Oddles of Noodles /some non kosher recipes

When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northernChina, wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forgetJapanhere) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.
Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

In a large salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot, celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving. Serves 8.

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

 

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

 

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES
For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
8 cups shredded Napa cabbage
6 green onions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

 

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

 

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy,4 to 5more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

 

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

 

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages shrimp flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

 

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

 

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Modified from about.com

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Oodles of Noodles

When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northern China,
wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forget Japan here) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.

Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff. For those of you that don’t eat shell fish you can always substitute chicken or fish.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

In a large
salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar,
sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to
coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot,
celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving.
Serves 8.

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook
for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

 

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES

For sauce

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

8 cups shredded Napa cabbage

6 green onions, thinly sliced

8 to 9 ounces soba

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the
oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

 

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy, 4 to 5 more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

In a large
bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil,
Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to
the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little
crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture
sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained
pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add
the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water
and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm.
Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it
aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making
sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1
tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and
saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red
pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime
juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion
mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables
to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before
serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the
pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages  flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine
and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan
bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles
into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1
minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the
soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.
Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half or talapia cut into pieces

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

Modified from about.com

 

 

The Always Amazing (and now afordable) Asparagus

            Available, affordable (for now) and incredibly versatile asparagus is often considered the quintessential spring vegetable. With spring just beginning ‘NOW” seemed like a great time to indulge. Serve it hot or cold depending on your mood it only takes about 10 minutes to wash it, cook it and eat it.

Eating asparagus is really good for you. Five spears contain only 20 calories, have 400 milligrams of potassium are a great source of folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins A, C and B6.  While most asparagus is green, the purple and white varieties are becoming increasingly popular. White asparagus is created by growing the stalks under mounds of earth so they don’t produce chlorophyll (hummm Albino asparagus?) Although more tender than the green variety, in my opinion, white asparagus has a somewhat bland flavor. It is also WAY more expensive than the green variety. When choosing asparagus you should look for thin, medium-sized spears that is firm and green (except for the white asparagus) with tightly closed tips. Avoid asparagus with wrinkled stalks and wilted tips

            When you store your asparagus wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel and put everything it a plastic bag. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.  As an alternative, trim the bottom of the spears and stand them, covered, in a glass container, in an inch of water, in the refrigerator, for a few days

To prepare your asparagus for cooking take each spear by its ends and bend it gently.  It will snap at approximately where tenderness begins.  You can save the stem ends (freeze them) or pitch them. If the stalks are at all thick, peel the portion of the stalk below the tip with a vegetable peeler so that the tips and the stalk cook evenly.

       This year, with a bumper crop available I’m planning on “stalking” the asparagus and trying as many new recipes as time and my waist line permit. The following tips and recipes should help you join me in the hunt.

 

Cleaning and Cooking Tips:

Soak the asparagus in cold water for several minutes. Swish it to remove dirt and grit.

To boil, tie the asparagus in bundles (this makes them easy to remove all at once) and immerse in boiling, salted water. Blanch for about 10 minutes, or just until tender. Remove bundles immediately, remove strings, and keep warm.

If using an asparagus cooker or tall pot, tie and stand the asparagus upright with the spears above water, then cover and cook just until the stalks are tender but still firm.

To microwave, arrange the spears in a round baking dish with the tips toward the center. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook on HIGH (100% power) for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, rotating the dish a half turn after about 4 minutes.

If using asparagus in a cold dish, plunge into cold water immediately after cooking.

Avoid cooking asparagus in an iron pot. Asparagus contains tannins which react on contact with iron, altering the vegetable’s color.

 

ASPARAGUS APPLE AND CHICKEN SALAD

This is a great main course salad that helps make left over chicken or turkey

1 cup fresh asparagus cut in 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cubed cooked chicken or turkey

1/2 cup diced red apple

2 cups torn mixed greens

1/2 to 1 cup toasted slivered almonds

Cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes; drain and cool. In a bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, honey parsley, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and then add the chicken, apple, almonds and asparagus. Toss the mixture to coat it with the dressing. Serve immediately over greens.  Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

ASPARAGUS MARINARA WITH FETTUCCINI

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 pound Asparagus; cut into 1″ pieces, tips separated

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 to 4 teaspoons sugar, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Fettuccine; or other pasta, cooked, drained and kept warm

In a large skillet heat the olive oil for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and onions. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium heat and then add the crushed tomatoes and basil. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cut asparagus but not tips. Simmer the asparagus in the sauce until tender and then add the tips. Cook 3 to 4 more minutes and then add the white wine and sugar. and salt and pepper. Serve over hot pasta. Serves 4

ASPARAGUS PARMESAN TART

This versatile quiche can be served a brunch, lunch as a quick dinner or a simple appetizer.

1 uncooked ready made pie crust room temperature or 1 recipe of homemade

1 teaspoon flour

1 lb. asparagus, each spear trimmed to 3″

1 cup half and half

2 eggs

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450.  Bake the pie crust till golden, about 15 min.  Cool on rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 375.  Cook asparagus in boiling salted water till just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain well. Place the asparagus on paper towels and pat it dry. In a bowl combine the half & half, eggs, cheese, tarragon and salt and pepper.  Arrange asparagus in spoke-of-wheel fashion in crust, tips toward edge and ends meeting in center.  Pour the egg mixture gently over the asparagus and return the filled crust to the oven.  Bake till tart puffs and top browns, about 35 minutes.  Cool slightly to set and serve. Serves 4

ASPARAGUS AND PISTACHIOS

3 lbs. asparagus

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon marjoram

1 cup chopped pistachio nuts

Cook the asparagus, uncovered, in boiling water until just barely tender when pierced, 5-8 minutes. Drain and place it on a serving platter.

In a sauce pan melt the butter or margarine and add the lemon juice, marjoram and nuts until the mixture is sizzling. Immediately pour the mixture over asparagus and serve. Serves 8

ASPARAGUS AVOCADO WRAPS

These are fabulous as a quick lunch, easy dinner or simple appetizer

24 spears asparagus, cooked crisp tender and cooled and patted dry

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 1/2 cups cooked cold white rice

3 tablespoons plain yogurt or mayonnaise

3 whole wheat tortillas, 10 inches in diameter

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

In a small bowl combine the avocado, lime juice, parsley and garlic. Mash to combine into a coarse puree. Set the mixture aside. In another small bowl, combine the together the rice and yogurt or mayonnaise and mix to mix well.

Heat the tortillas for 10 seconds in the microwave to soften them. Lay the tortillas flat the cutting board. Spread the avocado mixture equally among the tortillas. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of the rice mixture, asparagus, cilantro, and onion.  Fold in both sides and the bottom of each tortilla up over the filling; then roll to close. If made in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Return to room temperature before serving. To serve, cut each wrap in half crosswise. Makes 6 servings

SIZZLING HOT ASPARAGUS AND SHRIMP (or MOCK CRAB) SALAD

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, and blanched to crisp tender

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 teaspoons pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
1 pound cooked and peeled shrimp (or mock crab if you keep kosher)

In a bowl combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, red onion. Whisk to combine and set aside Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic and asparagus. Cook until heated turning frequently to prevent the asparagus and garlic from burning. When the asparagus is hot, add the shrimp, stirring constantly until the shrimp warm. Spoon the shrimp asparagus mixture in a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, toss to coat and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Happy New Year Recipes Reinvented

Some consider New Years Eve the holy grail of party nights. As per usual my skewed perspective sees it more as a night to NOT share roads with a higher than usual amount of inebriated drivers, NOT spend gobs of money for inexpensive (and usually mediocre) champagne, less than spectacular food and service and especially NOT to listen to a cover band whose median age is that of my children.

            I prefer to invite friends and neighbors over for a casual fun night of scintillating conversation, fabulous food and watching the ball drop in Times Square. I want everyone (including the designated drivers) to be able to party like a bailout was when a rowboat sprang a leak, the ozone was where you parked your car at a football game and cooties was the only type of contamination you had to worry about.

            It’s simple enough to have beer and wine on hand and only slightly more complicated to have stuff to mix up drinks. Most of my friends aren’t drinkers anyway so every year I try to come up with a new non alcoholic version of an alcoholic beverage. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few really good ones and now seems like a great time to share. Kids (that are allowed to stay up till 12:01 always love them). A few tips and tricks to make any beverage better and we’re all good to go.

            HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL!

HOW TO MAKES DRINKS EVEN BETTER

1. Use fun and funky stemware! Anything seems more elegant in a wine, champagne, or martini glass. Even water.

2. Go for the garnish! A simple slice of lime to a sugared rim, a decoration like a paper umbrella adds a touch of magic to your glass.

3. Everyone loves bubbles!  A splash or two of club soda, ginger ale or lemon lime soda always add to the adventure.

DRINK MEASURMENTS
1 dash = 6 drops
3 Teaspoons = 1/2 ounce
1 pony = 1 ounce
1 jigger = 1-1/2 ounce
1 large jigger = 2 ounces

SUGAR SYRUP

A must have for many cocktails

 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Place sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the mixture condenses into a clear, sweet syrup, approximately 5 minutes. Cool. You can use immediately or store indefinitely in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup. This recipe can be doubled.

MOCK MARGARITA
A non-alcoholic version of this frozen margarita.
1.5 oz. non alcoholic Margarita mix
1 oz. non alcoholic triple sec
6 ice cubes
Salt (optional)
Lime (optional garnish)
 
In a blender mix all liquids together  Add ice and crush until smooth, like a snow cone.  Serve in margarita glasses rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with lime. Serves one

APPLETINI TOONEY

4 ounces apple juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

dash of grenadine

chilled ginger ale

apple slice

Pour ingredients except for apple slice into a Highball glass with some ice and stir. Top up with ginger ale. Garnish with an apple slice. Serves one

PURE PINA COLADA
6 fluid ounces pineapple juice or fresh pineapple chunks
2 fluid ounces Coconut cream
3 to 4 cups of Ice
Cherries
Slices of pineapple, orange or lime
Paper umbrellas for decoration

 
In a blender, crush ice while gradually adding the pineapple and the coconut cream. The ice should be thick enough to hold a cherry on top without sinking into the drink. Serve in a tall glass with a straw. Garnish with one cherry and a slice of pineapple. Insert a paper umbrella for that tropical, exotic touch. Serves one

MELLO STRAWBERRY MARGARITA

1 can (12 oz) frozen limeade concentrate

1 1/2 cups cold water

1/3 cup sugar

1 package (16 oz) frozen strawberries

1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until well mixed and thick. Serves 6.

VIRGIN STAWBERRY DAIQUIRI
1 oz fresh lime juice
3 oz fresh strawberries (you can also use frozen strawberries or strawberry syrup)
1 teaspoon sugar
Cracked ice

mint leaves (optional)
Fill lime juice, strawberries, and sugar into a blender. Blend until smooth, then add the cracked ice and blend again until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with whole strawberry or mint leave. Serve with a straw. Serves one

STAWBERRY LIME SPARKLING COCKTAIL

1/3 cup sugar
10-ounce package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 chilled club soda
2 bottles (25.4 ounces each) chilled sparkling white grape juice

Strawberries, sliced thin, for garnish if desired
Thin lime slices, halved, for garnish if desired

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Let the sugar syrup cool completely. In a food processor, puree the strawberries with their syrup and the lime juice, transfer the mixture to a large punch bowl, forcing it through a fine sieve if desired, and stir in the sugar syrup, the orange juice, and the club soda. Chill the mixture, covered, until it is cold. Add the sparkling grape juice slowly just before serving and serve the punch in punch glasses, each garnished with a strawberry slice and a lime slice. Makes 8 to 10 servings

LIME AND MELON COOLER

4 1/2 cups cubed honeydew melon (about 1 small)
1 1/2 cups lime sherbet
2 tablespoons lime juice
fresh strawberries (optional)

Place melon cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.  Put the knife blade in food processor bowl and add the frozen melon, sherbet, and lime juice. Process until smooth.  Pour into glasses. Garnish with strawberries, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 5 to 6

BONUS RECIPES!!!! The following recipes were sent to me by readers who swear they are the best appetizers to serve with mock-tails. While I haven’t tried making them myself they looked so good I wanted to share them.

COCONUT FRIED SHRIMP

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 egg
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set sauce aside.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, coconut milk, flour, curry powder and remaining sugar; mix well. Spread coconut on a sheet of waxed paper. In a small bowl, combine salt and cayenne. Dip shrimp into coconut milk batter; let excess drip off. Dredge shrimp in coconut; place on a wire rack.

In a deep heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat Add the shrimp in batches; cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cayenne mixture. Serve with the sauce. Servings: 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Submitted by Corie Sullivan Elmwood IL

CHEESY BROCCOLI POCKETS

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 jarred roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (16 ounce) package frozen bread dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 baking sheets. Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well and set aside. In a medium skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Add broccoli; cook, stirring until moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine broccoli mixture, mozzarella, Parmesan, roasted peppers, oregano, salt and pepper; mix well and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 8 pieces; roll out each piece to form a 6-inch circle. Spoon an equal amount of broccoli mixture in the center of each circle. Fold dough over filling to form a half circle. Press edges with a fork to seal; prick a few holes in pocket tops. Place pockets on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 8 pockets

Darin Carmichael Crystal Lake IL

Noodle Me This

            When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

            Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northern China, wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forget Japan here) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.
            Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

In a large salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot, celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving. Serves 8.

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES
 

For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
8 cups shredded Napa cabbage
6 green onions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy, 4 to 5 more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Tony Easteron River Grove IL

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages shrimp flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Serves 4.

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

Modified from about.com