One of the things I've noticed looking back through the archives of this site is that I have a tendency to skip over many of the everyday-type recipes in my life. The ones that come together without a special trip to the store. The ones that incorporate leftovers and very little time in the kitchen. The ones that aren't particularly sexy, exciting, or rooted in any sort of authentic cuisine or seminal cookbook.
I suppose some don't make the cut because they are outright embarrassing, others because they are photogenically-challenged. Sometimes it's because we eat it all before I have a chance to pop off a photo. I've been thinking about some of the recipes that were the most popular with you over the past year, and a good number of them meet this "easy, tasty, healthy, on-the-fly" criteria. I included a bunch of these types of recipes in my book, and they are the ones I end up turning to when I don't really feel like spending an entire evening preparing a meal. So! I'm going to make an effort to include more of these on the site this year - starting today.
What do you do with a big bowl of leftover pasta noodles? In this case I had angel hair pasta. I decided I was going to make some sort of savory noodle cakes from them. My game plan was pretty straight forward - I actually woke up this morning thinking about this. Toss the noodles with enough egg to hold the patties together, then throw in whatever else I could find in the refrigerator (in this case, tofu, green onions, and cilantro). I had a delicious lunch on my hands in under ten minutes. They look like they'll travel well for those of you packing lunches these days.
Think of this as more of an idea than an actual recipe. You could remix it 100 different ways. Try buckwheat soba noodles and a soy dipping sauce for a Japanese interpretation. Opt for corn, chopped oven-roasted tomatoes, feta and cilantro in the summer time. You get my drift, this recipe is endlessly adaptable. Please throw out some ideas in the comments, I have a feeling this technique is going to be in high-rotation around here, and I always love hearing what you would add to the recipe.
Curried Noodle Patties
If you aren't used to preparing food with curry paste err on the side of caution, some pastes are hotter than others. I used red curry paste - but expect that yellow or green would be delicious as well. I used a whole-grain angel hair pasta, but any spaghetti-type noodle will work. If you are boiling the pasta (and not using leftovers) run the noodles under cold water after draining to cool them off. This is so the eggs don't cook on contact with the hot noodles.
1-2 teaspoons (red) Thai curry paste
6 ounces tofu, diced (roughly 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups noodles, cold
2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
peanuts, green onions and cilantro for garnish
Smash and spread the curry paste around the bottom of a medium bowl. Add one of the eggs and stir until the curry paste is well incorporated. Whisk in the rest of the eggs. Stir in the tofu, cilantro, green onions, and salt. Add the noodles. I've found it is easiest to work the egg evenly through the noodles if you use your hands and you don't get any noodle breakage.
Heat a well-seasoned skillet over medium heat. Place 1/3 cup of the noodle mixture into egg rings or handle-less, metal biscuit cutters and cook in batches for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden. If the little bits of tofu and onions are escaping the noodles in the mixing bowl, just toss them into the egg ring on top of the noodles, those will end up on the bottom of the patty - nice and golden. To serve, season with salt and garnish with a sprinkling of green onion, cilantro, and peanuts.
Makes 8 -12.