Kari Eats Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

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This year, I’ve been pretty bad with breakfast. For more days than I’d like to admit, I only have a banana for breakfast because I wake up too late. Sometimes I also have a granola bar if I remember to grab one, or oatmeal if I have time and soy milk in the fridge, but overall, my breakfast is pretty sad looking.

I’ve had the Mediterranean Overnight Tofu Scramble from Isa Does It on my list of things to make, partly because it’s a meal that can be made on Sunday and quickly heated up the rest of the week. So, for one week, I vowed to wake up slightly earlier and have an actual breakfast.

The recipe was ridiculously easy to make: crush tofu, chop up additions, sprinkle in some seasonings (I omitted the turmeric as I don’t care if my scramble isn’t yellow), and leave in the fridge to heat up in the morning. I’m slightly embarrassed that I’ve never actually made tofu scramble before, but I have enjoyed many, especially in wrap form.

Considering I’m not exactly picky about my scrambles, I don’t have much to say about this one – it’s good, it’s solid, and I probably put in too much crushed red pepper flakes. It kept me pretty full all morning, and cooked up within minutes as I prepped for the day. I really enjoyed the bits of roasted red pepper, and I bet this would also taste pretty good in a wrap (as they show in the cookbook).

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Kari Eats/Slurps Noodle Soup

 

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Growing up, my mom would make a “kitchen sink” noodle soup, which was usually some combination of leftovers from the previous week, braised tofu and daikon, and dried noodles simmering in a mushroom and soy sauce-flavored broth, served with a healthy dash of sesame oil. I’ve never tried making it on my own – my mom never had a written down recipe, and there’s something so comforting about the dish that I’m slightly scared of making it in case it goes wrong.

But noodle soup seemed perfect for my cooking schedule nowadays. I currently cook two dishes on the weekend: one is usually a quinoa or pasta salad of sorts that I eat for lunch, and the other is one giant dish for dinner that incorporates all the veggies and protein that I need. Noodle soup is also easy to store and reheat for leftovers: have a giant bowl with just the noodles and veggies, and another with just the soup.

I decided to make a variation of the noodle soup I’ve grown up with: instead of relying on leftovers and the braised tofu for a heavier, winter-friendly soup, I used sautéed vegetables, pan-fried marinated tofu, and a lighter miso and “chickenless” broth. It was really easy to prepare everything. As I boiled water and cooked the dried noodles, I cut up and pan-fried the teriyaki baked tofu from Trader Joe’s, and then separately sautéed some asparagus, red onion, kale, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, and mustard greens (from my garden!). On the side, I heated up the soup base, which was just a simple broth using the Better than Bouillon no chicken base, some shredded carrots, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and some miso.

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Veggies and noodles, no soup

In the end, I had one bowl full of veggies and noodles (with a generous helping of sesame oil to make sure the noodles didn’t stick to each other), and a pot full of broth with some extra veggies. To serve, I ladled some broth into a bowl of noodles, and topped with some more sesame oil. Easy!

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My attempt at an action shot – it’s hard to make it look pretty!

I really liked this dish – it was definitely lighter and more veggie heavy than the noodle soups I’m used to, but it didn’t lack in flavor. I was really happy with how well it held up as leftovers; the scallions in the broth got pretty wilted and sad-looking, but other than that, everything was just as good the fourth day as it was on the first. I also ran out of broth at the end, so I had the noodles and veggies on their own, which was still really tasty. Overall, a great choice for a busy week!

Kari Eats Everyday Pad Thai

One of my favorite places to get takeout in college was a Thai restaurant. It had an extensive vegetarian section of its menu, was close to where I lived, and the portions were huge. My favorite was the Pad Kee Mao – a bit spicy, lots of basil and tofu, and the wonderfully chewy wide noodles. However, when I was really hungry, I would order the Pad Thai with its lime and peanut-y goodness that would almost take over the entire take-out container. Sadly, now that I’ve moved away, I don’t have a cheap, close by Thai place to rely on whenever I get some Thai food cravings, and so I was really excited to try Isa’s version of pad thai in Isa Does It.

Well, my final verdict is that it’s really good, and satisfies my Thai food craving, but I don’t know if I would choose this over takeout. I used some premade marinated baked tofu instead of regular, firm tofu, and cut it into strips. I also added some leftover basil that I have, and I highly recommend adding some as I wish I had more. Next time, I think I’ll also steam or cook the bean sprouts a bit before adding to the dish since if you wait till the last step, you’re not really going to be cooking them, and I prefer cooked bean sprouts over raw in this case. I would also time everything better such that the rice noodles aren’t waiting around too long after they’ve been cooked. I think I overcooked everything a bit since I was trying to reheat my noodles after I mixed them in with the sauce. The sauce is maybe a bit on the salty side since I kept drinking water later that evening, but otherwise, I really liked it. For those new to pad thai, make sure to squeeze the lime wedges before eating!

The one drawback of this dish is that it doesn’t make the best leftovers. As mentioned before, rice noodles aren’t the best at room temperature, and the texture is off a bit when you reheat it. I still have half a packet of rice noodles, though – maybe I’ll make some pho next time?

Kari Eats Gardeny Shiitake and Chard Fusilli

I was really impressed by this recipe, and ended up liking the dish a lot more than I thought I would. I was looking for a quick and easy pasta, and this definitely fit the bill. Another win for Isa Does It!

I made this in about the 30 minutes that Isa suggests, which is super rare for me. I started started boiling my pasta at the same time that I started sauteing the garlic, and both the sauce and the pasta ended up finishing at the same time. I recommend using more than 1 cup of tomatoes (I used 2 Roma tomatoes, but I think I would’ve liked more), and easing up a bit on the lemon juice. I also used rainbow chard since it was on sale at the local market, and it definitely makes the pasta look prettier!

This dish would be great as a spring or summer pasta dish since it tastes so bright and fresh. Next time, I might add some more greens and/or mushrooms just to add more to the sauce.

Kari Eats Chickpea Noodle Soup

This was one of the first recipes I made out of Veganomicon, and ever since, has been one of my go-to’s when I have no idea what to make since it’s extremely easy, cheap, versatile, and tasty.

I didn’t have all the spices it called for, so I just made do with thyme and black pepper, which was enough. I also substituted linguine noodles for the soba, though I’ve used spaghetti noodles in the past, which I think work a bit better. I also added some spinach at the end to add some color to my soup.

I highly recommend using a vegetable broth base that you like, because that and the miso become the dominant flavors in the soup. Also, to make mixing in the miso easier, I recommend spooning some hot soup into a bowl, and then mixing the miso into that, sort of like when you’re trying to incorporate cornstarch into something, and then mixing the slurry into the soup.

Kari Eats the Pizza Bowl

I had such high hopes for this recipe, but it ended up being quite disappointing. So many people online had raved about this dish, as well as the sauce, but for me, it wasn’t that great and was way too garlicky.

The Pizza Bowl is another dish from Isa Does It, and it combines her Steamy Beany Sausages, brown rice, kale, and various toppings smothered in a roasted red pepper sauce. I made some adjustments to suit what I had in my kitchen: quinoa for brown rice, escarole for kale, and some cured olives and basil for the toppings. I halved the recipe but only used 1 garlic clove instead of the 4 she recommends for sauteing the greens.

The Steamy Beany Sausages just came out okay. They did snap into shape really well and came together very quickly, but I was a bit disappointed with their flavor and texture. The flavor was okay, but not great, and the texture was rather tough. I’m not sure whether that’s because I didn’t knead it as much, or if it was supposed to be that way. To be fair, I’ve rarely had success with making my own seitan, with the exception of the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. I think that since I need faux sausages so rarely, I’m probably just better off buying them when they’re on sale.

The roasted red pepper sauce was also not what I expected. While it did bring the great roasted red pepper taste, it was also very garlicky and much runnier than I expected. I substituted ketchup for the tomato paste since I didn’t want to open a new can, but I’m not sure how much that affected the flavor (though it might be why my bowl didn’t taste as “pizza-y”). When combined with the other ingredients for the pizza bowl, the garlic flavor just took over the entire dish. I usually love garlic, but this was too much for me – maybe the raw garlic was just too strong? Since I didn’t halve the sauce recipe, I still had some leftover after finishing the sausages and greens. I ended up having it with some pasta, and it was much better, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to make it as a pasta sauce.

I really like the idea of bowls for dinner, but I don’t think this will be one I’d add to my rotation.

Kari Eats Raw Chocolate Macaroons

When I was looking for a recipe, it sort of bothered me that even Google would include results for macarons when I searched for macaroons. For those unaware, macarons are the colorful sandwich-like confections that bloggers everywhere seem to love, while macaroons are the dome shaped coconut bites. Remember that macarOOns have cOcOnut!

I had some leftover coconut flakes and it was too hot to use the oven, so I decided to make some raw chocolate macaroons. I’ve eaten the ones from Laughing Giraffe Organics brand before (you can find them on sale sometimes at TJ Maxx/Homegoods!), and they were so rich and delicious, but certainly not something I could afford to buy often.

I used the recipe found here but made a couple changes due to what I had in my pantry. I halved the recipe and used a bag of coconut flakes (they’re smaller than usual shredded coconut, maybe about 1/3 of the size?). I couldn’t find any cocoa powder, so I used Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate, which is pretty much cocoa powder with some sugar. I also forgot halfway that I was halving the recipe so I used 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder instead of 2. I also didn’t use a food processor since I didn’t want to deal with cleaning it, and so I just mixed everything. I scooped out the macaroons with a tablespoon and put half of them in the freezer to enjoy immediately, and the other half in the refrigerator for later.

I think they ended up being too sweet, but that’s completely my fault for not accounting for the sugar in the Sipping Chocolate mix. They also ended up being more like candies that melted in your mouth rather than chewy macaroons, but I think that’s because I didn’t spin it all in the food processor and used coconut flakes, which might be drier. When the weather gets cooler, I want to try making regular macaroons, but until then, these will do just fine.