Friday, February 18, 2011

Food For All Friday - Ramrong Over Noodles

The awesome manager of our incredible local food co-op does a monthly cooking class (free) called Eating Healthy on a Budget.  She also created several Food For All recipes using co-op ingredients. These recipes are printed out at the co-op and always available for the taking (free) and the price per serving can fit into almost any budget.  Great services for the community, especially in these tough times. Several months ago, we made one of the recipes for the first time.

We prepped for this recipe the night before, which is unusual for us, but just worked out well.  Rob made the sauce and chopped/steamed the vegetables.  This way all I had to do was cook the noodles for dinner and mix it all together.  It was quite good and filling. We are not huge cabbage eaters so it was great to try out a new recipe using an ingredient we don't reach for often. The next time you are at Common Ground Co-op, pick up a Food For All recipe or sign up to attend a Eating Healthy on a Budget class. If you aren't local, look into starting a program like this in your community or helping with one which is already established.

Here is Jacqueline talking about the Food for All and Eating Healthy on a Budget:

Jacqueline has graciously allowed me to reprint the recipe here so others can benefit. Thanks!
Ramrong Over Noodles, Food For All recipe from Common Ground Food Co-op
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles (bulk)
1/2 tsp canola oil
2 large carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
4 cups of green or red cabbage, sliced thin but not shredded

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk (Jacqueline had a great tip, when you don't use the entire can of coconut milk, freeze it)
1/4 cup water
pinch red chile flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

In a large pot, start your water boiling for the noodles. Once the water is boiling, add a dash of salt and 1/2 tsp canola oil. Break the noodle lengths in half or thirds and drop into the pot. Boil for 6-7 minutes and test for doneness. When done, drain immediately and rinse with very cold water. Set aside.

The best way to get the real Thai ramrong effect in this dish is to steam the vegetables. Place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot over 1" of water. Bring to a boil and add the carrots. Cover and steam for 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and steam for another minute, then add the cabbage and steam for 2 more minutes. If you do not have a steaming device, heat 2 tsp canola oil in a saute pan. When it is hot, add the carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat, then add the bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cabbage, stir, and cover. Lower the heat and coo 2-3 minutes more, until the cabbage begins to soften, but is not wilting.

Sauce and Putting it All Together
Mix all ingredients for the sauce together. You can use a food processor for this or just mix thoroughly in a bowl with a fork. Put the noodles and the veggies in the pasta cooking pot, add the sauce, and mix well. Taste, and add more soy sauce or lime juice if necessary. Serve immediately hot or chill and serve cold.

Delicious Additions and Variations:
Minced fresh cilantro, roasted peanuts, and /or grated coconut would make beautiful and delicious garnishes for this dish.

You can often purchase an entire bunch or organic broccoli for the same price as one red bell pepper, depending on the time of year. Watch prices and consider substituting half a bunch of broccoli for the bell pepper, steaming it at the same time as the carrots. If you want to make this dish even cheaper, leave out the bell pepper entirely and add another carrot.

This recipe makes four servings at about $1.82/serving!

I mentioned before that my husband was laid off from his job right before Christmas. While we are quite lucky that we aren't in trouble financially, it hit home how important sticking to a food budget can be. I am dedicating the next several Fridays to Food for All recipes.

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