Friday, April 27, 2012

Thai Noodle Soup (vegan)

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I love Thailand. We have traveled to “the land of smiles” twice and are planning several more trips. The fresh food of Thailand is just the icing on the cake of beautiful beaches, friendly locals and stunning jungles. One of our favorite things to get for lunch in Thailand is the noodle soup. It is usually sold at the street carts and full of fresh local ingredients. More often than not Thai’s use oyster sauce or fish oil to flavor their soups. After several tries I think I have a recipe for our beloved noodle soup that is animal free. This soup was light, aromatic and very tasty. Our house smelled of Thailand and the flavors were reminiscent as well. Although I loved this particular recipe, I will continue to perfect it and let you know if I come up with new ingredients. 
Broth ingredients:
8 cups vegetable broth
3 shallots peeled and halved
2 leeks cleaned and chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole
2 inches of ginger peeled and cut into about 6 chunks
4 cups dried Shitake mushrooms
1 cup carrots chopped
3 bay leaves
1 handful of basil, stems included
1 handful of cilantro, stems included
6 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Hoison sauce
1 tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs maple syrup
Topping ingredients:
1 cup basil chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 cup beans sprouts
1/4 cup green onion chopped
2 cups cabbage chopped and steamed
3-4 cup of cooked brown rice noodles

In a large pot combine all broth ingredients. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover the broth and let it simmer for at least 2 hours.
When broth is done cooking strain all vegetables and return the broth to the pot. In another pot cook the noodles. In a third pot steam cabbage for about 5 minutes and set aside.
Once everything is cooked it is time to assemble. Start by putting noodles in your bowl with desired amount of basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, green onion and cabbage. Ladle over your Thai broth and then it is ready to serve.
Yield 4-6 servings

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Grilled Cabbage, Red Onion and Tomato

Cabbage is in its peak season right now in California. I usually love to add this green veggie to soups and stews but today I choose to break out the stove top grill. I added some red onion and tomato to the grill along with the cabbage and decided I had the prefect makings for a grilled cheese. I used sourdough bread and gruyere cheese for this sandwich and it paired perfectly with the cabbage. 


2-3 large leaves of cabbage
1 slice of red onion cut to about 1/4 inch thick
2 sliced of tomato cut to about 1/4 inch thick
1 tbs olive oil
2 slices of sourdough bread
1/2-3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 pinch of salt and pepper

 Heat your grill to medium low heat. Lightly brush the cabbage, red onion and tomato with olive oil. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the cabbage and red onion on the grill and let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Place the tomato on the grill and let cook for about 1 minute on each side. Once veggies have cooked brush olive oil over each side of the sour dough bread. To assemble sprinkle a little cheese then add cabbage, a little more cheese, add tomato, a little more cheese and add onion topped with the rest of the cheese and the the last slice of bread. Place the grilled cheese on the grill and cover with a pot lid. Let cook on medium low for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Then it is ready to serve. Yields 1 grilled cheese

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Baked Falafel

Falafel is such a versatile food. It can be served fried, over salad, in a pita, mixed with veggies, and so on. I tried frying this recipe but I always had a hard time keeping the balls together and not making the falafel taste oily. Baking these delicious protein packed falafel not only helps to keep their shape but makes them healthier and lighter. This recipe is vegan friendly and super easy.


1 16 oz can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tsp tahini paste
3 tbs whole wheat flour
1/2-3/4 tsp of salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Using a food processor or a blender combine chick peas, onion and garlic and begin to blend lightly. Add flat leaf parsley, flour, salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil and baking powder. Blend all ingredients together. (If you like chunky falafel don’t blend too much.) Once you are finished spray your baking sheet with cooking spray. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to make falafel balls and place them on your baking sheet. Put into the oven for 12 minutes on each side for a total of 24 minutes baking. Then they are ready to serve.

Yields 10 falafel

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese "Bar"

Our little family has been run down with just about every flu bug there is lately. Thankfully everyone is feeling better and starting to get their appetites back. So I decided to make the world greatest comfort food, macaroni and cheese! This is always a hit and it definitely put smiles on my boys faces. Whenever we have macaroni and cheese I set i up “bar style”. With dishes of fresh and steamed veggies and hot sauces so everyone can make their macaroni and cheese they way like. I usually like to use gruyere cheese for this recipe but it is so expensive. I found a gruyere cheddar combo at Traders Joe’s for half the price and it worked prefect. Along with that I also used mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I think these cheeses make the best flavor.


1 16 oz box of your favorite pasta
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup white onion very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup gruyere cheese grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
1 cup parmesan cheese grated
*chop and cook your favorite veggies to add for you bar. I like to use fresh basil, tomatoes and steamed asparagus.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil and butter in a large deep pan on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper. Saute together for about 10 minutes until the onion starts to turn a light golden. Sprinkle over the flour and use a wire wisk to dissolve the flour into the onion and garlic. Add milk and continue to mix with your wisk until the mixture starts to thicken or for about 3-5 minutes. Then slowly sprinkle in all your cheeses. Give them time to dissolve into the milk and thicken. If you feel that your cheese mixture is getting too thick stop adding cheese and maybe add some pasta water. If you feel it is too thin, then add more cheese. Continue to mix the entire time until the cheeses and milk have come together to make a thick and creamy sauce. Then ladle in the pasta, mix well and serve with your favorite sides.

Yields 6-8 servings