Monday, January 12, 2009

Asian delight

Peanut noodles, baked tofu, napa cabbage salad and green beans.

Have you ever wondered what to do with a head of napa cabbage? I just discovered the yummiest recipe that I want to share. Every two weeks I pick up a slew of veggies from my winter CSA farm share. The winter months are slimmer pickings of veggies they are able to store through the winter. I get carrots, potatoes, onions, root veggies, winter squash and cabbage every two weeks. It is so nice to be able to enjoy Vermont grown veggies all year. I have to admit though that when it comes to picking a cabbage I either don't or I do, and it goes bad in my fridge. This week I vowed to choose a napa cabbage and learn something new.

Napa cabbage salad seemed like the clear winner so I set out to make a meal around it and chose to serve it with peanut noodles, baked tofu, and green beans.

Napa cabbage
salad (adapted from a recipe I found on all recipes). I had to change the measurements of the original recipe because the amount of butter was about a triple the amount of what I list here and was just not needed. I also cut the sugar way down too. Here is my modified version.

1 head napa cabbage
1 bunch minced green onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 package ramen noodles, broken
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce


1. Finely shred the head of cabbage; do not chop. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
3. Make the crunchies: Melt the butter in a pot. Mix the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds into the pot with the melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake the crunchies in the preheated 350 degrees F oven, turning often to make sure they do not burn. When they are browned remove them from the oven.
4. Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
5. Combine dressing, crunchies, and cabbage immediately before serving. Serve right away or the crunchies will get soggy.

**side note - Spoon the dressing over the salad in small amounts. The original recipe made way more dressing than I ended up using. I just spooned some on until I like the consistency and the flavor. I think too much of this dressing can spoil it. Even though I cut the measurements down for the dressing I wouldn't go dumping the entire amount of the salad. This was a damn good salad. Even my kids liked it.

Peanut noodles
This is an adapted recipe. The original is called Karen's Sesame Noodles from one of my favorite cookbooks Feeding the Whole Family. I changed this up a bit to have more peanut butter and less tahini.


8 ounces whole grain noodles (thin spaghetti or udon noodles)
1 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons peanut butter (you can also use almond or cashew butter)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-3 tablespoons water to desired consistency.


Cook noodles in boiling water according to directions on package. While noodles are cooking put ingredients for sauce in bowl and blend until creamy. When noodles are cooked, drain and rinse. Pour sauce over noodles and toss well. **These are good warm and cold.

Baked Tofu


1 package of Extra firm tofu
Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce
Garlic powder


Drain tofu. Cut the tofu cake making two cakes and place on a plate with paper towels under and over the cakes. Press down to get as much water out as you can. I usually put a heavy book on top to help the process for about 10 minutes.

Next cut the tofu into chunks and place in a bowl. Add the enough Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce to cover tofu and mix so all the chunks are covered with sauce. Sprinkle with garlic powder and mix again. Put tofu in a baking dish and place in oven on 350. Cook for about 20 minutes or so flipping the tofu every so often. Tofu should be brown when ready.

*Excellent warm with your meal and enjoy cold the next day with the left over peanut noodles.
** Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki is one of the ways I cheat in the kitchen. This stuff is so good and it makes it easy to spice up a lot of different foods. I use it a lot as a marinade on tofu, drizzle on rice and stir fries but I am sure it would be great on fish or other meats as well. It is pretty pricey in the store - over $4.00 a bottle but I have actually found it for half the cost at the Christmas Tree Shop. Check out the food section of the store and see if yours sells it. I have been buying mine there for a few years now. It is worth checking.

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