mohinga – burmese fish noodle soup

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup

in an effort to end 2016 with some
kind of happiness,
with some mad hope,
dw & i split the 4 day break
with friends,
then snuggled up,
(hygge, H O L L A!)
hiding from people,
watching sherlock.
we are our best selves
after a period of anti-social behavior.
it’s been a whirl of short weeks-long weekends,
now faced with not another holiday until spring,
i’m doing what i can to break the monotony of winter.

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup

the first step is a minor adjustment
to my social calendar.
i signed up to volunteer
at our local IRC office,
i was matched with a burmese family.
for a few hours a week
i will tutor them in english,
along with whatever else they’re up for.
this will likely challenge me,
i’m not naturally inclined toward teaching,
but this is necessary,
as i fight,
COME AT ME KC,
in a small way,
the absolute cluster of the next 4 years.

but first, let’s eat.
happy 2017.

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup

mohinga – burmese fish noodle soup
adapted from luke nguyen

makes an ass ton – we were eating this for dinner for about 5 days, and there was still more, but i had to put an end to the leftover thing

note: i did not add the rice powder, because i didn’t feel like grinding rice. my spice grinder is for coffee grinding anyway.

noodle bowls:
rice vermicelli noodles
hard-boiled eggs, halved
chopped cilantro, to garnish
lime wedges, to serve

broth:
1 head of fish, if you had to choose, catfish is fine
1 lemongrass stem, bruised
2 garlic cloves, bashed
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 TBL cooked chickpeas, mashed (i used jarred jovial)
1 red onion, quartered
1/2 red onion, chopped
fish sauce, to taste
1.5 lbs catfish fillet, cleaned and de-boned

spice paste:
3 lemongrass stems, finely sliced, white part only
2-4 red chilis, to taste
1/2 red onion, rough chopped
4 garlic cloves , diced
1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
1/2 cup grape seed oil
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika

make the broth: place the fish head in a large pot with the lemongrass, garlic, red onion quarters and turmeric. pour in enough cold water to cover the head and bring to a boil. skim off any muck, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. strain the broth and put back in pot. keep the heat at low, and gently lower the fish fillets into the broth and cook for about 15-20 minutes. remove the fillets and with forks, flake them into chunky pieces. set aside. keep the broth pot on low though.

while the broth is simmering, make the paste: in a mortar & pestle, pound the lemongrass, chillies, chopped onions, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste. you can use a food processor for ease.

in a saucepan, heat up the grape seed oil. add in the paste and saute for 20 minutes. you’re gonna question if the amount of oil is correct, and i’ll just say, i asked the same question and it worked out fine. stir in the shrimp paste, tumeric and paprika. add in the flaked fish, be gentle with mixing, cook on low for an additional 5 minutes.

returning to the pot of broth, add the fish mixture to it. next, throw in the mashed chickpeas and chopped red onions. season with fish sauce to taste. stir to combine, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

to serve:
cook vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. divvy into soup bowls.

ladle soup over noodles, being sure to add in chunks of flaked fish.

top with half hard boiled egg and generous smattering of chopped cilantro.
spritz with lime juice.

BAM!

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup

3 years ago: coffee chocolate chip ice cream
2 years ago: carne rustida de navidad
1 year ago: spiced mexican cookies

curried broccoli & cheese soup

Curried Broccoli & Cheese Soup

it’s been an emotional week –
i would be remiss to not mention
the historic shit show that is happening
in American politics right now.
i’ve cried more in the last 6 days than i care to admit
i’ve broken up with people on facebook
i spent the first 24 hours gathering grace,
the next 24 hours cowering,
and now i’m ready to tread out to the deep end.

as the late rufus scrimgeour said:
These are dark times, there is no denying.
Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today.
But I say this to our citizenry:
We, ever your servants,
will continue to defend your liberty
and repel the forces that seek to take it from you!
Your Ministry remains, strong.
(Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling)

stretch in the direction of kindness,
forgiveness, emotional bravery.
be a warrior for love.
(dear sugar, Cheryl Strayed)

Curried Broccoli & Cheese Soup

curried broccoli & cheese soup
serves 2 for a week of lunches

note: the curry flavor is subtle, green curry can be spicy and the coconut milk and cheese tempers it, leaving a rather pleasant heat. you can up the amount if you want, i found that 2 TBL was enough.

healthy splash of olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 cups veggie stock
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2 TBL green curry paste, i’ve been using this brand and it’s spicy AF, i like this brand too.
4 cups broccoli florets + stems
2 large carrots, match-sticked
salt/pepper to taste
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese, we use cabot extra sharp cus it clear states that it’s lactose free

in a pot, heat up about 1-2 TBL of olive oil. saute the onions until translucent, with generous pinch of salt/pepper. at this point, you can remove the onions or you can be lazy like me and just push them to the side of the pan. drizzle in a healthy glug of more olive oil, about 3-4 TBL worth and then sprinkle in the spelt flour. you’re aiming to make a roux, so make sure that all the flour is incorporated in the fat. if you aren’t diligent about whisking/stirring it, it’ll get brown, which is fine but the color of your soup will be darker, the taste will be fine though. either way, make sure you fully incorporate the flour with the oil and it’s thick/pasty. add in the stock and coconut milk, as well as the green curry paste. whisk to incorporate the roux and the curry paste together. bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium and add in the broccoli, carrots and garlic. simmer til the vegs are tender, anywhere from 15-20 minutes. the soup will be thick, it can be thinned with a bit of water/stock if necessary. add in the grated cheese and stir through.

ladle into bowls and top with extra cheese if you’re feeling fancy.

BAM!

Curried Broccoli & Cheese Soup

3 years ago: blueberry jam danishes
2 years ago: chickpea & sausage stew (using the same props!)(my style has not changed much)
1 year ago: only one thing last year, vegan carrot cake

vegan mapo tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu

every four years,
i’m surprised when election time arrives,
the level of vitriol increasing incrementally,
this latest season reaching obscene heights.
i became a citizen just in time
to vote in a historical president,
and it seems like we’re on the cusp of
voting in another historical president.
(at the time i wrote this post,
we did not know who the new president would be.)
mayhap with the passing of this season
things will settle,
be less contentious,
our facebook feed will go back to
cat postings
and finally,
i’ll catch up on the Brange drama;
though i wonder in the aftermath
of such hate,
and the tacit permission to be so unkind,
i wonder what the consequences will look like?

growing up tofu was consumed fairly often,
it’s nutritious and cheap.
lentils is a relatively new addition to my repertoire,
it’s also nutritious and cheap.
combining the two,
a western ingredient in an asian dish,
seems about right in this climate.

if only we could be so kind
in the blending of our cultures.

Vegan Mapo Tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu
drawn from these sources: lady&pups, lucky peach, and burp! appetite.

note: you won’t use all the chili bean paste oil, it can be stored in fridge for a long time, used to top other dishes, like ramen or dandan noodles.
it’s spicy AF, dw was like, WHY IS THIS DISH SO ANGRY?!
note**: i’ve made this a few times, with/out the chili oil, with meat or with lentils, it changes depending on what we have in the pantry. what is the always the same is the tofu, i’m a firm tofu lover, the silken/soft stuff makes me mad. another thing, i always use the french lentils because they hold their shape better.

chili bean paste oil
1 cup of grapeseed oil
1 – 2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
2 TBL chili pepper flakes

combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat at medium. with a spoon break the paste as best you can and fry for about 5 minutes, until the flakes turn brown. take off heat and cool completely. strain into a clean jar/container. keep in fridge until use.

the main event
1 package of firm tofu, wrapped in kitchen towel & pressed down with something heavy to draw out excess water
1/2 cup of lentils, i used black/french, cooked (cooked in water for about 30 minutes)
splash of oil
a knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced/minced dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water
2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
splash of chinese shao-xing wine, rice wine is fine
splash of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of ground sichuan peppercorn, i use penzeys
1 – 2 cups of veg stock
1 TBL cornstarch + 2 TBL cold water

after tofu’s been pressed of excess liquid, cube it and set aside.

heat up a large skillet with some oil and the ginger and garlic, take care to not burn. add in the lentils, along with the mushroom and douban paste. stir it through so that the lentils are fully mixed with the paste. add in the shao-xing wine, dark sauce and ground peppercorn. cook it through for a minute or so and then add the stock and tofu cubes. lower the heat and allow to simmer until reduced by half. (i like my chinese dishes liquidy cus i enjoy pouring the sauce over rice). add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. gently mix everything and the liquid is fully thickened, and transfer to serving bowl.

top with a tablespoon or so of the chili oil, heated in a small pan. serve with hot rice.

BAM!

Vegan Mapo Tofu

3 years ago: chicken pho
2 years ago: za’atar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
1 year ago: only one thing last year, vegan carrot cake

lemongrass chicken & rice soup

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

we celebrated autumn super early this year,
like,
butt-crack of september early.
not because it was cold,
but because there was a Chicken Soup Contest
that i had to enter
and i needed to tweak the recipe.
for 3 weeks straight
poor dw had to eat chicken soup for lunch.
further,
he had to analyze what it was lacking,
and what i could do to fix that lacking.

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

dw was by my side the entire event,
helped set up,
calmed my nerves,
and assisted with the ladling.
(he also reminded me to look gracious
when i didn’t win ALLLLLL the categories #TigerChild)
i even sent him out to spy on my fellow competitors.
alas,
we walked away with the
“Director’s Choice Award”
(he was so adorably proud #MyBiggestFan)
we have a week’s worth
of leftover soup for lunch,
dw has requested no soup after this week,
and i’m already brainstorming for next year.

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

lemongrass chicken & rice soup
serves 6-8
keeps in fridge for a week, perfect for lunches.

*note: it looks like a lot. if it’s too long, you don’t want to read and you’re strapped for time, use boxed/canned chicken stock and infuse the lemongrass/ginger/garlic/kefir lime leaves by simmering them in for about 30 minuntes. it’s cheating, but it’ll do the trick.
*due to this being a jewish contest, the rules were that the ingredients be kosher. kosher rotisserie chicken is brined, so there’s an added saltiness. for the first 2 weeks we used regular plain rotisserie chicken and upped the fish sauce amount. for the last 2 weeks, i decreased the fish sauce amount, just be sure to season to taste accordingly.
*note: the garnishes are clutch — the lime and cilantro adds freshness. don’t skimp on that.
*late note: to keep the flavor of lemongrass etc in the soup throughout the week, keep the extra flavoring pieces in, fishing them out just before serving. if you take them out sooner, the soup still tastes great, but it’s milder.

homemade stock:
1-2 kosher chicken carcasses, depending on how big they are
3 large carrots, washed, tips trimmed and rough chopped
3 stalks of celery, washed and rough chopped
6 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and slightly bruised
2″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
3-4 garlic gloves, whole but slightly smashed
handful of kefir lime leaves
1 small-medium onion, quartered
3-4 red thai chilis, whole and scored
palm-full of whole black peppercorns
water

soup:
2-3 carrots, washed, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
meat of kosher rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup rice
1/8-1/4 cup kosher fish sauce (i used Red Boat)
1 TBL oil, olive oil or grapeseed

extra flavoring:
2-3 lemongrass stalks, slightly bruised
1″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
1-2 garlic cloves, slightly smashed
1/2 small onion, cut in half
1-2 red thai chilis, whole and scored
splash of neutral oil, like grapeseed

garnish:
limes
chopped cilantro
chopped red chili (very, very optional)

in a crock pot, add all the stock ingredients in and add water till it covers everything. lid, turn on low and walk away. i’ve done it for as short of amount as 4 hours and for as long as over night (about 7-8 hours). strain and set aside.

to make the extra flavoring, in a small frying pan gently warm a splash of oil and saute all the ingredients. be gentle, you’re just warming the ingredients through so they can release their aroma and flavor. keep on low, kinda sorta ignore and every so often move the ingredients around so they don’t feel neglected and burn.

in a big pot, heat up the oil and saute the diced onion until softened, you’re not looking to caramelize it though so be careful. add in the minced garlic, carrots and celery and mix thoroughly. carefully pour in the stock. add in the extra flavoring & shredded chicken, and bring to a boil.

lower heat.

add in the 1/2 cup of rice, stir, lid and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

season with fish sauce, to taste.

at this point, you can fish out the random flavorings, or just avoid them when ladling the soup.

serve with lime wedges and topped with chopped cilantro and chopped red chili.

BAM!

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

3 years ago: how to make bouillon cubes
2 years ago: blueberry swirl + coconut macaroons
1 year ago: apparently, i didn’t do shit last year.

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

i’ve been doing yoga consistently for 2 months
which is to say,
i go once a week.
that’s a big deal.
it’s part of my
I’m Getting Old AF concession
so i do the crusty bendy breathing stuff
and my dr doesn’t give me shit for being lazy.
speaking of lazy though,
i have been lax this summer with cooking.
i tend to make a big pile of food
and call it lunch for the week.

when Friends of Great Kids Farm reached out to me
to participate in a back to school healthy lunch challenge
i was going to decline.
i sat on it for a day and decided to join after all.
i pack a lunch for dw + me everyday,
it’s hard sometimes when i’m uninspired or tired.
i’m assuming it’s like that for everyone,
whether you’re a parent,
or just feeding yourself.
this particular week’s lunch is a repeat,
i make it often because
it’s easy
affordable
nutritious
delicious.
what do you usually have for lunch?

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Friends of Great Kids Farm is a 501(c)3 foundation partner to Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Friends financially supports, enhances, and promotes the Farm’s experiential gardening and nutrition education and career training programs to benefit as many of Baltimore City Schools’ 85,000 students as possible. In 2008, an overgrown, unused property owned by City Schools was transformed into a working farm and dynamic outdoor classroom. This unique facility now provides: a working farm where students connect with healthy foods through cross-curricular, hands-on learning activities; fresh produce for school cafeterias and nutrition education programs; a professional kitchen where students cook and taste Farm produce guided by a chef educator; classrooms for healthy food demonstrations and tastings linked to core instruction; internships for high school students in agriculture and the culinary arts; and support for the development of schoolyard gardens throughout the district. The Back to School Healthy Lunch Campaign seeks to bring attention to healthy eating and support innovative education with local creativity.

for more information, hit up
Back to School Healthy Lunch Challenge

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing

*note: this salad is never the same every time, it’s usually whatever is available at the markets and offered from our csa and the season. you’re aiming for a balance of freshness, tart & salty & sweet, and most important: your preference. if you’re feeling fancy, add some kind of protein, ranging from grilled chicken to chickpeas to tofu. sometimes, time allowing, i add a hard boiled egg. if you’re super fancy, cook the quinoa in stock for even more flavor.
**note: any miso paste is fine, i have the mellow brown rice miso but i’ve used red, yellow or white before, it’s according to your flavor preferences.
***note: this dish is best as a leftover and at room temp, which makes it a perfect lunch. the flavors meld and you’re not having to worry about heating it up. if making for a picnic or potluck, make it the day before, so it makes for a stress free dish.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced fine
1/4 small red onion or shallot, diced
1 carrot, shredded
bunch chopped cilantro
3 stalks scallions, diced
sunflower seeds, optional
cashews or peanuts, very optional
lime wedges, to garnish at the end
toasted sesame seeds

DRESSING
1/2 cup tahini
1 2″ knob of ginger, freshly grated
3 TBL tamari or coconut nectar (or soy sauce)
1 TBL maple syrup
2 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste
water to thin

rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under cool water for a few minutes.

cook quinoa + amaranth according to quinoa package instructions. adding the amaranth doesn’t change cooking time. fluff, set aside to cool.

mise en place everything that you’re wanting to add to the salad.

to make the dressing, use a big bowl to mix everything, or use a vitamix to do the heavy mixing. add in the tahini & miso paste with a splash of water. blitz it up until well incorporated, the aim is to break down the miso. add in the rest of the dressing ingredients, with splash of water if needed. i shoot for 3/4 cup to a full cup of dressing, season to taste.

in a big mixing bowl, add in the quinoa with the vegs. drizzle the dressing in, starting off with just half of it and mix through. you can add as much as you want, keeping in mind that the quinoa will absorb it. you don’t want soup though. you may not use up all the dressing, and it makes for great dipping or regular salad dressing.

top with diced scallions, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds or cashews/peanuts if using. spritz with lime juice.

serve cold or room temp.

BAM!

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

3 years ago: chicken masala
2 years ago: spice poached pears
1 year ago: steamed egg loaf