Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai noodles and cucumber salad

I'm finally getting around to posting this thai noodle recipe, which I have adapted from a recipe that Ruth Reichl posted on her blog. The version shown in the photos below is from a couple of weeks ago. 

First soak your noodles:

You need 8 oz of rice noodles. I usually make them with this width, but sometimes go with wider ones. I cover them with hot tap water and let them soften (usually for about 1/2 hour) while I'm prepping the other ingredients.

Might as well make your side dish now too. Use a mandoline to thin slice a cucumber (peel and seed if necessary). Then thin slice about 1/2 of a small or a 1/4 of a large onion (red is pretty, but white or yellow onions work fine.) Chop up a little cilantro and toss it all together in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of rice vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and sugar. After it has sat for a while, taste a slice and adjust seasoning. Pop in the fridge to chill while you're cooking.

Next comes noodle ingredient prep. I usually start with the sauce:
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 c of white or brown sugar, 1/4 c of fish sauce, 1/4 c rice (or white) vinegar and 2 T of black soy sauce (you can skip this if you want--black soy sauce is almost like a salty molasses so it gives and extra sweet/salty kick). Set aside.

Next prep your first round of add ins: these are the vegetables and stuff you want to have cooked, not merely warmed up. This is also where you get to add lots of variation. I also like to make this with green beans, scallions (the white part here, the greens added at the end), red peppers, sweet potato leaves, kale, etc.  If you are ok with shell fish you can add some fresh shrimp instead of the tofu.
1/4-1/2 lb tofu cubed, green peppers, shredded cabbage, thin sliced carrots, sliced onion. There are probably around 3 cups of vegetables plus the tofu here.

Next prep your other stuff. Again, there are a few standards (1/4 c chopped peanuts, 2 limes, 2 cloves of pressed garlic) and room for additions. This week I was just chucking in some basil leaves at the end, but other weeks I've added spinach, bean sprouts, scallion greens, cilantro etc. to this phase.

Put a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok, heat it up and add your garlic and 1/2 lb ground meat--I use pork or turkey and both turn out well.
When the meant is no longer pink, add the onions (or white parts of the scallions) and the tofu. Continue to stir fry until the meat starts to brown a little. This is also a good time to add dried red pepper flakes if you want it spicy (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon).
Drain your noodles and dump them in the wok, use a spatula to scrape your sauce ingredients over the noodles and toss while they cook so that the noodles absorb the sauce.
When the sauce is about 1/2 way absorbed, add the vegetables that need some cooking. If you want egg in your noodles (I didn't use egg this week), this is also a good time to make a little space in the wok and crack in an egg or two. Let them cook a little, then scramble with your tongs and toss with the rest when they are firm.

When the sauce has been absorbed and the vegetables sufficiently cooked, add your final ingredients: chopped peanuts, fresh herbs, scallion greens and bean sprouts, if you are using them, and squeeze the two limes over the top.
Give it all a good toss and serve in bowls with a portion of cucumber salad on the side and some sriracha sauce if you like it spicy.

Tantre Farm Share, week 13

Top zone: pint of cherry tomatoes, quart of red potatoes, 4 heirloom tomatoes, leaf lettuce, parsley, melon
Bottom zone: green and wax beans, 4 red peppers, sweet potato leaves, red and yellow onions, hot peppers, kale, 3 cucumbers, two ears of corn, 2 huge shitake mushrooms 
(not pictured: a basil bush)

We're heading out of town for a week so the following will come with us to be prepared very simply in a cabin kitchen: kale, onions, melon, red potatoes, one or two of the firmer tomatoes

Here's the plan for the other stuff:
  • red and hot peppers will get roasted and jarred in a garlic/vinegar/olive oil mixture. 
  • green beans, sweet potato leaves, shitakes and some basil will get made into thai noodles (recipe in the next post, really!) with cucumber salad
  • lettuce, tomatoes, parsley and remaining cucumbers will make a simple salad, and corn will just be enjoyed on the cob with a nob of butter, as sides with something basic like turkey burgers or grilled chicken thighs.
  • cherry tomatoes just for snacking!
  • more pesto for freezing to get us through the dark winter months.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tantre Farm Share, week 12

Gaps and delays: we were out of town for week 11 and this week picked up our share on Saturday rather than Wednesday. Gotta get eating since our next share pick up is this coming Wednesday!

I present to you, the star of the show:
Shitake and oyster mushrooms

Also in the share: Collards, sweet potato leaves, red and yellow onions, red potatoes, garlic, green beans, 2 red peppers, eggplant, poblano, jalapeno and shishito peppers, summer squash, 4 cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes (2 huge, one more normal sized), cherry tomatoes, basil bush, sorrel

Menu plan:
  • Fish in a packet with some sweet potato leaves, summer squash, onion, red pepper, cherry tomatoes and feta
  • sauteed mushrooms with garlic for breakfast, served with soft scrambled eggs with sorrel and Ed's Bread multigrain toast
  • green beans (and basil and jalapeno) with tofu and nuoc cham
  • some pesto for freezing
  • roasted eggplant salad with red and poblano pepper, basil, garlic and feta
  • baked potatoes, chicken thighs on the grill, collard greens braised with garlic, onion and apple cider vinegar, and tomato salad
  • sesame cucumber salad, to be combined with tofu and brown rice (and maybe a few stir fried sweet potato leaves if there are any left) for a quick rice bowl lunch or just snacked on when the urge hits