End of the week check-in!
How are we all feeling? It’s been a good week here…lots of behind the scenes business going down. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to turn my passion for food writing and blogging into a business, but as with any business, there’s a whole other side that goes unnoticed by most. Sure, I can work in my jammies if I want to (bonus of working from home!) and drink margaritas at four on a weekday (I never ever do this…ok maybe I do this…) but sometimes I have to put on my big girl business hat and grind it out. This has been one of those weeks!
In case I haven’t told you, my book is coming out September 4th!
I’m THRILLED, especially since it’s been three years in the making. Can you even believe it? I can’t. I just saw the cover for the first time last week and love it. I know I haven’t talked much about the book on the blog lately, so for those of you who don’t know, my book is a “culinary coming of age tale”—-basically, it’s a memoir of my time going through culinary school with recipes thrown into the mix. The name of the book is White Jacket Required. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!
I’m also working on a blog redesign, which will be officially launched in a couple months. That, too, has been a loooong time coming and it’s exciting to watch the process play out. I think you’re going to love it. Or at least, I hope you do!
Whew! Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s move on to tasty business.
You know you love to cook when, after cooking all day for work, all you want to do is cook some more.
Anyways, the rice noodle bowls that Diane made were fabulous and exactly what we all were craving. The next day, I flew home to California with them still on my mind and so I decided to develop a recipe for my own…
These bowls feature oodles of rice noodles, veggies and crispy crunchy tofu! Dunking the little tofu triangles into a mixture of cornstarch and salt prior to frying keeps ‘em crisp…kinda like the orange peel shrimp!
Then, I made a quick sauce for the bowls using soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, sriracha (!) and maple syrup. I know…I know…it’s finally time to just bite the bullet and buy that bottle of fish sauce you’ve been avoiding for months.
Just do it.
Finally, I topped the bowls with fresh mint, cilantro, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. The flavor combination was fabulous…I especially loved the crunch of the peanuts!
If tofu ain’t your thang, try grilled chicken or shrimp on top. I personally love the crispy tofu though.
Rice Noodle Bowls with Crispy Tofu
2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cucumbers, sliced into half-moons
1 box rice noodles
3 green onions, minced
16 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into small triangles
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
handful of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
fresh mint, minced
fresh cilantro, minced
bean sprouts (about a handful per bowl)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
2 tsp sriracha
2 tbsp maple syrup
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in hot water for about five minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze excess water from the noodles and set aside until serving.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.
Combine the cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Dip each tofu triangle in the cornstarch then place in the hot skillet. Fry triangles for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. Once done, remove carefully and place on paper towels to drain.
Now, make the sauce! Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.
To assemble rice noodle bowls, place a mixture of rice noodles and cabbage in the bottom of each bowl. Top with bell pepper slices, cucumber, two tofu triangles, bean sprouts, green onions, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Drizzle sauce over top or serve sauce alongside bowls.