April 20, 2015

Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Salad

I tried this recipe the other night and although it was good, it was definitely not the best or most authentic version of Vietnamese vermicelli noodle salad. First off, the vinaigrette uses oil which we don't really ever use in this type of dipping sauce or vinaigrette. Not only that, the recipe calls for quite a bit of canola oil and I thought it almost ruined the salad because it made everything taste slimy/oily. I had to nearly double the rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce to give it a proper tangy tone (and it still didn't get close). It also wasn't spicy enough for me, but that may be a personal preference.

The rest of the recipe is typical and straightforward : a bunch of herbs like mint and basil and romaine is thrown together with vermicelli noodles and cooked chicken. But for the sauce, I highly encourage you to use my favorite recipe which is listed below!

This dish is one of my favorites for a warm night and a big crowd because it can easily be doubled or tripled. Also, it's naturally gluten free and very healthy!

My favorite Vietnamese vinaigrette recipe:

April 16, 2015

Quinoa Taco Bowls

The other night we had an interesting and enlightening conversation with some friends who had visited a well-known eastern medicine doctor after having gone through a few months of not feeling great after eating. What the doctor told them seemed a little superstitious at first but I quickly realized that it made intuitive sense even if he didn't use scientific jargon. He basically said each person's body needs and responds well to different foods. One person may need (and most likely crave) fish and dark, leafy greens while another needs and craves red meats and carbs. This was the basic difference between my friends who had accommodated each other's diets while dating which led to neither of them feeling that great most of the time. So they've learned to eat what their bodies need without adjusting to meet the other person's needs and compromising their own.

I find that Nick and I are very different too. He is constantly craving green foods like Thai green curry, guacamole or a big bowl of kale. Not me. I constantly crave burgers and fries, pasta, and pizza. And I generally live on those three foods in rotation with a lot of dessert and cookies and other carbs thrown in. To balance it out, since I'm the one cooking and often dictating the menu, I make Nick a big salad with every dinner and a green smoothie with breakfast. It seems to work well for us but after talking to our friends, I was inspired to make something specifically geared towards Nick. As you can tell from my last three food posts (burritos, burgers and grilled cheese), I tend to cook for myself because I'm a selfish human being.

This quinoa taco bowl is perfect for Nick. It is gluten-free but still has a filling grain and is full of lime, cilantro, romaine lettuce, and my homemade guacamole. The recipe only calls for black beans but we cooked some chicken with taco seasoning for extra protein. 

It was healthy and delicious yet I found myself eating cheese and crackers afterwards because my body loves dairy (in small amounts) and gluten. C'est la vie. Ce n'est pas dificile! 

Smothered Chile Colorado Burritos

Can I talk to you for a second about flank steak? I don't recall using this cut of beef before but it's awesome! I got ours at Trader Joe's and it  had so much flavor and a great, chewy but not stringy texture (even when reheated as leftovers!). Good meat makes a big difference in the overall quality of a dish and I think the flank steak made this burrito recipe taste better than Chipotle's steak burritos (I dare say!).

The sauce is also insanely good. I used Trader Joe's enchilada sauce and on its own, it's a little underwhelming. But the recipe doctors it up with various spices and makes it spicy and rich! 

These burritos are winners. The beef, bean, and cheese-filled tortillas are topped with gooey, cheesy sauce and the result is irresistible. Make them now!

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