Korean Vermicelli with Vegetables (Japchae)
This is so healthy and satisfying. The noodles are chewy sweet potato noodles, which you can find at asian stores. Normally this should be made with beef or tofu, but I think the version with just vegetables is equally delicious, and a bit easier. The concept is that you cook each ingredient separately so that each one maintains its taste and the sum of the parts is positively delicious!
My Korean cooking inspiration is Maangchi, who has wonderful videos and writes great recipes, go check her out!!
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds (toasted)
- 1 large egg
- 3 large handfuls spinach, washed and drained
- Half a bag of dangmyeon (Korean sweet potato starch noodles)
- 3 green onions, cut into 2 inch long pieces
- 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
- A large handful of white or brown mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- Salt & pepper
- Vegetable oil (peanut oil)
- First, soak your noodles in cold water.
- To prepare the spinach, put a pot of water on to boil.
- In the meantime, make the egg: beat an egg with a pinch of salt. Add vegetable oil to the pan, and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess- you want only a thin layer. Pour the egg into the pan and tilt it so that it spreads out as evenly as possible. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a minute, then carefully use your fingers to flip it over and let it sit on the pan for 1 more minute. Let it cool and slice it into thin strips.
- The water for the spinach should be boiling by now. Add the spinach and let cook for 1 minute, then take it out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop it from cooking. Squeeze it with your hands (or ideally cheesecloth) to remove any excess water. Cut it a few times and put it into a large bowl. Mix with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
- Put another pot of water on to cook the noodles.
- As you wait for it to boil, chop all your veggies as outlined above.
- Once ready, heat your skillet up over medium high heat, and add a glug of vegetable oil.
- Stir-fry the onion and scallion with a pinch of salt for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl with the spinach.
- Start again with a glug of oil in the pan, and cook the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes and transfer to the large bowl.
- When your noodle water is boiling, cook your noodles as per package instructions (8 minutes or until chewy but cooked). Remove from the water, strain with water, and cut them a few times with scissors. Put the noodles into the bowl, add in 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Mix with a spoon or your hands.
- Heat up the skillet with oil again and cook the carrots for a few minutes before adding in the red pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes and then transfer to the noodle bowl.
- Now you have all of your ingredients cooked separately and in the bow. Add 1 minced garlic clove (if you can handle it raw!), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to the mixing bowl full of ingredients.
- Mix all together by hand.
- Top with the sliced egg and sesame seeds and serve.
Grilled Corn & Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
This was one of the best meals of the year. This salad with fresh corn together with a pulled brisket (recipe coming shortly). A perfect fresh summer meal.
Don’t do this with canned corn it just won’t be as delicious.
- 1/2 cup dried pearl barley
- 3 ears of corn (shucked)
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 1 ripe tomato
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/4 cup basil cut into ribbons
- 1 bunch of chives, thinly sliced
- ¼ - ½ cup(s) olive oil
- Boil barley according to package directions, using a large stock pot.
- Brush corn with olive oil and grill on all sides until charred gill marks appear.
- Meanwhile, halve all of the tomatoes and rinse and drain beans.
- Cut kernels off the corn. As you cut, collect any of the “milk” that comes from the cutting process, then use the back of the knife to scrape the remaining “milk” from the cleaned cob.
- Next, cut the large tomato in half and grate with a box grater over a dish or wide bowl, discarding the skins, but collecting the juice and pulp. Paste the garlic clove by mincing the garlic, and then adding some salt and rubbing the mixture between your cutting board and the side of your chef’s knife. Add that paste into the tomato mixture. Add a pinch of salt, crushed red pepper to taste, vinegar, and corn milk. Always crush dried herbs in the palm of your hand before adding to release the oils…releasing oils = releasing flavor! Whisk in olive oil slowly. Your goal here is to create an emulsion. This should yield at least a ½ c. of vinaigrette.
- If you plan on making ahead, make ¼ c. of extra vinaigrette to freshen before serving. Reserve your vinaigrette. Combine barley, tomatoes, corn, beans and fresh herbs in a large bowl and dress with your tomato vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Finish with a drizzle of your best olive oil.
Summer Green Orzo Salad
This is perfect for a hot summer day. It’s very flexible (feel free to experiment with different ingredient mixes), but I recommend making this original one first.
If you are taking it to a picnic, just dress it right before you get to the picnic, it shouldn’t be sitting around too long in advance.
- 1 cup dried orzo
- 1/2 a medium head of broccoli or broccolini, cut into small pieces
- small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- a small handful of sprouts
- 1/3 cup almonds, toasted
- 1/2 small cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium avocado, sliced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and boil the orzo per package instructions. Avoid over-boiling, you want your orzo to be cooked through, but maintain structure. About 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking stir the broccoli into the orzo pot. Cook for the final 30 seconds, drain and run under a bit of cold water. Just long enough to stop the cooking.
- In the meantime, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper into the dressing. Set aside.
- When you are ready to serve the salad toss the orzo, broccoli, and cilantro with about half the dressing. Add more dressing if needed, and toss well. Now add the sprouts, almonds, cucumber, avocado, and feta. Gently toss a couple of times to distribute those ingredients throughout the salad and serve.
Peanut Rice Noodles with Cucumber & Herbs
This was so fresh and light! We loved it. You see it here topped with salmon, Felix made the salmon, and I made the noodles- great teamwork. The recipe for the salmon is elsewhere (in Felix’s head), but as you can see in the photo it was perfectly cooked.
If you are going to make the noodles in advance (for lunch the next day for example), I’d recommend keeping the dressing, the noodles, and the toppings separate until you are ready to eat, combining just when you are ready to sit down to keep everything fresh. If you do that you’ll need to coat the noodles with sesame oil in the meantime to prevent them from sticking.
- A large handful of dried rice noodles (about half a package)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen noodles
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon chunky or smooth peanut butter (i used chunky)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 1 medium-large clove)
- 1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- A handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as mint and cilantro, for garnish
- Cook noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Drizzle with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking until dressed.
- Meanwhile, whisk sesame paste and peanut butter in the bottom of a small bowl, then whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, sugar, and ginger to taste until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste.
- Toss sauce with cold noodles. Add in the cucumbers, peanuts, and the herbs. Stir and serve.
Soba Noodle Salad with Ribbon Veggies
This is from the amazing Sprouted Kitchen Bowl & Spoon cookbook, given to me by some of my closest friends for my birthday last year.
The original recipe calls for tofu. I made it with chicken and I realized… it’s better without any protein as a super fresh and crunchy soba noodle salad.
So feel free to add tofu or chicken if you wish, but this recipe is without.
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 3 ounces soba noodles
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1 large avocado
- 1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
- 1 (3-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- Cook the soba noodles until al dente, rinse with cold water, and drain. Seed and slice the bell pepper into thin strips. Use a julienne peeler to make long strips from the carrot and cucumber, keeping away from the inner seedy part of the cucumber. Put the noodles and prepared vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
- For the dressing, whisk together the miso, ginger, honey, lime zest and juice, sesame oil, and Sriracha. This much can be done up to 2 days in advance and kept covered in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the veggies and noodles, add the chopped cilantro and toss to coat. Top the bowl with the green onions, sesame seeds, and tofu. Serve each portion with a quarter of an avocado.
A Riff on Greek Salad
This salad was developed due to the fact that its contents resembled the contents of my fridge. We just got a new fridge (hallelujah!!), and I’m trying to clean it out as much as possible so that we really start with a clean slate.
Our old fridge was really a nightmare. The door didn’t properly close because the lining was so old, so it was chilly in the flat and all the food inside was either frozen or wet.
Our landlord helpfully popped by to ‘fix it’. After spending 1 hour jamming cotton balls into the lining with chopsticks, he realized he had actually made the situation worse by poking some holes in the lining. Enter… the hair dryer. He was quite confident that this would be the solution to all of our problems by melting the lining back into place. #fail.
Two weeks later, new fridge.
Anyways, I digress, back to the salad:
- Half a cucumber
- A large handful of feta cubes in olive oil (or regular feta, chopped into cubes)
- Black oily olives, depicted
- A handful of your favorite herbs, chopped finely (I used dill & basil)
- 2 spring onions, chopped finely
- Juice of 1 lemon
- A glug of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Chop all the ingredients and throw em all together!!
- To clarify, I am aware that this is not a greek salad. It just FEELS like it could be.
Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel, Orange, & Ricotta
*sigh* all I want to do is make ricotta cheese from scratch, but I cannot, for the life of me, find cheesecloth.
I’ve concluded that it doesn’t exist in Belgium. I spent all day last Saturday going to different stores to look for it, until the end of the day when I found myself in a pharmacy purchasing medical bandages, which is as close as we’re going to get.
Now, I had already purchased a range of other ingredients, assuming that it would be no problem to make the ricotta, so I wound up just buying ricotta and making this salad anyway. I WILL repeat with my own ricotta. Mark. My. Words.
- 5 medium-large red beets
- 1 small head of fennel (fronds reserved)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon balsamic syrup
- 2 navel oranges, segmented
- 1/2 cup fresh whole fat ricotta
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 400f. Rinse and scrub the beets well under cold water. Place the beets in a large bowl and toss with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a large baking sheet. Roast the beets for 50 minutes to 1 hour (or longer, depending on the size of your beets) or until the beets can be easily pierced all the way through with a sharp knife. Once the beets are cooked through, set them aside on a plate (keep them wrapped in foil) until they are cool enough to handle. Trim the ends, peel, and cut into quarter segments. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
- Trim the tops and bottom of the fennel bulb, and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. Remove the core of the fennel bulb with a sharp knife, and slice each cored half crosswise into thin slices (roughly 1/8-inch thick). Place the sliced fennel in the mixing bowl with the quartered beets. Add the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, balsamic syrup, salt, and pepper and toss gently to combine. Season to taste and set aside.
- Prepare the whipped ricotta: Combine the ricotta, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a mini food processor. Pulse until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Distribute the tossed beets and fennel evenly, garnish with orange segments, fennel fronds, and a large spoonful of whipped ricotta cheese. Drizzle lightly with balsamic syrup and serve.
Fennel, Carrot & Red Bean Salad
This was made during an amazing surprise weekend visit from one of my best friends from Sweden.
She is a genius in the kitchen and makes a few simple ingredients into the tastiest meal.
This would obviously be better with fresh cooked beans, rather than canned, but canned are obviously easier. Use whichever you prefer.
- 1/2 Large Fennel, washed and sliced as finely as you can manage
- 3 Carrots, washed and sliced as finely as you can manage
- 1 Bunch of Cilantro/Coriander
- 1 Can Red Kidney Beans (or cooked yourself if you find the time!)
- A Squeeze of lemon juice
- Olive Oil
- A Sprinkle of Cumin
- Salt & Pepper
- Mix all the ingredients together, toss, taste, and adjust the seasonings as you wish.
Endives with Pomegranate & Goat Cheese
This is a great appetizer, very pleasing to the eye, healthy, and delicate.
Also, very easy to make and can be made ahead of time.
You won’t get any points for making something uber complicated, but sometimes that’s ok.
- 4 Endives, washed
- Seeds from a half a pomegranate (eat the rest for breakfast!)
- A small piece of goat cheese, any type, as long as you can crumble it somehow
- Gently tear off each endive leaf and arrange nicely on a plate.
- Crumble the goat cheese evenly across the leaves, and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top.
Steak with Soba, Zucchini & Edamame
The steak here is not the main act. It’s delicious, but the whole thing works very well without it.
This is equally good cold as it is just after cooking it, so it’s an easy thing to serve when you have people over because it’s not very fussy.
There are quite a few adaptations you could make if you wanted, I can easily picture chicken or tofu instead of steak.
- 1 8oz bag of soba noodles
- A large spoonful of toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup mirin
- 1 large spoonful of sugar
- 6 thick slices of fresh ginger, peeled)
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large or two small steaks
- 2 small zucchini, cut into thick matchsticks (in half lengthwise, in long slices, and then in 2-inch chunks)
- 2 cups of edamame (frozen or fresh)
- 4 spring onions, sliced thinly
- 2 large spoonfuls toasted sesame seeds
- 1 large bunch coriander, washed and chopped
- 6-12 hours before you want to cook, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger, garlic, salt and 1 cup water in a small pan, and bring to the boil. Let cool, and marinate the steak(s) in this mixture until you are ready to eat.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small frying pan.
- When you are ready to go, boil the water for the soba noodles, with plenty of salt. Cook the soba noodles for 4 minutes (or according to the instructions on your package), when done strain, rinse well, and toss with the sesame oil so that they don't stick.
- In a sizzlingly hot pan fry the steak(s) 3 minutes on each side, or as you like to eat your steak!
- When done, take the steak out and set it aside, pour the marinade into the pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling throw in the edamame and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes or so. You want them tender but not overcooked.
- In a large bowl mix the soba with the sesame seeds, spring onion, and coriander. When done, add the zucchini and edamame, leaving the marinade in the pan to boil for another few minutes, until it's a bit thicker.
- Toss the salad well, top with slices of steak, and once reduced drizzle with the sauce.