Photo Essay: Sunday Visits & Meals, Lents International Farmers Market

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I forget exactly why I decided to visit the Lents International Farmers Market for the first time, but its casual, down-to-earth vibe pulled me in from the get go. That, and the variety of chili peppers at such tempting prices. I think it may have simply been the notion of checking out all of Portland’s farmers markets, and seeing the unique aspects each one offers. So, when ‘International Farmers Market’ popped up on a list, I was hooked. Continue reading

Portlanding: Farmers Markets, Pizza & Sweet Lemon

Portlanding on Get Sconed!

Sitting at my colorful kitchen table and sorting through the past months on my flickr, it settles in that I’ve been both traveling a bunch and sticking to something of a budget while I’ve actually been home. I credit my … Continue reading

Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Soft Tofu, Peanuts & Garlic Scapes

local garlic scapes have arrived.

It’s time for my warm weather motto: I may hate the heat, but I heart farmers markets. I also heart venturing into other neighborhoods and secretly pretending that I live in them. The day will come that I move out of my dear Division St. apartment. That day could bring me further-out southeast into a neighborhood I have strong feelings for – Lents. I’m a frequent visitor to the farmers market, particularly come late July, because the hot pepper prices are unreal. I took my first trip of the season to the market opener on Sunday, and while I was ‘out there’, I stopped by J.C. Rice Noodle for a couple pounds of their fresh namesake, fresh tofu, and continued onto Fubonn for randomness. Once home, I quickly threw together something of a Pad Kee Mow with saucey, soft tofu and roasted peanuts taking the place of the scrambled eggs.

There is nothing quite like the combination of fresh rice noodles you pull apart with your hands, salty soy sauce, hot chiles and fresh yet sweet Thai basil. What a freaking thrill to semi-confidently create things like this (without the worries of fishy sauces) at home. WHAT A FREAKING THRILL.

holy.basil.

Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Soft Tofu and Peanuts

Serves 3-4

Note: This sauce is based on my own taste buds of the moment. If you like things sweeter/saltier/spicier, do it. I’ll be listing the bolded ingredients in rounds, as I started mixing and cooking like so…

Round 1 of Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package soft, water packed tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian stir fry/mushroom sauce, like this 
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce, like this
  • 1 small handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste, like so
  • dash of black sesame oil
  • pinch turmeric
  • pinch black salt
  • fresh lime juice, to taste

Mash together the tofu and above ingredients with a fork in a medium or large bowl. Leave some chunks of tofu. Set aside.

Round 2 

  • 1.5 cups chopped vegetables: I went with swiss chard, daikon, carrots, asparagus and zucchini
  • 1-2 cups of vegan protein of choice: tempeh cubes, tofu strips, seitan, or tofu sheet knots
  • Cooking oil of choice

Tofu Sheet Knots: because sometimes you need to buy things out of the freezer at Fubonn with your eyes closed

If using a frozen protein, make sure to defrost. Pan fry your protein in 1/2 tablespoon oil on medium heat for 5 minutes, turning over to reach a golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside.

Heat the same pan and add more oil if needed (I didn’t). Add your vegetables and stir fry for an additional 5 minutes over medium heat. Add a tiny splash of vegetable broth or white wine if vegetables begin to stick. You want to keep your vegetables vibrant – do not over cook. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan you keep on using, sauté the following:

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped (whatever, use the top!)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1-3 minced Thai chiles – stick to 1 if you’re unsure and grab the Sriracha later!
  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil

Tightly sealed Thai chiles, clearly not from the farmers market

Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the tofu mixture and bring to a boil.

It'll look like this mess.

Once boiling, lower heat and cook until some sauce is absorbed, about 2-4 minutes. Quickly add cooked noodles (Note: if using fresh noodles, rinse or immerse in cool water first) for 2-4 servings, vegetables, vegan protein, and a handful of fresh Thai holy basil.
Serve quickly, garnished with fresh bean sprouts, more Thai basil, roasted peanuts & lime wedges.

If you're awesome, you'll garnish it with a curled scape.

behold, the casual Lents International Farmers Market

Anatomy of a Grocery Trip, from Fubonn: Thai holy basil,ginger,bean sprouts,limes,Thai chilis,Tacoma soft tofu,coconut milk,young coconut juice,lychee juice,mango nectar,Ota soy nectar,fried seitan,frozen tofu knots,tamari,vermicelli noodles,coconut cookies,roasted seaweed snacks,roasted green tea,vegetarian mushroom stir fry sauce

Rice Noodlin’ with a visit to JC Rice Noodle Shop

Yellow Karee Tofu Curry with thin rice noodles, served on the side

Pad See Ew with fresh wide rice noodles & scrambled tofu, carrots, spinach, green cabbage, green beans, garlic, and baby bok choy

Maybe,  just maybe, I’ve become obsessed with rice noodles.

Look, I like noodles in my life, and lately they’ve been of the rice variety. Recently, my fixation was over yellow curry noodles. Things got even better with a curious stop at JC Rice Noodle Shop & Restaurant on SE Foster. I was in the area for another visit to the Lents Farmers Market, and it had caught my eye on the way. I ended up walking out of the nondescript, quiet storefront with a heaping bag of fresh, wide rice noodles (sold 95 cents/lb.  - I had asked for 3 and walked out with 5, hence this continued, celebrated fixation) and a pound of equally fresh tofu ($1, but bring a container! they pack it in Styrofoam, shudder). They also sell rice sheets, and rice noodle rolls, but I wasn’t sure if they had a vegan version of the latter, as I saw a mention of pork filling.

Anywhoo, I’m almost in a state of shock over these soft noodles. You can obviously tell the difference between a package of fresh noodles (again, usually on Styrofoam) vs. dried, and these super fresh noodles just take the (rice) cake.

What I’m saying is, if you have access to fresh rice noodles, seek them out, or try making your own! They’re fresher, you get to buy in bulk, and skip excess packaging – win, win, win.

Next up in my rice noodlin’ meals: Pad Kee Mao, aka Drunken Noodles. Speaking of i eat food, the blog I just linked to..well, I’m loving that blog.

JC Rice Noodle

The Pad See Ew above started with scrambled tofu, seasoned with turmeric, black pepper, and soy sauce. It was modified from the Thai River Noodles recipe on About.com. The Karee Yellow Curry Noodles were based on these Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles. Both dishes utilize vegetarian fish sauce.

Some more shots of rice noodlin’, and a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the cinematic trailer for The Vegan Revolution….with Zombies.

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu and assorted vegetables

Adapted from the Thai-Burmese style recipe on Veggie Belly and various others, based on my available ingredients and whim. Inspired by the notion of cauliflower + curry, a field trip in deep SE Portland to the Lents International Farmers Market for produce, great pour over-style Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Nectar Coffee Co., and onward adventures to Fubonn. I’ve had curry noodles on the brain since dining at In the Bowl in Seattle this past Spring.

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow squash (I did half circles)
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss chard (including stalk)
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetarian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk or light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 oz dried vermicelli rice noodles (use more or less depending on how soupy you want the finished product)
  • 1-1.5 cups of sliced fried or fresh tofu
  • handful of torn fresh basil leaves

Garnish:

  • Chopped basil or cilantro (look, I’m only typing it because it’s traditional in this dish)
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the garlic in oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry powder and paste.
  3. Add all of the vegetables, and cook for 7-10 minutes. Stir frequently; lower the heat if anything starts to burn.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, sauces, brown sugar, tofu and water. Mix in and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the  heat, stir in the noodles, incorporate with tongs, cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes on low.
    • Alternately: Use pre-cooked rice or wheat noodles and add in at this point. Don’t cover the pot if you do this.
  6. Add torn basil or cilantro leaves, incorporate and serve.
  7. Garnish individual portions and add soy sauce, lime and/or hot sauce as desired.

Just pretend that’s cilantro on top…

Vegetables:

From the Lents Farmers Market:

Utilized Sauces, etc:

The small Fubonn haul, which most certainly includes a smoked vegan ham tube. Plans forthcoming. Isn’t Ota’s new package adorable?

Some more from Lents:

I picked up beets and jalapeño peppers at the farm below (currently infusing cayenne and jalapeno tequila at home).

This is my patience. Bell peppers, please!

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