spicy noodle bowl with greens and tofu

photo

Lunch is no joke around our office. There are those that brown bag it every day. Those that dine daily with The Chef and those that partake in the Buffeteria lunch special. And then there is Lunch Club.

Designed to ease the stress of lunch and encourage weekday home cooking, each member brings lunch for the other members on a specified day of the week. Fridays are free reign. I’ve participated in Lunch Club in the past, but the stress of not planning my own meals and not sticking to my particular weekday eating rules meant that I didn’t last long as a member.

A few weeks ago another colleague who is also trying to eat as healthfully as possible proposed an Alternative Lunch Club. Same deal, only there were a few ground rules. Lunches had to be mainly plant-based, vegetarian, gluten free — think Gwyneth Paltrow’s version of Lunch Club. And you had to tell the other person what you were planning to make the week before; I was game.

For Thursday’s lunch I had planned to make kale and Brussels sprouts salad tossed with soba noodles, my favourite recipe from Vegetable Literacy. But when Wednesday evening rolled around and it was time to make lunch I was craving something spicy. Heidi Swanson’s otsu, another favourite around here, came to mind. I had a little sprouted tofu left over in the fridge and so this mash-up was born.

Teeming with greens and high in protein this was a pretty perfect lunch. Using gluten free noodles ensured there would be no mid-afternoon carb crash to keep us going through the afternoon. I’m not gluten free by any means, but these days I prefer gluten free noodles to avoid the bloat that comes with regular pasta. My grocery store was out of buckwheat noodles so I tried out a millet brown rice blend instead. The noodles were good but missing the sturdy chew of buckwheat which meant they were a little mushy next to the raw greens. I topped everything with my new favourite garnish, Gomashio, but a few toasted sesame seeds would do just the trick!

Spicy Noodle Bowl with Greens and Tofu

A mash-up from here and here

Ingredients:

For the salad
1 big bunch of lacinato kale (aka black kale or dinosaur kale), shredded
4 Brussels Sprouts, shredded
2 bunches of baby bok choy, shredded
1 teaspoon sesame oil
8 oz buckwheat soba noodles (or whatever you want)

For the dressing
Zest of 1 lemon
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon raw honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh squeezed, duh)
1/4 cup brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup tamari
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil

To garnish
7 or 8 oz of extra firm, sprouted tofu
3 green onions, sliced white and light green parts only
Gomashio or toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Method:

Place all your greens in a big bowl and dress with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Massage with your hands until all of the greens are shiny and glistening (that’s my favourite part of this recipe). Set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well and rinse with cold water, draining again. Once the noodles have been drained add to greens mixture.

Meanwhile whiz lemon zest and juice, ginger, honey, cayenne, sea salt, brown rice vinegar, tamari, olive oil and sesame oil in a food processor or blender. Add about 3/4 of the dressing to the greens and noodle mixture. Mix well and let is sit while you make the tofu.

Heat pan over medium. Slice tofu in to thin slabs and then place in a hot pan with no oil or water. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes, and then toss and fry until golden on the other side.

Pile greens and noodles in to your favourite bowl; top with Gomashio, green onions and tofu.

Enjoy!

From my mother’s cookbook: Singapore Noodles and Pork

Singapore Noodles and Pork

While I inherited my love for eating from my dad, it was my mum that gave me my passion for cooking — especially cooking for family and friends.  No doubt my mum’s dedication to providing our family healthy, delicious home-cooked meals can be directly attributed to my turning out to be a relatively well-adjusted adult.

Needless to say, many of my mother’s recipes have worked their way into my own repertoire, including this one for stir-fried pork and curried peppers.  When I announced to Jeff that I was preparing Singapore Noodles and Pork for dinner he immediately asked what was ‘Singapore’ about the noodles.  My answer; I don’t know, the recipe just calls for whole wheat spaghetti.  Mum, maybe you can shed some light on this?

Yes, this is the second time in two weeks that pork tenderloin has ended up on my table.  Pork has now officially made its way onto my regular grocery list.  And thank goodness, I’ve been eating chicken for years.

Singapore Noodles and Pork
Makes four servings

Ingredients:

1 lb. pork loin
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion *
1 each sweet red, yellow and green pepper, seeded
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cold water
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or coriander (optional)
Dash hot pepper sauce
1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti

Method:

1. Cut pork into 1/4 x 2-inch strips.

2. In large skillet, heat oil over high heat; stir-fry pork for 3 to 4 minutes or until well browned. Remove and set aside.

3. Cut onion and sweet peppers into 1 1/2 inch long strips. Add onion, peppers, garlic and stock to skillet; cover and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in oyster sauce and curry powder.

4. Blend cornstarch with water; add to skillet along with pork. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through and thickened.

5. Sitr in parsley and hot pepper sauce.

6. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but firm. In large bowl, toss spaghetti with meat mixture.

To reheat, microwave for 3 to 5 minutes if thawed.

Enjoy!

  • Note: the original recipe calls for one leek, light green and white parts only. Unless I have leeks on hand, I usually just use a regular cooking onion.

Peanut Noodle Soup

Peanut Noodle Soup

Before class starts at Calphalon, the instructor whips up a little nibble so you don’t starve to death, known as the Chef’s Creation.  Last week, Ian whipped up a quick and easy peanut noodle soup that was so good and incredibly easy.  I made a pot for supper tonight and the most difficult part was chopping the vegetables.

Peanut Noodle Soup MisePeanut Noodle SoupPeanut Noodle Soup

Peanut Noodle Soup
courtesy of Chef Ian
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For soup:
1 litre chicken stock or broth
3-4 Tbs. smooth peanut butter
3-4 Tbs. oyster sauce
Hot sauce, to taste (I used 1 tbs. of Frank’s Red Hot, Ian used Sriracha)

Everything else:
Enough chow mein noodles for each person
Vegetables of your choice — I used red, yellow and green bell peppers, carrots, scallions, bean sprouts, broccoli and red onion

Method:

Finely slice or julienne all the vegetables. If you are using something like broccoli, just make sure that they are cut small enough to pick up with chopsticks or pop into your mouth.

Cook noodles according to package.

Whisk peanut butter, oyster sauce and hot sauce into the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Divide cooked noodles into bowls and then divide vegetables evening over top.

Ladle soup over noodles and vegetables.

Enjoy!

We had shrimp on the side — ours were preseasoned and frozen, for shame — but I thought that baby shrimp or even bite-sized pieces of poached chicken would work very well in this.