A new home; a new 5 keys.
Trust me, I am not complaining about now having a garage. Although 5 keys is certainly overwhelming. First front door, second front door, rear door, garage door and garage.
While we are still unpacking boxes, and likely will for many weeks, the kitchen is functional. The bedroom is almost unpacked (minus my clothes) and we have no idea what to with ourselves now that we have 3 bathrooms.
In any case, while Rob and I have moved many, many times before, this is the first time we hired movers. So completely worth it. Our friends and family must think so, as well. ;) Our movers were work horses: incredibly strong, super fast while still being very gentle. One of the movers relished telling me a new joke every time he saw me. If anyone needs cheap, efficient movers in the GTA, shoot me an email and I’ll give you their contact info.
While there are many great things about our new place, we are kind of sad we don’t have a basement. You can really scurry things out of sight and mind, so our move forced Rob and I to go through another round of purging and incidentally, discover new things, as well. Rob had some pretty bowls (and pretty chopsticks!) hidden in the basement that I unearthed! I also didn’t know that I had so many packages of kelp noodles. I knew I had bought a case (or two) when they went on sale, but looks like a lot more noodles once I take them out of the case. ;)
For one of my first meals in the new home, I decided to break in the kitchen with a quick and easy stir fry. I also inadvertently christened the kitchen by setting off the smoke alarm. I swear, there was nothing burning! I will have to be careful to not wake up my neighbors. I adapted Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Winter Stir Fry with Chinese Five Spice to what I had left in my vegetable crisper. Winter root vegetables are fabulous for keeping so long, but it felt nice to use up the remainder of my root veggies, along with some spring veggies. Goodbye winter, hello spring.
The heart of this stir fry is the Chinese Five Spice powder, which stems from the heart of Szechuan cooking. It is aromatic and savoury, composed of star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns. A seven spice blend may also include ginger and black peppercorns. A complex spice blend, a little goes a long way and really shines here.
Throw in your own favourite vegetables with some noodles and then toss with a sake, tamari and Chinese five spice dressing. The drizzle of lime at the ends adds the perfect acidic balance to the veggie-centric meal. Feel like more protein? Add some tofu or tempeh. Me? My pantry is all cleaned out of tofu!
While I had been working through my pantry prior to this move, I plan on eating through the remainder over the next year before our BIG move to the US. Expect to see more recipes with kelp noodles! What are your favourite ways of eating them?
Here are a few other recipes with Chinese Five Spice:
Five Spice Roasted Delicata Squash from Appetite for Reduction
Fluffy Sesame Baked Tofu from Sprint 2 the Table
Broccoli Slaw Salad with Five-Spice Tofu from Vegetarian Times
Chinese Five-Spice Noodles with Broccoli from Serious Eats
Smoky Pomegranate Tofu with Coconut Rice from Vegan with a Vengeance
Acorn Squash, Pear and Adzuki Soup with Sautéed Shiitakes from Post Punk Kitchen
Chinese Five Spice Miso Soup with Shitakes and Edamame from Florida Coastal Cooking
Star Anise-Glazed Tempeh with Stir-Fried Peppers from Joanne Eats Well With Others
12 oz kelp noodles, rinsed and drained (or your favourite noodle)
2 tsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
1.25 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick (2 cups)
1 small parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (1 cup)
4 cups mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used 1/2 cremini and 1/2 oyster mushrooms)
2 leaves of Swiss chard, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder (homemade or store-bought)
juice of half a lime juice (1-2 tbsp), to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Cook your noodles as per the package directions. For kelp noodles, rinse and drain.
2. Have all of your vegetables cut before starting.
3. In a non-stick wok over high heat, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and chile flakes and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the green beans and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and parsnip and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and garlic and stir-fry for a couple more minutes.
4. Add the Swiss chard and cook another few minutes until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the wok.
5. In the same wok, over medium-low heat, add your cooked noodles. Add the soy sauce, tamari, Chinese five spice powder and stir to mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetables and toss together and keep warm. Squeeze lime juice overtop and mix well. Season to taste.