Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Go To Meal - Marinated Baked Tofu

Non-vegetarians may quail or hide at the mere mention of tofu but as a recovering vegetarian it's still a part of my diet for one very big reason - it's so damn easy!
  • It's easy to store - an unopened package will last in your fridge for well over a week so you can buy it in advance.
  • It's easy to cook - throw in the holy trinity of SE Asian cooking (soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger) and you have some seriously tasty potential whether you bake, stir fry or marinate it. The stuff is a sponge for flavour, the trick is to rinse it well to get rid of the "beany" taste then press it to remove the water prior to cooking with it.

One of the simplest recipes I make is marinated tofu. It's easy to prepare and gives me enough left overs for two or three lunches. It's my go-to meal for busy weeks, I always have the marinade ingredients and uncooked rice on hand so all I need is a brick of tofu and some sort of veggie for a complete meal.

The recipe as per the cook book is as follows, my variations are at the end.

2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Package of tofu (~375g)

Slice tofu into approx 1/4 inch slices then press to remove water. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl.

Place the pressed tofu in a flat bottomed glass or ceramic baking dish and pour the marinade over it. Let sit for 30-45 minutes, turning the tofu slices at least once.

Preheat the oven to 375. Cook the tofu for 20 minutes, turning after 10.

Serve on rice, brown is best.

My variations:
I usually double the marinade, use 3/4 for the tofu and the rest on steamed broccoli, carrots or other veggies to accompany the meal.
I love ginger so usually put in at least three times as much.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on the tofu prior to cooking - they're healthy (iron and calcium) and they'll roast a bit while the tofu cooks, adding more flavour.
A minced/pressed clove of garlic is a tasty addition.
Throw in some green onion bulbs in the dish with the tofu - they're yummy roasted.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mr. Picklepuss

I know I haven't posted in a while. And I have lots to post (just no photos to go along with the post since things seem to get consumed really quickly once they are made). I've had a few projects. One of which is a sourdough starter which has been dubbed Mr. Picklepuss. He lives in a recycled mason jar. He's about a week old now so is ready to be tested out for bread.

To make a Mr. P of your own it's dead easy. All you need is 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of tepid water. That's it. Combine them in a jar or other non metallic container. I used a bit of cheese cloth and an elastic to keep him covered. It needs some air circulation so punching small holes in the lid or using a bit of (clean) old cloth will work too. I would dampen the cloth before covering the mouth of the jar. Then you leave it somewhere fairly warm like on the mantel about the gas fireplace like me or in your kitchen if that's a fairly warm place.

When they start out your starter is pretty high maintenance - it needs to be fed everyday for the first week or so. To do that you dump about half of the old mixture and add about half a cup of flour and a bit of water to make a thick liquidity mixture. In a few days it'll start to smell sour and be a bit bubbly. This is good.

After that week it's good to go. You can store it in the fridge and feed it once a week.

I'll see how my bread turns out when I make it in the next few days and let you know how to use the starter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Roast Leek

Roasted veggies make me happy! I'm cranky today so I'm pulling out the big guns and roasting a leek.
Roasted Leek
Rinse the leek thoroughly and ensure you've removed dirt from all crevices then pat dry.
Place on a foiled baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
Roast in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, turn and roast for another 15.
Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with salt.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Goulash with Spätzle

I was talking about making this on the other blog and thought while I was in blogger and while it was relatively fresh in my mind I should post the recipe.


- 2lb of stew beef chunks
- 1/4c flour combined with ground pepper and a teaspoon of (hungarian) paprika
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 -2 tbsp of paprika (depends if you are using spice and how you like it) - to make the flavour more complex you could also add a tsp each of ground caraway seeds, majoram, and thyme - I didn't have any on hand but the thyme but those flavours were seen in various online recipes I used for inspiration.
- 3 tbsp of tomato paste
- 4 c of veggie broth

Toss the beef in the flour mix and brown in a large saute pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil - 5 to 10 minutes, work in batches as need be. Remove and set aside.
Saute onions and garlic on medium in rest of olive oil until just turning golden.
Add paprika, saute one more minute
Add tomato paste and veggie broth, deglazing the pan.
Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and leave stirring occationally for 1 1/2 hours. I left it uncovered to thicken it.


Combine 2 eggs and a cup of milk.
Add to 2 c of flour (cut with a dash of salt)
Mix adding milk as needed to make it like pancake batter.

Run through the spätzle maker into a big pot of boiling water. If you don't have one, try slowly pouring the runny mixture through a collinder with biggish holes while shaking it gentle to make the droplets seperate.

Cook for 2 or 3 minutes (they will float to the surface so work fast or in batches). Drain and toss with 1 tbsp of butter.

Serve the goulash on the spätzle (or beside since the spätzle tastes really good on its own with a bit of salt).

This made enough for two dinner portions (the picture below is on side plates not dinner plates) and two large lunches.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tomato Olive Beef

Training season is about to begin which means it's time to pull out the slow cooker - cooking hearty, healthy food is a must when you're working out (and the rest of the time) and having vast amounts of left overs is very handy when you're spending more time on the bike, in the pool or on the run than you are at home.

The first time I made this it rocked! I have a batch slow cooking away right now and I'm hoping it's as good as my first effort.

Tomato Olive Beef
From the Company's Coming Slow Cooker Dinners

28oz can of diced tomatoes (with juice)
1.5 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 fresh chilies, seeds and ribs removed *
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lbs (900g) beef stew meat
6 bacon slices, cooked crisp & crumbled

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
6 Kalamata olives, pitted & chopped**
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Combine first 8 ingredients in 3.5 to 4 liter slow cooker. Add beef and bacon. Stir well. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours.

Add basil. Stir well. Remove to large serving bowl. Scatter olives and pine nuts over top.

Serves 8.

* leave the seeds in for a spicier dish
** I LOVE olives so I include at least 6 per person

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coconut Almond Bars

I got this recipe from, it sounded good but actually tasted way better than I expected. It's healthy, yummy and super easy to make - can't get much better than that!

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
½ cup dates (or raisins)
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup cashews
1 ½ cups tahini (or natural peanut butter)
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Combine rolled oats, unsweetened coconut, dates (or raisins), raw almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews. Mix tahini (or natural peanut butter) with honey and one vanilla. Microwave for one minute. Combine wet and dry ingredients. On a greased baking sheet, spread mixture into a one-inch-high rectangle. Cut into 12 bars. Or, if time allows, bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.

My first attempt ended up a bit squishy in the middle, but that's likely the fault of my ancient oven.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Curry in a hurry

I am a fan of curries. All kinds of curries. Indian to Thai. I love 'em.

Thai is possibly the easiest to make. I usually make a simply red coconut curry on rice. Simple and tasty. Today I made a slow cooker beef curry from the William-Sonoma Essentials of slow Cooking. It was the third thing I've made out of the book and I'm giving the book two thumbs up for sure. Tasty recipes with simple natural ingrediates and none of that "can of mushroom soup" business... but I digress.

Curry. Thai Curry to be precise. Out of respect for copy right and all that I won't repost the recipe I made to day but it builds on the basic principles of my Red Coconut Curry. Which I will share.

The key to a good curry is finding a good curry paste. I am a fan of the plastic container of Namjai brand. Can't usually find it in your local Safeway but a good asian market will have it. I'm not a fan of the oily paste in the envelop that you get at the plain jane grocery store asian aisle. So invest in some good paste. If you are in Vancouver you can get it at South China Seas in Granville market.

Now the recipe:

Red Coconut Curry with Prawns or chicken or tofu...

- enough of your meat (or tofudabeast) for 2 or 3 people (i.e. 2 chicken breasts) cut into cubes, strips, or shelled as needed
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp of grated ginger
- 2 tbsp of curry paste
- 1 tsp of fish sauce (it's the Thai equivalent of soy sauce or salt)
- 1 can of coconut milk (shake it well before opening in case it separated)
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
- 1 red pepper chopped into bite sizes pieces

If you are dealing with chicken you'll want to saute the meat quickly before you start not cooking it through but lightly browning it.

Saute the garlic and ginger for 30 secs add the curry paste saute 30 more secs breaking up any chunkies.
Pour in coconut milk, add sugar. Stir well to combine and incorporate curry paste.
Add meat and the red peppers chunks.
Simmer for 20 minutes or so. If it's chicken check to see if it's done.

Yes it's supposed to be soupy.
Spoon in over basmati or jasmine race in a bowl.

Simple and fast and tasty.

For a beef curry you can add some finely chopped onion and let the whole thing cook in the slow cooker for a few hours adding large potato chunks about an hour before the end and red peppers 15 minutes out if desired.