Fresh Rolls

Merry Christmas! I hope you all were very nice this year :-)

For my holidays and special events, my family loves to go to this Thai restaurant in Beaverton, Oregon called Typhoon. I decided to keep the Thai food tradition alive this year and planned on making fresh rolls and pad thai for Christmas Eve. But, working till 11:15 PM the night before and opening at 6:45 AM on Christmas Eve, plus having to come home and clean my whole apartment on top of cooking…. yeah, didn’t work out. I invited a friend from work over for dinner and after making the fresh rolls decided that was all the cooking I could do for one night. But they came out pretty good. I based this recipe off one from Alton Brown on his show Good Eats. Here’s the video of his version (skip ahead to 5:00):

I forgot to cut the noodles before cooking like he did, but I didn’t notice a real difference. I also cooked my noodle a bit too long so they were softer than I would have liked, but no big deal. Also, I obviously did not use shrimp, but tofu instead. Overall, I really liked this. Next time I will try wrapping them in lettuce like he did.

This makes 8 decent sized rolls.

Fresh Rolls
8 rice paper wrappers
1/4 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into bit sized cubes
2 tbs soy sauce
The juice of half a lime
1 tps chili sauce
3 bundles of vermicelli mung bean noodles
1/4 cup of cucumbers, sliced into strips like Alton does in the video (I forgot these actually but I could tell how they would have rounded out the flavor)
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
Bean Sprouts
Cilantro, removed from stem
Thai basil, removed from stem (I forgot this too but once again, I see how it would have made the rolls even better)

Drain and cube the tofu.

Put it to a large bowl and add the soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together well and set aside.

Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes. You can cut the noodles first like Alton did in the video but I didn’t.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once the water boils, cook according to the directions on the package.

Once cooked, drain and let them cool. Then add to the tofu mixture and coat well with the sauce.

Cut the cucumber and carrots into thin strip. Remove the cilantro and basil from the stems.

Now time to assemble, I didn’t take many photos during assembly because it was hard to rolls and shoot at the same time.

First soak the rice paper wrap in warm water for 10 seconds.

Remove and drain from the water, then lay on flat surface.

Along the bottom edge of the side closest too you, put down about 2 tablespoons of the noodle and tofu mixture. Make sure to leave a little bit of the edge free.

Next add put on a few cucumber and carrots sticks.

Now add a few bean spouts.

Lastly put on some cilantro and basil.

Now, like Alton says in the video, roll it up like a burrito. Start by rolling the top around first, then bring the sides in and then continue to roll over until closed.

Set a on a tray and cover with a damp cloth while you prepare the rest of the rolls.

I made a dipping sauce of soy sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce. And we had them with some sparkling wine.  A very lovely and light dish. I have more wrappers so I will making this again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope you had a lovely and festive day surrounded by those you love. And I hope santa brought you everything you asked for!

P.S. Speaking of Santa, I got a juicer so look out for some juice recipes soon.

My juicer with Penny fascinated by the bubbles in the wine.

Pad Thai Fettuccine

I am not quiet sure how or why I came up with this dish, but it was sure tasty! It is like a mix between pad thai and pasta primivera.  Really easy to make too.

Pad Thai Fettuccine 
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tps garlic powder
1 tps onion powder
1 tbs chili powder
1/8 cup jarred jalapenos (less or more to depending on personal heat level)
1/2 box fettuccine (or enough for four servings, most boxes are actually 8)
Assorted veggies, fresh or frozen (I used a bag of stir fry mix but try any veggies you would put in Pad Thai)

Put a large covered pot of water on the stove to boil.


Toss the stewed tomatoes, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and jalapenos into the blender and blend until smooth. Taste it and adjust seasoning to your tastes. I added a little more chili powder because I like it spicy.

Once your water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Heat up (or cook if you are using fresh) the veggies in a skillet with a bit of cooking spray or oil.

Add the cooked veggies to the pasta pot. Pour in the sauce and mix well.

I topped mine with a few more jalapenos and chili powder. A very lovely and easy dinner!

Yellow Vegetable Curry

I LOVE coconut curry. Red, green, yellow—doesn’t matter, I love them all. I fell in love with curry the moment I tasted the Green Curry from Sweet Basil in Eugene, Oregon. Eggplant, bamboo shoots, and green peppers is my favorite combination.  It’s my ultimate comfort food—and it will definitely clear-out your sinuses if you get it hot enough. I eat it so often that I’ve had to up my spice level from medium to hot recently. Curry is still good mild, so don’t let it scare you away. Fresh vegetables smothered in a creamy sauce over fragrant rice, what’s not to love?  

There are tons of good curry recipes out there and after trying several of them, came up with this recipe based on my own tastes. Because it is fairly basic, you can easily adjust it to your preferences. You can put in your favorite veggies and toppings.

As for the hot level, every teaspoon of chili sauce will kick it up a notch. For mild, one teaspoon. Medium, two. And hot, three. And for Thai hot (I am still working my way up to that), four or five.

I strongly suggest if you have never had curry before, to go with only one teaspoon. It would be a shame if it was too hot for you to enjoy.

 

Not as thick as the can stuff, but still good.

Most recipes call for canned coconut milk. Don’t bother with “light” coconut milk. It’s just watered down and usually costs more. If you want to cut down on calories, water it down yourself and save some money.  I came across boxed coconut milk from So Delicious today and thought I would try it in the curry. It was the same price as a can but 3 times the amount. It’s not as concentrated but I did not notice a big difference in the sauce. By the way, they make AMAZING ice cream too.

Yellow Vegetable Curry
Olive or peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1 can or 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tbs sugar (optional, but I like mine a bit sweet)
1 tbs yellow curry powder or 1/2 tbs yellow curry paste
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs tumeric
1/2 cinnamon
1 tbs soy sauce
1 to 4 tps chili sauce (can be sweet or standard), depending on personal hotness level
3 Japanese eggplant
1 cup fresh green beans
2 red or green peppers
3 carrots

I used 3 and 1/2 tsp, I like to sweat after my curry

Saute garlic and ginger in a little oil, until slightly golden. Add coconut milk, sugar, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and soy sauce. Whisk together, then add desired amount of chili sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.
                               

         
Chop all the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Remember to snap the ends off the green beans.

I really suggest using fresh veggies, frozen ones get too soggy in the curry sauce. I got all my veggies, except the carrots, from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Always try to buy local organic produce if you can, it really does taste better and it’s always good to support local businesses. If these veggies aren’t in season where you live, use ones that are, it will be just as good. I’m lucky to live in a tropical climate that grows most veggies all year round.

Saute the veggies in a little oil over medium heat, just until the carrots soften a bit and the eggplant starts to sweat. Don’t over cook them now, they will get too mushy in the sauce.

Pour the curry sauce in with the veggies and mix together well. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring as needed so it doesn’t burn.

Curry is so delicious that you can eat it on its own, but it goes great over a grain too. I served mine over brown rice. I also suggest jasmine rice, mainly because it smells so amazing.

Like my new bowl?

Fresh basil on top is a wonderful addition…but I forgot to buy some at the store.

Curry is also wonderful for your health. Here is an article from USA Today I found awhile back. And check out good ol’ Wikipedia for its article on curry too.

Behold the power of spices

Pad Thai Pizza

Every Friday night, my mom makes homemade pizza. She’s perfected it over the years and it’s beyond amazing. I am still working on my pizza skills but mine isn’t bad either.  I found a recipe Veg Web for Tofu Broccoli Peanut Pizza and I decided to make my own version. This pizza has no cheese.  I don’t like the texture of most vegan cheeses. When mixed in with things they are great, but most don’t melt well so I don’t like them on my pizza. This pizza is so good you don’t even need it.

Pad Thai Pizza
Pizza crust (store bought is just fine but here is a link for a nice homemade one that explains it better than I can)


Sauce:
1 tbs peanut butter (either smooth or chunky is fine)
1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or jarred, as long as it’s kind of thick)
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tps cumin
1/2 tps tumeric
1/4  tps ginger powder
1/4 tps garlic salt powder
1/4 tps red pepper flake

Toppings:
1/4 cup fresh basil (not dried, it really does not taste the same)
1/2 cup extra firm tofu, drain and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Fresh lime

Preheat oven to 450 degrees or the temperature specified for your dough if you are making your own. Since the pizza has no cheese to melt, it’s best to pre-bake the dough first, about 10-15 minutes.

While it’s baking, mix all the sauce ingredients together. It should make a gooey paste, similar to Pad Thai sauce.

When the crust is done prebaking, spread the sauce on in a thick coating. Then add the toppings. I usually put the basil down first so it’s doesn’t burn, then veggies and the tofu on top last.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until toppings are heated through. Remember, this is not a normal pizza. It will not get bubbly so don’t leave it in too long because it will just burn.

Squirt with a little lime juice, just like you would for Pad Thai, cut and enjoy!

You could also top it with bean spouts, cilantro, or any other Pad Thai toppings.