This week is staff appreciation week at my son's school. I believe they had one in the Fall as well but I was way too busy with my son's birthday party preparations to help out at all. For this Spring appreciation week, I donated a main dish and appetizer for their big luncheon today and I helped out with clean up as well. It's a good thing the school is only a 10-12 minute walk from my home because I had to walk back and forth 8 times today!
Originally, I signed up to donate a dessert just because I have tons of stuff to make all sorts of desserts at home. I'm always stocked for at least a half a dozen different desserts even without doing any shopping. Scary, I know. However, I realized that desserts are probably what most people would bring so I offered to make the dishes that were in short supply instead.
I decided to make something Asian since there are surprisingly very few Asians at our school. I also wanted to avoid making the same thing as another volunteer. I ended up making Korean japchae, using some of my homemade char siu and Hawaiian tofu poke. For the tofu poke, I sliced up and added a cucumber to it so it could be eaten as an appetizer. These are both things I have made in the past before and were super easy and fast to whip up. It seems like a lot but donating a dessert would have been way more work for me.
The japchae recipe below is totally customizable to what you like. It's commonly made with slices of beef but I didn't have any so I used my homemade char siu, which I thought went well with the dish. You can omit the meat all together for a vegetarian version or omit the meat and eggs for a vegan version. Using sweet potato starch also makes this dish gluten free.
Korean Stir-Fried Glass Noodles (or Japchae)
1 package Korean sweet potato starch noodles (400g)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup carrot, thinly sliced
4–5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 baby portabello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup assorted color bell peppers, sliced
2-3 cups fresh chopped spinach
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp roasted black sesame seeds
2 tbsp green onions, sliced - optional garnish
1 1/2 cup sliced Chinese BBQ pork (char siu) - optional
1/4 cup + 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs sesame oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Boil water to cook the noodles. When done, drain and set aside.
In a large wok, fry the beaten eggs until just done. Remove and roughly slice up the eggs. Set aside.
Heat oil in wok. Add garlic and fry for a few minutes, then add onions to cook. After a couple of minutes add carrots, then mushrooms, then bell peppers. Fold in the spinach slowly and cook until they are just wilted. Add all the seasoning. Mix for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat.
Use kitchen scissors to cut up the noodles so that they aren't too long. Add all the noodles to the vegetables in the warm wok. Mix well. Add the sliced up eggs and mix. Heat up the Chinese BBQ pork and add that to the wok. I just use the microwave. Mix well. Taste test and adjust the seasoning if you need to. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.
To top off staff appreciation week, tomorrow is "bring a treat for your teacher and specialist" day. My son tells me his teacher is a coffee drinker so I decided to make her espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookies. I used a clean transparent coffee cup we saved from Waves Coffee to package the cookies. Perfect!
|Espresso shortbread. Front and back view of the cup.|
Thanks to all the teachers, specialists, and staff at our school! We appreciate all your work and I hope you are all feeling the love this week ;)