Category Archives: Lunch & Dinner

Gochujang Peanut Asian-Style Pasta for #SundaySupper

It’s my first post as part of the Sunday Supper family! If you are stopping by because you’re a #SundaySupper member, be warned: I MIGHT  LOVE YOU ALREADY.

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 2--070814

Remember how I told you guys about my Smile a Day wall over on my good friend Nancy’s blog? Well, this group most certainly qualifies for an entire Smile-A-Day wall of its own–I hadn’t even officially scheduled my first post and last Wednesday I received this outpouring of #SundaySupper love:

sundaysuppertweets

 

They’re like the children’s lit scholars of the academic world: bubbly, personable, excited about what they do, and thrilled to share the experience with everyone they know. Forget Platinum Club Exclusive Blogging: these folks want their members to feel welcome–and what’s more, they’re eager to be all like, “Hey, we’re pretty cool, mebbe you should join us?”

So yeah, I’m pretty stoked to be here–oh and if you are pumped as well, you can learn all about Sunday Supper here. The actual logistics are a little confusing at first, so feel free to message me if you have questions!

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 14--070814

Each Sunday, the group gathers virtually to share a bunch of awesome recipes based on the week’s theme. Today’s theme calls for firing up those grills and embracing the lackadaisical summer heat: it’s Summer BBQ!

I first discovered #SundaySupper through the inestimable Liz, whose blog That Skinny Chick Can Bake I’ve been following since the dawn of time (or like a year ago). She’s been my awesome mentor and walked me through every step of Sunday Supper, so here’s my yodel to her! Yodelethankyou! My good friend Courtney from Neighbor Food has also been super helpful–thanks, girls!

My inaugural host: Melanie from Melanie Makes. THANK YOU. You will forever go down in history as the wonderful blogger who paved my foray into the wonderful world of Sundays. (Yeah, I told you I’d get creepy!)

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 4--070814

The skies are screaming sunshine like a hyper five-year old kid after ten pounds of sugar on Halloween, but I’ll be honest: it doesn’t feel like summer. It felt like summer three months ago, when I moseyed down to the farmer’s market every week loading up my hardcore backpack and bike basket with an overflowing abundance of fresh fruits and veggies.

Ahh, the paradoxical life of a grad student. Now that summer is officially in full swing, things are busier than ever! Apart from trying to crank out research and recover from the post-conference travel slump, circumstances have mandated that I am no longer cooking any of my own meals on the weekdays. Without the kitchen in my everyday life, cooking has become to me what flying is to this kiwi. And I make every excuse I can to make this pasta when I cook these days.

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 7--070814

I am dreaming of summer BBQ’s.

And guys, I am 110% dreaming of this fusion dish, which takes all of 20 minutes to whip up and is hands down one of my favorite go-to recipes on this blog. I have yet to make it for a BBQ, but the endless combination of fresh produce and refreshing, lighter fusion flavors make it an instant recipe-requested hit at any event your little heart desires/requires. And right now, my heart desires a lot of summer BBQ’ing before the summer whisks itself away again.

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 9--070814

The vegetables you use in this pasta are pretty much up to you: I used sweet potatoes (a great choice–totally different and recommended!), onions, green onions, wilted kale, and baby carrots–but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The hearty, nutty taste of the whole wheat pasta is also a great idea!

But the sauce is what sends this recipe over the top, making it one of my most requested recipes ever: it’s a

creamy

nutty

mildly

sweet

subtly tangy

sauce with a kick

from the Korean red pepper / gochujang sauce that I did not own until this year and now LOVE. I use it in everything except my cookies, and those may become my next gochujang victim (because siracha cookies are already a thing, right?). You guys need to order a tub if you’ve never used it (though for those of you who wouldn’t buy a tub just for this recipe, you can sub dried red pepper flakes and a smidge of chili sauce/sweet chili sauce or omit the heat completely).

Gochujang Peanut Asian Style Pasta 11--070814

But here I am singing praises over this ol’ humble superstar dish when you have loads of fellow #SundaySupper folks’ recipes to check out–and speaking which, I have a monumental task ahead of me getting to know all these lovely new friends. So toodles for now–and have yourself a very merry summer!

Gochujang Peanut Asian-Style Pasta

This recipe is a cinch to pull together in 30 minutes and a perfect twist on ordinary, boring pasta! With a slightly sweet, definitely nutty taste, the small kick of spice from gochujang sauce lends it a unique flavor that will have folks lining up for your recipe! Note: Use any produce you have on hand for this dish!

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. whole wheat pasta
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 onion
  • 3 stalks green onion
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • Other produce/ingredient ideas: tempeh, tofu, broccoli, spinach, bell pepper
  • For the gochujang peanut sauce:
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cuip honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang sauce (if you absolutely cannot purchase gochujang, you may substitute a smidge of red pepper flakes and chili sauce--taste may change)
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked al dente. Strain and set aside.
  2. As your pasta cooks, prepare and slice up all of your produce into bite-size pieces.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread sweet potato strips onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil as desired. Set aside.
  4. Set a large saucepan over medium heat and cook onion, green onion, and kale (you may use a tablespoon of vegetable oil to cook if you'd like--I simply used a dry saucepan and stirred frequently to prevent burning.) Set cooked vegetables aside.
  5. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Boil baby carrots until tender. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together cooked pasta, vegetables, and sauce (recipe below). Serve and enjoy your summer BBQ!
  7. For the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Feel free to double recipe if you'd like for a creamier taste--I frequently do!
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/07/20/gochujang-peanut-asian-style-pasta/

So if you’re as creepily in love with the idea behind #SundaySupper as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out these features from other SS folks! I will be. Every. Single. One.

Beverages

Appetizers

Sides and Accompaniments

Main Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here—>Sunday Supper Movement.

74 Comments

Filed under Lunch & Dinner

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits 5--121913

During my training to become a teacher, I was taught one cardinal rule–the one rule everyone must obey to maintain their sanity, well-being, and unity as a disseminator of knowledge.

Steal. Steal, steal, steal.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits 11--121913

If that sounds like a weird thing to do as a role model, you’re right. And then again, not quite. See, our pedagogy instructor (bless his soul) thinks that the surest way to success as a teacher is by learning from others’ and, when we like what we see, by taking it and using it for ourselves.

I can’t say I’ve done a splendid job of that at my, well, job. I’m too much of a prideful perfectionist to copy other people’s lesson plans, no matter how wonderful they are, and I usually spend many hours before a class trying to disentangle the hopelessly jumbled threads of a lesson plan I’ve been intricately weaving.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits 8--121913

But when it counts and there are hot, buttery, awesomely cheddar-filled biscuits on the line, apparently I am very good at stealing. For anyone who has ever sunk his or her teeth into a Red Lobster’s famous cheddar bay biscuit, that person will know that I am not kidding. These things are killer, phenomenal, and absolutely steal-worthy. I took one of my favorite Southern buttermilk biscuit recipes and, by brushing it with an awesome butter-parsley-garlic glaze, transformed it into these Red Lobster copycat biscuits. And they may even be better than the real deal. Trust me, you’ll want these on your holiday platters this year.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits 2--121913

So what are you waiting for? Steal this recipe now (with creds, of course!)  and see who you can wow with restaurant-style biscuits, right from your home kitchen!

If you could recreate a copycat version of any recipe, what would it be?

Ala

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Biscuit recipe adapted from Food.com
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, chilled and cubed (needs to be very cold)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sharp shredded cheddar
  • For butter glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and garlic salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add very cold butter cubes to dry mixture. Using a fork, cut in butter evenly so that the entire mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Add buttermilk and mix in until just combined. Be sure not to overmix, or your biscuits will not be soft and flaky! As you work about half of the buttermilk in, add the cheddar cheese and gently fold in throughout the mixture until everything is just combined.
  5. Very gently turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Pat (do not roll!) your dough out until it is about an inch thick. Don’t worry about it being even!
  6. Use a round cookie cutter or the open end of a lightly floured glass to cut out biscuit dough. You can make these as large or small as you’d like–I made mine about 3 inches in diameter. (Note: Red Lobster’s biscuits are drop biscuits, so jagged edges rather than perfectly round ones will work beautifully!) Continue gently cutting out biscuits and gathering your scraps until all your dough is finished.
  7. Place biscuits 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. While biscuits are baking, make butter glaze by combining 2 tablespoons melted butter, garlic powder, and dried parsley in a small bowl.
  10. Remove sheet from oven and immediately brush each biscuit with butter glaze. Allow biscuits to cool slightly before serving. These stay good in a sealed paper bag; just reheat them before eating!
ShowStopperSaturday2

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Lunch & Dinner

LWOM: Kimchi Pancakes, Okonomiyaki (and Other Things Tacky, From Sam-I-Am)

I’m not Sam–but take a look!

Sam-I-am is in this book.

I’m sure you all know how Sam-I-am…

Loves a good dish of green eggs and ham.

But the question to ask,

We must take to task!

It’s not such a crime…

We’ll ask, “Do pancakes buzz?”

(But that doesn’t rhyme!)

(Well now it does.)

Would they

buzz over coffee?

(Try feeding them toffee!)

Or would they

buzz o’er papers?

(If you paired them with capers.)

Do they sound a bit tacky?

(Just like okonomiyaki.)

But what could that mean?

(We hope it’s nothing obscene.)

Are you sure that’s a pancake?

Why, what else could it be? 

It’s not a waffle

or a donut

or a pig

or a tree.

(And better still, we think it’s made of kimchi!)

So whether or not these pancakes do buzz

or chuckle

or snarfle

or gigglerooruzz,

And whether they’re made of red clouds

or green bean,

Have some okonomiyaki–

(BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?)

So now we conclude without really concluding

Our noggins confuzzled and our parents deluding.

Here was the tale of our pancakes a-buzz.

But we know you will love them–

At least, Sam-I-am sure does.

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own pancakes that are neither pigs nor trees. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (with a smile and a wink).

Thank you all for your wonderfully kind comments about the first installment of Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt with last week’s Pooh article! They touched my heart, and I hope these stories continue to return the favor.

Kimchi Pancakes
Yield: 1 medium pancake
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chopped kimchi
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons kimchi juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Lightly oil a medium-sized pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves a good bake and a kimchi pancake!

Okonomiyaki

Yield: 1 medium pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 bellpepper, chopped
  • Other vegetables (your preference)
  • Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and water, and whisk until smooth. Add egg and salt; stir in until just incorporated. Do not overmix, or your batter will become tough.
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat up a small amount of oil and stir-fry onions until they begin to become translucent. Add remaining vegetables and stir-fry until cooked through. (You can use most any vegetable–or other ingredient–that you fancy.) Add cooked vegetables to batter and fold in.
  3.  Lightly oil a pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Top with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.
  5. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves all things tacky (especially okonomiyaki).

6 Comments

Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Mediterranean Couscous and Kashk E-Bademjan

Happy belated Mid-Autumn Festival!

To celebrate, we went Greek. Which makes no sense if you don’t think about it–but if you do think about for just the teeniest bit, it starts to make a little sense.

…And if you do happen to find that nugget of sense, please let me know what it is, because I haven’t thought of it quite yet.

Last night I invited over the new recruits for our program (hooray, fresh blood!) who live in the same graduate student complexes as me. Mind-melting weather aside–a whopping 95 degrees in the dead of night–our motley crew really was a melting pot that made me glad I’d pulled my dishes so many different cuisines. We chatted over couscous and Kashk E-Badjemajan (a Persian eggplant and fried onion dip), Chinese garlic eggplant and honey “walnut” tofu (I used tempeh because one of the guys had a nut allergy), homemade sweet bread and cucumber salad. And of course, we had moon cakes.

Flour Power: I first ran into Kashk E-Bademjan in a Persian restaurant and just needed to make a copycat recipe…and now that I’ve done it, it feels great eating this scumptious dish in the comfort of my own kitchen! Next time you go out and have a great dish, go home and do some research, or go straight to your kitchen and give it a try if you’re feeling bold. You never know what you might come up with!

Do you know how absolutely terrifying it is cooking for somebody with nut and dairy allergies? I wouldn’t touch anything with nuts in them for the entire day (ever hear the story of the guy who died kissing his girlfriend, who had eaten peanut butter the day before? Holy. Cripes.), and I shoved anything with dairy in it to the wayyy back of my fridge so I wouldn’t accidentally, you know, use it.

That being said, I love challenges. It was a vegan sort of night in the household.

So when are you coming over so I can have an excuse to cook like this again? I’m already bored of the stuff in my fridge, and it’s only been…about 12 hours.

Although that might be because I’ve already finished all of the leftovers–they were pretty darn good.

I just realized I was going to offer you some, too. Sorry. None for you.

I think the highlight of my night was when one of the girls said we should do this often, and a guy responded, “We should do potlucks!”

A guy. In my department. Wants to do potlucks.

It’s like we’re blood siblings or something.

Oh, and they know what Sailor Moon is. And they want to watch the 2013 release of a new season with me.

I have a feeling I’m going to like this new crew very, very much.

What’s your go-to dish(es) when you have a potluck or dinner? Feel free to link me up!

Happy reading, and happy eatings!

Mediterranean Couscous (Vegan-Friendly)
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dried whole wheat couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar (any mild or fruity vinegar variety will work well)
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cashews or peanuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, then cover with lid and allow to steam for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and cumin. Add cucumber and tomatoes, and toss until completely coated.
  2. Fluff finished couscous with a fork, then add to the liquid mixture. Add raisins, nuts, and cheese as desired, then toss all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Kashk E-Bademjan (Eggplant Fried Onion Dip)*

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, diced into small chunks
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons soy yogurt (see note)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat up oil and start frying onions. When they begin to brown, add eggplant and continue frying until eggplant is completely tender, and onions are caramelized. Set aside to cool briefly.
  2. Set aside some of the fried onion (for garnishing); place the rest of the mixture, as well as the soy yogurt, into a food processor. Pulse until the eggplant and onion is still chunky but relatively paste-like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop out from food processor and garnish with reserved onions, as well as a drizzle of yogurt. Serve warm and enjoy!

*Note: This appetizer traditionally contains whey, the liquid byproduct of yogurt. Since my friend is allergic to dairy, I substituted a small amount of soy yogurt for the whey.

5 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Tofu Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Honey Peanut Dipping Sauce

I still remember my cousin telling me a while back about how I would go trumpeting around when I was younger on my high horse, informing anyone and everyone in the family house that I was not going to eat animals when I “grew up”–because going vegetarian, obviously, was not something one simply did as a kid. It was a big deal. It was a responsibility. It was a way of stalling on something that I knew even at the tender age of nine and a half would mean lots of personal sacrifices. What can I say? I’m a natural procrastinator–born, bred, raised. My parents deny that they have anything to do with it, but of course you always have to take what they say with a grain of salt: for example, when I accused my mom of this incurable procrastinatory disease last week, she vehemently denied it–as she played a round of Mah-Jong matching tiles instead of doing her work.

So about three years ago, when I started seriously considering for the first time going “all-out vegetarian,” the prospect frankly frightened me a little bit. Located in the heart of good ol’ liberal Berkeley, I had been in a prime place for the slow food movement, and it wouldn’t be a typical day without receiving a polemic-laden flier on animal cruelty and the current state of factory farms, not to mention the abhorrent sorts of “regulations” that govern what makes it to our plates.

I was also reading Michael Pollan for the first time around then. He’s a prolific journalist and writer who has done some of the best investigative journalism–not to mention amazing reporting in general–about the current state of American attitudes towards food, the love-hate relationship we have with it today, and why we should care. I could go on and on about his profound work, but I feel like it’s more fair to let him speak for himself.

The two books you should know about if you’re at all interested in the topic of food reporting and culture are The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Not to go on a sappy sentimental tangent (which I realize I’m doing anyway), but these books changed my life. Seriously. You remember that line from Barrington’s Peter Pan where a fairy is born every time a new baby laughs for the first time? For every person who picks up a copy of Michael Pollan’s books, I’m pretty sure a new foodie is born. And not just your run-of-the-mill, Yelp-monsterific foodie. Foodies who are really passionate about not only what we eat, but why we care about what we eat, too. Foodies, I’d like to think, like me.

I seriously think Michael should just redirect all of his online book summaries and reviews to this page. Forget the canned words of praise from high and mighty editors of Tit-for-Tat Periodical–I’m practically doing his advertising for him, and with good reason. Did I ever tell you that I tried to get an interview with him for a journalism class I took? Yeah. I got a very sweet email from his secretary telling me that he was off being famous and doing book tours, which, you know, sounds like a perfectly good excuse to me.

His books thoughtfully discuss the problem that we living in developed countries face with food surplus–specifically, cheap, processed, and mass-produced food. “Food,” I should also say, with big fat quotation marks–know that Wonder Bread you get from the store? Ever wonder what goes into it, or why it’s wonder bread? Hmm…

Anyway, I said that I would let you read that one on your own, and I’m not keeping my promises. The point about all this is that after reading Michael Pollan’s thought-provoking work, I decided that I’d give it a shot.

For more than a year, I yoyo’ed between being a full-fledged vegetarian and not. It wasn’t that I missed meat at all–in fact, it’s always been relatively easy for me to skip it, to the point where my parents have come up with ingenious measures to slip in meat where I least expect to find it, like pork in my tofu or beef in my soup. But I am very much concerned about the unbounded and unscrutinized tyranny of factory farming practices, especially when we consider how much time people spend investigating and advertising other causes, like animal adoption and animal testing. (Not to say these aren’t great causes–they absolutely are–but when you consider how many Sarah Mclachlan commercials we see touting animal shelter adoptions, it seems cruelly unfair to think about how many born-to-be-slaughtered animals are dying in the most miserable, lonely conditions ever seen–or, rather, unseen.)

One of the things I love about Pollan’s books is his conclusion: unlike a lot of the look-at-us-we’re-so-green or the-only-interaction-I-will-henceforth-have-with-animals-is-petting-the-fluffy-chickens-I-raise books, Pollan concludes after all that it’s okay for him, personally, to be omnivorous. Sustainability and health are important, and making wise choices about our food is critical–but it shouldn’t be about limiting. Food is about living. You hear about people hating their jobs, or leaving their marriages–but food is a natural go-to for all of us when that happens. As the saying goes–and I subscribe heavily to this one–“Forget love–I’d rather fall in chocolate!”

Fast-Forward to Today:

Even now, three years later and in an entirely new city, I’m still struggling with the idea of vegetarianism. I no longer call myself a vegetarian–I am a “pseudo-vegetarian,” a “flexitarian,” whatever you want to call it. I’d like to think that I think about labels like “vegetarian” or “vegan” less, but the truth is that I don’t. I still feel guilty every time I go home and sit down to meat dishes with my family–it’s a huge part of my life and culture, and I realize that meat is still something that I eat because it’s associated with so many fond memories for me. I haven’t given it up entirely, even if I eat so little I could pass for a vegetarian by most lenient definitions.

I do, however, make a conscious effort to make smarter choices, like explaining to people about why I do what I do, as well as take more time to shop for food, prepare it, and share it. That’s how this food blog–like many other food blogs out there, maybe even yours–was born. I’m a tried and true foodie, or “the biggest foodie many of us know,” as my friend told me jokingly over dinner last night. But I don’t consider myself a foodie for foodie’s sake, or health’s sake, or even my own sake, as I do for awareness’ sake. People deserve to know, to share, to learn, and to learn to love learning about food. So that’s where I’m at now.

Of course, super-serious posts and thoughts also make me have a super-monstrous appetite, which is where this next recipe comes in handy. (I made it for a “healthy food” potluck while my friends and I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, and it went over like a maelstrom, blew everything out of the water. The boys brought pizza. Vegetarian pizza. Boys will be boys.)

Anyway, hope that’s enough food for thought for the moment–happy reading, and happy eatings!

The ingredients to a successful spring roll: rice wrappers, tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, vermicelli noodles, and lettuce.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Throw in the dried vermicelli noodles and cook until al dente (approximately 3-5 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a non-stick frying pan, heat up some oil and fry your tofu on all sides.

When you’ve finished preparing all of the ingredients, fill a medium bowl with hot water. Quickly dip in the rice wrapper so that all parts of it are wet, but be sure not to dip it so long that it gets soggy. It will continue to soften as you make the wrap.

Place the dipped wrapper on a plate, leaving about an inch or so hanging off the edge. (This will make it easier to pick up without ripping.) Layer your vegetable ingredients: lettuce, carrots, daikon, and cilantro. Make sure you leave at least 1 – 2 inches on each side for easy rolling.

Slap on your vermicelli noodles. Almost there!

Finally, add the grand finale–fried tofu! To roll: Carefully fold in the two flaps opposite each other on the plate (not the flap that’s hanging over the edge). These will be the ends of your roll. Then take the hanging flap and roll it tightly over the filling. The dampness of the rice wrapper should keep it sealed nicely together.

Ingredients for a fantastic honey peanut sauce! (Note about this peanut sauce: It is my absolute favorite sauce of all time. I make it for just about everything: sauteed rice noodles, vegetable stir-fries, appetizer dips…learn this one by heart and you’ll never be short on a great meal again!)

Tofu Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Honey Peanut Dipping Sauce

Yield: 12 spring rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 2 – 3 oz. daikon, julienned
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (for tofu marinade)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (for tofu marinade)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (for tofu marinade)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (for tofu marinade)
  • A few leaves of cilantro, to taste
  • 4 oz. dried vermicelli noodles
  • 12 rice wrappers, 8-inch diameter
    For peanut sauce:
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup rice vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or any oil you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine distilled vinegar and white sugar. Place daikon and carrots in bowl to pickle; store at least overnight, or multiple nights if you can to let then soak up the flavor. (If you’re making this recipe on the day of the meal, don’t worry! Just cut up your carrots and/or daikon and include them in the rolls as they are, or give them a quick stir-fry to soften them up first.)
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add vermicelli and cook over medium heat until al dente-soft, or about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain noodles and set aside.
  3. Cut tofu into twelve slices and pat dry. In a medium, flat-bottomed dish, combine tofu marinade ingredients (soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, and red pepper flakes or chili sauce). Marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up oil and fry tofu until outer edges become crispy. Flip tofu when each side browns, making sure to brown the outer edges as well. When finished, remove tofu from pan and pat dry to remove excess oil. Set aside.
  5. Fill a medium bowl with hot water and gather up the rest of your ingredients. It’s time to assemble your spring roll! Quickly dip wrapper in hot water until all parts are wet. (Be careful not to dip too long, otherwise your wrapper will get soggy. It will continue to soften as you make your roll.) Place spring roll wrapper on a plate, leaving one edge hanging about one inch off the edge. Layer lettuce, carrots, daikon, cilantro, vermicelli, and tofu.
  6. Carefully fold up the two opposing edges that are completely on the plate. These will be the ends of your spring roll. Then grasp the side that is hanging over the edge and bring it over the fillings. Tightly roll the wrapper until your roll is completely sealed. Voila! It’s spring roll eating time.
  7. For the peanut sauce: Mix all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with spring rolls. Can be stored for up to 24 hours before flavors begin to meld in possibly funny ways.

2 Comments

Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian