Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tofu and broccoli stir fry

This is a classic, American-style vegetable and tofu stir fry, feel of sweet and tangy oyster sauce and garlic-ginger flavors.  It is adapted from Cooks Illustrated to substitute tofu instead of beef.


Ingredients

1 package extra-firm tofu, chopped into 1 cm slices
3 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
2 T stock
5 T oyster sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 T sesame oil
1 t corn starch
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1" piece ginger, minced
3 T peanut or vegetable oil
1 large head broccoli (~1 1/4 lb), florets cut into bite sized pieces
2/3 cup water
1 small red pepper, seeded and cut into small chunks
optional: cashews, zest of 1/2 orange, 1 green onion sliced thinly

Instructions

1) Pan fry tofu: heat 12" skillet over high heat, pat dry tofu slices with paper towel, add 1 T oil to skillet and heat until smoking, then add tofu slices - turn heat to medium and cook 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and wipe skillet clean.
2) Whisk mirin chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in bowl.
3) Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.
4) Heat 1 T oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking - add broccoli and cook 30 seconds, add water and cover pan, lower heat to medium and steam broccoli until tender-crisp (~2 minutes).  Transfer to paper towel–lined plate  and wipe skillet clean.
5) Add 1 T oil to skillet, increase heat to high and heat until just smoking - add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.
6) Clear center of skillet and add garlic and ginger, mash mixture with spoon and cook until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers.
7) Add tofu and broccoli to skillet and toss to combine.
8) Whisk sauce to recombine and add to skillet, stir constantly and cook until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds.
9) Optional: add in cashews, orange zest, and green onion slices, stir to combine, then remove from heat.
Serve with rise and coriander to garnish.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Chicken picatta

This is a delicious lemony chicken recipe, with capers and shallots of extra flavor.  Adapted from Cooks Illustread


Ingredients

2 large lemons
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds), rinsed, trimmed of excess fat, and patted dry
1/2 c flour
4 T oil
2 shallots, minced
1 c chicken stock (low sodium)
2 T capers, drained and chipped
3 T butter
2 T fresh parsley

Instructions

1) Heat oven to 50-75C, adjust rack to lower middle position, and warm a large ovenproof plate.
2) Halve one lemon lengthwise, trim the ends, and cut into thin slices.
3) Juice the remaining half and the other whole lemon, leaving you with about ¼ cup juice. Set aside.
4) Place flour in a large plate, coat chicken in the flour, shake to remove the excess flour.
5) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 T oil, and when hot, lay half of the chicken pieces in pan.
6) Saute chicken pieces until lightly browned on the first side, about 2-2½ minutes, then turn over and cook until other side is browned, another 2-2½ minutes longer.
7) Transfer cooked chicken to plate in oven, add remaining oil to pan, and repeat with other pieces of chicken
8) After all chicken is cooked, add shallots to chicken pan, and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes
9) Add chicken broth and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and deglaze the pan: scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan, work them into sauce, and simmer until the liquid reduces down to about 1/3 c (~4 minutes)
10) Add capers and reserved lemon juice and simmer, again, until the sauce is reduced down to 1/3 c (~1-2 minutes)
11) Remove pan from the heat and add butter, swirl the pan until butter melts and thickens the sauce.
12) Stir in the parsley, and serve the sauce over the chicken.

Moules marinières

There are many ways to cook fresh mussels, but this is a time-honored classic.  If you are feeling brave, play with the herbs or add dry cider instead of wine.  Either way, allow for 500g mussels per person, and make sure they are fresh.  Adapted from The Guardian.


Ingredients

1 kg mussels (serves 2)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 -3 sprigs thyme (or lemon thyme), leaves picked
1 bay leaf
1 c dry white wine
50 g butter
Small handful parsley, chopped
1/2 c double cream (optional)

Instructions

1) Rinse the mussels in cold running water, and then give them a good scrub and scrape to remove any barnacles or dirt.  If not using immediately, let sit in cold water until ready to use.
2) Discard any with broken shells, and give open ones a sharp tap - if they don't close, throw them away
3) Bring a large pot to medium heat, and cook shallots with butter for 5 minutes, until they loose some of their crunch.
4) Add thyme leaves, bay leaf and wine into a large pan, and cook for about 5 minutes, until alcohol has evaporated off.
5) Drain the mussels and tip into the pan - cover and cook until most of them have opened, about 3 minutes.
6) Remove pan from heat, add double cream and parsley, and stir - put lid back on to keep in heat.
7) Serve immediately, discarding any mussels which remain closed.

Soba noodles with Eggplant, Tofu, and Mango

This is a fresh and summery tasting noodle salad, filled with asian flavors plus mango and eggplant for added sweetness.  Adapted from 101 Cookbooks


Ingredients

1/2 c brown rice vinegar
1/3 c honey
1/2 t salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 t red pepper flakes or 1/2 fresh red chile, minced
1 T sesame oil
grated zest and juice of one lime
1/4 c sunflower oil for frying
1 medium eggplant (12 oz), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
8 oz dried soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into small chunks
8 oz grilled or pan-fried tofu, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
large handful of basil and coriander, chopped

Instructions

1) Bring a large pot of water to boil.
2) To make the dressing, combine vinegar, honey, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes or chile, sesame oil, lime zest and juice.
3) Heat the sunflower oil in a large and shallow skillet, fry the eggplant in batches, until deeply golden. 
4) Transfer to a large plate lined with paper towels to drain off oil
5) Cook soba noodles in boiling water, per package instructions, or until just tender. 
6) Drain and rinse noodles under cold running water, shaking off as much of the excess water as possible - drizzle with olive oil and leave to dry in a colander
7) In a large mixing bowl toss the noodles the dressing, mango, tofu, eggplant, onions, and herbs.

Couscous and lentil summer salad

This is a fresh and clean tasting summer salad, with lentils mixed in to couscous to provide added texture and protein.  Adapted from Kitchen Treaty


Ingredients

1 c green lentils
1 c israeli couscous
1 c kalmata olives, chopped
3/4 c red onion, diced and rinsed with cold water (this removes the intense onion-y flavor)
1/2 c chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, etc.)
3/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
1 c cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1) Fill a medium saucepan with ~6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
2) Rinse lentils under cold water, add to the saucepan, reduce to low heat and cover, simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Add the couscous, cook for 10 minutes (or whatever cooking time on package is) until lentils are tender but not falling apart, and couscous is al dente.
4) Strain lentils and couscous and rinse well with cold water.
5) In a large bowl, toss together the lentils, couscous, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, feta, and herbs.
6) To make the dressing, combine balsamic, lemon juice, dijon, garlic, honey, and olive oil.
7) Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sour cream pancakes

These pancakes are very light and fluffy - totally worth the extra effort (and calories...)  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


Ingredients

(Makes about 8 pancakes)

7 Tall purpose flour
1 Tsugar
1 t baking soda
1/ 2 t salt
1 c sour cream/creme fraiche (can be combined with yogurt)
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla extract
Butter
Maple syrup (or perhaps some Cranberry Syrup)

Instructions

1) Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
2) Stir sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a smaller bowl.
3) Combine dry and wet mixtures, being careful not to overmix - it's okay if there are small lumps.
4) Heat at a large skillet over medium-low heat, and let it sit so that it gets hot enough to immediately melt some butter dropped into it.
5) Melt a small chunk of butter in the skillet, and pour small amounts of batter (about 1/4 c) into discreet pancakes (i.e. don't let them run into each other).
6) Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, until bubbles appear all over the surface and you can shake the pancakes along the bottom of the skillet.
7) Flip carefully and cook another minute on the other side.
8) Remove from pan and wrap in tin foil or put into a warmed oven, then repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with maple syrup and banana slices.

Vegetarian Tacos

This recipe is a vegetarian adaptation of the American classic - tacos.  It is infinitely better than any premade taco seasoning, and can be used with any meat substitute (not just quorn).  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.


Ingredients

1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1.4 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
1/4 c tomato paste
1/2 c broth
2 t cider vinegar
1 t brown sugar
1 T oil
1 package quorn mince

Instructions

1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and cook onion in oil until translucent and golden, about 8-10 minutes.
2) Add garlic and spices, stir, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
3) Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar and sugar.
4) Add quorn, stir, and simmer for a few minutes, until some of the liquid is absorbed.
Serve with taco shells/tortilla wraps, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, salad, and vegetables of your choice.