Honeymoon time!!! While you are reading this Joe and I are (probably) on a plane heading over to the first part of our honeymoon journey: Vienna, Austria. Later we will be hopping the pond to London just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. This is going to be an amazing trip for so many reasons, needless to say I’m very excited.
In recipe news I have a number of fresh veggie recipes lined up for while we are gone, still trying to keep my promise of using more seasonal and local produce. This week the local market had broccoli, carrots, greens, and a few early varieties of squash. I got a little bit of everything, originally thinking I was going to do a stir fry. Then I went to the Asian Market and saw some great looking rice noodles, and decided to try something new. There is an amazing restaurant near my house that specializing in Burmese cooking and I decided to attempt to recreate my favorite dish: Singapore Street Noodles. The description in the menu reads “thin rice noodles stir-fried with curry masala and vegetables” with the option of adding a protein. I switch off between tofu and extra veggies, and for my version I decided to keep with the veggie version.
Once finished we added some sriracha sauce to our bowls, since we tend to like things on the HOT side. This dish is easily becoming part of our rotation, it’s quick and easy plus the vegetables can be rotated in and out based on what is in season.
Spring time is…fresh vegetables, gorgeous greens, and thunder storms. The rain this year has been rather constant which is probably why my garden is still alive at this point. I’m hoping that will still be the case when Joe and I return from our honeymoon. My little sister will be staying with the fur children while we are gone, and will also be monitoring the progress of our garden. I’m hoping that by time we return the carrots will have sprouted and that the squash will have doubled in size.
This recipe is essentially a salute to everything I love about spring, simple crisp and quick to make. Originally I wasn’t going to include the tomatoes, since they aren’t a spring vegetables, but I couldn’t resist the heirloom hothouse cherry tomatoes at the market. The burst of red among the greens created the perfect POP of color, so in the end I’m glad that I caved to temptation.
This is one of those recipes where so any different vegetables could be used, based on what is in season. During the summer I tend to replace the asparagus with various types of summer squash, again adding bright pops of color to an already colorful dish.
I’m happy to report that I do have a number of posts all set to go for once we head over the pond! I can’t wait to see my family in Vienna again, and I’m also looking forward to my first time in London. I follow a number of UK-based blogs and seeing all of the Jubilee themed posts that are popping up is making me all the more excited for that part of our honeymoon!
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Sorry for the slight disappearing act, I kept starting this post and then life would get in the way again. I think I have finally finished my holiday shopping and now if my wonderful cold will go away I can enjoy the rest of the month! I have been testing and playing with some new recipes lately, but things keep falling short of my goal. I’m just gonna blame it all on my cold and hope that once I’m feeling back to normal my recipes will start cooperating again. Until then I’m reworking tried and true recipes which are working the way they should. This recipe is a rework of my Broccoli Carrot Soup, which I posted to Recipe52 many moons ago. Essentially it’s a hardy Broccoli soup that’s low on the cream but high on the warm and filling which is essential this time of year. As an added bonus it can easily be converted to a Slow Cooker which is also great this time of year when the To-Do list is never ending but the days are never ending. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:11]
If doing this in a slow cooker add all the ingredients minus the cheese and cook on low for 7hrs, then turn to high add the cheese and cook for a final 30minutes. I find this soup works best when adding the pepper and salt after the cheese, especially if a super sharp cheddar is being used.
Secret Recipe Club
I was hooked from the moment I saw the title of the blog I was assigned for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, My Fiance Likes it so it Must be Good. From a quick glance I could tell that Andy has great taste in food since so many of Peggy’s recipes looked/sounded delicious. Recipes like Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and Veggie Flatbread popped right at me, but this month I wanted a challenge. I wanted to try something new and different, and sure enough this site had the perfect recipe: Pad Thai! I know that I would have to modify it since peanuts are not welcome in this house, but this was one of the few recipes I had found where peanuts only featured at the end, making it easier to leave them out. I also replaced the shrimp with extra tofu and some broccoli, in order to make it closer to the Vegetarian Pad Thai my local place offers. This was Joe’s first time having Pad Thai, and based on his reaction to the recipe I can see this becoming a regular feature in the kitchen.
Ingredients: (serves 5)
- 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 oz. thick rice noodles
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 8 oz extra firm tofu, dried/pressed and crumbled
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 thai peppers, seeded and minced
- In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, and tamarind concentrate. Stir until sugar is dissolved and set aside.
- Soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for about 25 minutes, or until they start to soften but not fully tender. Drain and set aside.
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil under high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the tofu and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the broccoli before cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add garlic, shallot, and Thai chili. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute. Add egg to skillet and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add the egg noodles and toss with tongs to combine. Pour the tamarind/fish sauce mixture over the noodles and increase the heat to high, continuing to toss the ingredients with the sauce.
- Serve warm, topping with cilantro (or peanuts) if desired.
This recipe came together very quick, which is always a bonus on a crazy weeknight. I can also say this recipe now has the approval of a boyfriend and a fiance, so you this must be real good!
The past month has been a month of changes and upheavals, and things are seeming to settle down to a new rhythm. Currently the leader of IIP, the amazing Jeroxie, is going through a similar situation and I have faith that eventually she and her family will find a new rhythm.
When Joe and I first started dating I had to make some changes to my recipes, essentially eliminating any and all spice from the recipes. This recipe marks a real milestone in that Joe found it to be lacking in the spice department, and was requesting more chili sauce. I am now looking forward at moving from moderately spicy Chinese to oh so spicy Thai food and upgrading my peppers. While we will never be able to eat at a real Thai Restaurant (silly peanut allergies), I’m looking forward to being able to try homemade versions of various Thai Basil dishes and maybe even some modified noodles dishes.
This dish is a fusion, taking some of my favorite elements of Asian cooking and tossing them all together in a delicious sauce. The base of my recipe is my Sichuan Eggplant recipe which can be found here! I then decided to add broccoli to the dish as well as some red cabbage in order to give the dish a crunchy texture. Right after adding the sauce I also added the rice and created a “well” in the center of the wok. I cracked an eye into the hole and then scrambled it, similar to how you would do a fried rice dish. once the rice was cooked it was time to enjoy!
Get Myself Into
So the weather has gone from hot hot hot to cool and springy. While I’m not missing the ridiculous heat I am wishing it was slightly warmer, a nice 82 if I could. However an advantage to the cool weather is being able to use by oven again without fear of sending my AC into overdrive. I had some broccoli in my fridge that was threatening to turn on me and I was in the mood for some cheese…very large amounts of cheese. Luckily cheese can always be found in my house so I had a very large selection to choose from before settling on some extra sharp cheddar and monterey jack cheese, however this recipe can easily be adjusted for whatever cheese you have on hand.
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
- 2 cups rice (cooked)
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 can canneloni beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup monterey jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease the bottom of a 2qt casserole dish.
- Place half of the rice in the casserole dish then top with half of the beans, broccoli, garlic, onion, and cheddar cheese. Layer on the remaining rice along with the remaining beans, vegetables, and the monterey jack cheese. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese aside.
- Cover and bake for 30minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and top with the cheddar cheese that was set aside. Bake uncovered for a final 15minutes, until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Enjoy!
Black Bean Stir Fry
The heatwave is still going strong and a number of records have been broken making this one of the hottest summers I can remember. I am trying to focus on the positive, such as my pepper plants that are growing like crazy and my tomatoes that are quickly ripening. Last year I had one little tomato grow, along with a basil tree. So far this year I have two tomatoes, one green pepper, one eggplant (!), a mini-basil tree, cilantro, and thyme. Still a little early to tell if the vegetables will full ripen but I’m hopeful that this year I’ll actually be able to cook up some of my own veggies.
This heatwave also has me working on some new recipes, ones that involve very little cook time. With my kitchen being as tiny as it is any amount of cooking causes the temperature to skyrocket so I’m trying to be in and out in under 15 minutes so that I can avoid the furnace effect. While a few recipes have crashed and burned others have been very successful. I have found a new appreciation for my wok which is the perfect tool when it comes to quick cooking. This recipe is very versatile and could also work with beef and chicken in place of the tofu for the meat eaters out there.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 1 tbsp veg oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/4 tsp ginger, diced
- 2 scallions, diced
- 1.5 lbs broccoli, cut into 1in florets
- 8 oz tofu, cubed
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 tbsp Asian Black Bean Sauce (I use Kikkoman)
- Heat the vegetable oil and the soy sauce in a wok over medium high heat.
- Once the oil is hot add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir well for 1 minute then add the broccoli, tofu and carrots. Cook for 5minutes, stirring well to prevent burning/sticking. Add the black bean sauce and toss well cooking for 2minutes, season to taste with soy sauce. Serve over brown or fried rice.
This recipe brings quick cooking to a whole new level, including prep time this meal is on table in well under 20minutes. Nothing like quick easy and tasty!