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Meatless Monday: Easy Sesame Noodles

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

When it comes to weeknight cooking, simple is great but “stupidly simple” is best. Amy Cao, host of Stupidly Simple Snacks, is a pro when it comes to quick, no-fuss meal prep, and her recipe for sesame noodles is no exception. Using a few pantry staples, it comes together in no time and is delicious to boot.

Mixing peanut butter with soy sauce and sesame oil may sound odd at first, but anyone who’s tried the combination can vouch for its tastiness. Here, it gives regular old spaghetti an Asian flair. With a little bit of garlic and a couple drops of Sriracha, these noodles are straight up addicting. You can serve smaller portions as sides, but for an extra easy dinner, a bowlful makes a satisfying meal in itself, thanks to the protein-rich PB. For some added freshness and fun textures, throw in any combination of thinly sliced carrots, red peppers, scallions or cucumbers.

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DIY Kimchi Recipe

Aside from judging pickles and standing in line for hours at various street food vendors at last year’s Bay Area Eat Real Fest, I also attended the adjunct Eat Real Lit Fest. It featured a wide range of brainy foodies alternately reading from their works or extemporizing on the topic of street food and other burgeoning trends.

One of the highlights was local chef Richie Nakano. Cribbing from his notes and brandishing his inked arms, he regaled the audience with the saga of how he left a stable kitchen gig to launch his own street food business, Hapa Ramen. On opening day, exhausted from an all-night noodle-making session, faced with missing valves and other logistical problems, Richie was exasperated. But he persevered and went on to become one of the hottest street vendors in the city of San Francisco, as well as one of my more regular lunch treats on market days at the Ferry Building.

Richie’s ramen is worth the trip, for sure, but should you find yourself at his booth, don’t forget to order the extra carton of kimchi and pickles for just a buck more. Richie uses seasonal veggies for the pickles, which rest on a bed of salty-spicy kimchi.

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