Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Caramelized Onion Rolls

This recipe came out of a need. A need for a roast beef sandwich. Where I live, the options for lunch meat of any variety is abysmal – and roast beef is nonexistent.

I’ve been missing my favorite Boar’s Head London Porter something fierce lately, and the paltry French Dip offerings I’ve found (which are wholly not French dip sandwiches and range from sad to inedible) just aren’t cutting it.

I’m still working on my uncured sandwich beef recipe, but this onion roll was too good not to share in the meantime. It’s a Frankenstein of a few different recipes and techniques, most notably a video by Joshua Weissman, Making The Arby’s Beef ‘N Cheddar At Home | But Better.

I used his recipe for the main part, but fleshed out the technique from how I generally make bread at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how light and fluffy these were – I’m imagining because of the extra yeast than what I’m used to with my lazy person Artisan bread – and I got 9 buns out of my batch, so there were plenty of extras with which to make egg sandwiches out of. Y’all know I love a good egg recipe. Yum.

Nope, nothing – not even gluten-free or vegetarian. This may be the first time in the history of this blog I’ve ever posted a recipe that falls into zero dietary categories. Oops. Still good, though.

Caramelized Onion Rolls

Caramelized Onions:

2 yellow onions

1 Tbsp. butter – chilled is fine

2 tsp. sugar

Hefty sprinkle salt

Thinly slice the onions and add to a pan over low heat with the butter, salt and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply brown. The browner and jammer the better. I’m poo at having the patience necessary to do this, so I always end up jacking the heat up to medium and working through half-burnt onions. Which I happen to enjoy, so you do you.

Let sit to cool. You don’t want to add hot onions to your dough.

Rolls:

3 1/4 cup flour – I used a mix of mostly white all purpose with a little wheat left in the container; he used bread flour. I’m sure bread flour is even better, but I can’t be bothered

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 Tbsp. instant yeast

2 tsp. sea salt

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

In a large bowl, stir the flour, yeast and salt together. Crack the eggs in, add the butter, and slowly stir in the water. Chuck in the previously caramelized onions.

When your flour is incorporated, i.e. not running around like lots of dust in the bottom of the bowl, dump onto a floured surface. He used a dough hook on a Kitchen Aid mixer and let run until … ? … I quit paying attention to that part at dough hook; I don’t have one, so I went old school.

Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is just tacky to the touch. This will take a lot of dusting of your work surface to get your dough to quit sticking. That’s okay; you won’t kill the dough by doing what you need to do with it.

When your arms are dead and your dough is where you want it, add back to the bowl, cover, and let sit 2 – 3 hours in room temperature to rise.

About an hour before dinner, punch your dough down and separate into about 9 balls. I did this by pinching off about a hand full, lightly rolling in my hands to form something that looks like a roll, and placing on a silicone lined baking sheet. I ended up with 9 roughly same-sized balls.

Cover and let sit 30 – 40 minutes.

While your dough is resting, preheat the oven to 200C/375F.

*Note: If you want your buns to be shiny, brush with a little egg wash before baking. It won’t affect the taste, but they will be prettier. A little butter brush would also be a nice addition.

Bake 15 minutes or until browned but not burnt on the top and sounding hollow when you knock on the top.

Makes 9-ish buns of sandwich size

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

This pantry-friendly fried rice is quick enough for a weeknight meal (for when the world gets back to working outside the home), and makes a great lunch the next day if there are leftovers.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

1.5 cups leftover cooked rice (I used sushi rice)

1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame

1/3 cup frozen cut green beans

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sambal olek

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 can chili tuna in oil, drained

Add your neutral oil to a large pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the frozen veggies and green onion. Stir fry until no longer frozen and starting to look cooked.

Add the rice and tuna. Continue to stir fry until the veggies begin to brown.

Make a well in the center of the rice mixture and crack the eggs in. Let sit until the bottom is firm, then scrape up, folding into the rice mix.

Add the coconut aminos, fish sauce and sambal. Stir quickly to combine.

As written, serves 2 for dinner

Pantry Clear: Chili Tuna Rice

As you can see from my last post (see pantry clearing post #1), my pantry is all over the map – but the bulk of the ingredients center on Southeast Asia, specifically Japan.

Japanese is a cuisine my DH and I both love and both crave when we either need a little comfort (among other cuisines, tbh) but feel like we need to be a little nice to our bodies and digestive systems.

This dinner is quick, easy, and feels like a healthy hug. If raw egg yolk freaks you out, omit.

Gluten-free

Chili Tuna Rice

1 cup premade sushi rice (1/2 cup short grain rice cooked in 2 cups water + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and a few grinds salt)

1/2 can chili spiced tuna, drained

2 Tbsp. dried wakame

1 tsp. powder-style chicken bouillon

1/2 cup hot water

1 egg

1/2 tsp. ginger garlic paste

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1 tsp. butter

Generous sprinkle toasted sesame seeds

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Set the sushi rice on to cook however you cook rice. While the rice is cooking, boil the 1/2 cup water.

Add the wakame and chicken bouillon to a small bowl and add the boiling water over top. Stir to combine and let sit until the seaweed is reconstituted. Drain loosely when you’re ready to serve and add back into the bowl.

Add the butter, rice, coconut aminos, ginger garlic paste, tuna, and egg yolk. Stir well to combine.

Top with the sesame seeds and green onions and serve.

Serves 1 for dinner

Lunch – To – Dinner Bombay Chimi

I set out to make a chimichurri-based salad, and ended up taking a trip to India instead when at the last minute I discovered my herbs had betrayed me. And it works.

Bombay chutney is a condiment used in a popular Indian street food sandwich and is kiiiiinda akin to the green mint chutney sauce served alongside a number of dishes alongside tamarind sauce. My version is a beautiful shade of emerald and has a nice spicy kick. It’s addictive, and I can’t wait to try making something akin to the actual sandwich, because I can only imagine how Bomb it would be with potato.

Like mashed potatoes. In a patty …. 🤤 But I digress.

This base recipe is great for lunch or dinner – I served it hash-style when fresh with some leftover Beyond Meat bratwurst & egg and again the next day for lunch with my favorite tuna and some bright crunch. Both ways were fantastic, but I think day 3’s lunch was actually my favorite.

gluten-free, vegetarian base, vegan base, paleo base

Lunch-To-Dinner Bombay Chimi

Base

1 head cauliflower
1 small red onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Bombay Chutney
1/4 cup neutral oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/375F and prep a baking sheet.

Break the cauliflower up into bite-sized pieces and spread out over the prepped pan. Halve and thinly slice the onion; add. Thinly slice the garlic; add.

Sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the chutney and oil. Pour over the veggies on the pan and toss well to combine, making sure to hit each piece.

Roast 25 minutes or until deeply browned.

Dinner Hash

1 leftover and cooked Beyond Meat bratwurst per person, sliced into rounds
1 – 2 eggs per person (optional)
1 handful chopped green beans
2 tsp. neutral oil
1 tsp. butter (vegan or otherwise)

In a large skillet over medium high heat, stir-fry the green beans in the oil until browned. Season with salt & pepper and add the bratwurst. Stir-fry until warmed through. Push to the side, add the butter and an egg per person to the pan. Fry until your desired doneness is reached. Serve with about 1/4 of the cauliflower per person.

Lunch Salad

1 medium cucumber, chopped
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chili (red pepper) tuna, drained (optional)

To your leftover cauliflower, add the rest of the ingredients and toss. Warm to room temp if desired by zapping for :30/:45 or so and tossing.

Serves 2 if you’ve got half the cauliflower left; 3 if you only fed 1 the night before.

Nasi Goreng: Version 1

I just got back from a fantastic vacation spent exploring a new place – and a new food culture – and wanted to come home and continue that goodness.

Random tidbit of information: tempeh is actually from Indonesia, it’s not just an OG hippie food.

That has little to do with this recipe (though most of the dishes of Nasi Goreng I had in Bali came with sides, including some ridiculously delicious tempeh).

Nasi Goreng is one of the dishes typically associated with Indonesia (some say it’s the national dish), although it’s popular in other Southeast Asian countries as well as the Netherlands. This dish is basically just fried rice – with no singular recipe, instead typically consisting of leftovers from the previous day.

This version of the dish doesn’t taste exactly like what I had on vacation, but it’s delicious nonetheless. I feel the sauces I had in Indonesia were richer, and in subsequent versions I’ll be working toward that – but this is a great starting place.

Can be made gluten free (just sweeten some coconut aminos), paleo (swap out the rice for Cauli rice and the ketjap), pescatarian (omit the chicken), or lacto-ovo vegetarian (omit the shrimp, shrimp paste & chicken)

Nasi Goreng: Version 1

3 cups leftover cooked rice (I used short grain sushi rice)

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup frozen carrots

1 bok choy

2 eggs + 1 per person

250g chicken breast

200g tiny shrimp, chopped

4 Tbsp. prepared ketchup

4 Tbsp. ketjap manis

2 Tbsp. sambal olek

2 tsp. shrimp paste

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces, liberally season with salt and pepper, and sautée in 1 – 2 Tbsp. neutral oil until cooked through. Remove.

While the chicken is working, mince the shallot and garlic. Chop the bok choy and separate the stems from the leaves. Defrost the frozen veggies. Assemble the rest of the ingredients. Mix the ketchup, ketjap and sambal to form a sauce. Crack 2 eggs and lightly scramble.

Fry the shallot & garlic in 1 Tbsp. neutral oil over medium-high heat in the chicken pan, making sure to scrape up any browned bits and incorporating them.

When the shallots go translucent, add the shrimp paste. Stir to combine.

Add the bok choy stems and stir-fry until beginning to soften. Add the peas, carrots and bok choy leaves. Stir fry a minute or so until combined.

Add the rice, chicken & shrimp. Stir fry a minute or so to combine.

Add the sauce, stir to combine, and push the rice to the sides of the pan to make a well in the center. Add the scrambled eggs, let sit a minute to firm up on the bottom, and stir through the rice mixture until cooked.

Serve topped with an egg that’s been fried on medium-high heat until the edges are really crispy and the yolk is just set.

Serves 4 – 6 depending upon whether you are serving with sides (popular sides include: tempeh, fried tofu, hard boiled and then deep fried eggs, green bean and cabbage salads, and shrimp chips – plus I’m sure more – this is just what I was served as sides; I’m sure every household has its own version)

Dashi Chicken & Rice

The directive for this week was simple: chicken & rice. DH said he didn’t care what nationality and what fanciness happened on top, just that he was craving chicken & rice.

IMHO, this was a bang-up week for dinners, yielding two that I can’t wait to share with you guys.

This is a quick weeknight dinner, and can be changed up easily by tossing in a handful of green leafies or something orange.

gluten-free

Dashi Chicken & Rice

1 – 1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken (I used a mix of thighs and breasts)

1 yellow onion

2/3 cups dashi stock (I used instant granules)

2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 – 1 cup cooked short grain rice per person

1 scallion

1 egg per person

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to your largest skillet, which has been brought to temperature over medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp. neutral oil added.

Sautée until white. Hit with salt & pepper.

While the chicken is working, halve and thinly slice the onion. Toss in when ready. Continue sauteeing until the onion is softened.

Add the dashi, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar.

Kick the heat down to medium and sautee until the chicken is cooked through.

Portion out, leaving a single serving in the pan. Crack in an egg and whisk lightly with a chopstick.

Let cook until set, and turn out over your bowl of rice. Serve topped with a liberal sprinkle of green onion.

Indian Eggy Wrap

This recipe was inspired by the power of Instagram and has straight up become an obsession. This is half of what I’ve eaten in the last week, and I’m super bummed that I’m now out of wraps. I may just have to go to the store this afternoon for a resupply.

My version of this recipe is a blend of a Kolkata Egg Wrap posted by @playfulcooking and a good excuse to grab some of the ingredients for a Mumbai Street Sandwich posted one many forms by @saffrontrail. (Sidebar: if you love Indian food and beautiful photography, follow these ladies. They make some really inspiring dishes).

I took the eggy wrap constrict from one and just happened to run across a jar of Bombay Sandwich Sauce (a spicy mint chutney) in my local grocery, and bam. This lovely concoction that I currently can’t get enough of.

(lacto ovo) vegetarian

Indian Eggy Wrap

1 Chapati or paratha (fresh would obvs be best, but I happened to run across a whole wheat Chapati by Mission, and it wasn’t half bad) per sandwich

1-2 eggs per sandwich

A few thin slices cucumber per sandwich

A few thin strands of scallion per sandwich

2 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. Bombay Sandwich Sauce or mint chutney per sandwich

Salt & pepper

1 tsp. butter

Heat a small pan (roughly the same size as your bread) over medium heat. Add the butter and melt.

While the butter is melting, scramble the egg(s). If you are making more than 1 sandwich, make each batch separately.

Pour the egg into the pan, swirling to the edges to form a thin pancake. Season with salt and pepper and cook until solid on the bottom and still wet on top.

Nestle the chapati on top of the egg, pushing gently down to glue together.

While the egg fully cooks, slice the cucumber as thin as possible.

When the chapati starts puffing up a bit in the center, it’s time to flip. Flip carefully.

Back to finishing the cucumber and slicing the scallion thinly (I like mine lengthwise, but this is kind of a pain. You do you.).

Add a few cucumber strips and scallions down just to the side of the middle of the pancake. Drizzle your desired amount of sauce. Fold one side over to form a quesadilla-looking sandwich. Smash down with your spatula so it stays closed. Let cook another minute or so if the flipped side of the chapati doesn’t look burnt.

Best enjoyed wrapped in a paper towel to catch the sauce that will inevitably shoot out the end.

Serves 1

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

Some days I don’t know why I get into my head the taste combinations I do. This is not one of those days. For some reason, something a couple I love on YouTube had said in a video I watched who knows how long ago popped into my head and I just couldn’t shake the desire to find out what cheese + Gochujang tasted like.

(Side note: if you like food, are interested in either Asian cuisines or finding out what it’s like to live in either Korea or Japan as a North American expat, check out Simon and Martina’s channel and blog: Eat Your Kimchi. It’s well worth the binge watch. Find them, and the recipe whose vague memory inspired this one here. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blah-blah!)

Now, I can’t do animal cheese, and I’m not even trying to pretend that this version tastes like cheese cheese (I think if I added garlic powder and mustard powder it might – but I’m still reintroducing foods, and Gochujang was my challenge food today), but it has a hint of cheesiness and a nice richness from the coconut milk.

If you’re batch cooking this recipe, maybe add a bit more coconut milk to the mix – mine turned out a bit clumped-together for subsequent meals; it loosened up on heating and stirring, but it could have been a skosh freer in the storage container.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

3 Tbsp. gochujang
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1.5 in. grated ginger
1/4 c. coconut milk
Garlic oil
Bok choy, chopped
Rice noodles
Green onions
Sesame seeds
Ketjap manis

First, boil some water and set your rice noodles to soak – I do 1/2 – 1 cup per serving.

While the noodles are soaking, chop the bok choy and sautée in a large skillet over medium-high in a few squirts garlic oil. Season with a little sprinkle soy sauce/coconut aminos to season.

While those are both going, whiz together the ingredients from coconut milk up to make a sauce.

Slice the green onions and set aside for garnish. If you’re not vegan, prep your protein too (egg, little shrimps and rotisserie chicken all go great here). Grab your sesame seeds.

When the bok choy is cooked to your liking, drain the noodles and add to the pan. Stir with tongs to break them apart gently and fully incorporate the veggies. Add the sauce and stir again. Cook everything together a few minutes.

Top with the green onions, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional protein, and a swirl of ketjap manis.

The sauce makes enough to support 2.5 big servings

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

I’ve been quite excited to see a resurgence of bowl-related meals in the popular press (mostly because that’s what I’ve mainly been making for dinner since .. Miami) – Call them Buddha Bowls, Nutri Bowls, Glow Bowls … they all amount to the same basic formula: filling item, accents, protein source & sauce.

This version starts with a coconut curry, and wanders into the territory of Korea with the substitution of gochujang for red curry paste. Yum.

gluten-free, low carb

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

For the sauce

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
2 medium shallots
1 inch ginger
2 Tbsp. gochujang
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sambal olek
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

For the bowl

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1/2 onion
1 c. snap or snow peas
1 c. carrot batons
1 c. asparagus
2 c. shredded purple cabbage
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. water

Optional: ground chicken & fried eggs

Sesame seeds

Mince the shallot & ginger and sautée in the oil until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk to combine, and let simmer 15 minutes or until thickened and velvety.

While that’s working, prep your bowl.

When your sauce is done, set aside, wipe your pan and add the oil + carrots. Stir. Add the onion and sautée until the onions are softened.

Add the peas and sautée, stirring frequently, until the peas are beginning to soften.

Add the cabbage and stir. Add 1/4 c. water and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated and the cabbage is crisp-tender.

Add the asparagus, soy sauce & lime juice and cook, stirring, a few minutes more.

Divide veggies between two bowls and top with ground chicken & fried egg if desired. Spoon over about a quarter to a third of the sauce per bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

If you are after a shot for the ‘gram, cook all these veggies separately and arrange artfully. Ain’t nobody in this house got time for that.

Bowls serve 2 with leftover sauce