Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deep-fried tofu

As simple as it sounds. And even better than Chinese restaurants! I was surprised, and pleased.

Deep-fried Tofu

1 package firm tofu (I used a 16 oz. package)
about 1/2 cup flour for dusting
peanut oil for frying

1. Pre-heat deep fryer oil. If no deep fryer, preheat 4 inches of peanut oil in a pan to 375 F.
2. Cut tofu into small, thin shapes. What I did is cut tofu block height-wise in half, then cut length wise 4 times, then width-wise 4 times, ending up with 32 little squares.
3. Place some flour into a bowl, and completely coat tofu pieces, inserting them into the oil as you go, and taking them out as they turn golden brown and puffy.
4. Place cooked pieces on a paper towel-lined plate to drain oil. Use in stir-fries, fried rice, or just as finger food and dip into sauce.

Spinach Tomato Cheese Pasta

Simple tasty healthy weeknight meal. Enough said.

Spinach Tomato Cheese Pasta
adapted from tracey's culinary adventures

1 lb. shaped pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
15 oz. fresh spinach
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
5 1/4 oz. garlic cheddar
1 t. salt
3/4 t. ground pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, and reserver 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. Add oil to a large skillet, and heat to medium heat. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. Then add spinach and tomatoes. Cook until all spinach is wilted.
3. Combine pasta, spinach mixture, 1/2 cup pasta water, cheese, and salt and pepper. Gently stir until evenly combined. Server hot.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Surprisingly delicious, and healthy because the spinach is raw! Unfortunately I added way too much spinach, so it wasn't evenly proportioned. I'll come back to this recipe one day and fine tune it. Definitely want to make it again.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad
from Heather's Dish

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups loosely-packed spinach
1/2 onion
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
juice of 4 limes
3 T. sugar
2 T. dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 c. olive oil

1. Put spinach into the food processor, and pulse until it's a consistent texture.
2. Combine chickpeas and spinach in a large bowl.
3. Mince onion in the food processor, then add to bowl with the chickpeas.
4. Combine remaining ingredients, and pulse together until evenly combined.
5. Pour dressing over chickpeas and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 mins to over night, to let marinate.

Savory Bread Pudding

Super delicious, and adaptable. The original recipe used 2 1/2 cups artichoke hearts, but I substituted for 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Great way to use up bread that's gotten hard (or milk that's about to go bad).

Savory Bread Pudding
adapted from circle b kitchen

16 slices dry bread
2 1/2 c. milk
1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (with 1 T. packing oil reserved)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
5 eggs
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz. Romano cheese, grated

1. Place the bread in a single layer in a dish. Pour the milk on top, and let soak for 30 mins.
2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
3. Press bread to extract milk, and set aside.
4. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet, and sauté garlic until soft.
5. Butter a 3-quart dish. Beat together egg, salt, pepper, and extracted milk.
6. Layer 1/3 of bread into dish, then 1/3 of the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 garlic, 1/3 cheese, 1/2 of the herbs. Repeat: 1/3 bread, 1/3 sun-dried tomatoes, 12 garlic, 1/3 cheese, 1/2 herbs. Final layer: 1/3 bread, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 sun-dried tomatoes.
7. Dribble reserved oil over the pan.
8. Bake for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grain-free Cheesecake Brownies

I made this back during the school year for my grain-free friend. Yeay for catching up on a backlog of posts!

Grain-free Cheesecake Brownies
adapted from food renegade

1 c. peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. canned coconut milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and grease a 9" x 9" pan.
2. Whisk together brownie ingredients, until well combined. Pour into prepared pan.
3. In same bowl, combine cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Then combine the rest of the ingredients and beat until combined.
4. Carefully drop cheesecake batter evenly over brownies, and carefully smooth out on top.
5. Swirl brownies by dragging a tooth pick up through the cheesecake layer from the brownier layer, until desired swirl effect has been obtained.
6. Bake for 35 minutes.
7. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Rice Pudding

Super delicious, super creamy. And a great way to show off the awesome duck-dishes my grain-free friend gave me ^_^ (and get rid of excess milk in a hurry)

Rice Pudding
adapted from all recipes

3/4 c. uncooked rice
2 c. milk
1/3 c. white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
raisins (optional) microwaved for 45 sec. on high in a bowl of water
cinnamon (optional)

1. In a sauce pan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice, stir, and reduce heat. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. After rice is cooked, add 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium until thick and creamy, stirring frequently (about 20 minutes).
3. Stir in last 1/2 cup of milk, the egg (also raisins and cinnamon, if desired). Cook for a few more minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grilled Portobello Burger with Pesto Mayo

Super delicious! Easy to make, too. And quick! Once the grill is ready.

Grilled Portobello Burger with Pesto Mayo
from nestle usa

4 portobello caps, well washed
2 T. mayo
7 oz. thick pesto
4 slices provolone cheese
4 good quality (dense) hamburger rolls
roasted red pepper
bean sprouts (or alfalfa sprouts)
olive oil and salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Get coals going, using one full chimney of coals by lighting from the bottom. Once they're dusty gray, pour them evenly into a grill.
2. Get a pan to take out to the grill ready. Cut all hamburger rolls in half, if not already done so, and place spread-out and face-up on the grilling pan. Place the portobello mushrooms on the grilling pan as well, spread-out.
3. Put about 2 T. of oil into a small bowl, and brush the cut faces of the hamburger buns and the tops and bottoms of the portabello caps. Then sprinkle salt and pepper on the top and bottoms of the portobello caps.
4. Place the portobello mushrooms on the grill, cap down, in the center of the grill. When there are nice grill marks on the top, flip the portabello caps, and place the hambuger buns face down on the outside of the grill. Once the buns are just toasty, take everything off the grill.
5. Immediately after taking the portobello caps off, place a slice of provolone on top of each.
6. Combine the pesto and mayo in a bowl.
7. To put together the sandwich, spread pesto-mayo on the top and bottom of a bun. Then, layer portabello, roasted red pepper, and then sprouts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegetable Enchiladas

Super delicious veggie enchiladas, featuring my homemade enchilada sauce! And this is very versatile. You can use whatever veggies/mushrooms/tomatoes you have on hand!

Vegetable Enchiladas
adapted from Annie's Eats

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 T. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper pepper, seeded and chopped finely
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, divided
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
12-16 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
2. Add oil to a large skillet on medium heat.
3. Add onion and bell peppers to skillet, and cook until soft. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.
4. Combine black beans, sautéed vegetables, 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce, queso fresco and cilantro. Stir until well combined and an even texture.
5. Warm tortillas in the microwave until soft and malleable.
6. Place 1/3 cup filling in a tortilla down the middle, roll, and place seam-down in a 9" x 13" baking dish.
7. Once all the the filling is used up, pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and spread evenly. Then sprinkled the cheddar cheese evenly on top.
8. Cover pan with foil, and bake for 10 minutes. Take off the foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enchilada Sauce

Delicious enchilada sauce! Definitely worth making at home. Easy!

Enchilada Sauce

adapted from Annie's Eats

1 t. oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. chili powder
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. sugar
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper

1. Heat oil in sauce pan to medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft.
2. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar to pan, and stir until combined.
3. Stir in tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, constantly stirring until desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


It's true, it's not guacamole. But, if you have a hankering for guacamole and no ripe avocados on hand (or if you're trying to be healthy or something), this'll do the trick. As with regular guacamole, you can add pretty much anything you want: tomatoes, fresh cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes. This recipe just represents what I had on hand at the time.

Mock-amole (Pea-based Guacamole)
adapted from Daily Loafing

1 cup peas
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion
1 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, and pulse a few times in the food processor until desired consistency.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Rolls

Super tasty. I've made this recipe 3 times now. My family gives it two thumbs up, though they like it better when I saute the bean sprouts in with the rest of the ingredients.

Spring Rolls
adapted from

3 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of ginger
2 green onions
1 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
6 shiitake mushrooms (or other mushrooms), sliced into matchstick sized pieces
1/2 cup firm tofu, sliced into matchstick pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 T. oil, plus more for frying
1 package egg roll wrappers
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. vegetarian stir-fry sauce
2 T. lemon juice (or lime)
1/2 t. sugar

1. Put the 2 T. oil into a pan, and heat to medium-high heat.
2. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, stir-fry sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
3. Mince garlic, peel and grate ginger, and chop shallots into match stick sized pieces. Combine all plus the the cayenne pepper into the pan. Sauté until fragrant
4. Add mushrooms, cabbage, and tofu to pan. Then add soy sauce mixture and basil. Cook until vegetables are softened.
5. Pour mixture into mixing bowl, and toss with bean sprouts.
6. Pour oil into a fry-safe pan (not tefalon), until about 1 1/2 in. deep. Heat on medium high heat, until you can drop a bit of egg roll wrapper in and it starts to bubble and cook immediately, but not so hot that it starts to blacken quickly, or so that the oil smokes.
7. Place an egg roll wrapper so a corner is facing you. Put filling in the top half, leaving 1/2 inches unfilled around the edge of that half. Then, start to roll top corner down over the filling. Once the half way mark has been reached, fold each side corner over so that no filling is showing, and finish rolling downwards. Once you get to the end, seal the final corner (the one closest to you) to the roll by dabbing a little bit of water between it and the rest of the roll.
8. Place rolls in oil, and cook until golden brown in color with bubbly crust.
9. Use tongs to take out of oil, and drain on plate lined with paper towels.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Probably one of the most delicious (and easy) sauces I've ever made/eaten. I highly recommend.

Thai Peanut Sauce
from friend Julia
Use: combine with 12 oz. dry pasta, cooked and still moist

1" knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp chili paste
1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer smooth for this recipe)
1/4 cup soy sauce (or substitute soy sauce and sugar for 1/2 cup mr. yoshida's sauce)
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs toasted sesame oil

1. Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth (2 minutes on high speed), adding water if needed to give it a more saucy consistency.3. Combine with cooked pasta and mix throughly, or use as a dip for egg rolls or vegetables.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pizza Cups

Cute dinner item, and quick to make (especially if you're lazy like me and used the boxed pizza dough mix X.X) I also made little sugar cookie-based desert pizzas to go along with this, but they did not have structural integrity. I'll work on that recipe and post it one day : )

Pizza Cups
adapted from Martha Stewart

Dough for 1 pizza crust

1. Preheat oven to 450 F
2. Spray a 6-cupcake tin with oil
3. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, flatten out into circles that fit perfectly into the cupcake tin, and place in tin.
4. Fill dough with all the fillings that will fit. Don't worry if they pile over, they'll cook down in the oven.
5. Bake for 15 mins or until dough is golden brown and cheese is melted

Pita Bread

With the tzatziki, falafel, this pita bread, and my hummus recipe, this created an epic dinner of deliciousness.

Pita Bread
from The New Moosewood

1 cup luke-warm water
1 1/2 t. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/2 c. flour

1. Place the water in a bowl, and sprinkle in yeast. Let stand for 5 mins.
2. Add sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved.
3. Add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. First cup, whisk in. Second cup, use a wooden spoon to mix. Last cup, use your hands to knead it in. Knead in the bowl, adding flour until it's not sticky.
4. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let rise for an hour.
5. Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface for 5 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 500 F.
7. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Knead each piece for a few minutes, then flatten with a rolling pin into 1/8 inch diameters. Let rest for 30 mins.
8. Place baking tray in oven for a couple minutes. Then take out, spray with oil, and put pitas on. Cook for 6-8 mins.
9. Remove pitas from pan, wrap in a clean, moist towel, and place in a paper bag for 15 minutes to soften.


DELICIOUS, thick Tzatziki sauce. Truly rivals all that I've had in restaurants. Easy and fun to make, just takes time to drain. This picture really doesn't capture how nice and thick it got.

adapted from Ina Garten

1 cup sour cream
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 T. salt
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. fresh dill
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Line a bowl with a large paper towel, and pour all ingredients into it.
3. Wrap towel up, tie together with a twist tie, and hang to drip over a bowl in the fridge for 2-3 hours to thicken. (What I did is placed 5 or so chopsticks over a bowl and set the package on the chopsticks. Worked well)
4. Untie towel and scrap into a bowl for use.



This was a delicious recipe for falafel that I found in my new Moosewood cookbook. They didn't stick together well, but that's okay. It was tasty regardless.

Falafel (she spells it Felafel in Moosewood)
from The New Moosewood

2 15-oz. chick peas
1/3 cup flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. cumin
1 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 c. minced parsely (packed)
1/4 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
few dashes of cayenne
oil for frying (peanut, olive, or another high smokepoint oil)

1. Pour enough oil into a fry-safe pan (not Teflon) to reach an inch. Heat until when you drop a bit of batter into the oil, it starts to bubble, and slowly turn golden-brown, but so it doesn't turn black instantly or the oil isn't smoking.
2. Drain chickpeas, and combine all ingredients except flour and oil into the food processor. Process until uniform consistency.
3. Scrape batter into a bowl, add flour, and stir in until combined.
4. Drop a few tablespoons of batter into the pan, and flattening each slightly. Fry until each side is golden brown. If you don't flatten the patties out throughly, the centers will cause them to fall apart. You want the thickness to be consistent throughout.
5. Place cooked falafel on a plate lined with paper towels.