San Francisco Style Garlic Noodles

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I'm going to get straight to the point. These noodles are fucking delicious.

Whenever I feel exhausted, anxious, upset, or stressed I find myself ferociously craving noodles. Whether it's macaroni n' cheese, pho, pad thai, a bottomless bowl of bucatini, or a giant plastic container of garlic noodles, I need the noods. To be honest with y'all, I could use a giant plastic container of these garlic noodles right now. It's only Tuesday and I already feel like I could classify this week as "one of those weeks". I sound like I'm an old person. But I'm over it. I'm so ready for the weekend so I can bake pineapple cakes and fold another round of dumplings. I also really want to go ice skating to get into the olympic spirit! Did you know that Reuben was a hockey player? I call him an ice angle and I love seeing him fly around so gracefully around the rink : )

OHMYGOSH. What if there was an ice skating rink that served garlic noodles?!!! I would never leave.

I dream about these garlic noodles. When I'm away from San Francisco too long, I start to become that annoying out of town person and can't stoping talking or thinking about them. But when I tell people about them they get confused on why I'm so crazy about buttered noodles. It's not just buttered noodles! The flavor is so much more complex and addicting than the basic buttered noodles of your picky eating childhood.

I'm assuming that most people don't know about San Francisco style garlic noodles. Heck, I didn't really know this dish was San Francisco specific until like last year. Here is a little history lesson. This is a Vietnamese-American noodle dish that was invented at Thanh Long in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco back in 1971. It consists of a lot of butter and a lot of garlic. Pretty straightforward. It is typically served with a bounty of crab or shrimp. But a lot of restaurant serve it with imperial rolls or grilled Vietnamese meats. 

You can find these noodles at a ton of restaurants around the Bay Area now. But my absolute favorite place to get garlic noodles is from Perilla in Inner Sunset. I used to live a few blocks from there and it was a constant internal battle to not order from there everyday. If I did, I probably wouldn't be able to fit into my softest and stretchiest pants. You have the option of ordering a large Chinese food container of just plain garlic noodles for like $4. Which I tried my hardest not to do... but it was perfect for those days when you're hangry and your body is screaming for CARBS and BUTTER.

The recipe is real easy. No fuss or fancy ingredients. A lot of other recipes call for Maggi Seasoning Sauce, but I found that oyster sauce worked perfectly fine. The actual noodles that you use make a huge difference. You want chewy, fresh, and flavorful Chinese egg noodles. If you don't make them yourself, you can definitely find them at your local Asian store. I tried making my own noodles and I'm not quite ready to share that recipe with you guys yet. Still needs a few tweaks! When I finally cracked this recipe, I was literally jumping up and down with excitement because it tasted exactly the same as Perilla's garlic noodles. I can now rest easy and not have to fear garlic noodle withdrawal or depression when Reuben and I move to Philadelphia or back to Ohio. Hooray!

Also, YAY EAGLES! Any Philadelphia Eagles fans out there?! I'm not much of a sports person. The exceptions are when Cleveland sports teams are kicking butt and when Reuben's favorite sports teams are also kicking butt. I'm excited if Reuben is excited. And he ordered us some cute Eagles beanies and I'm going to make an Eagles themed Superbowl cake. Double Hooray! 


San Francisco Style Garlic Noodles

serves 2 to 4

Materials:

1 pound of fresh Chinese egg noodles
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt to taste
dash of white pepper
chopped parsley for garnish 

Steps:

Boil your noodles until al dente. When cooking fresh Chinese egg noodles it should only take about 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.

Heat a large skillet on low heat. Add 5 tbsp butter to the skillet and allow it to slowly melt. Once the butter has melted, add in minced garlic and cook on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. The garlic shouldn't brown too much. You are really trying to infuse the butter with garlic flavor.

Turn up the heat of the skillet to medium high. Add oyster sauce, sugar, pinch of salt, and dash of white pepper. Add in egg noodles and toss the noodles so that everything is evenly coated and mixed. Leave the noodles alone for 3 minute and then toss. Repeat this until the noodles are lightly crisped.

Garnish with parsley and serve hot with a side of stir fried veggies, crispy shrimp, or your favorite protein!

 

How To Upgrade Your Instant Noodles

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Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up in an awful mood and act like an absolute monster? I did. Saturday. Saturday was pretty bad. I was having a really off day, not feeling like myself, and overwhelmed by things that shouldn't have been so overwhelming. Nothing was working out and I was just getting annoyed of anything and everything around me. Poor Reuben had to experience my raging bitchfest firsthand. But we survived - he still likes me somehow. Sunday came, we went to an NFL fantasy draft, and I ate fried cheese curds for the first time which immediately fixed all my emotional problems. Omgosh they are so good. Oh, and I got gelato... problems gone.

This happens to everyone, right? Or am I that extra sensitive kid in class? It feels like there is a tidal wave of emotions hitting me all at once and all I can do is wait for it to pass. In between my fits of frustration and tears, I self medicated by watching Parenthood on Netflix and making myself a cozy hot bowl of instant noodles. Can I talk abut Parenthood for a hot second before I get to the noods? I'm obviously very late to the Parenthood train. It encompasses everything I love: family, weekly family dinners at a long table, love, cute Berkeley/California homes, and learning important life lessons. This show was made for me. I mean, in the last episode I watched, Crosby and Jasmine got married in the magical backyard with a gospel choir singing "make you feel my love". MADE. FOR. ME. I was obviously crying my eyes out. Then the episode ended and I realized I needed to eat.

My mom made us a lot of instant noodles growing up. They were quick, comforting, and cheap. She would always add a crispy egg. It's essential! Then she would either cook up some veggies or fry up some ham or spam to add into the mix. In my mind, instant noodles were a treat and not something you were forced to eat because you're a poor college student spending all your money on bass wood and black clothes. I did eat a lot of instant noodles during college, but the overachiever in me always had to upgrade it like my mom taught me. It was the perfect thing to have after I came home from studio late at night or if I woke up a little hungover from dancing until my calves ached in the Brotel. So this Saturday, in the midst of my raging bitchfest, I was hungry and upset and saw that there was one package of instant noodles sitting in the way way back of cupboard. It was exactly what I needed. I continued to be pissy for the rest of the day, but it definitely helped.

Here are some key tips to follow if you want to upgrade your instant noodles.

1. Only use half of the flavor packet. You don't need all that sodium!

2. Put an egg on it! Fry it, poach it, soft-boil it, swirl it into the soup egg drop style.

3. Cook a veggie. Bok choy, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, kale, whatever you have on hand will work.

4. Add a punch of flavor. Grate in some ginger or garlic. Add in a few drops of sesame oil, Sriracha, or dark soy.

5. Explore the instant noodle section! You can get instant pho, laksa, udon, soba, green noodles? Literally so many options. I love going in that aisle and picking out a few new ones to try. Some of them are legit.

Stock up on some instant noodles, so that the next time you turn into a monster you'll have something tasty and easy to have for lunch. Have a great rest of week! Stay cheery! 


Upgraded Instant Noodles

serves 1

Materials:

1 package of instant noodles

2 C water

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 baby bok choy

1 egg

Steps:

1. Bring pot of water to a boil. Add half of flavor packet and grate in ginger and garlic. Once soup starts to boil, turn off the heat and add noodles to the soup. Allow to cook in the hot water for 3-4 minutes, until al dente.

2. Sear bok choy in pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper, about 5 minutes.

3. Fry egg in olive oil until set and crispy, about 2 minutes.

4. Assemble your bowl and enjoy!

Pad See Ew

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I thought I was going to be arrested this week. Sometimes I feel like I'm going through life and I think to myself, "you got this. you're such a good adult." Then all of a sudden your procrastinating-self remembers that you were summoned for jury duty and you think it's the day you need to go to court, but you lost the important piece of paper that has all the important information about jury duty on it. I've never been summoned before. And to be honest, logistical things like this confuse me and make me anxious. I didn't think it was a big deal that I misplaced my jury letter until Reuben informed me that if I fail to show up for court there would technically be a warrant out for my arrest. THE HORROR. I can't go to jail. The goodie two shoes inside me was shook. I searched everywhere. I had recently purged our apartment so I was really scared that I had accidentally thrown it away. Alas, before I had reached critical freak out mode and after rummaging through our recycling, I found my letter hidden in one of my forgotten purses (how did it get there?). Thankfully, I don't have to go to court until next week and that's only if I actually get called.

People tell me that the court case I would be on a jury for would mostly likely be for a traffic violation. I think (I know) that I have been watching too much Law and Order, but I am kind of hoping that it will be a little more dramatic than that. UGH, I'm terrible. I obviously don't want anybody to get hurt or have something else terrible happen. But if I'm going to have to sit in court for a few days, I want it to be a little juicy. We will see... am I allowed to tell you about the case if I do go to court? Or will that also get me arrested?

Hooray for Friday! Fridays are when Reuben and I don't cook and order lots of Thai food or an equivalent asian take out. We do a pretty good job with cooking dinner through out the work week. But Friday is the night we order in from one of our favorite Clement Street restaurants, wear soft pants, and cuddle on the couch watching Netflix or On Demand (most likely SUV again). I'm particularly excited for a lazy Friday night because I just wrapped up a deadline and I've clocked in too many hours sitting in my task chair starting at a screen. I know, my plans are boring and basic, but I love it. If you tried the restaurants on Clement Street you would probably be pretty envious right now.

Our favorite Thai place is only 1 block away from our apartment. It's so small and unassuming, but it makes the best Pad See Ew, Pad Thai, Red Duck Curry, and Pumpkin Curry. Their other dishes are yummy too, I just tend to stick to my favorites. We walk up, put in our order, fork over $20, wait 10 minutes, and then we walk home with a hot bag of deliciousness. I get nervous thinking about the day when we won't be living 1 minute away from our favorite take out foods. That's why I'm trying to learn how to make some of them! I have Chinese food covered for the most part. But Thai is still a little bit of a mystery to me. Getting a curry right is really hard, I'm still trying to figure out that perfect balance of spicy, sweet, sour, and creamy. I'll get there eventually though! Pad See Ew might be my favorite Thai dish and it's one of the easier dishes to make. If you haven't had Pad See Ew before, it is essentially a Thai Pan Fried noodle dish commonly made as a quick street meal. Don't judge it based on the fact that it has "ew" in the name. We are adults here. It's super savory from the dark and regular soy sauce. PLEASE don't skip the dark soy sauce. This is essential to getting Pad See Ew's rich savory flavor. There are also notes of bitterness from the Chinese Broccoli and sweetness from the sugar that helps caramelizes the noodles. The beef is tender from marinating in cornstarch (mom's secret tip) and makes a dreamy pairing with the noodles. I could probably eat this whole thing if no one was watching.

Stay in. Make some noodles. Don't get arrested.


Pad See Ew

serves 2 really hungry people or 4 average eaters

Materials:

1 lb flank steak (other cuts of steak work too)

1 tsp + 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp + more for stir frying

2 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp regular soy sauce

1 tbsp sriracha 

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 lb Chinese broccoli

4 cloves of garlic

1 lb fresh wide rice noodles

2 large eggs

Steps:

1. Slice your steak into thin strips. Combine the steak, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp olive oil, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Mix to combine and set aside to marinade while you prepare the noodles.

2. Let's Prep! Fresh rice noodles should be a little pliable. If they are cold and stiff, microwave them for 45-60 seconds. Chop noodles into 3"-4" chunks and set noodles aside. Chop up the Chinese broccoli into 1 1/2" pieces and set aside. Mince your garlic and set aside.  Lightly beat the eggs and set aside.

4. Combine 1 tbsp dark soy, regular soy, oyster sauce, sugar, sriracha, and white pepper in a small bowl. Mix to combine.

5. Heat a 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. You want the oil to be really hot! Add beef and cook for 3-4 minutes, you want to sear the beef and not fully cook it. Remove beef from pan and set aside.

6. Add a generous amount of olive oil (3 tbsp) to the pan and cook garlic for 30 seconds until slightly brown. Add Chinese broccoli and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender but still with a little crunch. Toss around to avoid burning the garlic.

7. Add the rice noodles and pour in the sauce. Toss everything in the pan slowing to evenly incorporate sauce. Cook 1 minute. Add beef and toss everything again. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until noodles soften. 

8. Make a well in the center of your pan. Add eggs into the center and cook for 30 seconds to allow the eggs to slightly set. Break up the eggs with your spatula and toss everything together again. 

9. Make sure your pan is super hot. Let the noodles sit to char for 30-45 seconds. Toss everything and allow the noodles to sit and char again. Continue until you're satisfied with texture of your noodles, about 2-3 minutes.

10. Serve and enjoy!

recipe inspired by The Woks of Life.

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Springy Soba Noodle Salad

Happy Sunday, y'all! It's my favorite day of the week, mainly because the Clement Street Farmers Market is bursting with gorgeous vegetables and fruit samples. It's my weekly ritual to go gawk and snack. Last Sunday was so freaking gorgeous. I was a little over excited and brought home a huge haul of goodies to feed Reuben and I for the week. Look at those spring onions! So pretty, I'm going to paint them.

Side note: Speaking of painting, I've just added some adorable market lists to my Etsy shop. It's the perfect gift for your grocery shopping/farmers market loving friend. I'm typically that friend.

I went to the market this morning, of course, after a lovely breakfast at Cinderella Bakery with our close friends Alex and Catherine. I ate about 2000 calories worth of cheese in the form of these dangerously delicious cheese fritters called Syrniki. Alex got this pickled fish and carrot salad thing on Rye bread and it was sooooooo good. Definitely getting that next time. I made up for my cheese intake by purchasing a ton of fruits and vegetables again. The plums and peaches tasted like candy, so I bought a million and I'm going to attempt to make a tart with them later today, AND they had squash blossoms for the first time! I slightly regret that I didn't buy any... but hopefully they will be there next week!

I'll be spending the rest of my Sunday baking and maybe fitting in some produce painting while there is still light out. I also have to go pick up some Whole Food's sandwiches for dinner, because that has been our ritual the night before Reuben has to take an ARE. He has his 6th test tomorrow morning, so wish him luck! I'll also be finishing up The Keepers on Netflix... have you watched it yet?! It's so scary and horrifying. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I couldn't stop thinking about those girls. Ugh. It's so crazy. I want to talk to someone who has watched it, email me if you have. I have one last episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt left, so that might be able to balance the light and dark of my day.

Okay, let's talk about noods. Noodles. The dressing for these noodles have soy, vinegar, and sesame oil. Pretty much my ideal flavor profile. I love a good salty, acidic, and tangy dish. The vegetables are bright, fresh, and still have a little crunch to them. You can swap out the veggies for whatever look delicious at the market that day. For me it was snap peas, carrots, and those gorgeous spring onions. Once everything is mixed together with the dressing, it just tastes better and better the longer it sits. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. I think that letting them sit overnight produces optimal flavor, but waiting an hour or so for it to chill is still pretty tasty! I'll be making this again next weekend for out next Babes Brunch, which will be a Babes Picnic! V excited.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend : ) And GO CAVS! They play tomorrow and I'm so nervous. I hope I don't look back on this sentence and cringe.


Springy Soba Noodle Salad

serves 4-6

Steps :

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

2. Drain your tofu and cut into 3/4" cubes. Place in a bowl and pour 1/3 cup of the dressing over the tofu. Gently mix together and allow to marinade for at least 30 mins in the fridge.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the snap peas for 4-6 minutes, until slightly tender. With a mesh ladle, remove the snap peas and place in a bowl with ice water. Let cool in water and then drain.

4. Bring your pot of water back to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water.

5. In a large bowl or platter, add the peeled carrots, snap peas, and soba noodles. Pour in the remaining dressing and mix so that everything is evenly mixed and incorporated. Either eat this warm or allow noodles to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. This can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.

6. Garnish with green onions and black sesame seeds. Serve with marinaded tofu and enjoy!

For the Dressing :

1/2 C Soy Sauce

1/4 C Rice Vinegar

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

2 tsp Grated Ginger

1 tsp Black Pepper

1/4 C Green Onion - whites only, thinly sliced

For the Salad:

9.5oz Soba Noodles

1-2 Medium Carrots - peeled into ribbons

3 C Snap Peas

1 package Firm Tofu

Green Onions - for garnish

Black Sesame Seeds - for garnish