Japchae (Korean glass noodles)

We had some traditional japchae on Korean New Years last week, which are stir fried glass noodles and vegetables. They were awesome warm, the garlickyness was amazing, and equally delicious cold the next day!  My aunt had made them, but there are some great recipes out there. This one contained carrots, mushrooms, fish cakes (the pink circle things), beef, onions, and spinach. I approximated a recipe below, you can easily make it vegan by leaving out the beef and fishcakes and subbing with tofu!

Japchae

  • 1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
  • 1/4 pound beef sliced diagonally into thin strips
  • 1 large fishcake, sliced into rounds (you can find this frozen in most asian food stores)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 stalks green onions, cut diagonally into 1″ lengths
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms shittake mushrooms, thinly sliced (if dried, rehydrate first)
  • 1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt to taste

Cook the noodles for 5 minutes in a large pot of water. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water so as not to overcook. Drain again and toss with 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Cut into manageable lengths (they will be very long) 🙂 Set aside.

In separate bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a large skillet or wok on high heat. When the cooking oil is hot stir fry the onions and carrots and cook until just softened. Add the green onions, spinach and mushrooms, salt a little and fry 30 seconds, remove from wok and set aside. Add some more cooking oil, add the beef and fishcakes with the garlic, until browned.Then add the soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Add in the vegetables, and turn off heat, add the sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and toss to coat. Serve warm or cold 🙂

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Since I spent most of yesterday celebrating the Korean New Year, and not so much celebrating Valentines Day, I decided I wanted to make something chocolate to make up for my lack of romance…:)

I’ve made this classic vegan chocolate cake recipe many times, it always turns out moist and delicious. I kept them simple this time and made tiny mini muffins, so that if I ate a few I wouldn’t feel too guilty!  I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, which could be why they turned out almost black! They also work great with any kind of mix-ins, or of course frosting, but I was too lazy.

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and spray mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Sift together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vinegar and let it curdle for a few minutes, then add in the rest of the wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until blended. Pour batter into a mini-muffin pan and bake for about 10 minutes (make sure to watch, since they are so small they cook fast!) Makes about 24 mini-muffins. I entered the stats into a calorie analyzer and they are about 70 calories per muffin!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

chocolate banana bread

I made this bread a while back after I saw the recipe on Joy the Baker’s website (Love her site!) and I am wishing I could have some right now! It is especially delicious warm out of the oven, with the chocolate chips still all melty! Chocolate and banana are definitely a favorite combo of mine and a great way to use some old bananas! I made about 3 mini-loafs, since I like to eat one, give one to family or friends, and store one in the freezer, but it can also be made into a giant loaf. I made a few substitutions to fool myself into thinking it is actually good for you as well…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

original recipe from Joy the Baker

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used almond milk w/ some lemon juice)
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 1/2 cup plain chocolate chips)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder/soda, and salt. In a separate bowl beat the butter on medium until soft, and add sugars, beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, reduce mixer speed to low and add mashed bananas. Add in the dry ingredients in stages, mixing just until moist. Add in the milk until incorporated, then stir in the chocolate chips. Scrape into the loaf pan.

Bake for 3o minutes (I used less time for 3 small loaves).  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Try to control yourself while they cool for at least 20 minutes before unmolding the loaves and letting cool (yeah right…)