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July 2014
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Barney Colored Brussels

Ever since I discovered how good oven-baked Brussels are, that’s the only way I’d been making them, and so I decided it might be time to try them out on the stove-top again.  I ended up with a serious green and purple color scheme going on here, which is why I’m calling them “Barney Colored Brussels”…check em out:

First there were some Asian flavored Brussels and onions:

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This was really simple but delicious, and would have been great with a lo mein or udon noodle, although I simple at the bowl as is.

Barney Brussels and Onions
10-12 brussels, stems and outer leaves trimmed and halved
1/2 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs mirin
1 tsp peanut oil
few squirts schezuan pepper oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Tandoori Masala
2 cloves garlic, minced
S+P to taste

Directions
1. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over wok on low/medium heat. Add garlic an stir for approximately 30 second, then add onions. Stir and fry approx 2 minutes until beginning to turn translucent then add brussels. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add all the other ingredients except salt and pepper. Cook another 6-8 minutes, tossing every so often for even cooking. Salt and Pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Then I did more of an Asian/Mexican Fusion dish, although I ended up not being a huge fan, so I’ll save the recipe until I’ve reworked it to something I like better.  Here’s a picture though:

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There were black beans, pineapple and Brussels involved, but something about the textures and flavors together didn’t quite work…I though I could make something I’d love with black beans and brussels but thus far no success…

Selah.

Fennel Zuccini Soup

I’m fairly certain this was my first time using a recipe from Bon Appetit….and it went well.  I’m not sure how they obtained the color and texture in their picture…perhaps they peeled their zucchini, although I’m not sure why you would do that…all the flavor a zucchini has is in the skin.  Mine was also a lot thicker….but perhaps that has also has something to do with my use of an immersion blender instead of the stand blender.

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I followed their recipe exactly outside of where I replaced chicken stock with its vegetable counterpart.  I also chopped a full side tomato for the “relish” but I’m pretty sure that had zero effect on flavor.  This was a great warming, savory dish….perfect for the cold rainy weather last night…although I’ll admit I’m staying away from the leftovers today when it is 85F and humid.  I’m sure it’ll cool down again this week though…and I’m excited just thinking about the bowl of this waiting for me…highly recommended.

Selah.

LOTS of FOOD PORN

If that title doesn’t draw you in….I really don’t know what will.  I have been eating recently, although a lot of things are repeats I’ve made before or too simple to bother photographing (do you really need to see my umpteenth salad again?  Probably not…) but whenever I make a good looking plate I do pull out the camera, and as crazy as my life’s been lately, I wanted to do some sharing.  Therefore…let us commence the food porn…

First and foremost is the “Bacon-Cheeseburger” from Just the Food which I elected to oven-bake, and REALLY enjoyed.  These did dry out as they sat, so definitely a burger you want to eat right out of the oven, but still beyond yummy.  Mine were seriously peanut-buttery which may have something to do with the natural ground peanut butter I used, but I’m ok with that, since I’m fairly convinced that everything on earth is better with peanut butter in it.  The recipe says it makes 4 burgers…I made 6 and they were still MONSTROUS….to give you an idea of just how monstrous…that is actual a standard sized burger bun…large even….and the burger dwarfs it.

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I also made the chickpea picatta from Appetite for Reduction, although instead of putting it over a bed of greens, I mixed some mustard greens into it towards the end of the cooking process.  I found this a bit TOO briney, but that could just be my user error as well, since I didn’t measure out capers or anything of the sort…It was ok, but nothing something I could eat a whole lot of at once.  I do have to give credit for a picatta recipe that cooked up in about 5 minutes though.

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These were truly gorgeous, if not terribly exciting….and that would be Panko coated tofu cutlets for those keeping track.  The real trick to these in my opinion is pressing them beforehand so that they can get nice and chewy during the baking process, and have a way of soaking up the liquid coating you use to stick the breadcrumbs on.  I made a quick and simple sweet n sour sauce to go with these, alongside some carrot and celery sticks…almost looks exactly like a chain restaurant kids meal….

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Panko Coated Tofu Cutlets
Ingredients
half block of tofu (not the vacuum wrapped kind) sliced into 4 rectangles.
Approx. 1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp hot sauce (I used the Korean kind that resembles ketchup
1 tbs dijon mustard
S+P to taste
1 cup panko crumbs

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. Place a paper towel on one cookie sheet, and lay down tofu rectangles. Place another paper towel on top, followed by another cookie sheet and a weight (I used my 10inch cast iron skillet—works like a charm) While tofu is pressing, prepare other ingredients.
3. Combine all wet ingredients and S+P on a plate or shallow bowl, and whisk well. Pour out panko onto another plate.
4. Once tofu has pressed for approx. 15 minutes, remove weight and top baking sheet, discard paper towels, and remove tofu. Give the bottom sheet a thin coating of non-stick spray. Dip each tofu rectangle into the milk mixture, making sure to coat all sides. Transfer to the breadcrumbs, again being sure to coat. Repeat with each piece of tofu, then placing them gently on the cookie sheet.
5. Cook tofu for 15 minutes at 400F, on one side, flip (gently!) and repeat on the other. Remove and enjoy with sweet n sour sauce—-recipe to follow.

Quick Sweet n Sour Recipe
1 6 ounce can crushed pineapple
Approx 2 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste, I generally use a good bit less but my roommate likes more)
Cornstarch slurry of approx. 1 tbs cornstarch and 2 tbs water.

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients except cornstarch slurry and bring to a slow boil. Lower to simmer, and stir in slurry. Continue to stir and simmer until thickened. Enjoy…hot OR cold. Preferably with tofu cutlets :)

This is a stirfry that isn’t vegetarian, but it looked so pretty in the kitchen I had to take a picture.  Those pink and white half circles are an Asian fish product gifted from a friend….I think it’s kind of like the Asian version of fish sticks, in that according to the outside of the package it was mostly pollock….but all the same the colors in this dish were just too pretty not to take a picture of, so you’ll have to forgive me, I suppose in a way I’m an artist at heart.

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Last but not least, was last night’s dinner, which I was IN LOVE with.  I don’t know why people always feel the need to make sweet potatoes SWEETER with all the brown sugar and such (although I’ll admit to like mine topped with marshmallows (on Thanksgiving ONLY) and this is just further proof that savory sweet potatoes are where it’s AT.  I served these up over a simple salad dressed in balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pink peppercorns.

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Ingredients
Two large sweet potatoes, peeled, halved the long way and then chopped into half circles approx 1 inch thick.
Several tbs olive oil
1 tbs rosemary
1 tbs green thyme (not the powdered stuff)
S+P to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, combine oil and spices. Toss in potatoes as you peel and chop, and then combine everything to coat. Turn out onto a greased casserole dish, trying to avoid overlap as much as possible, although a little is fine.
3. Cook for one hour, flipping midway. Remove, and serve!

Happy Eating y’all…and wherever you are, join me in wishing for some summer weather!

Selah.

I eat food. The blog.

I was checking out the blogosphere last week to see what I could make with the ingredients in my fridge, and was delighted to discover the new recipe database over at I eat food.  Since it was a Thursday and I like lighter meals on my hot yoga nights, I was going for some veggie sides and ended up matching up two.

The first was the Italian dressed cucumber salad:

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It actually smelled exactly like a bottle Italian dressing, but wasn’t terribly flavorful…I didn’t measure anything and I’m thinking I may have gone a bit light on some of the spices, so personal error there.

Another recipe that caught my eye was the Mustardy Creamed Onions, although I elected to skip the pearl onions and simple quartered a large Spanish onion…which was still delicious.

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There was just so much warm-deliciousness going on with the onion dish…it’s something I’d eat again and again.  I skipped the Vegan Parm, instead mixing some Nooch into the sauce and putting breadcrumbs with a drizzle of olive oil for browning on top.  Absolute perfection.

Selah.

More Adventures from Appetite for Reduction

A bounty of canned beans found its way into my pantry this week, and since they all came in so fast, I apparently felt I had to get them into food just as fast.  I pulled out Appetite for Reduction again to see what it had to offer and pulled out a few recipes that probably weren’t meant to be served up together, but that’s never bothered me before…

First were the mushroom and bean paprikas, which I made with button mushrooms and cannelini beans.  This was ok, but not terribly ground-breaking.  I was a bigger fan of the tamarind quinoa from the book, which is hidden underneath.  I make a lot of quinoa, and use quite a bit of tamarind concentrate, but these were two flavors I’d never thought to combine before.  I liked the result, and I’m sure I will be going back to this although perhaps not under mushrooms and beans, since the flavors don’t meld all that well.

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Since there were still beans and a couple mangoes and apples staring back at me from the fruit bowl, I decided it was time to try the mango bbq beans and apple-miso tofu, also from the book.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE these beans…they are quite possibly my new favorite backed bean rendition ever…although I’ll admit to using pintos instead of kidneys, which have never been a favorite of mine.  I would definitely stick with the pintos in the future, they soak up the flavors perfectly!

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The apple-miso tofu I was less certain about.  even though I used a bit less miso then called for in the recipe, I still felt it was overkill, and the apples weren’t quite enough sweet to counterbalance.  It’s possible I’ll mess with the amounts and try this recipe again in the future, but for now, it’s just not a favorite.

Selah.

Oven Baked Tofu with Peppers and Onions

There aren’t many flavor combinations I like better than peppers and onions…while I may not eat sausage, I’ll readily admit to purchasing some tofurkey beer brats every summer for just that reason…grilled up and then buried under a mound of the sauteed veggies, which I just can’t get enough of.  I’ve done the combo with pasta, and this time around I was looking for something a bit different….so I thought tofu.  Why not?  Turns out, it’s delicious, which shouldn’t have surprised me in the least.

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I generally like to use a red or yellow pepper when I’m making any rendition of peppers and onions, although this was actually a “green bell” although it has a healthy red and yellow blush on most of it, which was why I picked it out.  A Brightly colored sweeter pepper at the green bell price is always a bargain.

Ingredients
1/2 block extra firm tofu, the kind packed in water
1/2 colored bell, sliced thinly
1 small onion, halved and then sliced into rounds
1/4 cup braggs
2 tbs olive oil
1 lg clove minced garlic
S+P to taste

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. If you want to press liquid out of the tofu, do that, it’s not totally necessary but will give a slightly chewier texture.
2. Combine braggs, olive oil, garlic and S+P in a glass casserole dish and whisk to combine. Add peppers and onion and toss quickly to coat.
3. Add tofu, flipping to each side so it is coated with the marinade, and then place in pre-heated oven. Cook for 20 minutes, removing to flip tofu. If you feel your peppers and onions are going to burn, you can remove them before inserting the tofu for another 15 minutes, if you’re like me and enjoy some char, leave them in there.
4. Remove, let cool, and enjoy! If you want to put everything into a sausage style bun and enjoy that way feel free, but I thought it was just great as is!

I’m so excited that the warm weather finally seems here to stay….it just gets me in the mood for great summer favorites, more of which will be coming soon I’m sure!

Selah.

Rainbow Chard Pasta, Grilled Foccacia and Currry Tofu with White Asparagus

Does it ever happen that you think you’re making a surprising well-balanced meal and then you look at the colors on the plate and feel that something’s gone horribly wrong?  I was thinking grain, protein, vegetable, which was how I created a grilled dinner that included foccacia made from a bagged pizza dough mix, a curry grilled tofu, and these beautiful white asparagus I picked up…

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As you can see, it all ended up being more or less the same color, and I always grew up hearing that a good plate is a colorful plate.  Mission fail.  My intentions were so good though…..Anyway, outside of the color front, this was all delicious, and I suppose I could have thrown a bit of spinach on the plate to liven things up if I’d really cared.  the foccacia, while not contributing much nutritiously, was my favorite part.  I used one of those “mix with water” pizza crusts, and pressed it out a bit with my fingers.  I then used a pastry brush to coat with olive oil, and sprinkled liberally with dried basil, oregano, powdered garlic, and Salt and Pepper.  The entire thing then went on to a hot outdoor grill, where the cover was put down and it was left to cook for about ten minutes.  I COULD NOT stop eating this.  There’s also something about making bread on a grill that I really enjoy…I’m pretty sure the grill marks on the bottom make it taste better.

The white asparagus was nothing special, it was dropped in boiling water for a couple minutes, and then tossed with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I was a fan of the tofu recipe which I picked up here, although my grill marks weren’t as perfect as those in the picture that accompanies the recipe.  It still tasted great.

And then there was pasta.

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This isn’t anything groundbreaking….some rainbow chard, garlic and onion sauteed in olive oil, and then mixed with rigatoni.  I used a bit of white wine and braggs to deglaze the veggies as I was cooking, but that’s really it.  Sometimes there’s just nothing better than simplicity…

Food Round-up

The largest meal I make every week is for Sabbath dinner on Friday nights, and generally I don’t share it here since I’m not taking pictures after sundown on Friday night.  Much of the meal was not out yet, but I did snap a couple pictures of appetizers this past week, so you can check out some of the food that was enjoyed, minus the hot dishes that were still in the oven.

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I’ve been working with different sourdough starters lately, and it seems I haven’t gotten it right yet…the first generation didn’t smell remotely sour and produced a pretty, but very bland bread.  This generation smelled extraordinarily sour…but that taste didn’t really transfer to the bread, which was also rather heavy and ugly.  I’ll keep working at it though…I may eventually find success.  I did serve up this semi-sourdough with some jarred olive tapanade as an app though…which worked out.

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I can’t recall where I found the recipe for this couscous salad, even though I tried retracing my steps on Google without any real luck.  It is primarily composed of cooked couscous mixed with a vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and spices, and then took on a couple handfuls of “tropical medley dried fruit” .  It was good, although a bit on the sour side for couscous, which I like a bit more savory.  Looked real pretty though….

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The Cajun potatoes I served up smelled almost as though they were coated in brown sugar, although there was no sugar in the recipe I found.  I replaced the shallots with jarred shallot pepper, and the minced garlic with its powdered counterpart, but these were still DELICIOUS.  Definitely one that will go into the quick and easy recipe vault.

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The potato mushroom au grautin was actually the last meal I made during Passover…which looked impressive, but wasn’t my favorite flavor-wise.  This was another online recipe I can no longer find, but I’m not particularly attached to forwarding it along anyway, since I didn’t love it.  The insides all turned an unsightly shade of grey, and I found the mushrooms really overpowering.

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Last but not least, were some eggplant “steaks” which I absolutely loved.  I got the idea from Alton Brown’s recipe, but replaced the Worcestershire and Steak sauce with about a 3rd cup of Teriyaki, and eliminated the cheese step altogether.  These baked under my broiler for about 4 minutes on each side, and after removing from the oven, I gave each slice another quick brush with the glaze, just for added flavor.

Selah.

Machos and Gomen…there’s a joke there, but I’ll leave it to you…

Machos is the incredibly creative name I came up with for Nachos that are made with broken up matzoh instead of chips, which are pretty good…but perhaps not quite as awesome as their name.  I’m so glad it worked out to be Machos…adds a little manliness to the Passover holiday I think…which thankfully is almost over.  Oddly enough, I think I’m missing tofu more then pasta this year…although perhaps both equally.  Anyway, on to the beautiful Machos, pictured here before they went into the oven:

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I broke up a couple sheets of Matzoh by hand, and then topped with pretty much everything I could find (although unfortunately I had to skip the re-fried beans, which are not allowed during the holiday)  If you’re not doing a nut based cheese or the dairy kind you probably need to skip it this time around, since soy is out on Passover.  But there are so many other things…in my case, mango salsa, pickled jalapenos, guacamole, olives, mushrooms, and baby spinach….YUM!  Pretty sure this is my favorite Passover food ever…

Something else that went well, but full disclosure was NOT Vegan is the Gomen, which are Ethiopian style stewed collared greens.

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These were served up over a quinoa dish I made earlier in the week and have forgotten the recipe for, and they came from the African Kitchen.  I actually decided to make the berbere and the Niter Kibbeh from the same page, and cooked up the collards and onions in a combination of those two.  SOOOOO good….but probably mostly because they tasted like butter, if I’m being perfectly honest….

Selah.

Vegan Passover Kugel

I’m already very much over this whole Passover thing—although I must admit my diet is much more varied then back in the days when I had to survive Passover at a University Cafeteria….8 days of salad and nothing but salad got REAL old.  I was at my parents for the first couple nights and brought a couple Passover cakes I baked with me, but didn’t take photos of either before transport and consumption.  Last night back at my own place I made matzoh ball soup (Using a box matzoh ball mix…I know, GASP!) and a Vegan Passover Vegetable Kugel, which I’ll share here.  I also used the grater attachment on the food proccesor for the first time ever, without which this would have taken forever to assemble.  I discovered that the grater attachment works better on some things than others, but didn’t mind a few chunks in my kugel, so I let it slide.

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Ingredients
1 yellow squash (the kind that look like zucchini…not spaghetti)
2 carrots
2 potatoes (I used one russet, one sweet)
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 cup ground flax/water mixture, approx 1/4 flax.
pinch sugar
3 tablespoons matzo meal
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons oil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use part of the oil to grease two 8×8 casserole dishes.
2. In a food processor, coarsely grate squash, carrots, potatoes, onion, and chopped garlic.
3. In a bowl, combine the grated vegetables with the spices, flax mixture and oil.
4. Pour the vegetable mixture into the greased casserole dish. Bake for 50 minutes on the top rack, or until the vegetables are tender and the top of the kugel is browned.

It’s also really good with ketchup…all of which is Passover friendly in my house already since I don’t buy the kind with corn syrup…  Happy Holiday Everyone, whichever one you celebrate!

Selah.