Monday, November 7, 2011

Lentil Barley Salad & Tofu Noodle Bowl

Salad Sunday
With all the time I had spent in the kitchen yesterday, you would have thought dinner would have been something I had already made. Nope, decided to make two more things: barley and lentils.

I keep thinking about the garden lentil salad I had a few times while in Chicago from Argo Tea. It really was incredible. I sort of just made my own version. While it didn't taste anything like the one I had previously, it was really good in its own right.

Warm Lentil and Barley Salad
Ingredients:
1 cup dried lentils
4 cups water
1/2 cup barley
1 1/2 cups water
1 small sweet potato, small cubed
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 carrots, finely diced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
Red wine vinegar (to taste)
To taste: salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, paprika

Directions:
In large pot, cook lentils in water until tender. At the same time, in another pot, cook barley per package directions (may need a little more water).

Either roast, microwave, or steam the sweet potato until tender.

In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Season to your personal taste preferences.

Loved this dish. It works really well on a bed of lettuce or spinach but could also be a great side as well.

Spin and a Noodle Bowl
Today I decided to go with spin over a run. I am about to throw in the white flag of defeat I believe. It was a really good class at least - though hot as hell in the gym. I mean, even the non-sweaters were sweating. So that meant I looked like I'd just stepped out of the shower. Very attractive I can assure you ;-)

Jason decided he wanted to get creative with dinner tonight. I was not going to argue or deny him this wish. He has been talking about a noodle bowl of some sort. No clear direction verbalized, but I knew he had something in his mind.

When we went to the grocery store the other day, he started picking up some rarely-purchased ingredients like Napa cabbage in order to make his noodle bowl. I kept picture some sort of dish with a coconut milk base, probably with curry paste. He, on the other hand, was thinking broth based.

Since it was his plan, I just went home and started prepping what I could to help the meal along. I started off by dry searing the tofu. I am finding this to be a huge time-saver when I haven't prepared ahead and pressed tofu for the day. The key is to continue to use a spatula to smash the tofu down and the heat pulls out all the moisture.


Jason's Tofu Noodle Bowl
Ingredients:
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
.25 oz each dried shiitake and cremini mushrooms
3 large button mushrooms, diced
3 bouillon cube (not-beef)
6 cups water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 drops sesame oil
Soy sauce (to taste)
2 tsp fresh ginger, gratedSriracha chili (to taste)
1 tbsp minced garlic
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley
Handful snap peas
1 package tofu - dry seared and cubed (or cubed and baked)
Small head Napa cabbage, chopped
3 green onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish if desired)
Fresh cilantro (to taste)
1/2 package rice noodles following the soaking method

Directions:
In large pot, bring water and bouillon cubes to boil then add in all ingredients up to the snap peas. Allow to simmer until the dried mushrooms are soft - pull out and dice then return to pot.

Allow to simmer on medium heat approximately 15 minutes then add in the snap peas and tofu. When the snap peas are done, add in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat and allow cabbage to wilt before serving.
 

This smelled so fragrant while cooking. And it tasted even better than it smelled.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin class
  • Having Jason make dinner