Peanut Noodles (and Kimchi)

This is a quick dish if you have a decently stocked pantry and some fresh veggies on hand. And leftover peanut sauce is always good to have around.

This dish is much more photogenic before you mix in the peanut sauce so I’m sparing you the image of the homely but very tasty results. I have taught this dish (or variations of it) many times and figured it was time to post it after a 7-year-old neighbor/friend requested it for dinner the other night. I love it when children want bold flavors and I happily obliged. I accidentally made it a bit spicier than I intended but said 7-year-old ate a big serving and only at the end, quietly admitted to her mom that it was a bit too spicy!

I like this substantial, room temperature dish especially when it gets cooler out. It’s hearty and warming because of the zippy peanut sauce but it’s also crisp and fresh from the lime juice and the raw veggies. If you have leftover chicken floating around or some shrimp in the freezer it would be even heartier but it’s pretty substantial as is.

My first batch of Kimchi.

There is a thriving “pickle scene” in Portland evidenced by the number of vendors of all things pickled and fermented at our many farmers’ markets, the pickle plates on restaurant menus, and at not-to-be-missed annual Portland Fermentation Festival that alas I have always missed!

Fermented foods were once a more substantial part of many culture’s cuisines and still are in some places, especially in Southeast Asia.  In addition to being a good way to preserve the harvest, add flavor and punch to any meal, they are very good for us. So with all this in mind and some beautiful Napa cabbage in the fridge I jumped into the fermentation fray guided by this witty and experienced fermenter and made Kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) for the first time. It was straightforward and fun and now I have lots of lovely jars of it to enjoy and give away. If you’ve made it before or just love it, I’m eager to hear how you make it and eat it. So far I’ve mostly been eating as a side/garnish with other things but look forward to branching out.

And finally, I have spots available in my Beans and Grains in Hearty Winter Salads class. We’ll be using all kinds of beans, quinoa, and farro and mixing them with arugula, kale, broccoli, beets and winter squash (not all together!) for the most satisfying dishes.

Peanut Noodles

–adapted from Skillet Chronicles

Serves 4 as main or 6-8 as side

Quick, easy (if you have everything on hand), and a crowd pleaser. Feel free to add other veggies like thinly sliced cucumber, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, etc. This is one of the few dishes in which I prefer whole wheat spaghetti. Barilla is my favorite brand for this.

For the sauce:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced to a paste

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 Serrano chile with seeds and membrane, minced or 1 teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar

2-3 tablespoon hot water

For the salad:

2/3 pound whole wheat or white spaghetti

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 carrots, grated

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

¼ cup mint or basil or cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (or a combination)

Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.

Mix grated carrots with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and let sit while you cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta in a colander, reserving half a cup of the cooking liquid, and rinse with cold water until cooled.  Toss with sesame oil and place in a large serving bowl.

Add carrots, pepper, scallion and herbs to the noodles and toss.  Pour about half of the sauce over the noodles and toss with a couple of spoons or a pair of tongs, adding more sauce as needed to coat the noodles.  If the sauce is too thick to blend smoothly with the noodles and vegetables, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved cooking water while tossing. Serve at room temperature.

Winter Veggie Hash, Poached Egg and Salsa Verde

If I were a photographer and a cook then my blog would look like this every week!  I had a photo shoot during a recent cooking class since I’m in the process of redoing my website and blog (and combining the two!). My dear friend and talented photographer Andera Lorimor took the photos. But alas I am not (yet) a photographer so enjoy this rare week of beauty on this site.

We cooked up a storm in class including one of my all-time favorites: Veggie Hash with Poached Egg and Salsa Verde. Sounds fancy but is simple and delicious and uses pretty common pantry items. You can use almost any vegetable in the hash and this time of year my favorites include celery root, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and various winter squashes. So adapt to your taste and the season. And you can simplify the salsa verde by skipping the capers and egg. The bright, lemony salsa verde does balance out the sweetness of the vegetables really well.

Quick Veggie Hash with Salsa Verde and Poached Egg

This is a quick way to use a variety of vegetables such as zucchini, potatoes, parsnips, all of which you can grate. You can also use veggies you can’t grate but cut into small dice like peppers, broccoli, etc. It’s a great brunch or dinner dish. It can be adapted in many ways. You can add any leftover meat or add bacon or sausage. It’s fabulous with the salsa verde but if you don’t have time or interest in that, toss in the herbs noted below.

Serves 4

3 medium carrots, scrubbed trimmed and grated on the large holes of box grater (or w/ food processor)

1 small delicata squash, cut in half, seeds and strings removed and grated

½ onion, diced or several scallions sliced into thin rounds

olive oil

salt and pepper

handful of basil or parsley, chopped, or 2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional—see note above)

4 eggs, poached (see below)

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the onions and veggies all at once. Add a couple of pinches of salt and stir well. Cook on high heat for several minutes and then turn down to medium-high as the veggies start to brown. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until veggies are tender and a bit browned. Just before the veggies are done add the chopped herbs, if using. Adjust for salt and add freshly ground pepper.

Poaching Eggs

Bring plenty of water to boil in a wide pot. Add about 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar to the water. The vinegar is the trick to pretty poached eggs so don’t skimp on it. One at a time crack an egg into a small bowl and slide it gently into the boiling water. Continue until all eggs are in the water. Cook for about 4-5 minutes to get firm whites and runny yolks. Lift out of the water with a slotted spoon. You can trim the edges if they are really ratty.

Serve the hash topped with a poached egg and a tablespoon or so of Salsa Verde, see recipe below.

Salsa Verde

This is a versatile, zippy sauce. I often just make it with parsley garlic, lemon juice, oil and salt but the addition of capers, onions and egg make it even better.

You can use a food processor for this since (except the egg white which you add at the very end, chopped by hand) but you can also just chop everything by hand. It’s not intended to have a smooth, uniform texture so don’t overprocess if you go that route.

1 1/2 cups finely chopped parsley (about one medium bunch)

grated zest of 1-2 lemons

1 shallot or chunk of onion, finely diced (optional)

2-3 tablespoons capers, rinsed (optional)

1-2 small garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white or red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 hard-boiled egg (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except the egg, salt, and pepper. Mash the egg yolk until smooth, adding a little of the sauce to thin it. Finely chop the white. Stir the yolk and the white back into the sauce, season with salt and pepper and adjust lemon/vinegar as needed.


Carrots

I’ve been making grated carrot salads for years. I love them especially in the winter and early spring. Dressed with plenty of lemon juice and fresh herbs they are a nice counterpoint to the heavier and sweeter flavors of the season.

Toast extra seeds to you have them for future salads/snacks and so you don’t skimp on the amount you add to the salad.

This recipe makes a lot but I still love it the next day even though the seeds lose a bit of their crunch. But by all means, make less.

 

Carrot and Seed Salad with Herbs and Seeds

–inspired by Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini

 

3/4 cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)

2 teaspoons oil & few pinches salt (to toast the seeds)

6-7 medium carrots, grated

1/2 cup (or more) chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley, mint, cilantro etc.

Dressing:

3 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

scant 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

 

Toss the sunflower seeds with the a little oil and several pinches of salt and toast on a baking sheet for about 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

 

Place the grated carrots in a serving bowl with the herbs and the dressing ingredients. Toss well and add toasted seeds and taste adjust seasoning with more lemon and/or salt, if needed.