Jap Chae – Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables

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Guys, I made you something very near and dear to my food-lovin’ heart. It’s a food of my people and of my childhood. I think most people think of kimchi when they think of Korean food, but these noodles are a staple in Korean cuisine as well.

Jap chae!

Jap chae is a traditional Korean dish made with sweet potato starch noodles. I usually don’t make this dish, I often buy it from the Korean market, where they make it fresh, or I just have my mom make it for me. After I made this batch and instagrammed it, my mom called to tell me it looked beautiful. Let me tell you guys, this was a major deal. Korean-mother approval= MAJOR! The noodles are clear, stretchy, and delightfully chewy. The ingredients are super simple and this dish comes together quickly after a little bit of chop-chopping and prep. It’s the dish most of my non-Korean friends fall for first when introducing them to Korean fare. My BFF loves these noodles and affectionately refers to them as “sticky-hand noodles”.

When I was a kid, these noodles were probably one of my favorite foods ever. I mean, they are stretchy…just like those sticky-hands you get out of those toy machines near the front doors of the supermarket…and they’re noodle-y! I have always loved noodles and Jap Chae is definitely one of my favorite noodle dishes of all time…plus, it picnics like a champ since it is just as delish at room temperature as it is warm.

Jap Chae – Korean Glass Noodle with Vegetables

For this recipe the right kind of noodle is key. Look for Korean glass noodles, a sweet potato starch noodle that can be found at a well-stocked Asian Market or order them online*. They are gray and semi-translucent, dried noodles that become clear and stretchy with cooked.

Sauce:

3-4 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium)

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Noodles:

8 ounces  dried Korean Glass noodles

8 ounces baby spinach

8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

5 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

canola oil for sautéing

toasted sesame seeds for garnish

In a small dish whisk together the soy, maple, and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a skillet wilt the spinach with a little bit of oil and a pinch of salt. Once just wilted, stir in 1/3 of the minced garlic. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and add a bit more oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms until all of the liquid they release evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown around the edges. Add 1/3 of the minced garlic and stir to combine. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and cook the carrots with a pinch of salt and the remaining garlic a minute or two until the carrots are just warmed through but still crisp. Add the green onions and cook an additional 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drop the dried noodles into the boiling water and cook about 8 minutes or until noodles are clear, stretchy and tender. Immediately pour into a colander to drain and rinse  well with cold water. This helps improve the texture of the noodles. In a large bowl toss the sauce and vegetables with the noodles to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm or room temperature.

*This post contains links for reference.

 

Chicken and Waffle Melts

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So…yeah…that’s a chicken and waffle with melted cheese all up on it. I made these rosemary-laced waffles with a decidedly savory slant for a project I was working on for Bisquick that didn’t end up getting used…and I couldn’t hold out on you and just let it whither away on my desktop. I had to share it! I mean, it’s crispy chicken and rosemary waffles meets cheesy melt, with a little sweet and spicy condiment, and it’s real good.

I’m a firm believer that most things are better with cheese. It’s just science, ya know? The waffles can be made with whatever your favorite, basic waffle recipe is with the addition of a heap of rosemary. It makes for a savory, herbal waffle that pairs perfectly with the super-crispy, Panko-crusted chicken. There’s a maple drizzle that’s spiced up with tangy Tabasco…it’s pretty amazing as a dipper for chicken fingers and makes total sense with this savory waffle concoction. The chives bring a little savory bite and the cheese does it’s magical, melty cheese thing. This crazy dish was intended to bring together breakfast and dinner to make everyones favorite meal: brinner! I think it works for a savory + sweet + cheesy + spicy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or brinner…it’s a versatile one.

Chicken and Waffle Melts

Since these waffles were intended for a project using Bisquick, they are made with the mix. I have not included a recipe for the waffles here, but you should use whatever waffle recipe is your stand-by and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary.  

4-6 rosemary waffles

1/2 lb. chicken breast cut into chunks

1 tablespoon flour

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

5 dashes of hot sauce, like tabasco

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper

canola oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

as many dashes of hot sauce (tabasco) as you like

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons chopped chives

Mix the chicken with the 1 tablespoon of flour to coat. Place the egg, milk, and hot sauce in a shallow, wide dish and whisk to combine. Place the panko, 1/4 cup flour, a big pinch of salt and pepper in another shallow, wide dish and mix to combine. Dip the flour coated chicken pieces in egg mixture, and dredge through the panko mixture to coat. Set on a plate and allow to rest for about 10 minutes so the breading adheres well to the chicken. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 inch of canola oil. Once the oil is hot, shallow fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and golden on all sides. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Preheat your oven’s broiler.

In a small bowl whisk together the maple and hot sauce. Place waffles on a baking sheet and layer with chicken pieces, and a generous amount of cheese. Place under the broiler and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from over, place on plates and sprinkle with chopped chives. Drizzle with the spicy maple and eat!

 

Easy + Light Potato Soup

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Happy 2013, y’all!

As always, I am striving for balance in the new year. After weeks of hearty meals and many cookies, I’m realistic enough to know that while a few weeks of lighter meals may be on the horizon–I’ll never give up dessert.

So, in an effort to find and maintain some balance, I made you this soup. Actually, I’ve made this soup 5 times in the last 3 weeks. It’s so dang good and filling! It’s the first potato soup I have ever made, myself. A lot of recipes call for cream or half-and-half, but when it comes to dinner, I struggle with the thought of consuming cups of either as part of a balanced meal. Instead, I subbed in reduced-fat milk, making the bulk of the soup with stock. There are some vegetables in there for good measure–and I bet you could sub some of the potatoes with cauliflower with great results. Even without the heavy dairy, this soup is creamy and satisfying. Topping the soup with some choice garnishes–bacon, green onions, and greek yogurt, in this case–make this simple potato soup a totally flavorful and filling meal.

Easy Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

I use reduced-fat milk in this recipe with great results, but to keep it from separating once it boils, I mix the cold milk with cornstarch to bind it. 

2-2.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-1/4 inch cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 celery stalk, diced fine

1 carrot, diced fine

1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

4 cups stock (I like to use either vegetable or chicken)

2 cups reduced-fat milk (I used 2%)

1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch

Garnishes I’m into: crisp bacon, green onions or chives, cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, roasted tomatoes, croutons.

Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a large bowl of cool water, to prevent from oxidizing. Set aside.

Measure out the milk and whisk in the cornstarch, to combine and dissolve completely. Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and sweat until translucent and tender–about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook another minute. Drain and add the potatoes, followed by the stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer–taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired–and cook for about 15 minutes–or until the potatoes are very tender. Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender (or regular blender), blend the milk/cornstarch mixture into the soup. Continue to blend until the soup is smooth and creamy. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer to keep warm until ready to serve.

Garnish as desired.