Monday, December 14, 2009

Fideos with Gooda cheeze

Welcome to my world. It is a world where air sparkles and adheres to the insides of windows and the branches of trees, where you can get frostbite on your thighs if you aren't wearing snow pants or a long coat over your jeans, where your glasses instantly frost over on coming inside, where it's so dry your cats give off sparks when you pat them, where I get arthritic-type pains in my finger joints (which I pray are not actually arthritis) so I have to be careful how I lift things. I pity any poor creature who has to be outside in weather like this.

Clearly, it is a day for soup. Hot, spicy soup, so I tend to think Mexican, although it probably never even snows in Mexico. The word fideos got stuck in my mind on the way home, though I'm still not sure exactly what it is. I think the main thing that separates this from any other tomato-noodle soup is that you fry the noodles for a while with the onions as you would rice in a pilaf. I looked at many recipes, and ended up winging it, so there is no doubt this is not authentic, but it was still hot and delicious:

Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Vermicelli or spaghettini or other long, thin pasta, diameter of one quarter, broken into pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1-2 cups protein element (reconstituted yuba, cooked beans, seitan, Soy Curls, etc.)
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
chopped avocado, Gooda cheeze, lime slices, and/or chopped tomato for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and, when hot, add the onion, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and pasta, and continue to fry until the pasta is slightly browned. Add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce, and jalapeno pepper, and cook until the pasta is al dente. Add red pepper flakes, cilantro, salt and pepper, lime juice and zest, and continue to cook until heated through.

Top with the garnish(es) of your choice and serve immediately.

Yes, I am continuing my experiments with cashew cheese. This is the Gooda cheeze from Joanne Stepaniuk's The Uncheese Cookbook, but I subbed 2 tsp yellow miso for the nutritional yeast. The recipe is online here, but I reproduce it for you:

Gooda cheese
from The Uncheese Cookbook
yield: 3 cups

1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped carrots
5 tbsp agar flakes
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (sub 2 tsp miso if you want a break from nooch)
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp onion granules
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Place the water and carrots in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the agar flakes.

Bring to a boil again. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, put the remaining ingredients into a blender. Pour in the cooked carrots, water and agar and process until very smooth.

Pour immediately into a lightly oiled, 3-cup bowl or mold with a rounded bottom. Cool, cover, and chill several hours or overnight.

This is pretty much a non-melting (and thus relatively low fat) cheese, and despite the spices is quite mild. It's not as rich as the Real Food Daily cashew cheese I made earlier, but I still quite like it—it's something I would happily grate into an omelet or sandwich or even, as here, on soup.

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