Local Chefs Help Students Use Their Noodles
I didn’t expect to fall in love with this week’s Coast assignment. It was very last minute and it was very high concept, which are two things that can drive me a little crazy. “We just decided to change the Back to School cover at the last minute to Mr. Noodles,” Tara wrote. “Ugh,” I thought. But then I had a second though: what if local chefs would write some recipes for college students. Recipes that would make Mr. Noodles a little more palatable.
Well, five chefs took the challenge. And with each “you’ve got mail” notification (little known fact: I am a time traveler from 1998 who uses AOL!) I got more and more excited about the results. Over two or three days Chefs Dennis Johnston (Fid Resto), Renee Lavalee (The Feisty Chef), Luis Clavel (Seasons at Atlantica), Graeme Ruppel (Coastal @ Night), and Lawry Deneau (Il Mercato) chimed in. It basically blew my mind how creative they got with the assignment.
See the results of this challenge, and check out the recipes in this week’s issue of The Coast.
As a little bonus for all of you students, Chef Lawry Deneau, included a list of pantry basics that can help make life in the dorm a little more bearable:
- Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A little expensive for someone a budget sure, but a little bit goes a long way. So it can be considered a culinary investment. Whether it is drizzled on bread or salads, or used for cooking, a good olive oil can make a dish come alive.
- Good Balsamic Vinegar: With a little shopping around you can find really good balsamic for reasonable prices. While the rule of thumb is usually the more aged the better, you should be able to find one you enjoy that fits your budget. Just like having good olive oil on hand, a little goes a really long way and will last a long time. A good Balsamic will add dimensions to even the flattest of dishes.
- Dried Herbs and Spices: Find an assortment of dried herbs and spices that will work with your favorite types of dishes. The more intense the flavour, the better. Some examples; dried chilies, dried basil, dried oregano, Hungarian paprika, mixed peppercorns, and one of my favorites…Montreal steak spice. Because they are dried they will last a long time and will ramp up boring food without breaking your budget. Halifax has an abundance of Asian and middle eastern markets to shop from which makes culinary exploration a must!
- Pureed Ingredients: Not only a time saver, but in the end because of lack of wastage and spoilage, a money saver as well. Pureed ginger, basil, garlic, etc., come in tubes or cubes and are ready for cooking. If stored properly these products can last a long time without losing flavor.
- Citrus Fruit: Lemons and limes in particular last a long time in your fridge. (Or even out of the fridge.) And, of course, they offer a tart and lively dimension to pasta, salads, dips, fish, meat, sauces and of course cocktails! They are very inexpensive but are extremely flavorful and versatile.
Deneau also included an extra ramen recipe! (Photo at top right. The other two photos are of Deneau’s Tuna Arrabbiata and D’s Kung Pow Hot Cakes, by Chef Dennis Johnston from Fid Resto. Photos were taken by Deneau and Johnston.)
- 1 package Mr. Noodles (chicken)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 4 slices salami
- 1 tbsp cream cheese chip dip (any flavor)
- Pepper to taste
- Canola oil/ EVOO
- Slice the onion and salami into thin strips.
- Saute in oil until onions are translucent and the salami crisps.
- Add frozen peas.
- Add cooked noodles and chip dip. Let dip melt throughout noodles.
- Season with ¼ of seasoning pouch (or to your taste) and black pepper.