Friday, September 28, 2007

Masala Salsa

This recipe was invented by me and my roommates (one is South Indian and the other is half Cuban). I was very uncertain about how the flavors would mix, but it ended up being seriously tasty. We didn't measure anything, so everything is approximate.

1 onion, diced
2 or 3 tomatoes, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels (preferably fresh, but frozen is fine)
cumin to taste
2 chili peppers, sliced in half and seeded
coriander to taste
garam masala to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped

Saute onions in butter or vegetable oil until translucent. Add tomatoes, black beans, and corn, and simmer for several minutes. Add spices to taste. Remove from heat, let cool for a little while, and stir in cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips or bread.

The best tofu burgers EVER

This recipe is adapted from Moosewood . . . it'll make anyone who says they don't like tofu change their minds. (Well, at least it's made my meat-and-potatoes-kinda-guy Dad actually ask me to make tofu). You can also use the mixture to stuff portabello mushrooms.

Serves 4

1 cake firm tofu
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup peeled and grated carrots
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons light miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Drain the tofu very well. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions, carrots, peppers, oregano, basil, dill, and sage for about 7 minutes, until the veggie are just tender. Crumble the tofu in a large bowl. Stir in walnuts, bread crumbs, tahini, miso, soy sauce, mustard, and veggies. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and generously oil a baking sheet.

Form the burgers into four patties and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until burgers are firm and browned. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chocolate Beet Brownies

I haven't tried these yet...but I'm totally going to! Delightful!!

1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 C brown sugar (packed)
1 C applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup cooked beets, pureed
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheat germ and almonds. Turn into greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pita Bread

This bread takes literally an hour to make from start to finish, and it's a bajillion times better than any pita you'll get in the supermarket. It's best straight out of the oven when it's almost too hot to eat, dipped in some really good olive oil or hummus. You can also freeze it by wrapping it in tin foil after it's cooled and then reheating it for a few minutes in the oven.

Makes 8 small pita breads

2 1/2 cups BREAD flour (not all-purpose -- it makes a huge difference), plus more for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp active (or fast-rising) dry yeast
2 Tbs good olive oil
1 cup warm water (105 - 110 degrees)

8 8-inch squares of aluminum foil for baking pitas

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the oil and water. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoons for three minutes, then stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of additional flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 6 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll into balls, dust lightly with flour, and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rest for 40 minutes. (If the dough isn't rising after 20 minutes or so, it's a good idea to place them in an oven that's been preheated to about 200 degrees and then turned off).

Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball into a disk. Finish with a rolling pin, rolling them into disks about 6 inches in diameter. Use as few strokes as possible -- over-rolling seems to keep the pita from puffing.

Place each round on a square of foil, and carefully place them directly on the oven rack. Do not roll out pitas until you're ready to slip them into the oven -- they'll harden as they sit out. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are puffed, golden brown, and smell delicious.


Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles

1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8,-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash
3½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8,-by- 1/8,-by-2-inch sticks
¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until
barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of
chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a
splash of sesame oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame
oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar,
ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

3. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving
bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts. Serves 4. Adapted from
Martin Yan, Marian Burros, and memory.


1. The "Chinese sesame paste," above, is made of toasted sesame seeds;
it is not the same as tahini, the Middle Eastern paste made of plain,
untoasted sesame. But you could use tahini in a pinch. You need only
add a little toasted sesame oil to compensate for flavor, and perhaps
some peanut butter to keep the sauce emulsified.

2. On which subject, the whole point of cold sesame noodles is what's
called in the food trade its "mouth feel," the velvety smooth feeling
of perfectly combined ingredients. That's why you find so much peanut
butter in preparations of cold sesame noodles. Peanut butter
emulsifies better than sesame paste.

3. Hey, where are the Sichuan peppercorns? Sichuan food depends on
their tingly numbing power! Perhaps, but the little fruits were banned
from the United States from 1968 until 2005 by the Food and Drug
Administration because they were feared to carry citrus canker, a
bacterial disease. And while you could always find them in Chinatowns
somewhere (sitting, dry and baleful, in a pile), there are few in the
true cult of sesame noodles who use them in their recipes. By all
means, add some if you like: toast a tablespoon's worth in a dry pan,
crush lightly and whisk the resulting mess into your sauce.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Herb and Onion Bread

My favorite bread to make, because it is so damn easy! And it's really great with whole wheat flour...

1/2 C milk
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP butter
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 C white or whole wheat flour
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp crushed rosemary

Scald the milk and dissolve in it the sugar, salt, and butter; cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the cooled milk, flour, minced onion, and herbs, and stir well with a large wooden spoon.

When batter is smooth, cover bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until triple in bulk - about 45 minutes. Stir down and beat vigorously for a few minutes, then turn into a greased bread pan. Let it stand in a warm place about 10 minutes before putting it into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake about 1 hour.

Baked Tofu Sticks

Much more exciting than they sound. Li and I made these Saturday night and they were awesome. I bet you could play with the spices in the bread crumbs (maybe add sesame or poppy seeds?) and get some fantastic flavors.

1 package firm tofu
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP rice vinegar (we used cidar)
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 C bread crumbs
2 TBSP parsley
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
3 TBSP flour
6 TBSP cold water

Cut the tofu horizontally into three slices, restack and cut down through them vertically in parallel lines to divide into six sections (you should have 18 little sticks now). Arrange the tofu sticks in a baking dish in a single layer.

Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, and drizzle over tofu. Set aside for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes so the sticks can marinate evenly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray or oil a baking tray.

In a shallow bowl, mix together bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together flour and water until smooth. Dip each marinated tofu stick into the flour mixture and then coat well with the seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange breaded sticks on the baking tray so they're not touching and bake for 30 minutes, until crisp and hot.

Serve baked tofu sticks warm with some sort of dipping sauce (Moosewood suggests: 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 TBSP chopped scallions).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Banana Oatmeal Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

Surprisingly amazing. And you can feel good about eating them because sunflower seeds are superfood. For real. PS - this had a flour typo, but now it's all fixed up and ready to rock...enjoy!

1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup oats (the quick cook kind)
2 medium bananas
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate (or dark chocolate!) chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and mash bananas. In large bowl beat oil, bananas, and sugar. Mix flour and oats with sunflower seeds and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to bananas and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies a little on sheet (because they won't really spread in the oven). Bake about 15 minutes until edges are golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Amazing fall soup! Make a big batch and it'll be lunch for a week...

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 minced onion
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
5-6 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds carrots, sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped
8 - 10 whole cloves garlic
juice from 1 orange
1/2 cup half and half or milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or to taste)
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and minced ginger and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, and whole garlic cloves, mix for a minute or two. Add veggie broth, cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree mixture in blender or processor until smoot. Return soup to saucepan. Or alternately, remove from heat and puree with immersion blender. Mix in juice from orange, then half and half or milk. Cook over low heat 5 minutes. Mix in ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer before continuing, thinning with more stock if desired. Ladle soup into bowls and serve! I like it with a little dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkling of dill and pepper on top. Also delicious served with cheesy toast (you know, toast...with cheese. toasted.)

Tofu-Potato-Dill Pancakes

A happier protein-filled version of your standard latkes...amazing topped with sour cream and applesauce!


4 potatoes, shredded
1 package of firm tofu, crumbled
3 tbsp of dill, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of flour
5 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp of sour cream
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of butter


Combine the sour cream, butter, potatoes, scallion, egg, tofu, and dill.
Mix the ingredients well, roll and slap them into patties.
Coat the patties with the flour.
Saute the potato-tofu patties in the olive oil.
Brown both sides and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Add salt and pepper to taste.