Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls

Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food

I don't think I encountered a single vegetable this past weekend. Okay, there were some magical ramps on a pizza Reuben made on Sunday and I may have made a basic salad to accompany the pizza so we wouldn't die. Do mixed greens out of bag even count as a vegetable though? We had a very indulgent weekend of dumplings, pizza, mochi cake, beer, and park snacks. Every once in a awhile Reuben and I will break out of our homebody comfy clothes and actually go outside to a park to socialIzen’s with other people. There were even strangers there! GASP. Despite our tendency to grumble like we are 80 years old on the drive over to the park full of young people on blankets, we had a wonderful sunny time catching up with old friends and coworkers that I see everyday! 

Oh! Oh! I also want to tell you that I'm hosting my very first dumpling workshop! It's going to be a blast! If you also live in the Bay Area or really love dumplings and are willing to travel for them, you can grab yourself a seat at my workshop under the shop tab of this website! It's going to be sort of intimate since it will be my first time teaching, so hurry up and get a spot while they last! I was practicing my pleats again this weekend and thinking through how I would explain all the steps and intricacies of making dumplings to a real life human. I think I have a good plan though! This blog, Instagram, and the internet in general is fun or whatever, but what I really really really love is feeding people in real life. I just can't wait to make enough dumplings to feed an army with some new friends!

Alright, enough dumpling talk. Let's talk noods! And vegetables because I desperately need those back in my life. A variation of this noodle bowl is on constant rotation in our house. It's so quick and easy to make. Plus you can literally throw in whatever vegetable or protein you have on hand. The overall flavor guidelines of this bowl are inspired by Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls or Bun Bo Xao. So think salty, sour, sweet, and a little funky. Don't be afraid of fish sauce! It adds such wonderful flavor. Both the tofu and cabbage are crisped up in the oven together. The tofu gets a nice crunchy texture with the help of some draining beforehand and a much needed flip in the middle of the baking process. Red cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables at the moment. It's so versatile and lasts a super long time in the refrigerator. You can eat it raw in a slaw or quickly sautéed it in a pan, but my absolute favorite way to cook it is by cutting thick slices of cabbage and roasting them in the oven at a high heat. The cabbage caramelizes and crisps in the oven and it's the most wonderful thing! 

What really ties this whole bowl of freshness and goodness together is the dressing! It's a blend of fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and Brightland Awake Olive Oil. The Awake olive oil is delicious and has a really unique flavor in my opinion. When tasting it on it's own it starts off fruity and then you get a really strong and almost peppery flavor, which works beautifully with the sour, sweet, and funky flavors from the other dressing ingredients! Brightland Olive Oil has some of the most beautiful packaging too! Like, just look at that bottle! You'll want to display it on your counter all the time. I also love that their oil is sourced all in California (probably not that far from me actually) and they value pure and honest food production. You know you’re getting the good stuff!

Enjoy the rest of your week and enjoy the fresh noods!


Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls

serves 2

materials:

1 block firm tofu
½ head of red cabbage
8oz rice noodles
Brightland Awake Olive Oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt + Pepper
1 large carrot - peeled into ribbons or shredded
Crushed cashews or peanuts - optional
Sesame seeds - optional
Thai basil leaves - optional
Lime wedges - for garnish

dressing Materials:

Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup Brightland Awake Olive Oil
Pinch of salt

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tofu into small pieces, about 1” cubes. Place tofu on a baking tray lined with paper towels and cover the top of the tofu with more paper towels. Press down on the tofu and allow the tofu to drain for at least 15 minutes. This extra step will help insure an extra crispy texture!

  2. Cut red cabbage into 3/4” slices, try to keep each slice intact. Brush a baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place cabbage on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp of salt, few cracks of black pepper, sesame oil, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Rub all the seasonings into the tops of the cabbage slices. Set aside.

  3. Remove tofu from tray and discard paper towels. Brush baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tofu on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp salt, few cracks of black pepper, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tray of tofu and cabbage in the oven and bake for 38-45 minutes. Flip the tofu halfway through. The cabbage will caramelize and the tofu will crisp up.

  4. While the tofu and cabbage are baking, prepare your rice noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Set noodles aside.

  5. To make dressing, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl or jar. Set aside.

  6. To assemble, place a bundle of noodles in a bowl and top with tofu, cabbage, carrots, cashews, sesame seeds, and a few basil leaves. Squeeze a lime wedge over the noodles, add dressing, and give everything a good mix. Enjoy!

Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

There are a lot of things in life that I am unsure about. Like where am I going to live in the next 5 years? Or do I actually enjoy mushrooms or do I just tolerate them? But there are also a handful of things in life that I am absolutely sure about. I want to live within a 7 hours drive from my family. And that Reuben is my soulmate because he tolerates my craziness and loves all the same foods that I do. AND my favorite food group is instant ramen and I could probably eat it every day for the rest of my life if I was forced to choose one thing and if sodium intake didn't really matter. I just love it so much!! I'm going to let you in on a little secret... I actually prefer instant ramen to real ramen. (GASP) Ah, I'm sorry! That makes me such a terrible foodie, right??? It's true though. I'm honestly not a fan of the really rich porky broths. It's a little too much for me. I've had ramen in a milky chicken broth and I was all about it! But a cheap 50 cent package of beef flavored ramen will always be my go-to if I need a quick and satisfying meal.

There was an intern at my office last Fall, who only ate instant ramen (oriental flavor… whatever that means!) and canned tuna on crackers for lunch. Every day. As much as her lack of vegetable intake concerned my internal grandma, I respected her lunch choices. I wish I had the courage to bring instant ramen in for lunch! But I’m pretty sure I would get judged hard by my coworkers and I’m also pretty sure I should eat more vegetables during the day.

I guess this recipe is a happy hybrid of that though! Pasta salad is my favorite type of salad because of the pasta, obviously. I like it heavy on the carbs. Light on the dressing. And the brighter the vegetables the better! I actually had ramen pasta salad before at a high school graduation party many many years ago. It was AWFUL. I remember being so excited that it existed and feeling so disappointed when I tasted it. The veggies and noodles were mushy and the dressing was so acidic it hurt. So disappointing. I’ve blocked it from my memory until now.

This pasta salad is the opposite of that dreaded Midwestern graduation pasta salad. The noodles are perfectly al dente, the dressing is something you will want to put on everything, and it’s full of the prettiest and freshest vegetables you can get your hands on. I used edamame, which you can pick up from the frozen section all year long, my beloved green onions, purple cabbage, and beautiful watermelon radishes. You could use regular radishes, but the watermelon radishes really jazz up the pasta salad and make it look like confetti! Whenever I find them at the store I pick one up to add a little hot pink to my avocado toast or the occasional salad. The beauty of this recipe, and all pasta salads really, is that it can be made in advance and it tastes better and better the longer it sits. Instant Ramen Pasta Salad is particularly quick to make because well, it’s instant!

PS. Should I change the name of this recipe to Instant Ramen Salad or keep it as Instant Ramen Pasta Salad? Tell me what to do!


Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

serves 6

Materials :

5 packages of instant ramen
1 cup blanched edamame
1 cucumber
1 watermelon radish
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
2 green onions chopped - white and greens separated
 

Miso Ginger Dressing :

1 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
1 instant ramen soup mix package -  if it's a simple base like beef or chicken
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves
1" chunk of ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt - use a little more if not using soup mix package

Recipes:

1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Place instant ramen noodles in the boiling water and boil or 2 minutes until the noodles are al dente. Remove noodles from hot water and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain noodles and set aside noodles in the fridge to chill.

2. Prepare all your veggies. Thinly slice a watermelon radish other on a mandolin or with a super sharp knife. Cut the cucumber into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the purple cabbage and chop the green onion stalks. Set veggies aside.

3. Prepare your dressing by placing all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 1 minute. If you don't have a food processor you can whisk all the liquids and seasoning together and grate in the ginger and garlic.

4. Take the noodles out of the fridge and toss the noodles with dressing so that everything is evenly coated. Mix in your veggies and enjoy!

* Salad can be made the day before and kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Kale Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Yogurt Ranch Dressing

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(yawwwwwwwwwnnnnnn) Ah, sorry. That was rude. Gosh, being a real working person is exhausting. Despite how much I miss wearing soft pants everyday and binge watching Riverdale, I'm oddly happy to be back to work. I get a sort of high when I'm busy and buzzing around being productive. It feels good to conquer things again actually use some critical thinking skills! I'm sure that this weird appreciation for work will eventual wear off after my eyes hurt from reviewing construction drawings and organizing material samples. On the positive side, I have a bunch of really cool projects coming up this year! Did I tell you I'm designing a food truck?? Sort of. But I'll share more about that later.

Should we talk about salad now? I know it is pretty basic to post a salad as the first recipe of the new year, but why not start out on a healthy note before we digress into dumplings, pizza, and cupcakes? I'm going to be super honest with you, because we're friends. I'm not a huge fan of salads... well actually, I'm just really particular about salad... wait no! I have extremely high standards for salads. Yes, that sounds better. There is nothing sadder than a limp and boring salad. One of my biggest pet peeves is ordering a sandwich at a cafe and getting a side of some spring mix with a balsamic vinaigrette. That is just not going to cut it for me.

A perfect salad needs to have these 3 factors:
1. A Flavorful Dressing
2. Crunchy Things
3. Greens With Integrity

This simple kale salad gets a big check mark on all three! A lot of times, I like to pile on the ingredients. Eggs. Apples. Bagel Croutons. Salty meat. Berries. Avocado. Nuts. But since we are just starting off the year and easing back into our normal routines, simple seemed best!

I would eat anything if it was covered in ranch dressing. Even the dreaded celery stick or maybe even a beet! 😝  To help us feel better about drowning our food in ranch dressing, I made a healthier greek yogurt ranch dressing! This dressing is tangy, salty, packed full of herbs, and slightly spicy from cayenne. It's so good, I might never need to reach for the Hidden Valley ever again. That takes care of a flavorful dressing. Up next is the crunch. These chickpeas are addictively crunchy, salty, smokey, and spicy. I literally could have ate the entire tray of chickpeas. The perfect snack and topping to add some much needed texture to your salad. If you are really into chickpeas or want some extra to snack on, go on and double the recipe! You won't regret it. Greens like kale, chard, or collard greens are my go to when fixing a salad. I'm not really into spring mix or that iceberg/olive garden salad stuff. If I'm going to eat a salad, I want it to really count. It should feel like I'm eating an actual vegetable! Plus I love the chew and heartiness of darker greens.

Happy salad making and resolution keeping! Don't forget to check your teeth for stray green bits in the mirror afterwards.

Also, don't worry. There's going to be less salads and more dumplings and cakes in the near future!


Kale Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Yogurt Ranch Dressing

makes 1 big ass salad, serves 4

for the chickpeas:
1 15.5oz can of chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

for the dressing:
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 garlic cloves grated
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp water
dash of cayenne - optional

for the salad:
1 head of kale
paramesan

to make the chickpeas:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drain and towel dry the chickpeas. Add them to a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and a few good turns of black pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, tossing half way through, until they are nice and crispy!

to make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, white vinegar, garlic, parsley, chives, dill, salt, black pepper, water, and cayenne. Adjust seasonings to personal taste and add more water if you like your dressing thinner. Place in a airtight container and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.

to assemble the salad:

De-stem the kale and cut into small bite sized pieces or ribbons. Wash and dry the kale. Massage the kale for a few minutes until tender. Toss with yogurt ranch dressing, pile on the chickpeas, and shower with an appropriate amount of parmesan cheese.

enjoy!