Monday, September 28, 2009

Orange Balsamic Tofu with Sage Butter Pasta

This recipe is a combination of a recipe from Everyday with Rachael Ray and an overwhelming case of anti-grocery-store-itis (otherwise known as I-really-don’t-want-to-go-grocery-shopping-so-can-we-please-create-something-edible-with-the-food-in-the-house?).

1 lb brown rice fettuccine (you can use any kind of pasta you want)

2 tbsp EVOO

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

1 tsp dried rosemary leaves

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup peach-apricot jam (or orange marmalade)

3 cups baby spinach

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp dried sage

½ cup shredded parmesan

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1 tbsp honey (enough to coat the almonds)

1. Toast almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add honey and stir until almonds are coated.

2. Cook fettuccine until al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. While the pasta is cooking, deal with the tofu. Add EVOO to a large skillet, turning the skillet so the oil makes two laps of the pan. Bring to medium-high heat. Add tofu, sprinkle with rosemary and cook until the tofu is browned, 5-10 minutes. Remove tofu from skillet.

4. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar and peach-apricot jam (or orange marmalade).

5. Add balsamic mixture to the skillet. Lower heat and simmer for about a minute. Return tofu to skillet and coat with the sauce.

6. Remove skillet from heat and stir in baby spinach.

7. In the empty pasta pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in sage. Add pasta and shredded parmesan. Toss well to combine.

8. Sprinkle tofu and baby spinach with almonds. (Note: if the honey almonds became rock solid while you were tending to the rest of dinner, like they did for us, just heat them over low heat until they soften.) Serve with the pasta.

Tofu on Foodista

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chicken Esquites Salad

My aunt gave us an awesome stack of food magazines this summer and we’re finally making our way through them. Here’s a recipe (only slightly adapted) from a magazine we’d never even heard of—Clean Eating.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp olive oil

4 ears of corn, cooked and de-kernelled

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese

2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced

½ tsp chili powder

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Brush chicken with oil and place in baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s cooked. When cool, cut chicken into bite-sized cubes.

3. Combine corn and scallions in a small bowl. Stir.

4. In another bowl, combine cottage cheese, yogurt and lime zest. Stir.

5. In another bowl, combine the tomatoes, lime juice and chili powder. Stir.

6. In yet another bowl, combine the beans and the chicken.

7. Layer the salads: start with 2 tbsp of the cottage cheese mixture, add ¼ cup of the corn mixture, ½ cup of the chicken and bean mixture, and then 2 tbsp of the tomato mixture. Keep on going until you’ve used all of the ingredients.

Apple Manchego Salad

As promised, here’s the rest of our not-quite-tapas night fare. This dish (or something similar) was one of my favorites at Jaleo, a DC-area tapas joint.

1 Granny Smith apple per person, cubed

Manchego cheese, cubed (we used what we had left over from a previous dinner…maybe ¼ cup per person)

2 tsp Lemon juice

3 tbsp EVOO

3 tbsp White wine vinegar

1. Add lemon juice, EVOO and white wine vinegar together and mix well—these are very approximate measurements, and you may want to cut back on the vinegar if you like your vinaigrettes a little oilier.

2. Toss the cheese and the apples in a bowl. Add the dressing. Mangia!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tapas Night (kind of)

Okay, the original idea was to have a tapas night, but making lots of small dishes seemed like a lot of work. Instead, we turned it into a tapas-inspired dinner of grilled chicken with strawberries and balsamic glaze and spinach with raisins and pine nuts. We also had an apple and manchego salad, but you’ll have to wait until the next post for that recipe.

This dinner was delicious and insanely easy and fast—with both of us working, the whole dinner took less than 20 minutes to make.

For the chicken:

Chicken breasts (as many as you need for your crew)

Balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar

Strawberries, washed and sliced

1. Grill chicken, about 5 minutes a side on a medium hot grill

2. If you’re using balsamic vinegar, heat it in a small saucepan until it reduces into a thick, syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and add strawberries. If you’re using a balsamic glaze, which is basically pre-reduced balsamic vinegar, just go ahead and toss the strawberries in the glaze and stir.

3. Top the chicken with the balsamic glaze and strawberries.

For the spinach:

½ cup raisins

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 pound (more or less) baby spinach

1/3 cup pine nuts

1. Toast pine nuts in 350° oven for no more than 5 minutes—watch them!

2. Place raisins in a bowl. Cover with hot water. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes, until they become plump.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes.

4. Add spinach to skillet (in batches if your skillet is small). Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach wilts, 2-3 minutes. Add the plump raisins and the toasted pine nuts. Mix it all up and serve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oven-baked French Fries

These aren’t fried—and they’re certainly not French (or “Freedom Fries” for that matter)—but baked bits o’ potato just doesn’t sound that appealing.

5-6 medium-sized potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil (plus or minus)

1 tsp of salt

1. Preheat oven to 475º.

2. Wash and cut the potatoes into appropriate fry shapes—thick or thin, depending on what floats your boat.

3. Submerge potato pieces in a bowl of water for 15-20 minutes.

4. Drain and pat dry

5. Pour olive oil over potatoes and toss to coat—you may need an extra tbsp of olive oil if you’re using lots of potatoes

6. Arrange potato pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Use two sheets if necessary.)

7. Bake fries for 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping every 10-15 minutes.

8. Sprinkle the fries with salt, and serve.

Unless you get the fries coated with just the right amount of oil, they'll have a tendency to stick to the baking sheet. The more frequently you flip the fries, the less concerned you have to be that you actually flip each one every time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Calzone

This recipe (adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Pizza cookbook) has a little secret. (BACON!) Of course, you can omit the bacon if you want to, but if you’re trying to sell this dish to a carnivorous friend (or husband), the bacon really helps.

We used a gluten and dairy free dough for these calzones instead of our favorite Spelt-Right dough. The dough was delicious, but it stuck to itself and stuck to the counter, which made calzone-making difficult. This dough would probably be fine for pizzas, but we’ll use spelt dough for future calzones.

Pizza dough

2 eggplants, sliced into rounds

2 tbsp EVOO

4 slices turkey bacon, cooked, de-greased and crumbled

7 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp minced fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Heat grill (or grill pan) to medium-high

3. Lightly brush eggplant slices with EVOO and grill until tender, about 2 minutes per side.

4. In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, basil, 1 tbsp of EVOO and bacon.

5. Divide the pizza dough into equal pieces depending on your preferred calzone size. (The cookbook recommended making each calzone the size of a baby’s shoe. With this dough, that would’ve been impossible.)

6. On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece of dough into something that resembles a circle. Arrange an equal amount of eggplant on half of each circle. Top with an equal amount of the goat cheese mixture.

7. Brush the edges of each circle with water, then fold the uncovered half over the covered half to make a calzone. Press the edges together to seal.

8. Bake for 10 minutes.

9. Reduce oven to 400° and bake for 10 more minutes, until crust is golden.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Butternut Squash Potstickers

This is a Hungry Girl recipe. It’s totally delicious and really easy, but it takes a little patience to make the potstickers pretty. We—okay, the individual responsible for actually folding the potstickers—is not known for her patience.

For the potstickers:

25 small square wonton wrappers

3 ½ cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

½ cup grated carrots

¼ cup chopped scallions

2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp minced garlic

1/8 tsp ground ginger

For the dipping sauce:

2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

1. Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl with ½ cup of water. Cover and zap in microwave for 12-14 minutes, until squash is soft.

2. Combine ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Drain excess water from the squash, then mash the squash. Add carrots, scallions, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Mix thoroughly.

4. Place wonton wrapper on flat surface. Spoon about 1 tbsp of the squash mixture into the center of the wrapper. Dip fingers in water then moisten the edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle.

5. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you’ve used all of the filling.

6. Spray skillet with oil and bring to medium-high heat. Cook potstickers flat side down first, for 3-4 minutes per side. Re-spray skillet between batches.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

This is my friend’s mom’s recipe. She made it for us in college and kindly shared the recipe with me. I’ve been making it ever since (which is kind of a long time). You can make it for carnivores (with chicken) or vegetarians (with tofu). We first swapped the chicken for tofu when we were making this dish for a vegetarian friend. Now, we always use tofu.

A note on cilantro: Cilantro is one of those herbs that people either love or hate. We hate it so we leave it out, but I’ve included it in the recipe in case you’re a cilantro-lover.

A note on noodles: This photo of Mexican lasagna was taken before I started this wheat-free experiment. I’ve been experimenting with brown rice lasagna noodles and so far, the top noodle has maintained a cardboard-like consistency. (For the record, brown rice penne, spaghetti and fettuccine are all wonderful, but the lasagna noodles we’ve tried have not been so wonderful.) Does anyone have any recommendations for wheat-free lasagna noodles?

2 yellow bell peppers, halved and de-seeded

1 cup salsa

9 lasagna noodles

1 cup fat-free sour cream

1 cup skim milk

1 large egg

2 tsp flour

2 cups sliced, diced or shredded cooked chicken OR 1 package of tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

1. Heat broiler. Spray baking sheet with canola oil.

2. Place pepper halves on baking sheet, cut side down. Broil peppers on top rack (about 3 inches below the heat source) for 5 minutes or so, until the skins are mostly charred.

3. Remove peppers from the oven and place in a saucepan with a lid.

4. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove them from the saucepan, de-skin them (the charred parts will peel right off) and dice.

5. Heat oven to 350°.

6. Spread ¼ cup of salsa over the bottom of a baking dish. Top with 3 noodles.

7. Whisk sour cream, milk, egg and flour in a medium bowl until blended.

8. Pour 2/3 cup sauce (the sour cream mixture) over the noodles. Scatter chicken or tofu over the sauced noodles then sprinkle with cilantro (if you’re using it). Add ½ cup of cheese and 2 tbsp (or a little more) of salsa.

9. Add 3 more noodles and then the yellow layer: 2/3 cup sauce, all the yellow peppers, ½ cup of cheese and all of the corn. Sprinkle with ¼ cup cilantro (if you must).

10. Top with the last 3 noodles. Add the remaining sauce, salsa and cheese. Cover with foil.

11. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Cilantro-lovers—go ahead and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top. Serve.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons—and Burgers

This is yet another tasty recipe we got from Eating Well. It's a quick and easy summerish dish, and we ate it alongside a very small head of broccoli that we got from our CSA and a tasty grass-fed burger -- the latter two items on the menu were both grilled. We don't eat meat all that often, but when we do, we eat local, grass-fed beef. (For more on corn-fed cows, check out the August 24th post at Mauka to Makai.)

1 lb packaged gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

2 medium shallots, chopped

3 sml zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise (we use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup (or less) chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook gnocchi in water according to the directions on the package

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat

3. Add shallots and zucchini ribbons; cook stirring often until softened (2-3 minutes)

4. Add tomato halves; continue cooking until tomatoes are just starting to break down (1-2 minutes)

5. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and parsley. Add gnocchi and toss to coat, serving immediately

(We grilled the burger and the microscopic head of broccoli straight up, testing to see if the broccoli was done by poking it with a fork.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grilled Tofu with Mediterranean Salad

This dish, with its light and refreshing flavors and minimal effort, is perfect for a hot night. It’s also a perfect de-tox dinner (for those times when you need to recover from multiple dinners out and all you really want for dinner is a bowl of cereal). The recipe is from Eating Well.

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tbsp EVOO

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried oregano

1 package extra-firm tofu

for the salad:

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cucumber, diced

¼ cup chopped scallions

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 tbsp EVOO

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, 1 tbsp EVOO, garlic and oregano together.

2. Set aside 2 tbsp of the marinade (the lemon juice mixture) for basting.

3. Prep the tofu: drain, cut into ½-inch (or so) thick slabs and pat dry with paper towels.

4. Place the tofu slabs in a shallow dish or pie plate and add the marinade. Turn to coat every inch of the tofu. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 8 hours.

5. Toss the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, 2 tbsp EVOO and white wine vinegar together in a bowl. Serve the salad within an hour of tossing.

6. Lightly oil the grill.

7. Drain tofu and discard marinade.

8. Grill tofu over medium-high heat, basting with reserved 2 tbsp marinade occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes per side (or until it’s lightly browned).

9. Serve the salad on top of the tofu.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Banana-Strawberry Muffins

This recipe started off as an experiment. We tossed some strawberries into our regular ol' banana bread recipe and made muffins instead of bread. We didn't really know what we were doing...just wanted to see what would happen. Yumminess happened.

½ cup butter (one stick) at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3-4 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (or so) frozen strawberries, diced

1. Preheat oven to 425º
2. Spray muffin tin with canola oil.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly
4. Add remaining ingredients in their given order, mixing well but not too hard
5. Pour batter into muffin tray -- it's enough for 12 muffins
6. Bake for 18-25 minutes until the tops start getting golden brown.
7. Remove and let cool.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa...and Grilled Squash

This recipe was inspired by Erin (of Married to a Non-Foodie fame). Of course, we butchered it. We’re kind of wimpy when it comes to spicy stuff so we toned down the heat in the marinade and the salsa. We also LOVE mango—and watermelon, well, we love the novelty of it (and love those Friendly’s watermelon ice cream cakes), but just don’t love it enough to put it on top of our chicken.

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp EVOO

1 tsp chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 chicken breasts

2 mangoes (peeled and cubed)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

juice from 1 lime

½ tsp sugar

1. Combine oregano, EVOO, chili powder, garlic and chicken in a ziplock. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Combine all the rest of the ingredients for the salsa.

3. Grill chicken on a medium-hot grill for about 5 minutes per side (longer for thicker pieces)

4. Serve salsa on top of the chicken.

For the grilled squash:

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

summer squash

1. Mix about a tablespoon or two each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.

2. Slice squash on the bias, into ½ inch- or ¼ inch-thick pieces.

3. Brush the mixture of olive oil and balsamic onto one side of the squash pieces and place them (basted side down) on an oiled, medium-hot grill. Baste the naked side of the squash with the remaining mixture, wait 5-6 minutes or until the bottom side is sufficiently marked, then flip ‘em.

4. Once the squash start turning translucent, they're done.

Note: The leftovers (chicken and salsa) are fabulous with pasta the next day.