Noodles with summer vegetables

Summer brings with it long days, sunshine, clear skies and its cornucopia of lush fruits and vegetables. Looking around my kitchen one afternoon, wondering what to make for dinner, I pondered a single leftover sun-ripened tomato-in-vine and an ear of white corn that recently left the farm. Now I can feast on corn boiled in nothing but water for the entire harvest season, as I had done the past 2 days, but my husband does not care for the flossing that needs follow. A quick look around my pantry resulted in this global mix of cuisine – north asian noodles with south-east asian dried seafood with summer bounty found in western climes.

2 skeins shanghai (white) noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 ripe tomato
1 white or sweet corn, kernels shucked
3 sprigs leaves from shallots, chopped finely (or spring onions)
4 chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
tip-of-handful dried shrimp, soaked
tip-of-handful ikan bilis (anchovies), soaked to remove excessive salt
2 dried scallops, soaked to soften
minced garlic
chinese cooking wine
fish sauce

Serves 2

Saute garlic till fragrant.
Add corn kernels and stir-fry generously for about 30 seconds.
Add in dried mushrooms and keep frying at high heat.
Add in shrimp, ikan bilis and scallops till mostly cooked.
Toss in tomatoes and give it quick stir. The ingredients should be mostly quite dry by now.
Add a splash of cooking wine, a dash of fish sauce adjusted to taste and about 2 tbsp of water reserved from soaked shrimp and scallops. Keep heat high for 10 seconds before lowering to medium heat to simmer for about 1 minute.
Stir in shallot leaves before serving.

20140626_201030 Shanghai noodles with summer veg

Hamburger stew

It’s a cold day and I was yearning for something warm and comfortable. I’d come across The Pioneer Woman’s Hamburger Soup a few days ago and it has been lingering in my mind. A peek in my fridge revealed that a simple adaptation could serve, without a trip to the grocery store. Beef and tomatoes are the mainstays, you can pretty much any sort of vegetables to it, a great way to use up those leftovers. By the way, if you have not seen it, Ree Drummond writes an entertaining blog called “The Pioneer Woman”.

1 lb ground beef
1 potato, cubed
1 carrot, diced
1 red or green pepper, diced
½ zucchini (this was leftover from something else)
 ½ onion, diced
1 can tomatoes, regular or stewed or herbed versions
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
½ can corn, creamed or whole
1 tbsp garlic
A handful of raisins
Oregano to season
Salt and pepper

Serves 6

Saute garlic and onions till fragrant.
Add beef and cook till beef is barely pink.
Add carrots, then peppers.
Add in canned tomatoes. Break tomatoes into smaller pieces if they are in large slices or halves.
Add zucchini.
Toss in raisins.
Finally add in creamed corn and potatoes and cook tastes blend together.
Season with oregano, salt and pepper.
Serve over hot rice or on its own.

Tip: Raisins add surprising punches of sweetness.
Tip: Sun-dried tomatoes gives it a more intense flavour.