2011-03-19 "Chicken" Noodle Casserole & Faux Pho & Cucumber Salad (A la Ron!)

"Chicken" Noodle Casserole (2011-03-19 Ron)

Quantity: 6-8

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


Ø 1/4 cup butter

Ø 1 lb / 454 grams button mushrooms, sliced

Ø 1 cup minced onion

Ø 1 red bell pepper, diced

Ø 4 cloves garlic, minced

Ø 1 quart/litre thin cashew cream*

Ø 1 lb / 454 grams baby spinach, blanched

Ø 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Ø 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Ø Salt and pepper, to taste

Ø 1 lb / 454 grams mock chicken chunks

Ø 1 tbsp. mixed spices

Ø 2 tbsp olive oil

Ø 3 cups cooked penne

Cooking Instructions


· To make thin cashew cream: Cover cashews in a bowl with water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a blender and add fresh cold water to cover the cashews by 1 inch. Blend for several minutes, until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth if not perfectly smooth. Arrange in a baking dish.

· Preheat oven to 3750 F.

· Oil a 9-inch by 13-inch (more or less) casserole dish.


· Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Brown the "chicken" and stir in spice mix while it cooks. Set aside.

· Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

· Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

· Add onion, red pepper and garlic and sauté until soft.

· Add cashew cream, spinach, Parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

· Add chicken chunks and the pasta to the mixture.

· Spread into casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until browned, about 45 minutes.

Faux Pho à la Ron (2011-03-19 Ron)

Quantity: 4-6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


For the broth:

Ø 1 small onion, quartered

Ø 2 shallots, halved

Ø 8 garlic cloves, halved

Ø 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped

Ø 6 inches of cinnamon stick

Ø 2 pods of star anise

Ø 4 whole cloves

Ø 8 cups vegetable stock

Ø 1 tbsp rice vinegar

Ø 1 tbsp sugar

Ø 1 tbsp black pepper

Ø 4 or 5 dried shiitake mushrooms

Ø 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

For the pho:

Ø 1 lb / 454 grams rice noodles

Ø 8 oz / 227 grams firm tofu, cubed and pan-fried in a spice mix (same one as for casserole!)

Ø bean sprouts

Ø green onions, sliced (both green and white parts)

Ø chopped cilantro

Ø fresh basil leaves

Ø limes cut into wedges or quarters

Ø Sriracha paste

Cooking Instructions

Preparation and Cooking

· Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.

· Put in onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and cloves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until ingredients begin to blacken.

· Add the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a boil.

· Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

· Meanwhile, prepare rice noodles according to package directions (they vary).

· Strain the broth and discard solids except for the shiitake. Remove the stems and other tough bits from these and return to broth.

· Finally, add tofu to broth until it warms through.

· Drain noodles and place some in each bowl. Add broth to bowls.

· Have bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, basil, limes and Sriracha paste in containers so that each diner can add what he/she prefers.

My Aunt Ruthie's Cucumber Salad (2011-03-19 Ron)

Quantity: 6-8

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes


Ø 3 cucumbers, scored with a fork or peeled (if very waxy or bitter), then sliced very thin

Ø 4 green onions, sliced (both green and white parts)

Ø 2 to 4 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Ø 2 tbsp fresh mint

Cucumber cream dressing:

Ø 1/2 cucumber, peeled and grated

1/2 cup vinaigrette:

Ø 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ø 3 tbsp cider vinegar

Ø 1 clove garlic, minced

Ø 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Ø 1 tsp chopped fresh herbs

Ø 1/4 tsp dried marjoram or basil

Ø 1/4 tsp salt

Ø ground pepper to taste

Ø 3/4 cup olive oil

Ø 1/4 tsp salt

Ø 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Cooking Instructions


· Vinaigrette: Combine lemon juice and vinegar, then stir in garlic and mustard with a fork. Add herbs, salt and pepper; whisk in the olive oil.


· Toss grated cucumber together with 1 tbsp of the vinaigrette and the salt.

· Let sit for 15 minutes.

· Rinse the cucumber and squeeze dry. Mix with remaining dressing and stir in the yogurt.

· Toss together the cucumbers, green onions, dill and mint with the dressing.

· Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

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