Travel Eats

Entries in noodles (3)


A Multicultural Week

                                                    The whole enchilada

After a fun day at Siclovia, Sophie's choice for dinner this past Sunday was enchiladas.  I must admit to purchasing the enchilada sauce and not making it myself.  Luckily when you live in Texas, store bought sauce doesn't mean Old El Paso.  We had some leftover butternut squash so I threw that in--basically you can roll whatever you want up into a tortilla, cover with sauce and cheese and call it a day.

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken/turkey/what have you

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 large bell pepper

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh herbs--you could use cilantro, but I used Mexican oregano because a certain coworker hates cilantro

1 can enchilada sauce (I used La Victoria--you know when the label is in Spanish it's got to be good)

corn tortillas, and no, you cannot substitute flour tortillas because we are not making burritos

2 cups cubed butternut or other winter squash, roasted and cooled

2 cups queso fresco, crumbled

olive oil

Cut pepper and onion into 1/2" dice and saute until onion is translucent and the pepper is softened but not mushy.  Add minced garlic and saute briefly until garlic is aromatic but not burnt.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I made these very mild in deference to my audience, but you could always add a poblano or jalepeno to the vegetable saute to increase the heat.  Remove from heat and place in large bowl.  Add chicken/squash/2 TBS chopped fresh herbs/beans/and 1/2 of the cheese.  Mix well.  In a saute pan heat enchilada sauce until hot but not boiling.

Spray a 9X13" pan with cooking spray.  Dredge your corn tortilla briefly in sauce, fill and roll.  Place seam side down in prepared pan.  Continue in this fashion, packing enchiladas close together.  Top with remaining sauce and cheese.  At this point you can wrap pan with foil and freeze.  If you are ready to eat immediately bake at 350F until lightly browned and bubbling.  You can also bake them directly from the freezer--Just bake x 45 min with foil on top, then remove foil and bake an additional 15-25 minutes. 

Sophie's second request was "some kind of noodle dish." We made japchae and pad Thai.

                                           Just like Thailand, minus the $5 foot massage

Sophie's first trip to Thailand involved her eating a lot of spaghetti Marinara.  She did try a coconut drink, and spent the last day of the trip close to a toilet.  Thank goodness for the corner pharmacy where you can buy some nice broad spectrum antibiotics over the counter.  This pad Thai, while possibly safer than the street food version, only begins to approach its deliciousness.  You will need some obscure ingredients which you can find at a good Asian food market

1/2 cup fish sauce--yes, it smells like fish, but don't worry it mellows out with the addition of other ingredients.  Do no substitute or you will be disappointed

1/2 cup palm sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup tamarind concentrate

1 small Thai chili, sliced (if you want it hot)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine in a saucepan and cook until sugar dissolves.  This is your sauce.  You can put in a glass jar in refrigerator and use as needed.  This makes enough for about 4 oz. rice noodles.

3 scallions, sliced into 1" pieces, including green part

2 cloves garlic

3 large carrots cut into thin matchsticks,  I used a julienne peeler which was perfect

2 shallots, thinly sliced

oil for frying

cooked meat of your choice (I used leftover beef from jap chae)

one egg

4 oz. flat rice noodles

for garnish: sliced limes/cukes/cilantro; crushed peanuts

Boil noodles for ~5 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water and use scissors to cut into manageable lengths--you will be stir frying which will cook the noodles a bit more. 

In a wok or large frying pan heat oil over medium heat.  Stir fry shallots until translucent, then add carrots and garlic, cooking til carrots are softened but not mushy.  Add green onions and cook ~ 1 minute.  Add noodles and cook for ~ 1 minute--you may need to add a little oil at this point to prevent them from sticking.  Add 4 TBS sauce and cook til noodles are coated.  Add you meat and cook til heated through.  If you are using uncooked meat, begin by cooking meat in wok, then proceed to shallot step.  Push noodles to side and crack one egg into pan, scrambling with your spoon.  Mix well and add more sauce if necessary.  Garnish.  Squeeze lime over all and enjoy.

Photos and recipe for jap chae, we used baby bok choy instead of spinach and it was excellent.


Reality Bites

 Nothing like two weeks in Hawaii to leave you with massive post-holiday apathy.  The jet lag, the lack of shave ice, the extra holiday baggage around my thighs.....Getting out of bed for pre-dawn workouts when I need them most has been nigh impossible.  Where did all the rainbows go?

Sophie has been a big help, a willing dinner and a movie partner (the Monterey and Sherlock Holmes), an independent cookie maker (lemon cookies--her first solo baking project when I was out riding the other day), and generally all-around inspirational.  Her New Year's Resolution is to journal every night.

When I decided to make soba for dinner she said, "Aren't those the gray noodles?" 

Why, yes, they are.  Not pretty but tasty.  I tossed them with some carrot ginger dressing and diced broccoli stems.  Traditionally they are served with a dipping broth, often with some horseradish. The raw diced broccoli added a nice bite  both  texturally and taste-wise.

Gray and Orange Soba


2 large carrots, peeled

1 TBS grated ginger

3 scallions, white and green parts

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 clementine, peeled (and seeded if necessary)

Place all in blender and puree til smooth.  Thin with a little water if necessary.

Cook soba noodles as directed (I used two bundles) and drain/rinse.  Toss with dressing and diced broccoli, tofu, or what have you.

 I made grey soup to go with it.  Actually this is a roast garlic/tomato/zucchini soup.  Another beauty.

Roasted Veg Soup

4 plum tomatoes, halved

1 head garlic--slice off top but leave intact

2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1" thick rounds

olive oil

vegetable stock


Combine vegetables and garlic in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and roast in 375F oven till softened and browned--about 45 minutes.  The garlic takes awhile so if your veg are beginning to get too brown remove them and continue cooking til garlic is soft/brown.  Place veg into blender, squeeze roast garlic into blender and add vegetable stock to desired consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I added a splash of white balsamic vinegar and swirled some pesto into my bowl.  Garnish with shaved parmesan.

 7 layer dip.  Pretty on the outside.....I made this for a friend's graduation/pre-deployment to Afghanistan party.  Serve with tortilla chips, and a healthy dose of HTFU.


Faux Pho

We are a family of noodle lovers.  We have stood in line outside many a ramen shop.  We have had noodles in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Korea.  Seemingly simple, the humble bowl of noodles usually belies the care that went into producing it.  Tonkotsu ramen, our favorite kind, has a broth that requires hours and hours of cooking--distilling the porky/fatty goodness from the bones.  Kal-guksu, literally knife-cut noodles is the Korean version of grandmother's chicken noodle soup with handmade noodles.  Pho with its layered flavors of cinnamon, basil, anise has become another favorite, and more accessible than ramen here in Central Texas.  

On a Friday night after spending nearly an hour getting home, even the 20 minute drive to the local Vietnamese restaurant seemed painful.  So we improvised using some jarred Tom Kha paste, chicken broth and rice vermicelli.  Topped with cilantro, lime basil, scallions and just a touch of sambal olek.

Chopsticks optional but recommended.