Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thai one on

I finally got around to freezing the 15 pounds of tomatoes I got from Gary Argyle’s farm this past weekend. Of course, now I had to find room for 15 pounds of tomatoes in our tiny chest freezer. In order to make more real estate, I pulled out a few odds and ends to be made into dinner including some corn (from McNab’s farm) and a few meatballs leftover from a Frikadeller dinner a few weeks back, a couple cups of beef stock and a block of Pete’s organic extra firm tofu. Tofu freezes beautifully and can be thawed either at room temperature or immersed in boiling water. Just make sure to press out the excess water. The tofu takes on a meatier texture after being frozen.

The possibilities are endless, especially with a vat of ready-to-go roasted veggies at my disposal. I could have done a stew or a tomato based chowder. I could have done a funky Ma Po Tofu or a miso-marinated stirfry. I could have done a savoury risotto with corn & tomato salsa. Or just toss the stock back into the freezer and used the rest of the ingredients as the base for a super-simple pasta.

I was still savoring last night’s noodle dish and wanted something warm and comforting. So I decided on my Thai One On noodle soup. Here’s the Fast & Dirty directions for soup:

3-4 oz rice sticks

5 meatballs – quartered

1 heaping teaspoon minced ginger

1 garlic clove- minced

1 green onion/scallion chopped

3 cup cilantro chopped

2-3 oz of extra firm tofu – pressed and cubed

2 cups roasted veggies

½ cup frozen corn

2-3 tomatoes chopped into chunks

2-3 cups diluted beef broth. Basically 2 part broth to 1 part water. Veggie or chicken broth would be fine. Use low-sodium if you’re using pre-fab.

2 tablespoon fish sauce

½ teaspoon sambel oelek

2 kaffir lime leaves minced fine – use fresh or frozen

juice of ½ lime

couple shots of sesame seed oil

peanut or veg. oil

Topping options – chopped cilantro/parsley/scallions, shredded carrots, fresh thai basil, lime wedges, shredded egg omelet/scramble egg, bean sprouts, dry roasted peanuts or any other nuts or seeds

Soak rice sticks in boiling water. Cover and set aside. Once soft, drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

In a wok, heat up the oil over high heat. Dump in meatballs, ginger, garlic, cilantro, scallions. Stir fry for a few minutes. Take a moment and inhale the wonderful aromatics.

Dump in tofu and let that brown a bit. Dump in roasted veggies, tomatoes, corn, beef broth, fish sauce, sambel oelek and lime leaves. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for 10 mins.

Finish off with the lime juice and the sesame seed oil.

Arrange noodles in bowls and top with the piping hot soup. Garnish as desired. I just had some lime slices on the side just in case folks wanted a larger slap of citrus.

So good on a cold fall night. This is one of my favorite soups. I love the beautiful, robust flavours of Thai cooking. I often keep a small jar of 'Thai It Up' sauce in my fridge. Here's the fast & dirty recipe for that:
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon organic cane sugar or honey
1 thumb of ginger grated
1-2 garlic cloves crushed
2-3 kaffir lime leaves minced fine
1/8 teaspoon sambel oelek (you can use more if you want)
a couple shots of sesame seed oil

Dump everything into a jar and store in the fridge for up to a month. Shake before using.

You can use in absolutely everythng ;)
You can add it a simple brothy soup, drizzle it over scrambled eggs, use it as seasoning for a stirfry, add a spoonful to fish congee with lots and lots of cilantro, use it as a dipping sauce for gyozas/potstickers or dimsum (so good with har gow and sui mai), dump it over cellophane noodles and let marinate overnight for the best noodle salad or use it as a slaw dressing.

Speaking of slaw, (look Kev, a segue) for our first course I made a quick asian slaw with gomashio dressing. As mentioned before, gomashio is one of those items that is usually grossly overpriced when bought already made. Along with the fact that it will start going rancid as soon as it’s made, it’s just absurd to be paying $6 for something that really only costs 25 cents and 3 minutes to make. Just toast up a couple spoonfuls of black sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until you smell the toasted sesame seed goodness. Then with a good pinch of sea salt and pound in a mortar & pestle for a few seconds or toss into spice/coffee grinder and pulse a couple times.

Here’s my Fast & Dirty Asian Slaw & Gomashio Dressing recipe:

In the bowl that you’re going to serve the salad in dump in (because you don't really need more dishes to do):

2 tablespoons rice vinegar – just eyeball it

½ teaspoon honey – I used a wonderful local wildflower honey

1 tablespoons gomashio

Mix until the honey has dissolved.

Then add in (again eyeball it because it would be stupid to actually measure this out):

1 cup finely shredded cabbage – pretty much any type of cabbage will do. I’m still working my way through a red cabbage.

½ cup carrots- sliced fine

½ cup English cucumber sliced fine

Toss and let sit while you prepare the rest of dinner. You could let the veggies marinated overnight too.

We had our usual last minute, drop-in dinner guest show up and the above recipe was enough to feed me and two grown men.

Of course, all the veggies and the meat from the meatballs are from local farms. Dinner itself took less than 30 minutes to make. You can play around with the vegetable and meat options for the noodle soup. Use whatever leftover meats or seafood you have on hand. It's a great way to use up leftover baked salmon. Just add right it to the soup at the very end so it does get too fishy. Or use tofu, tempeh & /or beans like chickpeas . Instead of rice sticks, you could use udon or egg noodles but I like rice sticks best with this soup. The veggie alternatives are pretty much whatever you can find. Again, leftover veggies do well in this soup. If you really want to go super-deluxe, you could even toss in dumplings.


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