Sesame Zucchini Noodles

Hello from sweet California! I am currently enjoying my week of summer break doing all the things I love most in the world: swimming in an outdoor pool, coaching my old summer league youth swim team, and spending time with our adorable foster kittens. I came home and was greeted with 4 rambunctious bundles of fur, named Chai, Chamomile, Earl Grey, and Jasmine (the Tea family). Who can resist these adorable faces? If you’re in the Bay Area, check them out at Companions in Waiting, because they’re up for adoption and looking for a loving home!

Kittens

Such playful little bundles of fun!

Anyway, onto the food portion of this post I made sesame noodles a couple weeks ago, since the weather was so nice and warm. This is a light and healthy meal that requires very minimal cooking, and can be served chilled. This also happens to be a vegan recipe, and would be a great addition to any summer barbecue or picnic as a side dish, or as a main dish on those too-hot-to-cook days. Here’s the recipe!

Zucchini Sesame Noodles

Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients

8 oz spaghetti (1/2 a package)

12 oz frozen edamame (I use Trader Joe’s)

4 medium or 3 large zucchini, spiralized

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/2 tsp white pepper

Sesame seeds, for garnishing

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and edamame, and bring to a boil, then allow to cook until the noodles are just cooked, about 5-7 minutes depending on your preference. Place the spiralized zucchini in a colander and drain the spaghetti and edamame by pouring it with the hot water over the zucchini. (You can just skip this and just drain the pasta and edamame normally, I just did it to very slightly cook the zucchini noodles.)

Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and white pepper. Toss with the noodles, edamame, and zucchini until the sauce is coating the noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

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Homemade Pasta Carbonara (Vegetarian)

I got inspired by a video I saw on Facebook a while back to make homemade pasta, so here’s my shot at it! The video showed a method to make the pasta noodles without a pasta maker, just by rolling out the dough thin, rolling it up, and then slicing, so the strand unrolled into nice long noodles. I got my pasta recipe from The Kitchn, then adapted this recipe for vegetarian pasta carbonara based on what I had. I keep dried shiitake mushrooms on hand for Chinese dishes, but they worked quite well in this dish, and I replaced the shallots with green onions, since I had those leftover from a previous recipe. These pasta noodles were easy to make, and you can use them for any pasta dish. You could also cut them thinner or wider, depending on what pasta dish you’re making and your own preferences.

I chose to make fettucine style noodles for my pasta carbonara. Rolling out the noodles into a thin sheet made me sweat a bit, but hey, I was just working up my appetite! The simple flavors of carbonara blended quite nicely with my homemade pasta, and it’s overall quite a quick dish to make, once the pasta noodles are made. Here’s my recipe!

Pasta Carbonara (Vegetarian)

Adapted from The Kitchn and Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Makes 4 servings

Pasta:

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

Directions

Sift together the flour and salt with a fork in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs into the well. Whisk the eggs, then gradually start pulling in flour from the sides of the well. Continue to blend the flour into the eggs until most of the flour is incorporated and a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter or large cutting board. Fold the dough over itself to knead, and continue kneading for 5-8 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth, pliable ball, and when cut into with a sharp knife there are very few air bubbles visible. If there are lots of air bubbles, keep kneading. Add more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.

Rest the dough in a covered bowl for at least half an hour, or up to a day in the fridge. If you refrigerate it, take it out and allow to come to room temperature before rolling out.

To make the noodles, divide the dough into four equal portions. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into as even of a rectangular shape as you can, with the long direction the desired length of your noodles. Dust with flour to prevent it from sticking, and roll the dough as thin as possible.

Roll the pasta sheet starting from the short side, rolling in the direction of the longer side. Slice into noodles of your desired thickness, then unravel the spirals and coil loosely together while you finish rolling the other dough portions. Repeat with the remaining three portions of dough.

Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients

1 recipe of homemade pasta

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp olive oil

3 green onions, sliced

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

Directions

Bring a salted pot of water to boil. Add the pasta noodles and cook until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms start to release their juices.

Whisk together the egg and Parmesan in a bowl. Add the hot pasta noodles to the saucepan, then add the egg mixture and stir. Add pasta water if needed to achieve desired consistency of the sauce.

Serve warm, sprinkled with Parmesan. Enjoy!

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Parmesan Quinoa Cakes and Roasted Turmeric Cabbage

Hello from Seattle! We’ve had quite the bit of weather the last few days. Temperatures have dropped below freezing, we got a bit of snow on Sunday and this afternoon, but most importantly, the sun was out this weekend! Despite the 30˚ weather, the sun drew lots of people out this weekend, and I got to enjoy walking around outside with a couple friends who were visiting for the weekend. It was quite glorious. There’s nothing like the Pacific Northwest to really make you appreciate the sun.

Anyway, now for the food. I made these cheesy quinoa cakes last week for dinner and roasted some cabbage as a side dish, and they turned out much better than I had anticipated. I made a few tweaks to this recipe by Let’s Dish, and was very satisfied with the results. My recipe was bigger than this one, mostly since 1 cup of uncooked quinoa made more like 3 cups cooked, so I adjusted up all the other ingredients accordingly. These are quite flavorful and stuck together quite well. I flavored my roasted cabbage with turmeric, but you could also just use simple salt and pepper or any other spices of your choice. Here’s my recipe!

Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Turmeric Cabbage

Adapted from Let’s Dish

Makes about 18 patties

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2-2/12 cups water or vegetable broth to cook quinoa

4 green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)

A few tsp extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1 head green cabbage

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Quinoa cakes:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions and allow to cool. Quinoa can be made a couple days in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble the patties.

Combine the quinoa, green onions, garlic, flour, Panko, parmesan, eggs, and spices. Mix until well incorporated. Add an extra egg if the mixture does not hold together.

Heat a skillet to medium heat, then coat the pan with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Drop 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture into a pan and flatten and shape into round patties with a spatula. Allow to cook a few minutes, or until golden brown, then flip and allow a few minutes on the other side. Continue until all the quinoa mixture has been used.

Cabbage:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Slice the cabbage into 8 wedges. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle the turmeric, salt, and pepper over the slices. Bake until soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 35-40 minutes. Serve with quinoa cakes. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Cheddar Bean Soup

Happy 2018! I realized that I haven’t posted yet in the new year, so here goes! It’s definitely a typical winter here in Seattle, gray and rainy, which makes it great soup weather!

I’ve posted broccoli cheddar soup before, but I added protein to this version in the form of white beans, which made it hearty enough for a meal. This soup was super easy to make and came together in about half an hour. I like eating it with some crackers or crusty bread. This recipe is very versatile, and you could use all broccoli, a mix of broccoli and cauliflower, or all cauliflower. You could also change to a different kind of white bean. Here’s the recipe!

Broccoli Cheddar Bean Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 quart vegetable stock

2 cups water, or less or more to desired consistency

1 tbsp minced garlic

24 oz frozen broccoli/cauliflower

1 14oz can of white beans, drained

1 cup/4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat the vegetable stock and water till bubbling over high heat. Add the garlic, broccoli/cauliflower, and beans and reduce heat to medium. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the cheese until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Great with a slice of fresh baguette

Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I just got back to Seattle after a wonderful long weekend with my family and friends at home. Just a couple more weeks of class before we break for the holidays, but I’m looking forward to the Seattle holiday activities while I’m here!

I made this soup a couple weeks ago during a cold spell, and it’s a wonderful, warming winter soup. The curry adds a great flavor to the squash, as well as a nice orange-y color, perfect for fall or winter! You can use whatever squash you like, I just decided to try it with acorn squash. If you want the soup to be a bit sweeter, I would suggest butternut squash or maybe kabocha. Either way, with soup,

I find that if you just add things to the pot and blend it all up and taste as you go, you can’t go wrong! Here’s the recipe I made:

Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 acorn squash (about 4-5 lbs)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups dried brown lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

1 14oz can coconut milk

1 ½-2 tbsp curry powder

2 cups water (to desired consistency)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 410˚F. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil on the cut part of the squash, then place cut side down on the baking sheet, bake for 35-45 minutes, until the squash are easily pierced with a fork. Remove and allow to cool enough to scoop out the flesh.

While the squash is cooling, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions start to become translucent. Pour in the lentils and toast them slightly, then pour in the vegetable stock and increase heat to medium-high.

Bring the lentils to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and curry powder and continue to simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. If necessary add more water (I added about 2 cups, maybe 3) to thin the soup enough to blend easily. Add the squash and heat through.

Use an immersion blender (or allow to cool slightly and carefully transfer in batches to a regular blender) and blend the soup until smooth. Add more water if necessary to desired consistency. Serve warm with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

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Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

Well I’m back in Seattle after attending the most amazing wedding I will probably ever go to. My college roommate got married in Santa Barbara this weekend, and it was absolutely wonderful to celebrate with her and her husband, as well as hang out with all of our college friends. I’m currently ignoring the tests that I have this week and instead reminiscing about the weekend and writing this post about the lentil casserole I made for dinner last week. I adapted a recipe from The Kitchn based on my tastes and what I had available. I liked the idea of a casserole, but instead of using rice, I just used all lentils. Instead of mushrooms, I added some spinach for the leafy greens, but the mushrooms would also be a great addition. The result was a hearty casserole, perfect for the chilly fall nights that are about to become the norm here. Here’s my recipe!

Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup brown lentils, dried

3 cups vegetable/chicken broth

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup milk (I used nonfat)

3 eggs

Herbs to

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

taste

Ground pepper, to taste

1 16oz package frozen spinach

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Combine the lentils and broth in a rice cooker and set to cook (alternatively, cook on the stovetop).

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes. While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Beat together the milk and eggs. Stir in the cheese and herbs and make sure to stir well.

Once the lentils are cooked and the onions are caramelized, combine the lentils, onions, and spinach in the pan. Pour the milk and egg mixture on top and stir to combine. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove and allow to let cool before serving. Enjoy!

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Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

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