Coconut Ramen with Lemongrass Sriracha

You’d think, at the age of 33, you – and by “you” I clearly mean “ME” – would not be buying 39 cent packages of Top Ramen from the grocery store. I’m well past my undergrad years of college, slurping those noodles in their MSG chemical-laden bath we called broth.  Man…Chicken Top Ramen was the best! Hell, I’d still eat it if I wanted to and be damn happy about it!

That being said, I usually buy those 39 cent packages now merely for the cheap noodles; I throw away the broth packet and let that hardened block of wavy noodles act as a blank canvas for my culinary art.

I’ve posted a ramen recipe on the blog before – a classic delicious recipe brought down by my rush to shoot photos when I didn’t have enough daylight, leaving me to say, “I’ll reshoot this again…someday…” – but, with age and wisdom has come better time management and less rushing to beat the sunlight for good food photography, even on autumn weekend afternoons when you’re screwed if you shoot past 4 p.m. Ha!

I decided to spice things up – pun absolutely and unapologetically intended – and play with some different flavors. Not unlike the quick coconut curry recipe I’ve made many times in the past when I’ve needed a quick dinner, I let the noods soak up the rich coconut flavor of the broth while letting Fix Lemongrass Sriracha add some punch and brightness. A classic soft-boiled egg adds some extra meat to the dish, so to speak, but feel free to omit if you eat plant-based! The generous amounts red peppers, green onions, and cilantro in this soup will leave you feeling just as satisfied.

NOTE: The fine folks at Fix Hot Sauce generously gifted me this bottle of Lemongrass Sriracha. Thank you! Please check out their website to learn more about their hot sauce selection, and look for it at a store near you!

Coconut Ramen with Lemongrass Sriracha
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

– 1 package ramen noodles, broth packet omitted
– 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk; use lite or full-fat, but I prefer full-fat
– 1 & 1/2 cups water
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon Fix Lemongrass Sriracha (see Before We Get Started…)
– 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
– 3 stalks green onion, rinsed and diced, whites omitted
– 1 soft-boiled egg (optional)
– 1 bunch cilantro, cleaned (optional, for garnish)
– Lime wedges (optional, for garnish)

Before We Get Started…

– Please use hot sauce of choice if you can’t find this specific sauce, or omit if you are adverse to hot sauces.

Directions:

1.) In a large saucepan, cook ramen noodles according to directions on package, omitting broth packet. Drain and set aside.

2.) In another saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, garlic powder, soy sauce, and sriracha and let it come to a slow boil over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and approximately 3/4 of the green onions; turn heat down to a simmer and continue to cook for approximately five minutes. Add noodles.

3.) If making a soft-boiled egg – do this concurrently with Step #2 – bring two cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add egg and cook for 7 minutes.

4.) Place soup in bowls. Add 1/4 remaining green onions. Add cilantro and lime wedges for optional garnish. If using egg, peel, gently cut in half, and place in bowls. Drizzle with more sriracha, to taste.

 

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Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails

‘Tis the season for hosting holiday gatherings. The kitchen enthusiast in me loves it. The introvert in me that is wickedly Type A loathes it. Ha!

However, where there is a will, there is a way. My will? To serve an easy drink. The way? Keep it simple!

In a season full of cocktails, many folks abstain from alcohol for a myriad of reasons. Ain’t nothing wrong with some flavorful effervescent mocktails! Apple cider mixed with champagne sure makes a killer cocktail – a nice Apple Cider Mimosa, if you will – but a top-notch ginger ale makes a wonderful substitute in this case, adding a lightly spicy kick to an already tangy cider.

These two drinks combine effortlessly make something festive that captures the late autumn / early winter holiday feeling in the air. The cider makes you think of the crisp chill, and the ginger and cinnamon-sugar add a nice warmth of flavor. Honestly, you’ll spend more time dipping the rims of your glasses in the cinnamon-sugar than mixing the cider and ginger ale together!

Speaking of glasses, it’s really nice to have good disposable glassware on hand for when I have friends over. I only have so many actual glasses in my cabinet – and goodness knows I don’t have a single champagne flute to my name. Ha! – but I certainly feel guilty buying too many cheap plastic cups when the total of my company exceeds the total of my glassware. (Sorry, Planet Earth!) However, with these wonderful Tossware Champagne Flutes, which are made from recyclable BPA-free PET / rPET polymer, I can rest a little easier knowing I won’t be adding another needless pile to a landfill at the end of the night. I can simply sit back and enjoy a drink or two or five. 😉

NOTE: The fine folks at Tossware generously furnished me with their eco-friendly champagne flutes for this post. Thank you! Please be sure to visit their site and learn more about this wonderful company.


Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
– 1 cup apple cider
– 1 liter ginger ale (I used Q Ginger Ale)
– Whole rinsed cranberries, for garnish (optional)

Before We Get Started…

– The addition of cinnamon-sugar to the rims is optional, but it’s oh-so pretty!

Directions:

1.) If decorating rims: In a small shallow bowl or on a small plate, combine sugar and cinnamon. Wet the rims of the champagne flutes, then dip in cinnamon sugar mixture.

2.) Fill champagne flutes 1/4 full with apple cider, then top off with ginger ale.

3.) Garnish with cranberries, if desired. Serve immediately!

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Hello, babes!

Another long break, right?

It just seems like my “foodieness” is going in a multitude of directions.

After a lot of long thought…I’ve realized that I don’t need to feel pressured to update this website 2 to 3 times a week, as this isn’t my full-time job. This blog shouldn’t cause me pressure, but rather be a leisurely outlet for some things that I love: recipe development, cooking, and photography.

I’ve felt pressured to rush through recipes, photograph them even if the lighting isn’t right – I am all about natural light photography – and stress myself out if I don’t have enough time. I’ve looked back through my last few recipes, and I’m not totally happy with my photography. It’s all a learning process – I learn from the old to see what I don’t want to do – but I’m feeling like I want to re-shoot the last six recipes I’ve posted. Ha!

If I update here once or twice a month, at my pace, so be it! It’s all good.

Plan B? I marry someone with a lot of money and a good spousal health insurance plan so I can quit my job and focus on this blog full-time! Ha! Maybe…maybe…

Outside of this blog, I have been doing a lot of work with Instagram food influencer agencies in NYC, as well as developing recipes for Yoga By Candace, which has left me feeling wonderful and inspired! It’s allowed me to meet fellow NYC-based food bloggers, marketers, content creators, and recipe developers; it’s quite the little community I’ve stumbled upon, full of absolutely wonderful folks! (Well, about 99% of the time. I’ve met once or two unpleasant folks that have looked down their noses at me, but, I digress. Haaaa…)

That being said, it’s time to break out some pumpkin gnocchi, y’all.

I was home in Connecticut this past weekend, feeling very inspired to whip up a few recipes. Perhaps it was the country air, the light glow of the sun lighting up the colorful foliage, the smell of pine needles on the ground, but I wanted to play around with autumnal flavors.

I’ve made this pumpkin gnocchi in the past, and it was just as delicious as I remembered. It was also as sticky as I remember it. Ha!

This is a great recipe to make when you have a nice leisurely stretch of time and want to make something wholly warming and filling. There is nothing like a toothsome piece of good gnocchi, in my opinion.

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi
(Makes…a lot of gnocchi. Serves 2 – 4, depending on how much you want to share!)
(Adapted from Chowhound’s recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchi with Crème Fraîche–Sage Sauce)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
– 1 cup pumpkin purée
– 2 large egg yolks
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
– 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Before We Get Started…

– As you see, the original Chowhound recipe has that lovely Crème Fraîche–Sage Sauce to top it with. I…get lazy. Ha! But, if you are looking for something lovely to finish this gnocchi off with, two fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, combined with two tablespoons of melted butter, makes a simple and flavorful sauce!

Directions:

1.) On a large baking sheet, place parchment paper and flour lightly. Set aside.

1.) Combine ricotta, pumpkin, egg yolks, measured salt, brown sugar, nutmeg, and ground sage; stir until smooth. Slowly add the flour – roughly 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until the dough is combined; it should be a bit sticky and soft.

2.) Place flour on a work surface. Taking a rough handful of dough, carefully roll it on the floured surface into an even rope, roughly 3/4″ in diameter. Cut the rope into 3/4″ pieces. Place the gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until all gnocchi has been made.

4.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper (do not flour!) and set aside. Carefully add gnocchi to the boiling water in batches – you can do this in 3 to 4 batches – and cook until they float and cook for 3 – 4 minutes; gnocchi will be floating on the surface of the water when finished. Remove with a slotted spoon, gently shaking off any excess water, and transfer to the second prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all gnocchi is cooked.

5.) Serve immediately with preferred sauces or toppings, or allow gnocchi to cool and solidify before placing in an airtight container to freeze. Frozen gnocchi can be cooked again at a later time by adding to boiling water and cooking for approximately 3 minutes.

Walnut Lentil Pâté

Another month, another recipe for Yoga By Candace! Truthfully, as much as I get joy from creating recipes for this blog, I always jump at the chance to share my passion for developing cool recipes with other websites and publications. I’m so grateful Candace decided to take a chance on lil’ ol’ me a year ago and allow me to share my hard work with a different audience.

This recipe for Walnut Lentil Pâté is rather fantastic. I was in my hometown a few weeks ago and had breakfast at Plantin’ Seeds. They host events throughout the year, provide education on how to procure and use locally-sourced plant-based foods year round, and serve amazing pay – as – you – wish donation – based meals on Thursdays through Saturdays. One Saturday, they served a salad with Walnut Lentil Pâté, and, despite my initial apprehension of trying this odd brown schmear on my plate, I ended up falling head over heels for it. I knew I had to try my hand at creating my replication, and I think I did a pretty good job!

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This recipe does take some time. Between caramelizing onions, simmering lentils, and roasting walnuts, it’s not as simple as throwing a few ingredients into a food processor and giving them a a few pulses. The elbow grease you put into it will be worth it.

Be sure to head over to Yoga By Candace for the full recipe!

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Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze

I have a major culinary quest in life.

I am trying to perfect the perfect donut glaze.

I just can’t get it!

I’m talking about good thick glazes like the kind you’d get on a donut from Underwest Donuts, Doughnut Plant, The Doughnut Project, or any of the top notch donut spots in NYC.

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For me, I am a baked donut gal when I’m at home; I’d love to make some yeasty fried donuts, but I am so attached to my donut pan! Cake donuts don’t take glazes as well as fried donuts, due to their porousness. It’ll go on thick, but seemingly sink in. Not to say I mind that extra sugary goodness leaching into my treats…

😏

I was a pretty basic glaze girl for a while – I’d mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk for my main base – but that doesn’t do as well with the cake donuts, as aforementioned. It certainly glazes them, but I wanted something to really coat them. I’ve been experimenting with other ingredients, such as butter and condensed sweetened milk. I’ve been finding that butter may be that trick up my sleeve I’ve been waiting for! I’ve found this glaze works better with cake donuts, and I’ve started to get that consistency I’m working towards; not perfect, but it’s progress.

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As I continue to tinker, I must say I’m satisfied with how this matcha glaze came out. I wish I could have gotten a more even coating for these photos – the dilemma of the food blogger – but all that matters to me is that they taste great, and the chocolate and matcha make for a cozy and slightly earthy match. It’s a great donut for the autumn when apple cider donut penetration is getting the best of you. Ha!

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NOTE: This recipe is part of a contest for Kiss Me Organics! PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO VOTE for me in their contest for best matcha-based recipe! Spread the word! Thank you to Kiss Me Organics and Pure Taste for the complimentary matcha and the opportunity to develop this awesome recipe!

Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze
(Makes 6 donuts)

Donuts:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1 large egg
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Matcha Glaze:

– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
– 2 teaspoons matcha tea powder, leveled off (I used Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Matcha)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 3 tablespoons milk (dairy or non-dairy)

Before We Get Started…

– When glazing donuts, set a cooling rack over a piece of scrap paper, parchment paper, cookie sheet, et al, to catch any glaze drips for an easier clean-up!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of the donut pan’s cavities. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir / fold to combine.

3.) Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a gallon-sized seal-top plastic bag; if using plastic bag, cut off small corner to pipe out mixture. Evenly pipe mixture into cavities of donut pan.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes; carefully remove donuts from pan and allow to continue cooling on cooling rack.

5.) Once donuts are room temperature, melt butter and allow to cool slightly, 2 – 3 minutes. Add matcha and vanilla and mix until combined. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add in butter matcha mixture and stir to combine. Add in milk, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until combined. Carefully dip one side of a donut into the glaze and place on cooling rack to drip dry, glaze side up. Allow glaze to set and dry for at least 30 minutes.