Amish Noodle Casserole


Even though I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and have even been to Amish country and eaten in their restaurants when I was young, I never knew about Amish noodles until a couple weeks ago. A coworker made a nice homey casserole with these thick cut fresh egg noodles, white sauce, and a bunch of stuff on hand. I was intrigued. Especially because what he called Pennsylvania Dutch noodles were strongly reminiscent of xi’an style hand torn noodles. After some research I even found that at least some recipes for Amish noodles relied on kneading boiling water into flour, which is also one method (minus the eggs) for the Chinese torn noodles. So, if anything, these noodles are Amish by context, but they’re texture really does fit the same bill.

340g ap flour
160g boiling water
55g cold water

In a bowl, pour the boiling water into the flour and mix with a fork. Then add in the cold water so that you can knead with your hands. It will be still be quite warm but as one of my chefs used to like to say “Pain don’t hurt!” knead for a full 5 minutes. Rest under a moist towel for 20 minutes. Knead for 1 more minute until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap for at least one hour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. Slice it up, rustic-like, into noodles about 8”x3/4”. Dust with flour and store in a single layer on parchment until everything else is ready.


500g cold soy milk (preferably freshly made)
25g flour
25g olive oil
1 shallot, halved
3 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
5 pieces dried porcini

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour gradually, avoiding clumps. Add the shallot, garlic, herbs, porcini. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so that the roux (the mixture of flour and fat) takes on color evenly. When it becomes a deep khaki but not quite brown, vigorously whisk in the soymilk, trying to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, making sure it doesn’t boil over, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a chinoise. Keep warm until ready to use.

1 cup Blanched peas
1 cup sautéed mushrooms
1 cup breadcrumbs, rubbed with olive oil and salt

Pull the noodles gently to the desired thickness. Blanch the noodles in boiling salted water until tender, about 90 seconds. Drain and add them directly to the warm bechamel. Add in the peas and mushrooms,and stir to mix together. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar to your liking. Soy sauce or gravy master can also add a little something to this, if you’d like, at this point. Fit into a casserole and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes at 350.

108 layer lasagna. Ready for the cast iron.

108 layer lasagna. Ready for the cast iron.

Steamed Buns with tempeh ragu or braised frisée

One of the first things you notice when biting into a good steamed bun is the neutrality of the bready puff. But I t’s not lacking anything in its subtle sweetness and soft wheaty aroma. In fact it can be good empty. A well made bao is like the most elegant and fertile blank canvas you can imagine. Just about any juicy flavorful filling will make it a masterpiece. Here is a recipe for the bun and two different fillings.


4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Mix the sugar, water and yeast. Into the bowl of a standmixer, sift the flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low until it becomes a single shaggy mass and drizzle in the oil. Mix for about 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. lightly oil a large bowl and plop in the dough. warp in plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and knead in the baking powder until it’s well incorporated. cut the dough into approx. 50g pieces. roll the dough into a ball and then roll it out into a disc. spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling into the center of the dough discs. pull the edges of the dough up and around the filling. pleat and twist the dough to enclose the filling. place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap for about 30 minutes. follow the directions on your steamer to set it up. cut out parchment squares large enough to fit the buns. put each bun on a parchment square and into the steamer. steam the buns for 20 minutes.

Filling 1 (tempeh ragu)
1 block tempeh
2 large onions, small diced
1 large parsnip, small diced
5 slices dehydrated porcini, small diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 small bunch kale, chiffonade
2 cups fruity dry red wine
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

For the tempeh ragu, grate the tempeh on the 2nd largest side of a box grater. Pour 1/3 cup of oil into a searing hot, preferably cast iron, pan. Drop the grated tempeh in and season it with salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes until the tempeh is browned all over. Pour the contents of the pan onto a paper-towel lined plate and reduce the heat in the pan. Refill the oil and drop in the vegetables. Season them with salt and cook on medium, stirring often, until they are thoroughly cooked but have not browned. Add the tomato paste and kale and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the red wine and reduce until the pan is dry. Add the seared tempeh back in along with the sachet and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or so, until the flavors are well developed and savory,

Filling 2 ( frisée)
3 heads frisée, root removed but greens attached
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
Pinch of Aleppo chile flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons black vinegar

Heat a cast iron pan with a sheen of oil. Add the frisée and season with salt. cook down until its just wilted. Add the garlic, fermented black beans, chile and cook for another 2 minutes, until the raw garlic aroma is gone. Deglaze with the soy sauce and black vinegar. Cook 2 more minutes and put the contents of the pan into a colander. Let it drain and cool while you prepare the dough.

Pictures from my class at Cook

Ramen, Somen, Dumplings, Xi’an-style noodles, and Fermented Rice Noodles

These recipes are for some of the asian noodles which I was developing and producing for about 6 months over this past year. My last post included a couple (wontons and glass noodles), and these are a few more. I had also worked out some intense chinese-style egg noodles, and feel free to contact me if you are interested in getting a recipe for them. In attempting Soba noodles I developed some very flavorful buckwheat noodles, but definitely wouldn’t call them soba. I plan on having that recipe up soon. Below are ramen noodles, dumpling dough and Xi’an-style torn noodles, vietnamese rice noodles (best for noodle bowls and other room-temp preparations) and my personal favorite out of this batch, somen noodles. Somen are essentially thin udon noodles. They have a pleasantly slippery texture which always made me think there was rice flour or some other kind of flour involved in addition to wheat flour. They don’t. You may notice that between the dumpling dough, the wonton dough and the somen dough, the differences are quite subtle. This fact significantly increased the usefulness of my experience working on these doughs, really honing in on the importance of fat, kneading, resting, water temperatures, hydration geometry, and more. I don’t have recipes for entire dishes in this post but there are plenty of recipes around which use the factory-made versions of these noodles. Using freshly made noodles will elevate any dish.

Ramen (5 portions)

  • 225g high gluten flour

  • 75g ap flour

  • Salt

  • 13g kansui (solution of sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate)

  • 115g lukewarm water

  1. combine the kansui and water and fork it into the flour in a large bowl.

  2. knead for 5 minutes, this will become a very firm dough.

  3. Rest under a moist towel for 30 minutes

  4. Knead for 1 more minute until smooth

  5. Rest wrapped in plastic for at least an hour

Roll out to the third thinnest setting on your machine and cut using either a fettucine cutter or a sharp knife. Boil in heavily salted water for 90 seconds when ready to eat.

Dumpling dough (makes about 45 dumplings or 5 generous portions of Xi’an-style noodles)

  • 340g ap flour

  • 160g boiling water

  • 55g cold water

  • Salt

In a bowl, pour the boiling water into the flour and mix with a fork. Then add in the cold water so that you can knead with your hands. It will be still be quite warm but as one of my chefs used to like to say “Pain don’t hurt!” knead for a full 5 minutes. Rest under a moist towel for 20 minutes. Knead for 1 more minute until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap for  at least one hour 

For dumplings roll out extremely thin using a rolling pin and cut using a round mold that’s appr. 3.5 inches. Lay out the discs on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. refrigerate for 90 minutes or up to 1 day. fill with your favorite vegan meatball recipe. fold by grasping one part of the edge between your thumb and first finger until it sticks together, then picking up the adjacent couple centimeters of the edge and pressing that into the first fold. continue until you get all the way around and have a little knot on top of the filling. twist off any excess dough. cook in salted boikling water until the dumplings float to the top.

For Xi’an style noodles, use dumpling scrap or fresh dough, rolled out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut or tear them in rustic strips. Flour them aggressively as they will stick together. boil in salted water for about 90 seconds and toss with sauce when you are ready to eat.

Rice noodles

Yields approx. 10 portions

Whisk together 750g water and 750g rice flour. Let the flour settle over the course of a few days while it ferments.

Remove extraneous water carefully. Weigh out 1000g of smooth but thick batter.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil until rippling, then pour in batter and stir with a wooden spoon just until a ball.

For 775g ball, Mix with 100g tapioca starch. knead in the mixer just until it forms a ball. It should be a touch sticky against the bottom of the bowl. Knead by hand for one minute until it is not sticky but is still soft.

Extrude through iddiyapam press directly into simmering heavily salted water for 20-30 seconds and shock in salted water. They will not become totally firm in the hot water - carefully spider them into the ice water where they become strong. Portion into 145g bundles.

Somen noodles

Yields approx. 5 portions

  • 300g ap flour

  • 150g hot water from the tap

  • 4g blended oil

  • Salt

Combine flour and salt In a mixing bowl. combine water and oil. Fork the liquid into the flour. Need for 5 minutes until soft but smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes. Roll out to the third thinnest setting on your pasta machine and cut using either a fettucine cutter or a sharp knife.  Boil in salted water for about 90 seconds right before eating.

Bowties with Fermented Escarole, Onions, Lentils


This satisfying wintry dish is all about a well-stocked larder. Lentils, onions, dried pasta, preserved vegetables. The real star is this fermented escarole. It’s another idea from Ideas in Food, although it’s basically saurkraut. Escarole has always been my favorite green, but I always thought it would get stringy and mushy if fermented. Not true. You could put this on anything.

Fermented escarole:

  • 1 head escarole
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt

Read More

Root salad with crispy ginger and pickled cranberry vinaigrette


This is a very good salad if you are craving fresh vegetables but still want a warming winter meal.

Ginger is a strange part of a plant called a rhizome. Other well-known rhizomes include ginseng and turmeric. Ginger can elevate a lot of fall/winter flavors and it coincidentally helps warm the body. Rhizomes are very tough and fibrous and so their flavor is usually infused into dishes by grating, infusing oils, juicing, or drying and making into powder. But there are a few ways to make their intact flesh edible - namely through pickling or cooking them slowly in oil. This latter method makes ginger into little flavor bombs while simultaneously mellowing it’s harshness by drowning it in fat. It also works beautifully on fresh turmeric.

Read More

Split pea soup with mushrooms, rye bread, miso bits


Split peas have a very unique flavor that’s at it’s best when balanced by salty and savory. This soup is brothy and fatty and full of flavor.  One alternative to the miso bits that I want to try is to drizzle in a little fermented black beans with chili.  

  • 2 tablespoons high-quality miso
  • 2 cups rye bread cubes
  • 1 small bulb fennel, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 pint crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pint split peas, soaked in salted room-temperature water for 2-6 hours
  • 3 cups white wine or rice wine
  • 1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 1 medium carrot, washed
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch chives, minced

Read More

Rice Dumplings, Coconut Curry, Tempeh, Persimmons

Their texture is more like rice gnocchi than rice dumplings or rice cakes. And their flavor is concentrated like nothing else - if you use jasmine rice you really do taste jasmine. This recipe is from the Dumpling book, and even though I wasn’t a fan of the Indian stew they made these with, the dumpling recipe was spot on. I have some plans to make these italianish sometime soon, but for now, here’s a nice red curry, based on one I found in David Thompson’s uncompromising book: Thai Food.  In this picture, I used Chinese black rice, which has it’s own unique flavor. And although I used a perfectly ripe hachiya persimmon - a fuyu one or pineapple chunks or pomegranate seeds would also work.

Read More

Fettucine with Blanched Turnips and Basil Pesto


     In the colder months, when I want something very fresh tasting, pesto is where it’s at. Since they’re so small, most herbs grow well all year round in greenhouses, and when done right, you don’t need much more than pasta and sauce. It’s always good to have a little something to contrast the fatty, intense flavor of a good pesto - in summer, peak tomatoes do the trick perfectly but in late fall and winter, I really enjoy using baby turnips. A perfectly poached turnip, especially something like a white hakurei, stands up perfectly to pesto. It’s subtle but not bland, moist and crisp. And if you can get them, turnips greens are some of the sweetest, most flavorful greens available - useful raw or braised. Radishes or beets are also good stand-ins, prepared the same way.

Read More