Monday, October 17, 2011

meatless monday: noodle bowl

It's finally feeling like fall on the east coast! I love slurping warm soup on a cool day out of a big bowl. I made this soup the other night and it was positively delish. It contains udon noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles) and tofu, as well as plenty of veggies, so it's super satisfying and hearty.

Things to note: this recipe does call for oyster sauce and chicken broth, which do not make this meal entirely meatless if you're being strict. Feel free to substitute veggie broth. Oyster sauce does contain fermented dried oyster - again, if you're not comfortable using this, there are vegetarian options available (for example, Sin Tai Hing Vegetarian Oyster Sauce or Soy Sauce with Mushroom by Healthy Boy Brand).

Udon with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Kosher salt
3/4 lb. dried udon noodles
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. rice vinegar
4 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. canola oil
3/4 lb. bok choy, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces (4 cups)
3-1/2 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
3 medium scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish

photo courtesy of Fine Cooking
Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.

In a medium bowl, mix the chicken broth, oyster sauce, vinegar, and 2 tsp. of the sesame oil.

Heat the ginger and canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the ginger sizzles steadily for about 30 seconds. Add the bok choy and mushrooms, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp. sesame oil and 3/4 tsp. salt and cook, tossing after 1 minute, until the bok choy turns dark green and begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth mixture, tofu, and carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots are soft and the tofu is heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Distribute the noodles among 4 bowls. Spoon the vegetables, tofu, and broth over the noodles. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.


The East Coast Muse

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Real Sukkah: West Coast Style

Last year we shared some inspirations for classy Sukkah decorations.

This year we thought we would show a few pictures of our real Sukkot feast that were inspired by that post.

First of all, there was the construction of the Sukkah. We had a former architect and a number of musical theatre geeks (read: set design) in our group so this was no small sukkah with a couple twigs and a blanket. It was framed out and built up like a serious Californian earthquake proof building....ok maybe not earthquake proof, but it was intense.

For the roof, we added some rolled bamboo fencing material which is easily found at your local hardware store. The group had a number of light weight tapestries that had been collected from international travels that were tacked on to three sides. 

We had a few Ikea lanterns (featured in last years post) that we attached to the 2x4 roof structure. Tea lights were placed in the lanterns as well as scattered around the table to give some beautiful ambient lighting. There was also a standing light outside behind the white sheet for added visibility. 

We covered our mismatched tables with one long tablecloth and bam....a beautiful and classy sukkah. 

Happy feasting, friends.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meatless Monday: let's poach an egg

A poached egg, they are like bacon, everything is better when covered with it.

When you are going for a Meatless Monday sometimes salad and pasta can get tired if you are just tossing some vegetables in. A whole bunch of vegetables on pasta, a whole bunch of vegetables on spinach, a whole bunch of vegetables on quinoa, a whole bunch of...blah blah. It gets old, right? So throw an egg on it! The richness of that runny yoke will not only add decadence to your otherwise yawn-worthy dinner but they are also loaded with protein and a decent amount of iron. 

Now we realize that many people fear the poached egg. The West Coast Muse sure did until the sweet East Coaster told her how simple it is. We prefer the swirl technique. Take it away Brandon Jew...

Ok so now that you're all master egg poachers, let's check out some recipes.

Fall Vegetable Quinoa Hash with Poached Egg

Poached Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Portabellas

Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto