian seeks to decrease meat consumption without eliminating it entirely from his or her diet. There are no guidelines for how much or how little meat one must eat before being classified a flexitarian. Flexitarian is distinguished from polpescetarian, i.e., one who eats only chicken and fish, but does so exclusively.”

Of course, in searching further, I found vegan/vegetarians who scoff…no more so–they mock…at flexitarians.  And even among flexitarians, while some have an “anything goes” attitude, there’s a faction (according to Maura Judkis who writes for US Magazine and Audobon magazine) of “climate-change flexitarians” who aim for no more than 3.1 ounces of meat per day, no more than half of that being red meat.  But for the most part, it seems that most flexitarians try to limit their carnivorian adventures to eating out, or the occasional at-home meal.  That makes sense to me!

Not to digress (but indeed I will) I seem to be changing my cooking habits altogether.  This foray into eating healthier  (and the fact that it’s getting colder here in New Jersey) has led me to cooking big pots of soup and to experimenting with ingredients I haven’t cooked with before.

The other night I made a big pot of flexitarian chicken soup (there…now there’s a connection to my topic.)  What to do with all that boiled chicken?  I deboned and shredded it, and decided to make chicken croquettes.  They were delicious and I’ll post the recipe later.  I also prepared a creamy chicken and corn chowder.  And made my first loaves of French bread.  They were pretty good (not great…I’m working on it.) and I turned one loaf into a delicious Panzanella bread salad (I’ll post that recipe too…yumm!)

Today on my foray out to Whole Foods, they finally had Garbanzo flour back in stock, so of course, I bought some, mainly because I remember these fabulous garbanzo patties my chef friend Laura made (I have to get that recipe.)  I think I’ll experiment with it tomorrow.