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Friday, October 31, 2014

Ginger Sesame Miso Noodle Bowl

My friend Amy Thacker has a really cool job.  She's a vacation planner for Disney!  And we aren't just talking about rides that go around and around, either!  Of course there are those... but there are also grown-up, all over the world vacations where everything is planned out for you!  Who knew working for the mouse could be that cool?!  Well recently, she made a serious looking noodle bowl that had me craving it for like a couple of weeks.  So I pretty much succumbed to the desire and got to work on creating one for me... because she lives too far for me to steal hers.   I cobbled together a couple of recipes I liked and came up with this one.  I had to!  I was pretty much a necessity, I rationalized to myself... because there's a ginger miso chicken noodle bowl that I love at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, but they are only there temporarily.  :(

This recipe all hinges on the ginger sesame miso dressing... well duhh!  And here's the thing - all you do is throw everything in the food processor (or blender) and blend it until it's smooth, creamy, and delicious.  There's nothing more complicated than that.  On the evening I made this, I had to leave to go pick up my 2nd oldest from marching band practice.  When we walked back into the house, he stuck his nose into the air and started sniffing... "Mmm what is THAT?!"  He went over to MY bowl, which I had to leave, and started eating out of it!  Whaaat?!  Oh no!  Make your OWN!!  I had everything ready, sort of buffet style for him to pick from.  Of course he made it like mine (secret mom smile), and there were various satisfied eating sounds during the eating process.  SCORE!!



Ingredients: Dressing (makes 3/4 cup dressing)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp white miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds + 1/2 tsp, divided
    • I mixed  half and half white and dark sesame seeds
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 lg garlic clove
Noodle Bowl "stuff" -
Feel free to add whatever components sound interesting!  Here's what I added to mine.
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Shredded carrots
  • Boiled thin spaghetti noodles
  • Shelled edamame
  • Grilled chicken (or protein of your choice)
  • Red bell pepper, sliced
  • Sliced almonds, toasted
  • Green onions/scallions, chopped
  • Cucumbers, seeded and diced
  • Crispy chow mein noodles
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
Step-by-Step:
For the dressing -  Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  I added the 1/2 tsp extra sesame seeds after processing the dressing so you could see them.  That's it.  I find the dressing tastes best if you make it ahead of time and let it sit.  Even the day before if you want to.  It will separate into layers.  That's okay.  Just shake it up or stir it around before serving. 

For the noodle bowl -  Make your pasta, chop your veggies and set it all out buffet style.  Allow your guests or family to mix, match, and make their noodle bowls as interesting as they would like.  Feel free to add ingredients that seem interesting.  I like having the different textures and flavors at work here, so that's why I chose this combination of ingredients. 

*This dressing would work just as well over just noodles and chicken if you don't wish to add all the other fixings in there.  (If you wanted to go that route, you may want to add a little cornstarch and heat the dressing to make a noodle sauce.)  Or conversely, if you wanted to just have the grilled chicken and salad items without the noodles, you could go that direction.  But all together... this noodle bowl was a lot of fun!! 

1/3 cup rice vinegar + 1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil + 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp white miso paste + 1 Tbsp soy sauce 



1 Tbsp sesame seeds + 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (I just cut it into pieces)
1 large garlic clove



Lily is going to "make" the dressing now.  Like I always say, there's always something kids can help do in a recipe.  She is capable of a lot more than this, as you well know.  But if you have little kids just starting out in the kitchen, letting them press the "go" button is a great place to start!  
Just process until smooth.  
Now I'm going to add back another teaspoon of mixed sesame seeds to my processed dressing so that the seeds are visible.  My food processor does an excellent job of grinding everything up.  But I actually enjoy being able to see the sesame seeds.  So that's why I'm adding extra now.  
Salad Prep -
I'm going to toast these sliced almonds and boil my pasta.  If you want to use an "authentic" Asian pasta, go for it!  I grabbed some spaghetti noodles off of the shelf.  I figured that I went totally authentic on my dressing, so I've done my duty here!  HaHa!  We're going easy for the rest. 

Watch these guys.  They toast up quickly.  You don't want to turn your back on them.  I toast mine in a dry pan with nothing in it.  Move them around while they are toasting.
sliced almonds
Boil your pasta noodles according to your package directions.  Then you can drain them and eat them as you wish - cold or steaming hot!  Make sure you rinse them afterwards either way you decide to go, to get the starch off of them, so they won't stick together.  Either use cold water or really hot water. 
For the last few minutes, I'm going to throw my edamame in.  I'm going to throw about 1/2 cup in there.  I chose this amount for no particular reason.  But these were frozen.  I just wanted to heat them up.  These guys are delicious and add a TON of great protein to your noodle bowl.  You may have had them before in their shells in a Japanese restaurant.  Well these guys have already been shelled.  

While my pasta is cooking, I"m going to chop everything up.  I think there are only two of us that are going to be having the full deal tonight, so I'm chopping my amounts accordingly.  I think the little ones will probably just have noodles, chicken and the dressing.  But that's okay... That's what is great about something like this.  You can individualize them.  
So let's do this!
Chopped fresh baby spinach and shredded carrots...
Our hot noodles, hot edamame, strips of grilled chicken...
Roasted red bell peppers, toasted almonds slices, sliced green onions....

Seeded and diced cucumbers, and crunchy chow mein noodles!!  WOW!!!
Then just pour some of that AMAZING ginger sesame miso dressing over your noodle bowl, add an extra sprinkle of black sesame seeds and slurrrp!!!  So good!

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  They are over 350 pages of full color recipes!  For more information, here is a link!

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one example - Stuffed Zucchini! YUM!


Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.


Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Korean BBQ Shish-Kabobs

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

German Chocolate Brownies

Black Iron Skillet Deep Dish Pizza

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Minis

Cajun Corn Chowder

Written Method: 
For the dressing -  Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  I added the 1/2 tsp extra sesame seeds after processing the dressing so you could see them.  That's it.  I find the dressing tastes best if you make it ahead of time and let it sit.  Even the day before if you want to.  It will separate into layers.  That's okay.  Just shake it up or stir it around before serving. 

For the noodle bowl -  Make your pasta, chop your veggies and set it all out buffet style.  Allow your guests or family to mix, match, and make their noodle bowls as interesting as they would like.  Feel free to add ingredients that seem interesting.  I like having the different textures and flavors at work here, so that's why I chose this combination of ingredients. 
*This dressing would work just as well over just noodles and chicken if you don't wish to add all the other fixings in there.  (If you wanted to go that route, you may want to add a little cornstarch and heat the dressing to make a noodle sauce.)  Or conversely, if you wanted to just have the grilled chicken and salad items without the noodles, you could go that direction.  But all together... this noodle bowl was a lot of fun!! 



Eye Candy...


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wild Blueberry Breakfast Strudels

I am the proud mom of a kindergartener.  For those of you who can relate to that, you know that somewhere in that backpack is going to be a monthly "snack helper" calendar.  And sheesh.... it comes around quickly!  I keep vowing to just pick up a bucket of cheese balls for the whole class, but I'm not quite there yet.  HaHa!  I had been wanting to try out these Wyman's wild blueberries for a while that I had in the freezer, but was waiting for just the right thing..... so when Lily's snack helper turn came around again, I knew this was it!  

I don't think these would have worked as well with the regular size blueberries because they would have been way too large for this application.  In addition to that, the antioxidant value of the wild blueberries is way higher than that of the regular ones.  That's a definite plus for our snack (especially when I am trying to justify the fact that I'm going to drizzle it with icing)!

One of the mom's stopped me on the way into the school and said "Wow, how did you DO that?!"  But really, it's just puff pastry, a filling, and an icing drizzle!  It's not complicated.  So let's do this.  And guess what else?  You don't even have to have a kindergartener.  You can make them just because you think someone YOU love may love to have them for breakfast or brunch.  :)


Ingredients: (for 12 pastries)

Pastry - 
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry sheets 
Filling -
  • 4 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
Icing drizzle - 
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water
Step-by-Step:

Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw on the counter until you can unfold it into thirds.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each sheet into thirds, then each third in half.  So each sheet will give you 6 pastries.  (12 pastries per box.)

To each piece of pastry, score with a paring knife around a 1/4" from the outside edge, being careful to not cut all the way through.  Then with a fork, dock the inside of the pastry.

Place the pastries on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

If you have room in the fridge, I highly recommend that you put them back in the fridge for the pastry dough to get cold again!  They will rise better and look prettier if you do. 

Bake the cold prepared pastries shells at 400 degrees F until golden brown and puffed.  This may take around 15 minutes.  Check your particular puff pastry package directions.  While they are in the oven, you can make the filling.  Mmmmm...

When they come out, use the back of a spoon to press down the scored/docked area.  Now we have created a little boat for our filling.  Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the filling!

Filling.
Mix berries, sugar, and lemon juice.

4 cups of frozen wild blueberries.      

1 cup sugar + 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice.

 Over medium heat, bring berries to a boil stirring frequently.

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water.  

1/3 cup cornstarch + 1/4 cup water.  This seems like and insane amount, right?  But this is what is going to make it "set up" and not be runny.

Stirring as you do, add the slurry to the berries.  Continue to stir until the berries are thick.


Remove from heat and allow them to begin cooling.  You may at this point begin to expect visitors and "taste testers."


When fairly cool but not cold, fill the pastries.
okay, back to same photo as before...  We're all caught up!
Mix the ingredients for the icing:  (I made enough for a whole classroom, so you can see that what I am making here is double what I am giving you the recipe for!)

Recipe for 12 pastries:
1 cup confectioners sugar + 1/8 tsp almond extract  

1 1/2 Tbsp water.  That's it, folks!  :)  Smooth and silky.

Drizzle the icing over the pastries before serving.  If you add the icing too far in advance, it can begin to interact with the sugar in the fruit and start to liquify. 


TaDA!!!  Aren't they pretty?
Life Lesson #204.  Before we began this venture, I asked Lily if we should make them open faced (breakfast strudels), or covered (toaster strudels).  She voted for open, so the other students could see all the berries.  When she came back in later from boating and had a second look, she exclaimed "But you didn't put a top on them!"  And that is when you know that you are just NOT going to win an argument with a 5 year old cook.  Aghhhhhh!!!!!!!  

I hope you enjoyed this recipe!  If you are curious as to what else I have up my sleeve, pop on over to my Recipe Index and have a look!  You are sure to find some great recipes to make with/for your family.  

Connect with me.  If you haven't already, click here to subscribe to MenuMusings so you won't miss a thing.  I'll send you notifications of new posts so you won't have to be in a cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest or on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Order the MenuMusings Cookbook!  It is now available for immediate delivery!  With 342 full color pages and 152 recipes, you will LOVE it!  The holiday season is just right around the corner, you know...

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one delicious example - Mahogany Glazed ChickenA great midweek meal that your family will love!


Here are some bonus recipes for you.
Tomato Basil Chicken

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pear Dumplings with Praline Sauce (try also with apples)

Salted Caramel Appletinis

Oriental Cole Slaw

Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole

High Class Shepherds Pie

Written Method:

  1. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw on the counter until you can unfold it into thirds.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut each sheet into thirds, then each third in half.  So each sheet will give you 6 pastries.  (12 pastries per box.)
  3. To each piece of pastry, score with a paring knife around a 1/4" from the outside edge, being careful to not cut all the way through.  Then with a fork, dock the inside of the pastry.
  4. Place the pastries on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  5. If you have room in the fridge, I highly recommend that you put them back in the fridge for the pastry dough to get cold again!  They will rise better and look prettier if you do. 
  6. Bake the cold prepared pastries shells at 400 degrees F until golden brown and puffed.  This may take around 15 minutes.  Check your particular puff pastry package directions.
  7. When they come out, use the back of a spoon to press down the scored/docked area.  Now we have created a little boat for our filling. 
  8. Mix berries, sugar, and lemon juice.
  9. Over medium heat, bring berries to a boil stirring frequently.
  10. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water.
  11. Stirring as you do, add the slurry to the berries.  Continue to stir until the berries are thick.
  12. Remove from heat and allow them to begin cooling.
  13. When fairly cool but not cold, fill the pastries.
  14. Mix the ingredients for the icing.  Drizzle the icing over the pastries before serving.  If you add the icing too far in advance, it can begin to interact with the sugar in the fruit and start to liquify. 

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