Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lunchtime: Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl

At this current moment I should be baking cookies. This weekend is the busiest baking weekend of the year. It's my absolute favorite. I make over 500 cookies for the ones I love most. After years of trial and error, I've narrowed down my Christmas Cookie box to the most requested favorites, while also throwing in a few new ones. 

But right now I'm waiting for this headache to go away. I woke up not feeing well, but powered through it and made it to the store bright and early. My kitchen is stocked to the max with butter & flour. I can't wait to get to work but I need this pain reliever to kick in first. 

So instead of being done with my third batch of cookies like I had hoped by now, it's 11am and I'm riding out this pain on the couch. There's no point in anxiously looking at the clock and back at my cookie list, I thought why not post about my delicious lunch from yesterday. 

I'm particular about the kitchen gadgets I buy. Before getting a spiralizer for my birthday, I used a julienne peeler to make my veggie noodles. I went back and forth on whether I wanted to make room in my small kitchen for something I could essentially make already. But honestly even the best looking noodle I could pull from a peeler looks pretty pathetic compared to all the beautifully bouncy noodles I would see online. Sure it's all about the taste, but a visually appealing plate doesn't hurt. And after playing with the spiralizer a few times, I really do like this thing. Even more so because it's compact. Any effect on taste? I'm able to achieve thinner, more pliable noodles that work much better in the pan. Maybe the spiralizer and I are still in our honeymoon phase, but I'd say those bonuses do attribute to taste. 

But I also had a pretty crappy peeler. So what do I know? Maybe we can just chalk this rambling up to a spoiled home cook  taking a moment to go on about her new kitchen toy for no reason. I tend to ramble.

Regardless, it's pretty cool little gadget.

This isn't really much of a recipe, just an easy idea that's light and yummy.

Note: I've only experimented with veggie noodles this thin a few times and I'm still learning about the fine line between mushy veggie noodles and delicious ones. If you have a better way of prepping these sweet potato noodles, please do so. This is what has worked for me so far...

Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl
serves 2
                                        1-2 sweet potatoes, spiraled *you get a lot from one potato
1 block tofu
1tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 cup black rice
3 collard green leaves, julienned
pomegranate seeds

Press tofu while preparing other ingredients. Bring 2 1/4 cup water to a boil. Rinse black rice under cool running water. Add the rice to the boiling water. Boil for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. You can use this time to spiralize the sweet potato, chop cilantro & greens, deseed pomegranate, etc. Using a strainer, let rice drain well over the sink for about 5 minutes. Return to pot, off the heat, and cover. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Season lightly with salt.
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Cut tofu into 1" cubes and add to bowl. Toss to evenly coat. Spread tofu evenly on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-40 minutes, depending on preference. I was going for quick & since I don't mind tofu at any stage, I went for about 25 minutes which got me very light brown edges.
Lightly oil a large pan over medium heat with 2 tsp oil. Pan fry noodles, stirring one or two times, for about 5-8 minutes. season with salt.  

To plate: divide collard greens into two bowls. lightly oil your fingers with olive oil and message greens in the bowl. wash hands and lightly season with salt & pepper. Add a scope of rice, pushing the greens to the side. Divide noodles amongst bowls. Top with tofu, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds. Pour sauce on top.

Sauce/glaze/something mixed in  bowl
 1 tbsp sambal chili paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple

mix above ingredients. pour over noodle bowls.

I intended to make a vinaigrette and even had different ingredients on the counter, but because I was trying to do a million things at once and didn't even realize the error of my mistake until after I poured it atop of the noodle bowls, I made more of a glaze/marinade of sorts. not much to it, but it worked! adding fresh garlic and a bit of oil won't hurt.
Note: Sambal chili paste is not vegan or vegetarian, but I've found some vegan homemade versions that seem worthy of a try.


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