Vegan Longevity Chow Mein Noodles


longevity_noodles

Noodles are traditionally served at Chinese New Year’s feasts. Ancient Chinese belief says that long noodles are the key to a long life  and good fortune, so don’t cut those noodles as you eat!  Longevity noodles are usually stir fried and so are these.

These noodles are fresh, store bought, egg-free Chow Mein, but you can use vermicelli,  ramen or whatever you have available.

veg_chowmein_invert

CHOW MEIN LONG NOODLES

1  8oz (225g) package Eggless Chow Mein Noodles
1 ½ Tablespoons Neural Oil, vegetable or sunflower
1 Block Firm Tofu, diced into ½”cubes
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
1 Carrot, sliced into thin strips
2 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage
½ Cup Sliced Sugar Snap Peas
1 Cup Mung Bean Sprouts
4 Green Onions, finely sliced – divided
¼ Cup Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
¼ Cup Water
¼ teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes, optional
¼ Cup Cilantro, torn for optional garnish

 

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and cook for one minute. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Shake well to remove all water. Drizzle over the sesame oil and set noodles aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté tofu for about 3 minutes per side until golden and crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.
To the skillet, add the garlic and carrots to sauté for 1 minute. Add the cabbage, peas, bean sprouts and 3/4 of the green onions. Continue to toss for another minute, until the cabbage has wilted.
Add the reserved noodles and tofu and toss well to combine with the vegetables to warm through. Add the soy sauce, salt, a few grinds of pepper, chilli flakes and the water. Using tongs, continue to toss until all ingredients are just mixed together.

Remove from heat and transfer to a platter to serve. Top with remaining sliced green onions and cilantro, if using.

 

 

 

 

Favourite Things Dinner


Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. It’s become a bit of a tradition and now her birthday dinner consists of her year’s list of favourite things. Apps, entrée, sides, beverage, heck, even the dinner music is chosen by said truly. Amazing thing is that the family lines up for it, listens to Raffi or Death Cab for Cutie and holds out their plates with a smile.

What was on the menu this year? We’ll pretty much the standard of the previous ones; Carrot sticks, chocolate soy milk, “Ringalos” (which were new for this year), strawberry shortcake and her BFF (bestest favourite forever): Mac and Cheese.

Since there are usually guest and family members for her birthday, this is of course the vegan version. I’ve seen dozens of version some which include cashews or tofu but I’d decided on a version that about as close to the real thing as you can get… just without the shredded cheese… or cream.

CHEESELESS MACARONI N’ CHEESE

250g Elbow Macaroni, about 1/2 Lb
1 Tablespoon Margarine, or butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 3/4 Cups Plain Soy Milk
2 bay leaves
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and broken with the side of a chef’s knife
Scant 1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon Tumeric Powder
Pinch Cayenne Pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Cook the pasta as to package directions to el dente.
Drain, rinse and set aside.
Warm the milk over a low heat and add the bay leaves and garlic.
In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine then sprinkle over the flour mixing well to combine and smooth to make a roux.
Strain the milk and whisk into the flour mixture.
Add the spices and salt, continuing to whisk occasionally to remove any chance of lumps until saucy thick and smooth.
Pour over drained pasta, stirring to coat.

Roasted Garlic Paperadelle


1/2 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Semolina Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Head Roasted Garlic*, squeezed to remove the skins
1/3 Cup HOT Water

* To roast garlic, preheat the oven to 350ºF and cut off the top of the bulb to reveal the attached cloves.
Placed in aluminum foil, drizzle the top of the garlic with olive oil to cover but not saturate.
Wrap the foil tightly and place into the oven.
Roast the garlic for about 30 minutes or until soft, caramelized and fragrant.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours and salt; mix to combine.
With the motor running at a medium to low speed, add the olive oil then the roasted garlic through the feeder tube.
Drizzle 1/4 Cup of the water to begin. As the dough begins to form and appear crumbly, slowly add small amounts of the remaining water, as you may not need it all.
When the dough comes together in a full ball, turn off the food processor and remove the dough to a slightly floured board to knead.
Knead the dough until it is stretchy but not sticky, about 2 minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or while you prepare your sauce.
Cut the dough into 3 – 4 workable pieces, which ever size you are most comfortable handling, and set all but one aside in a covered bowl.
Either using a pasta maker or by hand, with a rolling pin, roll the dough to about a 1/8″ thickness, then cut into 1 1/2″ wide strips.
Lightly dust with semolina to separate and loosen the noodles, if necessary, as you finish rolling and cutting the remainder of the dough.Fresh pasta takes only a fraction of the time dried pasta needs. Drop the freshly cut pasta into a large pot of rapidly boiling water and cook for 3 – 4 minutes for al denté.

Vegan Pumpkin Manicotti


Thrusting from a vacation back into the continual chill known as November in my part of the world, rejolted my need for hibernation.

Part of this ritual naturally consists of no longer wanting to venture outside for long walks along the beach or having bird like meals made up of crunchy vegetables. Rib sticking, hearty, soft and warm is what I crave, and so what if all I want to do is have a nap afterward?

With my onslaught of deliciously sweet pumpkins awaiting my arrival, I’ve made my share of sweet treats. If anything, I’ve noticed from my humble, hearty gourds is that, as wonderful as pumpkin is with sugar and nutmeg, they go fantastically well with the acidic punch of a tomato. So in meeting my hibernation qualifications, I concocted this little twist on a traditional cheese stuffed manicotti.

So, after a bit of an absence, I’m about to check in with Ruth and my other Presto Pasta lover’s to see about the transition from salads to soups and sauces. I’m positive the round-up of dishes will be rib stickingly delicious, as usual.


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Soba 101


One of my most favourite places to explore is any neighbourhood China Town. Bustling with people, new aromas, and spilling produce, this exciting area of most major cities is a feast for the eyes.

Here in Toronto, tucked a few blocks over from the central China Town is a small but wonderful Japanese store. After refilling my wasabi prescription, I gaze along the long aisles of offerings. Included are various teas, Hello Kitty Pocky sticks, every shade of miso, enoki mushrooms and of course, noodles.

Wheat, rice, green tea, tofu, ramen, udon and soba noodle varieties ready for any dish the Far East has ever created.

How elated was I to discover that soba is the name for buckwheat in Japanese?
For those of you who weren’t sure, like me, buckwheat is neither a grass or related to the wheat family. It’s a flowering plant which produces the seeds for great things like pillows and yes, buckwheat flour.

Asian noodle soup has to be in my top list of most amazing meals. The simplicity of them makes them satisfying and perfect. The noodles and broth create a host bowl for just about any combination imaginable.


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Great White North



I’m currently tearing off the layers as I write this. It’s tough to believe that it’s Thanksgiving, here in Canada, that is. You see, it’s 90ºF and I’m really thankful I cooked our “Appreciate The Turkey Day” feast yesterday when it was cloudy and chilly enough for a cozy fire.

I went outside to try to find any scratch of this great Holiday going on. Any cars gathering for visits, the scent of roasting goodness traveling through a window screen, a football cheer, or the screech of a fork on a plate, but nothing. Nothing but cyclists, lawn mowers buzzing, the summer smell of the backyard grill, fans blowing and kids giggling with their dad on his day off.

I made soup last night, with feast leftovers, two kinds! This time of year, mind floods to comforting, feel good, stick to your ribs meals. But today, as I’m about down to my skivvies, I just can’t imagine any more hot and sticky.

Together with a little roasted pumpkin and grilled tofu, left over from yesterday, I whipped up a creamy spinach pesto to go over some quick, brown rice fettuccine. It was perfectly satisfying and didn’t add heat to the house.

Oh well, shouldn’t complain, it could have been snowing.
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