Friday, April 24, 2020

Sesame Ramen Salad






Forget about the ramen noodles you used to buy in college (although you could certainly use them in this recipe should you desire). I'm partial to Lotus Foods' Organic Millet and Brown Rice Ramen Noodles. Delicious, healthy stuff that is an everyday item at Costco (at least it was pre-pandemic).



This "Taste of Home" recipe is a really interesting collection of ingredients...especially since I would never have thought about using spicy Italian Sausage in an Asian salad. But it works really well as the heat of the sausage is an interesting contrast to the refreshing veggies and lime-sesame dressing.



INGREDIENTS

For the Salad
3 ramen noodle cakes
6 cups boiling water
1 pound of bulk, hot Italian sausage
3 green onions, sliced (green and white parts)
3 cups snow peas, halved
1-1/2 cups julienned carrots
4 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

For the Dressing
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar (or honey)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 green onions, chopped (white parts only)


DIRECTIONS

  1. Break ramen noodles into quarters and place in a large bowl. Cover noodles with hot water; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2.  Drain noodles; rinse with cold water. Drain well and return to bowl.
  3. In a large skillet, cook and crumble sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add sausage, snow peas, carrots and peanuts to the bowl of ramen noodles.
  6. Add dressing to salad and toss thoroughly. Serve.





Wine pairing: Zinfandel


Grogs and Goldie, 1956







Saturday, April 11, 2020

Tabbouleh





I am obsessed with Tabbouleh (pronounced tuh BOO lee). While the recipe originated in the Middle East, it uses farm fresh ingredients you can find everyday at your local farmer's market or grocery store. It is essentially a parsley and bulgur wheat salad, with supporting roles from tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, onion and lemon juice. I make it from scratch and have it for lunch virtually everyday.




The only downside to the salad is that it requires a lot of dicing. I'm not a huge fan of dicing, as it is tedious. I especially dislike dicing tomatoes by hand...for that is the pinnacle of tediosity. So I went and bought myself a commercial dicer...a Nemco Easy Chopper 2. What used to take a lot of minutes can now be done in seconds. Be still my heart.


Ingredients
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 medium cucumber, diced
3 medium roma tomatoes, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
1 medium bunch curly parsley
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
1 medium garlic clove, pressed



Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine bulgur wheat and 3/4 cup boiling water. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the diced cucumber, tomato and onion in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes.
  3. To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems. Then, finely chop the parsley and remaining stems and mint leaves—you can do this by hand, but it’s much easier in a food processor with the standard “S” blade. Transfer the chopped parsley and mint to a bowl.
  4. Add the cooled bulgur and chopped fresh mint to the bowl of parsley and mint. Strain off and discard the cucumber, tomato and onion juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl (this ensures that your tabbouleh isn’t too watery). Add the strained cucumber, tomato and onion to the bowl.
  5. In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—add another tablespoon of lemon juice for zing or salt for more overall flavor.
  6. Let the salad rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator before serving to let the flavors mingle.  Tabbouleh will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.

Note: To make a bigger batch of Tabbouleh, just double the ingredient list.



Grogs and Goldie, 1956





Saturday, April 4, 2020

Lemon Pasta with Tuna





I'm a huge fan of the video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare". My favorite mode in this game is called "Warzone". It's premise is quite simple. You and 149 other enemy soldiers jump out of a plane and parachute to the ground below. The only item in your possession is a very weenie handgun. So the minute you hit the ground, you have to frenetically scavenge for equipment. Assault rifles, sniper rifles, machine guns, grenades, claymores, etc. In video game vernacular it is called "looting". Without the right loot, you will not fare very well. (If you are playing the team version of this game, you want Tim Blackstone on your side. When it comes to looting, he is the GOAT!)

We are all now sheltering in place. The challenges associated with that have allowed me to take my Call of Duty scavenging skills and apply them to real life. I've managed to keep a good inventory of food and necessary items by using my computer to loot. I'm using Amazon, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Instacart, Grubhub, Total Wine and Door Dash to deliver loot to my door. So far so good. It's challenging, fun and chews up a lot of time...which we all have in abundance.

While getting fresh food has not been difficult, I find that I still rely a lot on my pantry at meal time. Thankfully, I have a lot of Cento tuna and Garofalo pasta on hand...as well as bottles of Costco's Italian Volcano Lemon Juice. So when I found this recipe on "The Home Cook's Kitchen" blog...I was good to go. No scavenging necessary.


Ingredients
4 ounces fettuccini( or other pasta)
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
10 ounces canned tuna (Cento recommended)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Parmesan cheese


Directions
  1. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions, in lightly salted water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tuna, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, red onion and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Taste and adjust lemon juice, salt and pepper accordingly.
  4. Combine tuna with warm pasta.
  5. Serve with a dusting of Parmesan cheese.




Wine pairing: Merlot


Grogs and Goldie, 1956