Asian food · broccoli · comfort food · corn · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · Ramen · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

“Homemade” Vegetarian Ramen

It can be difficult to find good ramen as a vegetarian. I’m lucky to live in an urban area with access to various ramen restaurants, but 90% of what is offered is meat based. Then again, 90% of all restaurant foods are meat based. The struggle is fucking real.

IMG_20180701_195951

Fry those little fuckers on every single side. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

When Cortney came to visit last summer, I decided to take her to United Noodles, which is an Asian market in Minneapolis. It’s the one that T first took me to back when we were still figuring out if we were dating or not (check it out here). At the time I was completely fascinated by all the products, and ended up focusing hard on the sweets. Mochi is one of my favorite foods, but it can be hard to come by in the Midwest. This place housed a plethora of mochi options. None of which were as good as the fresh shit in Hawaii, but I digress. Despite not serving fresh mochi, it’s the best Asian market in the cities as far as I know. Since Cortney is Hawaiian, I knew it would be of interest to her. We ended up deciding to make ramen at home, which I didn’t think was possible. She had a plan, and showed me exactly what we’d need. Without her, this recipe wouldn’t exist. She knew the good miso paste to purchase, and which noodles were best (I didn’t take a pic of those – sorry!), as well as how to add the “right” toppings. Of course, we also loaded up on all the bomb-ass Asian snacks (Ube mochi to be specific, as well as Pocky sticks, and various cookies). It was a goddamn feast when we got home!

IMG_20180701_201556IMG_20180701_201553IMG_20180701_202048

Last week T got a hankering for ramen, so we made the trip back to United Noodles. I picked up all the ingredients to make some veggie ramen at home (even opting to omit the tofu to speed up the process – that shit can be time consuming), all while he was loading up on the prepackaged dried shit. When he said he wanted ramen, he meant instant. It still blows my mind how frequently he’s counting those as a meal without adding a single vegetable. Is anything really a meal when a vegetable isn’t included? Oh wait, this is America. Sigh. Nevermind.

IMG_20180701_200006

This is the good stuff. If you can find this, use it. If not, don’t panic. It’s just soup. Calm the fuck down. Any miso paste should be fine. 

If you want to simplify things, you can always leave out the tofu. If you eat meat, you can always add in meat. It’s not that fucking difficult. This is a sort of “figure it out as you go and don’t be a dumbass” type of recipe. It’s not specific amounts meticulously measured out, but rather a lot of throwing in things that you think will taste good. If it’s something you enjoy in other things, add it here. Some people think it’s weird that I like to add corn. To those people I simple say, “Fuck off, and make your own ramen.”

IMG_20180701_203411
“Homemade” Vegetarian Ramen

4 oz extra firm tofu

4-6 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)

4 cups water

Salt and pepper

16oz Noodles (dried or fresh are fine – can easily be found in any Asian market, or the Asian foods section of larger grocery stores), follow cooking directions on packaging

IMG_20180701_200931

Any or all of the following optional toppings: boiled egg, green onions, enoki mushrooms (see photo to right), bok choy, seaweed, frozen corn, bamboo shoots, any dark leafy greens, broccoli, chili oil, sriracha, etc (the sky is the limit – go nuts)

Bring water to a boil and add in miso paste. Stir and simmer until fully dissolved into water. Taste to see if you need a little more (I like mine a bit stronger). Simmer for a few minutes.

For the tofu: Place between 2 layers of paper towels and place a heavy plate/pan/book on top. Wait about 20 minutes to allow the weight of the plate to squeeze out the excess water. Cut into 1-2″ cubes. In a hot skillet (over medium to medium-high heat), drizzle enough oil to cover the surface (I like to use olive oil with a splash of sesame oil for flavor) , and evenly distribute the cubed tofu. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes on each size, trying not to move things around too much. It can get smokey depending on the type of oil you use, so be aware of that and lower the heat if needed. After a few minutes, those little fuckers should be browned on one side. That’s when you flip ’em all over. I like to brown all sides of the cube, but that’s up to you. I just love ’em extra crispy.

Place a handful of cooked noodles into a large bowl. Ladle over some of the miso broth and top with tofu and veggies of choice. Drizzle with any hot sauce or chili oil you like, and dig in!

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Anyone else have a go-to recipe that is a lot easier than it looks? Comment below!

Did you make this recipe? Post a photo and tag @kelseyskitchen23 on Instagram!

Asian food · avocado · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Sauces · snacks · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vietnamese Summer Rolls and New Pants!

I did it… I retired my private pants. It would have been a sad day, except I now have 2 pairs of the GREATEST PANTS ON EARTH. My boyfriend (that’s right, I said it) refers to them as my “Aladdin pants,” due to their majestic flowy-ness (He was actually mocking me, but I’m sure it was done with love). I had plans with him the other day, and he texted ahead of time asking if we could just stay in. I was like, “Fuck yeah.  I was planning on wearing my fancy sweatpants anyway.” Since my new fancy sweatpants have huge slits up the outside of each leg, I couldn’t actually wear them to his place (it’s too cold for that nonsensical bullshit). That means I showed up in leggings and literally took my pants off in his entryway to put on my new, sexy sweatpants. Yes, sweatpants can totally be sexy (he would disagree, but we’re not asking him). He did agree on their functionality, stating that they are essentially the pants version of “sticking a leg out from under the blanket when sleeping.”

I bought a second pair to keep at his place, so I can stop stripping in his entryway. I’m sure he’s disappointed.

I also wore these to the AcroYoga retreat last weekend. I brought an entire bag of clothes – probably 3 full outfits. But I only wore these fucking amazing pants, and the outfit I drove in (both there and back). I mean, honestly, why put on something that will make me less happy?

Speaking of acro, my lovely acro friend, Jamie, taught me how to make these rolls. The recipe called for cilantro, but she is a kind soul that would never even think of having such a monstrous thing near me. They are oddly filling, so make sure you’re hungry. Also, we ate them with mushroom and tofu miso soup, which was a nice appetizer with it. They’re crazy simple, and really refreshing in the middle of winter. They’d also be nice in the summer when you don’t want to turn the stove or oven on.

IMG_20180213_134455

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Rice paper

Rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)

Big leaves of lettuce (I used Romaine, but they were a little too huge)

Avocado, sliced (critical to add because otherwise everything just tastes like crunchy water – you need fat!!)

Carrots/Cucumber/Bell pepper, sliced thinly

Bean sprouts (I forgot, which made me sad)

Siracha

Peanut butter and Hoisin (equal parts, mixed together, for the sauce)

YOU WILL NEED WAX PAPER FOR THIS RECIPE

For the rice paper: Use a large saute pan filled with warm water (NOT HOT) to soak the rice paper. You’ll do this one at a time, and they only need to be soaked for maybe one full minute at most (I kept feeling mine, and pulled it out once it was soft-ish).* Once the rice paper is soft and foldable, pull it out of the water and spread it out on wax paper. You can lay out a few before starting to fill them, but don’t let them sit too long (they get sticky).

For the filling: Start by placing one large lettuce leaf in the center of each rice paper. From there, layer avocado and veggies of choice. Top with a small handful of rice noodles and a heavy squirt of Siracha.

To roll: Fold the top and bottom of the rice paper over the filling. Then choose a side to start at – pull that side of the rice paper all the way across the filling and tuck it under the lettuce leaf. Continue to roll in that direction. The rice paper will stick to itself. It takes a few tries to get it right, but the janky ones are delicious, too, so don’t stress about it.

For the sauce: Mix equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce together. I ended up adding a tiny bit of warm water as well, because the sauce was super thick. The sauce adds a much needed fat as well, so definitely don’t skip it.

Serve with the sauce on the side. Race your friend to see how many each of you can eat (it’ll be shockingly few). Make more sauce and eat it on everything.

*There is definitely an inappropriate joke to be made here.

Asian food · comfort food · Curry · dinner · easy · healthy · quick · soup · Thai food · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Last weekend I helped a friend out by cat sitting his two little fluff monsters overnight. You know what this means, right? This means I got to stay in a different apartment for a weekend while eating someone else’s food and watching Netflix nonstop.  This also means it was a free-for-all when it came to junk food. I treated it like I was on vacation, which means I ate ice cream and pizza for most of my meals (my mom taught me that you’re supposed to eat cookie dough for dinner when on vacation). To top it all off, my last morning there was spent eating donuts in my underwear while watching A Cinderella Story (all while snuggling a floofball of a kitty). You know you’re jealous.

Fuck. I love staying at my friends’ apartments when they’re out of town. It’s completely ridiculous, though, considering I actually have my own apartment without any roommates. I mean, what am I trying to escape from? I think there’s something freeing about the fact that I can just lay around and not do anything. If I was doing the same thing at home, I’d end up getting up to do laundry/vacuum/wash dishes/etc. When at another person’s place, I don’t have to do any of that shit. Plus, free food! And I got so many kitty snuggles (though it took them a full 24 hours to come around).

The same friend introduced me to Khao Soi soup for the first time. Going completely based on his recommendation, I placed my order and requested that there be no cilantro added (which is often not in the description, but almost always included and guaranteed to ruin any and all food it touches). Upon arrival, I meticulously inspected the garnishes for any traces of cilantro. I didn’t see anything, but did end up getting a few bites of it in the broth. Motherfuckers. Why do people add that shit to everything?! Fucking food ruiners. Despite the herb from hell, the soup was fucking delicious. We kept referring to it as liquid crack, and chalked it up to the added MSG. I fucking love me some MSG. That shit makes everything better.

But!

It’s probably not healthy. My homemade version does not include MSG. It also doesn’t include any fancy ingredients or steps. It’s simple as fuck, and can be ready in 30 minutes flat. (It’s also not as to-die-for delicious, but it’s pretty damn good.)

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

2ish cups of broccoli florets

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into about 2″ peices

1 large carrot, sliced

8oz Chinese noodles of your choice (I chose some leftover “vegetarian” noodles from the Asian market)

2 tablespoons red curry paste

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup full fat, unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon lime juice

Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss veggies (you could honestly use any veggies you have on hand) with olive oil on a baking sheet and add a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, cook pasta according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large pot, cook curry paste over medium-high heat, whisking or stirring frequently. Cook the curry paste for about 2-3 minutes, until it becomes fragrant and lightly browned. Whisk in the broth and then the coconut milk, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Add the veggies and let simmer for a few minutes.

Place desired amount of noodles in a bowl and spoon the soup over the top. I like more soup than noodles, but you could treat the soup more like a sauce with pasta if you want.

EAT THIS SHIT EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do NOT add cilantro, or we can’t be friends. If you don’t care about that, then fuck off. (jk bff xoxo) 😉

P.S. Fuck you, cilantro.

Asian food · Dating · dinner · easy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · quick · Sauces · Stir-fry · vegan · vegetarian

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

So this recipe was originally labeled as “ramen,” but I thought that was doing a disservice to ramen everywhere. I couldn’t call it that… that’s not what it is. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking delicious. But it is not, by any means, ramen. Ramen is that beautifully and painstakingly crafted soup with the pork or beef broth and the soft boiled egg on top that you lovingly stir in until it melts and becomes one with the broth. Fuck. I miss ramen so much. And the pork buns that go with it. Sigh.

I repeat: This is not ramen.

I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a fucking liar.

This recipe was so much fun for me. Here in Minneapolis the weather is starting to warm up. I went shopping for this recipe on one of the first nice days of the season, which meant walking around my neighborhood enjoying the “warm” breeze on my face (Minnesotans in the spring have a pretty fucked up view of what is warm). I have 2 Asian markets within a couple blocks of my apartment, and I almost never visit them. Seems silly, since they both contain mochi… my one and only true love. I got to visit both while shopping for this blog post… only because I ran out of arms to carry all the delicious bottles of sauces at the first one, and I couldn’t find a fucking basket. Rather than be a normal human and ask, I just purchased what I could carry and left. This included an impromptu box of mochi, obviously. Not just regular mochi… but mochi fucking rolls. This was very exciting. I ate all of them in 2 days. I’m not sorry.

20170325_115915

So I bought all my shit… from 2 separate Asian markets… and commenced to cooking (in a borrowed wok because I’m a disaster). This was so fucking easy and fast! Go make it right now. You’re welcome.

Dating update: Sighhhhhh. I’m so embarrassed. So I went out with this guy a few weeks ago. We went out for drinks, and then later on the same day (but after leaving and having dinner with friends), he invited me over to his apartment to play Super Mario 2 on the Wii. If you’ve ever played Mario with me… you kind of see where this is going. It’s like I have fucking Tourette’s Syndrome or some shit. I literally cannot stop the swear words from leaving my mouth every time I play any Mario game. I warned him ahead of time… he was cool with it. I even kept it fairly under control! And by “under control,” I mean that I didn’t string all the curse words I could think of into one long curse word this time… I just yelled out the normal ones. You know, classically appropriate language/behavior for the 1st (and a half!) date. But it doesn’t stop there. I got so riled up when I couldn’t beat one of the levels that I threw his Wii controller into his lap…. which housed a glass of beer. You see where this is going. That controller didn’t stand a chance. It landed right in his beer, completely killing the sensor (and my dignity). Luckily, this dude was really chill about it, and even thought it was funny. It took everything in me to not cry out of shame.

Since I’m a “seize the opportunity” type of person, I used this scenario to my benefit. I texted him 2 days later with a photo of the 3 different colored Wii controllers that I have, and asked which color he wanted. See what I did there? Made it all cute and shit, and snagged an excuse to text (#nailed it). Thanks to my ingenuity, we hung out again this weekend. And we played Wii again (I wore the strap at all times). In fact, I brought over a couple of controllers because I knew the only other one he had was kind of janky (and one was obviously for him to keep). Everything went well!

20170326_151826

That is… until I got home. I accidentally stole his janky remote because it’s the same color (pink) as my extra controller! UGH. Now it looks like I am trying to trick him into seeing me again. Fuck that shit. I don’t play those games. If you don’t want to see me, I am not here to try to convince you. But now I’m sure that’s what he thinks, because what the fuck else would he think? I mean, seriously. I texted him to let him know that I had it and that it was an accident, but I can’t say anything more than that without sounding completely nuts. FUCK. Why does this shit keep happening to me?! Goddammit. Logically, I’m like… he probably understands and it’s fine. But the other part of me is all… omg, he thinks you’re nuts and playing annoying games. And yet another part of me keeps reminding myself that this was 2.5 dates and who the fuck cares?!

Anxiety is real, y’all.

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

2 packets of instant ramen (minus the flavor packet) OR 3 squares of the vegetarian noodles from the Asian market

1.5 cups red cabbage, shredded

1 cup snow peas, sliced in half at an angle

1 carrot, julienned (lol jk, just grab a handful of matchstick carrots)

1/4 cup red bell pepper, julienned (just slice ’em however you like)

5-7 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup bean sprouts

Green onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons canola oil (I actually used olive oil)

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

Ground white pepper (I used black pepper)

Siracha

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for about 45-60 seconds. Use chopsticks or a fork to break up the noodles. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Whisk together the soy sauces, sesame oil, white/black pepper, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. In a wok over medium high heat, add the canola oil along with the garlic, cabbage, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms. Saute for a couple minutes. Next, add the Shaoxing wine and snow peas, and cook for a few more seconds. Top with the cooked noodles and sauce, tossing thoroughly. Add the bean sprouts and green onion. Serve with extra chopped green onion to make it pretty. Squirt a bunch of siracha on top, so it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty.

Don’t steal Wii remotes unless you want your date to think you’re a weirdo.

OR

Embrace the weird and hope someone likes it!

20170326_152242