Eat Cold Noodles.

This was a last-minute-throw-it-together-kind-of-meal before I ran out the door to go to Chinese class. A successful, hearty meal can be made in eight minutes.

I’ve been experimenting with mixing different sauces and condiments together to replicate the cold noodles I used to eat all the time during the summer I spent in Taiwan. This is the closest I’ve gotten, and though it’s still off on something, it was a pretty close hit.

Cold Noodles.

2 bunches dried Chinese noodles
1 T crunchy peanut butter (Chinese sesame paste also works)
1/2 T soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 T honey or corn syrup or other sweetener
1/4 tsp sriracha
Chicken/Vegetable stock (eyeball this–only enough to make the sauce smooth and more liquid)

Optional: Garnish with vegetables, tofu, marinated cooked meat, kimchi, whatever your heart desires. I topped my bowl with kongxin cai (recipe below) and kimchi because I’m a kimchi-fool.

Cook noodles according to package. Drain and douse with ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside with a touch of sesame oil mixed in to keep from sticking.

Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sriracha and stock together in a small bowl. Pour over noodles. Enjoy.

Noodle Bowl with 空心菜 and Kimchi

Kongxin Cai 空心菜

3 handfuls of kongxin cai (also known as water spinach or hollow stem vegetable in English)*, rinsed, dried and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 head of garlic (lots and lots of garlic), sliced
Salt (to taste)

Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the garlic until fragrant. Saute the kongxin cai until wilted and cooked through. Salt to taste.

*I’ve only been able to find kongxin cai in Asian grocery stores.

Eat Masoor Dal.

Sometimes you just need to get away. So I hopped on the 7:30am Megabus (which, by the way, they changed the station location of in DC–way to throw me off, Megabus gods) to Philly, hopped on the Septa to Trenton and hopped on NJ Transit to PTJ on Friday morning. I arrived by lunchtime only to hop in my friend’s car to drive the bf to JFK for his 5:30pm flight to SFO and drop off another friend in NYC. Arrived back at exit 8A by 6pm. Then I hopped in the car with my parents to go to Asbury Park for the weekend.

That was a lot of hopping and a lot of acronyms. Apologies.

By Saturday I was thoroughly fed up with any sort of transportation besides my own two feet and awoke anticipating a full day of blobbing on the beach. “No no no,” said Mr. Weatherman. Overcast. Mist. Humidity. Cold. Blah. After a brief walk on the sand and boardwalk, breakfast and some rum raisin ice cream, I slept for the greater part of the afternoon on the couch in my parents’ friend’s beach house and called it a day.

Sunday I awoke carpe diem. After some brief yoga and an Exercise TV workout video (“Piloxing”. Yup. That’s a thing. It’s going to be the next zumba, I can feel it), my mother and I went to the local farm to pick some peas. We picked both the sugarsnap and podded varieties (and ate about half once we returned home).

Stults Farm - NJ

We also took a trip to the new Indian market in town. I swear it’s on Rt 130, though I can’t find any announcements online and I can’t quite remember the name–started with a ‘P’ as far as I can recall. ANYWHO, this market was a trip! Their frozen section is mind-boggling, stocked with vegetables I’ve never even heard of, samosas, paratha, roti, mango ice cream, gulab jamun, and a bazillion other strange edibles. There is an entire aisle devoted to different types of flours, and another to spices, and another to rice. AND they play Bollywood music as you shop. It’s also located next to a Bollywood hair salon. Is my brown showing yet? No? Please listen.

By the time I finally arrived back in DC, I was so inspired I made masoor dal at 11:00 at night. I loosely followed a recipe I found on recipezaar.com. Ultimately, the dish had great flavor, though it lacked the heat normally found in Indian dishes. Next time I will up the chili content. For those who prefer a mild lentil dish, however, this one is for you! I’ve eaten it now for lunch and breakfast with parathas I bought at the market.

Parathas from the freezer section

Ingredients (some of them...and you don't need garam masala)

An Inspired Masoor Dal

1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 green chili pepper, chopped (I recommend more)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 T oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 dried red chili, broken into pieces with seeds removed
1 pinch garlic powder
1/2 lime, juiced (can sub lemon)

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add lentils. When it comes to a boil again, cook for five minutes uncovered, then turn the heat down and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add salt, ginger, chili, coriander, tumeric, and chopped tomatoes. Cook for ten more minutes until lentils are very soft. Turn heat down to low.

In a small pan, heat oil until very hot. Add mustard seeds. When they have finished popping, add chili pieces and garlic powder. Pour hot oil into lentil pot, stir and cover quickly.

Turn heat off and let sit for five minutes. Add lime juice and adjust seasons accordingly.

Breakfast! Masoor dal with a heated paratha

This dish is best completed

1) While drinking this:

It's all the rage in India, scouts' honor. Cough.

2) While Skyping with your best friend back home. Who probably knows more about masoor dal than you do and can shake her head exasperatedly while you do silly things, like adding canned tomatoes apparently (FRESH, DUH). And also entertains you with spontaneous cartoon drawings. Speaking of, can I get a copy of those, jp730?

**SleeperD

Eat Korean Tacos.

DC’s first Truckeroo event was held this past Friday at Navy Yard by National’s Stadium. About fifteen DC food trucks gathered at the biergarten, offering up their specialties in one convenient location. The boyfriend and I made our way across town for an early dinner before meeting up with some with friends for jazz in the Sculpture Garden. We were a little surprised to find so few trucks there, but one truck in particular made up for the rather sparse showing. I was really excited to finally try Takorean, DC’s version of the LA-original Kogi BBQ food truck, which serves Korean tacos. We ordered one of each type of meat (chicken, beef, and tofu(?)) with “the works,” kimchi slaw with a creamy lime dressing. Price $3/taco or $8/3 tacos.

 

TaKorean Bulgogi Taco

We both agreed the beef version was the best.

We also agreed that we could do better.

Flash forward to Saturday night. We made a quick trip to H Mart, the Korean grocery in nearby Silver Spring, MD for the ingredients. We also decided to experiment a bit more with flavors and condiments.

A glass of pinot grigio pairs well with this meal. BTW, who else loves my buckets of kimchi?!?!

Peter & Danielle’s Korean Tacos:
8 corn tortillas
Slices of round eye beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and black pepper (can substitute chicken, pork, tofu, etc.)
Mango salsa (see recipe below)
Sliced cabbage kimchi
8 slices of bacon (turkey bacon works well too)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Hoisin (optional)
Sriracha (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Mango Salsa:
2 champagne mangos, peeled and diced
6 chopped scallions (or red onion)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lime

Prepare mango salsa and set aside (can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated). Prepare condiments. Heat corn tortillas in a skillet. Keep warm in an 100°F oven. Sear beef in a touch of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Place aside.
Cook bacon in pan.

Assemble tacos to your taste!

My favorite combination included all of the above :)

Is it Mexican? Korean? I DON'T KNOW!! But it sure does taste like a fiesta in my mouth!

Eat & Sleep & Everything in Between.

Step right up, one-and-all, to my newest blog! You can find earlier adventures and musings here at http://crackingtheegg.wordpress.com, my attempt to come to grips with my own identity, and the identities of the strange people around me, as I traversed East Asia for a year.

Surprise! Life went on after that final Cracking the Egg post. I continued–and continue–to eat & sleep, and in between those activities I returned to the U.S., graduated college, gained some weight, did some bit-traveling around motherland, figured out what I want to do with my life, and so on. This blog is an attempt to excavate those in-betweens without forgetting the eating and sleeping part.

It’s an attempt to live life
a little healthier, a little dreamier, and a little richer.

Crusing America - Navy Pier, Chicago, IL - 06.2011

More personally, I plan to use this blog as a sort of monitoring device to ensure that I accomplish the many goals I have set for myself this year (hi Mr. Yoder ;P). What are those exciting things you ask? Well…

I hope this blog will be of interest to anyone with novice interest in cooking, other recent college graduates trying to now be ‘real people’, summer bookworms, fellow globetrotters, international educators (because I hope to do what you do), and good people in general. If all else fails, I hope my family and friends might at least take a peek every once in a while.

As always, I am completely open to any comments, suggestions, opinions, and conversation from here on out!

*DSleeper*