15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

I am ALL about fast meals during the week days. Delicious goodness that can be whipped up in a flash using minimal ingredients and the least amount of dishes.

Because if I haven’t told you before, I absolutely loathe washing dishes. I would pretty much rather wash anything else…….laundry, my car, Bella (my pup)–heck, washing an elephant would be infinitely more enjoyable than doing dishes.

Back to food……….

Pastas are one of my go-to quick fixes where I can throw anything together for a fulfilling meal. This 15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta is so easy to make and can really be modified to whatever you have in the fridge. The end results is a great dish that is rather light and would be perfect for a warm summer night with a glass of pinot grigio in hand. And coming from a carnivorous gal, you won’t even miss the meat while you get down on a big ol’ bowl of this deliciousness.

Have an awesome Friday folks and enjoy your Easter Weekend!

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15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:           

kosher salt
4 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped shallots
½ tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup white wine
1½ cups grape tomatoes
3 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
black pepper
2 handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh arugula leaves

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for 1-2 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to burst.

Pour the starchy pasta water into the skillet. Once the liquids start to boil, toss in the pasta and sprinkle in the parmesan. Vigorously toss the cooked pasta to evenly coat it with the sauce. Check for seasonings and adjust with kosher salt and pepper accordingly. Toss in the arugula leaves and plate the pasta to a dish.

Serve immediately.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

I am a French Fry Monster.

Those crispy, delectable, fried potato-goodness are my vice. But oh–what a glorious vice it is!

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

But seeing how it’s probably not the best idea for me to inhale my weight in fries (though I may or may not have tried before), I’ve got to find alternatives to get my crunchy fix in.

And these Oven Baked Portabello Fries fulfill that craving quite well.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Thick portabello mushroom strips are rolled into an egg white mixture and then coated with toasted panko breadcrumbs. After a short tanning in the oven, they come out wonderfully crunchy and not the least bit mushy on the inside. And let me tell ya, these beauties are totally crisp. By toasting the panko and then baking the fries on a rather high heat, they’re able to get that wonderful crunch I love when I go to town on traditional potato fries.

Did I mention that they get dunked into a Sriracha Mayo?

You’re welcome.

ps. They’d also be fantastic wrapped up in tortillas with some Avocado-Cabbage Slaw to make some killer veggies tacos.
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Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Sriracha Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced parsley
kosher salt
black pepper

Fries
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
2-3 dashes hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
kosher salt
cooking spray
1 large portabello mushroom cap or 2 medium sized portabellos
½ teaspoon minced parsley

Whisk the first seven ingredients for the Sriracha Mayo in a bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.

In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown. Set the toasted panko into a dish.

In another bowl or shallow dish, whisk together the egg whites, water, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, hot sauce, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Take a wire rack and place it over a baking sheet. Lightly coat the rack with cooking spray.

Slice the mushrooms into long strips approximately 1/3 – ½ inch in width. One slice at a time, dip the mushroom into the egg white mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to gently press the breadcrumbs into the mushroom slice to coat well. Lay the coated mushroom slice on the wire rack. Continue with the remaining ingredients.

Spray the tops of the mushrooms with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the mushroom fries halfway through the baking process and spray the tops with cooking spray before returning them back into the oven. The fries are done when they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with additional kosher salt and parsley. Serve hot with the Sriracha Mayo.

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula + a RAD GIVEAWAY!

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

It’s true.

This carnivorous, bacon loving gal can enjoy a “sans-meat” meal from time to time. Which is why I was happy to join our friends over at Safest Choice® Eggs this month with their fun {and downright awesome} March Meatless Meals Party!

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

I went back and forth for some time as to what I would make and finally decided upon this hearty and heartwarming dish – tender, savory lentils with fresh arugula leaves topped with an unctuous poached egg.

Uh……YES, PLEASE!!!!

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

It all starts by sauteing various aromatics and then cooking the lentils of your choice {I opted for green lentils} until they become tender. Perch a perfectly poached egg on top and you’re ready to dig in!

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

Great for weekend brunch entertaining or an easy weeknight meal, this lentils dish can also easily be adapted for the meat-lovers out there. Rendering bacon or pancetta with the aromatics would be utterly spectacular or perfectly cooked prawns would be the raddest sidekick to the poached egg.

But as delish as these lentils are, I’ve got to let you in on this FABULOUS giveaway sponsored Safest Choice® Eggs.

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

Enter now until Monday, March 31st for a chance to win one of two Safest Choice™ prize packs. Each prize pack will include (1) $200 Amex gift card, one (1) Lodge Round Fry Pan 10”, one (1) Sur La Table® Red Mixing Bowls, one (1) Flexible Nylon Spatula, one (1) Eggs cookbook, and 52 coupons for a free dozen of Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs; Approximate Retail Value is $467.00

HAVE MERCY- that’s awesome!!!

Want to know how to enter? Easy peasy! Click HERE where you’ll be redirected to Safest Choice giveaway powered by Rafflecopter.

Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula

Best of Luck, Friends!

And remember, enter by March 31st so you can get in on all that goodness!!!!

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Poached Eggs over Lentils and Arugula
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups chopped leeks, thoroughly washed and dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup lentils
½ cup white wine
3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1 dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon white vinegar
4 Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
kosher salt
black pepper
2 cups fresh arugula leaves
4 ounces parmesan cheese shavings
quality extra virgin olive oil
In a heavy bottom pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, leeks and garlic. Sauté until softened but not browned—about 5-7 minutes. Add the red chili flakes, thyme sprigs, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the lentils and then pour in the wine . Continue simmering until the wine has reduced and nearly evaporated. Add the vegetable stock, bay leave and bring the liquids to a boil. Partially cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Cook the lentils for about 25-30 minutes or until tender.
While the lentils cook, begin poaching the eggs. Fill a separate pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack one egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the pot to make a whirlpool in the water. Slowly pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along. After about 2 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and set aside into a warm bowl of water. Cook the eggs just under of how you’d normally like your eggs. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Once done, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low to keep the water hot.
After the lentils have cooked until tender, pull out the stems of the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Drain any excess stock that may remain. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Toss the lentils with the arugula leaves and use a slotted spoon to plate into 4 dishes.

Using the slotted spoon and dip each poached egg into the pot of hot water to rewarm it. Gently blot it dry with a paper towel and place on top of each lentil mound. Place parmesan cheese shards over plate and drizzle the tops with a bit of the olive oil. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs and serve immediately.

Meatless-Meals

Quick & Easy Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

These past few weeks have been B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I’ve barely had the chance to catch my breath, let alone spend any quality time cooking. So when I do find a few moments when I can whip something together, I rely on quick dishes that are still yummy but don’t require a lot of effort–and especially those that don’t make too many dirty dishes!

These Vegetable Quinoa Wraps totally fit that bill!

Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

What’s great about a dish like this is that anything goes! You can throw whatever you have on hand in these wraps–veggies, proteins, starches, herbs…whatever tickles your fancy. I like to use quinoa as a base because it is high in protein and packed with fiber. It’s fluffy and pairs well with the crunchy raw veggies.

And you know what? All of this goodness can be done in about 25 minutes! You can maximize your time by chopping the veggies while the quinoa cooks so when it’s done, it’s just a matter of assembly. Plus, the wraps are great in sack lunches or picnics since they are served at room temperature.

Delish? CHECK!

Quick? CHECK!

Minimal mess? ABSOLUTELY!

I’m totally into it.

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Vegetable Quinoa Wraps
Makes 8 wraps

Ingredients:

1 cup dry quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup diced shallots
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup roasted corn
1 small red bell pepper, diced
½ cup edamame beans
¼ cup finely diced red onion
½ cup diced and seeded tomatoes
½ chopped fresh cilantro leaves
kosher salt and black pepper
8 large tortillas
salsa
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)

Using a fine mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cool water. Gently shake the strainer so that the quinoa is drained.

In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil and cook the shallots until softened and translucent. Add in the garlic, jalapeno, thyme, red chili flakes and quinoa. Stir and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the vegetable stock. Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the contents to simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the liquids have all absorbed. Remove the pot from the stove and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the cover and use a fork to fluff the quinoa.

Add the corn, edamame, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes and cilantro to the pot. Gently fold the ingredients together and season with kosher salt and pepper as needed.

Begin assembling the wraps. Lay one tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon 1/8 of the quinoa mixture in an even line in the middle of the tortilla. Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and cheese. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and firmly roll up the wrap. Repeat with the remainder of the tortillas and filling. Enjoy!

Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Caprese Sandwiches

I recently had a two week stint gorging myself on fresh, sweet, summer heirloom tomatoes. I just couldn’t help it–DELICIOUS and so colorful!

I had to take advantage of the few short weeks left of summer when these beauties are best here in San Diego and enjoyed them in salads, over pizzas, as a condiment (pico de gallo), as a light side dish and of course– in sandwiches.

Caprese Sandwiches

One of my fav go-to “salads” is Insalata Caprese which usually consists of tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and olive oil. I also like to serve them as appetizers by making little caprese skewers and use sweet grape tomatoes instead of tomato slices.

Caprese Sandwiches

For a light lunch, I grabbed a few heirlooms I had picked up earlier that morning to make Caprese Sandwiches. These sammies have all of the traditional fixins’ of Insalata Caprese with the addition of a rich and thick reduction of balsamic vinegar. The reduction adds a light sweetness and acidity to the sandwich which pairs so well with the cool tomatoes, velvety mozzarella and floral basil.

Total winner and can be whipped up Lickety- Split…..

In a jiffy……

In a blink of the eye……

In the speed of light…..

In no time flat……

……… Really fast. You get the point.

Did I mention these would be FAB for picnics?

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Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 pinches sugar
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 ciabatta rolls, toasted (or bread of your choice)
8-10 fresh whole basil leaves, washed and dried
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
sea salt or kosher salt

In a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, sugar and chili flakes. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Continue stirring and cooking until the liquids have reduced by half and take on the a thick, syrup consistency. Be sure to watch the reduction closely as it can burn quickly. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Slice each of the toasted rolls in half. Place half of the basil leaves on the bottom piece of bread and top with a few slices of cheese. Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar reduction over the mozzarella and top with slices of tomato. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the tomatoes and place the other 1/2 of the roll on top. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

It’s June in San Diego and I’m about 3 months late on starting my beach-bod workout regiment.

What can I say? Siri forgot to add it to my calendar.

So I’ve been doing what I can, a little bit at a time to make up for it. Cutting out caffeine (which explains my Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde personality in the AM), taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cutting back on starches & sweets, doing quick jogs instead of trying to motivate for several mile-runs, and supplementing my produce intake with daily juicing or fresh green smoothies.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

But you know what my achilles is?

Bread and potatoes.

I could inhale bread and potatoes 24/7. Fine if I was some hardcore athlete but the last time I checked, Instagramming hadn’t been deemed a sport yet.

It’s particularly tough when I’m grilling up some goodness and all that’s missing is a huge pile of mashed potatoes.

Drools…..

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

In an attempt to fool my mind while trying to create something lighter that still tastes yummy, I started roasting cauliflower and mashing it up with roasted garlic. Cauliflower is considered a “non-starchy” vegetable but when cooked and mashed (or pureed) it can take on a lot of similar textures as my beloved spud.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

And you know what?

It’s delicious-really! The cauliflower starts to caramelize when you roast it and when you add the rich and almost sweet flavor from the roasted garlic—you’re in for it!

This hearty Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower will never fully replace my taters, but it’s a darn good stand in until I go P90X on y’all.

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Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets
12-15 garlic cloves, peeled
olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower and garlic cloves with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden brown. Stir and turn every 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower and garlic to a large bowl. Add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil (or 1 tablespoon butter, if you prefer) and garlic powder. Using a potato masher or ricer, mash the cauliflower until it reaches an even consistency.

Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Stir in chives (0ptional). Serve warm.

*If you’re looking for a gluten free method, be sure to use gluten free marked garlic powder and butter.

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

I’ve received a bunch of recipe inquiries about the salad we gobbled up during our last Family Dinner.

And I can’t blame ya because it was DEE-LISH!

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

My niece and seester prepared the dish using Ina Garten’s recipe for a Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad and it was a WINNER! It packed a huge punch of flavor from the abundance of herbs, feta cheese and citrus. It was extremely bright and would be a fab dish to enjoy on a warm day with a glass of pinot grigio and chunk of freshly baked bread. MMMMM!

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

We didn’t have fresh basil on hand and ended up omitting it. Truth be told, I didn’t really miss it—but I’m sure it would be wonderful with it.

Oh that Ina…..she knocks it out of the park—AGAIN! Think she needs a new bestie in the form of a quirky Vietnamese gal?

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Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:

10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and 1/2-inch-diced
1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and 1/2-inch-diced
1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
8 ounces good feta cheese
Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.
Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently.
Recipe from Ina Garten

Grilled Cheese with Avocado & Tomatoes + Cuisinart GIVEAWAY!

Grilled Cheese with Avocado & Tomatoes

I love experimenting with new recipes. It’s challenging, fun and when the dish is successfully completed, it’s totally gratifying.

But after a long day, week, or heck–even an afternoon, all I want to eat is something quick and comforting. Fried SPAM with rice, instant spicy ramen or a trusted ol’ sandwich. And for me, the latter usually means a BLT or a grilled cheese of some type.

Grilled Cheese with Avocado & Tomatoes

One of my fav grilled cheeses is so simple but deliciously satisfying. It’s made with Kings Hawaiian sliced bread that has been lightly buttered and then grilled with pepper jack cheese, thin slices of Roma tomatoes, sliced avocados, and a thin spread of grainy mustard. So.Freaking.Good.

In honor of the humble sandwich, one of our rad readers will have the chance to win a Cuisinart Griddler® Grill & Panini Press!

Cuisinart-GR-11-1

Isn’t she a beauty?! Not only will you be able to whip up the most delectable sammies but you can also remove the plates to grill burgers, steaks, and anything else that your heart may desire. Now that is multi-functional!

How to enter: This GIVEAWAY is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Leave a comment and tell us what is your favorite sandwich.

For extra chances to win, leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did:

  1. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  2. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  3. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  4. Follow our boards on Pinterest (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so).

The deadline to enter is Friday, March 8th at 5pm (PST) and the winner will be notified the next day.

Best of luck, Friends!!!!

Đậu Hũ Sốt Cà Chua (Vietnamese Style Tofu with Tomato Sauce)

Tofu with Tomato Sauce

What is your Comfort Food?

Mac ‘n Cheese? Chicken Noodle Soup? PB and J sammies?

No matter what it is—one thing holds true for everyone. Comfort Food does exactly what it’s named for….it brings us comfort—and perhaps transports us back to a time of happiness, safety and love.

And for me, that is what Vietnamese food is.

Tofu with Tomato Sauce

It’s about the “everyday” dishes my family would sit down to at dinner time. A plethora of dishes to be eaten with jasmine rice….fried fish, stuffed squid, various stir-fry veggies, soups, and stinky stuff that just tastes so damn good. And wouldn’t you know it? When I was young, I would complain all the time about it to Mom and say “cơm (rice) again?!” Because at that time, I wanted to eat what all my friends were eating…spaghetti, pizza, burgers, etc. But Mom would always say, “Just wait—one day, you’ll miss this”. And darnit! She was right! Moms…..how do they just know?!

This simple tofu dish is something we would eat quite often. It’s quick and tasty—balancing salty and sweet together. I cheat and buy already fried tofu squares at my local Asian markets which makes this dish SUPER quick and easy. But if you don’t have that available, cube up firm tofu and use paper towels to dry them off. Fry them in oil until golden brown and then throw them into the sauce. Easy Peasy!

So tell me, Friends….what’s your go-to Comfort Foods?

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Đậu Hũ Sốt Cà Chua (Vietnamese Style Tofu with Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients:

4 Cups Fried Tofu
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Shallots, diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and roughly diced
1 Red Jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 Scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Black Pepper
Garnish with additional scallions and cilantro

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat and cook garlic and shallots for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until softened. Stir in ketchup and fish sauce. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Toss in fried tofu and coat evenly. Season with black pepper and garnish with additional scallions and fresh cilantro. Serve with steamed rice and Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chap Chae for Mom

DSC_0276

A short time ago, we held the 5 year anniversary of our mom’s passing. And for a long time, the siblings and our dad tossed around a lot of different ideas on how we would commemorate Mom. But at the end of the day, it all came down to focusing on what was important to her—-Family and of course, Good Food.

So, on a beautiful and sunny Southern California day, the clan gathered. Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Children, Grandkids (including Canine Grandkids) all converged upon my sister’s home to honor Mom. We spent time with each other, retold stories of her, cooked, and ate. And boy, did we eat!

It was all quite fitting actually. Mom was the head Foodie of our family and irrefutably the best cook. If we didn’t have a delicious spread for the party held in her honor, she would not have been a happy camper!

Vegetarian Chap Chae

One of the things that made Mom such a Foodie was her wide range of taste and her fearlessness to experiment in the kitchen. In the latter years she went through a big Korean phase—and I’m not only talking about Korean cuisine. I would often come for a visit and find my parents watching Korean soap operas—without subtitles! They claimed they could still figure out the storyline despite the fact that they didn’t understand the dialogue. Go figure.

It seemed fitting that one of my contributions for Mom’s international menu would be Chap Chae–a dish she would often make for Dad and their friends.  I went the vegetarian route but it’s just as easy to add beef, pork, chicken or seafood.

All in all, I think we did Mom proud. I’m sure she would have preferred for us to bicker less during the preparation but hey—we’re her kids! We love, we laugh, we bicker, we eat. :)

We love and miss you Mama!!

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Vegetarian Chap Chae (Jap Chae)

Ingredients:

1 Pound Sweet Potato Noodles
½ Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Medium sized Carrot, julienned
2 Small Shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, julienned
2 Scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Cup Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup Inoke Mushrooms, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 Cups Fried Tofu, cut into long strips
2 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, washed well and drained
¼ Cup Mirin
Black Pepper
½ Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

In a large pot, boil the noodles until firm–about 5-6 minutes. Strain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles about 4-6 inches in length.

In a small bowl, stir the sugar into the soy sauce until dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a large wok, with the vegetable oil. Add in shallots, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms and stir fry until tender. Add in tofu, garlic, scallions, spinach and cook for an additional minute. Use the mirin to deglaze the pan and then season with black pepper. Quickly toss in the noodles and half of the soy sauce mixture. Stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle in the sesame oil. Taste and add in more of the soy sauce mixture as needed.  Plate the Chap Chae and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.