Daikon Noodle Pad Thai

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When I visited San Diego to compete in the San Diego Crew Classic and train in the double with Jess, I had the pleasure of staying with my sister, Liz, for a few nights. On Saturday evening, on the eve of my race, Liz invited Shelly, her new San Diego friend, over for dinner. I arrived home with groceries and a plan, and put Liz and Shelly to work. I was in a spiralizing mood, and decided to try out daikon radish noodles for the first time. I had seen a recipe for daikon noodle pad thai in the Williams Sonoma spiralizing cookbook called The Spiralizer Cookbook (thanks Morgan!) but decided I did not want to strictly follow that pad thai recipe. In the spirit of pad thai, I paired our noodles with colorful vegetable ingredients, a flavorful peanut sauce with fresh chopped garlic and ginger, and tender bites of chicken and a single scrambled egg. We topped our noodle dish with a wedge of lime and a generous helping of Sriracha sauce. Everyone went back for seconds!

We noted that the daikon radishes were much harder to spiralize than zucchinis; we also were using a handheld spiralizer called a “vegetti” rather than the “iPerfect Kitchen” standing spiralizer that I have at home (thanks again Georgie Fear)! Be prepared to take turns or take rest breaks if you are spiralizing daikon radishes by hand! Daikon noodles are worth the effort; the daikon radish has a bite to it, and the noodle texture holds peanut sauce well. Thanks to Liz for hosting this meal, and for inviting Shelly over to cook and enjoy dinner with us. As usual, Liz’s puppy Gracie kept a watchful eye over our cooking just in case any morsels fell to the floor. Liz, Shelly and I had enough energy to listen to music and clean up our dishes to have a fresh kitchen for the next morning. We ate early and got drowsy watching Modern Family and sipping tea. That’s my idea of a perfect pre-race evening!

Recipe

Daikon Noodle Pad Thai – serves 3

Plan ahead so you are not hungry while you are spiralizing. Once prepared these ingredients cook quickly, but the spiralizing step can take a while. Liz, Shelly and I made a double batch of sauce, and ended up having leftover sauce, so I adjusted my previous peanut sauce recipe quantities for you for this meal.  The Racing Weight Cookbook authors Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear deserve credit for inspiring this peanut sauce, which I adapted and have used over and over!

You will need: IMG_3271

  1. 4 or 5 daikon radishes – to yield 4 or 5 cups of spiralized noodles
  2. large crown of broccoli
  3. about 1 C baby carrots
  4. about 1 C sugar snap peas
  5. 1½ pounds chicken breast
  6. ½ C peanuts
  7. 1 lime cut into wedges

For your sauce:

  1. 2 C veggie broth
  2. 1/3 C peanut flour – we used PB2
  3. ½ C raw cashews
  4. 1½       T fresh ginger, chopped
  5. 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1½ T sriracha sauce
  7. 1½ T honey
  8. 1½ T soy sauce
  9. 1 t hot red pepper flakes if you like spicy sauce

Steps:

  1. Peel and spiralize your radishes. Set aside.
  2. Chop all of your vegetable ingredients.
  3. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  4. Prepare peanut sauce and leave on the stovetop at a low simmer: bring vegetable broth to a simmer, adding liquid ingredients. Add peanut flour, stirring until combined. Add garlic, ginger and cashews. For extra heat, add 1t or more hot red pepper flakes.
  5. Begin by cooking chicken pieces over medium heat with salt and pepper in a large pot or pan (you will add your daikon noodles to this pan – make sure you have room!). Add about one third of your peanut sauce to flavor the chicken while it cooks. Stir to coat with sauce, and keep stirring occasionally until chicken pieces are cooked through.
  6. Next, set a medium or large pan over medium heat and add your veggies. Add one cup of water and cover with a lid to steam veggies. Once veggies begin to feel tender, add a third of your sauce and stir to coat. Continue cooking and checking vegetables until they have reached desired tenderness.
  7. At this point, combine noodles with chicken pieces and add the rest of your peanut sauce. Stir to coat and cook noodles for about five minutes or until tender. Noodles should take on the color of the peanut sauce.
  8. Meanwhile, crush peanuts in a Ziploc bag with a mallet or the side of a can.
  9. Serve noodles and chicken in bowls topped with plenty of veggies. Add a lime wedge, crushed peanuts and Sriracha sauce.

Sauce inspiration: Fitzgerald, Matt, and Georgie Fear. “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.” Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes. Boulder: Velopress, 2013. 230-231. Print.

The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Spiralizer Cookbook. Weldon Owen, 2015. Print.

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables

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Checking broccoli tenderness

This week I tested out a recipe for cashew chicken with vegetables, which I have been craving since I made the “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce” from Racing Weight.  Jess took me to the Pacific Beach Farmers Market before we went to the grocery store, and it was a treat to shop outside! We bought organic broccoli that had been picked earlier that day from JR Organics, and used it for this dinner.  We also bought some fascinating cauliflower heads from Suzie’s Farm (see gallery) that I cannot wait to experiment with.

This recipe satisfies my craving for a spicy weeknight meal that balances protein, veggies, carbs and fats.  I made this dish for Jess and her mom last night, at her mom’s home in PB.  Even without red pepper flakes, this dish had some heat! For those who do not like spicy food, consider leaving out the sriracha from your sauce.

 

Recipe

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables – serves 4

The sriracha, fresh ginger and garlic in this recipe provide plenty of heat!  If you like things extra spicy, I would consider adding 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes to the sauce.  When I visit my parents, I cook gluten-free recipes for my mother; to make this recipe gluten-free, use equal parts Tamari sauce in place of soy sauce.  If you do not have peanut flour on hand, you can use 2 T peanut butter, or cashew butter for your sauce.

You will need:

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  1. 2 T olive oil
  2. 2 broccoli crowns
  3. ½ large red onion, chopped into large pieces
  4. 2 red peppers, chopped
  5. 1 C brown rice
  6. 1 to 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

 

For your sauce:

  1. 1.5 C veggie broth
  2. 1/4 C peanut flour – we used PB2
  3. ½ C raw cashews
  4. 1 T fresh ginger, chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1 T sriracha sauce
  7. 1 T honey
  8. 1 T soy sauce

Optional: hot red pepper flakes

Steps:

  1. Chop peppers, broccoli and red onion and set aside. Chop garlic and ginger.
  2. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  3. Begin cooking by bringing vegetable broth to a simmer, adding liquid ingredients. Add peanut flour, stirring until combined. Add garlic, ginger and cashews. For extra heat, add 1t or more hot red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté for two minutes. Add broccoli with ½ cup water and cover.
  5. Heat another pan over medium heat and add chicken and half of sauce, stirring to coat. By this point, the sauce should have reduced in volume by about a third.
  6. Add red peppers and remaining sauce to the veggie pan. Stir to coat and sauté for five minutes.  Meanwhile, stir chicken.
  7. Remove veggies from heat and add to large serving dish. Add chicken to serving dish and mix with veggies.
  8. Serve over rice.

 

Sauce inspiration: Fitzgerald, Matt, and Georgie Fear. “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.” Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes. Boulder: Velopress, 2013. 230-231. Print.

 

Buddha Bowl with Chicken and Vegetables

Hello from sunny San Diego!  I am currently training out of the San Diego Rowing Club with my doubles partner, Jess.  In between training sessions, I spend a lot of time meal planning and cooking, because I love to have dinner prepped or cooked before afternoon practice.  That allows us to refuel right away with a satisfying meal!  Last year, my husband and I started using a weekly planner to visualize our grocery needs.  Using this weekly planner, I start by marking out any days when I know we will have dinners out.  When I am home, I consult with Alex to compare what meals we are in the mood for that week.  We do not always stick to the plan, but I have found that visualizing my grocery list in this way makes it easier to see where we can add in extra veggies and sides.  I have saved the sheets from each so that we can remember our favorite meals and recipes!

This week, I am drawing inspiration from “The Racing Weight Cookbook” by Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear.  The sauce in their recipe for “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce” made me reminisce about a great menu item that I enjoyed back in Chicago – the Buddha Bowl at Standard Market.  My good friend Hannah and I have experimented with a Buddha Bowl recipe sauce in the past, and we compared notes on the ideal flavor combinations.  I combined my sources and memories to create a Buddha Bowl with sauce and ingredients that I love!  We made this meal in Jess’ kitchen, and shared it with my sister, Liz, and my brother-in-law, Jay, in their home in San Diego.

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A sample page from my weekly planner (Rifle Paper Co.).

Buddha Bowl with Chicken and Vegetables

 

Recipe

Buddha Bowl with Chicken and Vegetables – serves 6 to 8

This dish is exciting to work with because you can easily substitute in your favorite vegetables and grains. I start with a root vegetable, and then select greens and a cruciferous vegetable. I almost always use onion and red or green peppers, too. Seasonal, local produce flavors shine in this vegetable-based meal! Quinoa worked well with the veggies that I used; you could also use brown rice, faro or another grain that you have on hand. Finally, the protein in this meal is flexible, too! I have used chicken or tofu in the past, but Standard Market features delightful Buddha Bowls with fish or shrimp as well.

While preparing this meal, I thought of my Grandma Lilly’s advice about chopping peppers: always place the skin of the pepper down on the cutting board before slicing.  It is so much easier to cut through the inside of a pepper section, rather than trying to pierce the skin!  Check out the photo series above for an illustration of her technique.  This recipe allows time for preparation during cooking time if all ingredients are at hand.

You will need:

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  1. 3 medium sweet potatoes (at least 1 lb)
  2. 2 T olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 t garlic salt
  4. 1 1/2 t black pepper
  5. 1/2 t cinnamon
  6. 1 red pepper
  7. 1 green pepper
  8. 1 large yellow onion
  9. 2 broccoli crowns
  10. 1/2 bunch of kale, about 3 large leaves
  11. 2 green onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  12. 1/2 C quinoa
  13. 1/2 C chicken broth for quinoa
  14. 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

For your sauce:

  1. 1 C chicken broth
  2. 1/4 C peanut flour – we used PB2, but 2 T peanut butter would also work
  3. 1 T sriracha sauce
  4. 1 T honey
  5. 1 T rice wine vinegar
  6. 2 t soy sauce
  7. 1 t ground ginger

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Wash or peel sweet potatoes – I prefer to keep skin on – and chop into 1/2 inch rounds and then quarter each round.  Drizzle with 1/2 T olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 t each of garlic salt, black pepper and cinnamon.  Toss on baking sheet and begin roasting at 425º F.
  3. Meanwhile, chop peppers, onions and broccoli into bite-sized pieces.  Drizzle with 1/2 T olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 t each of garlic salt and black pepper.  Toss on baking sheet.  After your sweet potatoes have roasted for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 350º F and add baking sheet with peppers, onions and broccoli.  Stir sweet potato chunks to roast evenly.
  4. Combine quinoa, chicken broth and water in a pot over medium-high heat.  When quinoa comes to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat a large pan with 1/2 T olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken bites when oil begins to shimmer, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
  6. Trim stems from kale and tear into large pieces – the kale will shrink to bite-sized pieces while roasting.  Add to a baking sheet with chopped green onions and toss in 1/2 T olive oil, 1/2 t garlic salt and 1/2 t black pepper.  Roast at 350 for 10 minutes and stir sweet potato chunks and the second veggie pan.  The broccoli should just be beginning to brown.
  7. Combine sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat.
  8. Check on your kale first for tinged edges.  Remove kale after about 10 minutes, then sweet potatoes and vegetables from your oven.  At this point, your sweet potatoes, veggies and greens have roasted for about 30, 20 and 10 minutes, respectively.  Combine all roasted vegetables with chicken in one large serving dish.
  9. Serve over quinoa with peanut sauce.

 

Sauce inspiration: Fitzgerald, Matt, and Georgie Fear. “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.” Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes. Boulder: Velopress, 2013. 230-231. Print.