Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spaghetti and Giant Stuffed Baked Tofu Balls

Yes, that's right. The old tofu ball recipe, updated for 2008. Can I just say: These are phenomenal. And if you make them, you will totally impress anyone you serve them to, as they make for a most attractive and aromatic dish.

3 slices stale whole wheat bread
1 C milk
1 package extra firm tofu
1 large egg
1/2 C bread crumbs
3 large mushrooms, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely shredded
1/2 C grated parmigiano
splash or 2 of soy sauce
splash of cidar vinegar
salt and pepper
handful fresh parsley, chopped
8 1" cubes of feta cheese
8 baby fresh mozzerella balls
extra virgin olive oil
whole wheat spaghetti
1 can whole tomatoes, crushed
1 C pesto
salt and pepper
grated parmigiano for garnish

In a shallow bowl, pour milk over torn up bread and let soak until evenly saturated (you may have to stir occasionally). Meanwhile, drain excess water from block of tofu and crumble into a large bowl. To the tofu, add the egg, bread crumbs, mushrooms, scallions, garlic, parmigiano, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and parsley. Squeeze most of the milk from the bread and add bread to the tofu mixture. Using your hands, squish all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Mold tofu into a giant disk and then divide into 8 even sections.

To form the balls: Take each section and form into a patty (it should resemble a burger). Place a feta cube or mozzerella ball (depending on your mood!) in the center of the patty, and then curl the sides up around the cheese and smooth into an even round shape. Space the eight balls evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) for about 20-25 minutes. (Optional: at the end of the baking time I popped my tray under the broiler for three minutes to get the tops nice and browned...lovely!)

While tofu balls are baking: Cook your spaghetti in salted boiling water for the time specified on the package. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent noodles from sticking together. In a skillet over medium heat, simmer the crushed tomatoes with a bit of salt and pepper until fluid is significantly reduced. Just before serving, remove tomatoes from heat and stir in pesto (you can use pesto from a can, or feel free to make your own!!). Serve each plate with a pile of spaghetti, a whole bunch of delicious basil-tomato sauce, and two giant stuffed balls balanced on top. Sprinkle with parmigiano.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Strawberry Oatmeal Coconut Muffins


1 C oatmeal
1 C plain yogurt
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C canola oil
2/3 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 C shredded coconut
1 1/2 C fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped

1/4 C white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP shredded coconut

In a large bowl, combine oatmeal and yogurt and let soak at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In separate bowl mix oil, brown sugar, egg, and coconut, then add to oatmeal mixture. Blend well. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten. Gently fold in strawberries.

Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners. Spoon mixture into tins, filling about 3/4 full (should make about 18 muffins). In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Black Bean Sauce (for Stir-Fry)

This sauce adds a twist to the standard stir-fry, and it's good excuse for an excursion to Chinatown!

For stir-fry:
Whatever veggies you like - I used broccoli, eggplant, and zucchini
1 carton of extra-firm tofu

Drain tofu well (pat it dry!) and cut into bite-sized pieces. Fry in a little bit of canola oil till it's browned and crispy on all sides. Cut up veggies and cook however you like; you could stir-fry them as well, or steam them for a few minutes.

For the sauce:

1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons Chinese fermented black beans (I could only find black bean paste, so I used that instead)
1 tbs vegetable oil

Stir together the water, soy sauce, Sherry, maple syrup, vinegar, and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is evenly suspended.

Heat a tablespoon of veggie oil in a medium-sized pan or pot and stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant, less than a minute. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the pan. Whisk the sauce occasionally while bringing it to a boil and simmer 1 minute, until it thickens. Dump in the veggies and tofu and heat for another minute or so.

Serve over brown rice.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lettuce-Wrapper Tofu

Yummy, and easy if you toss everything in a blender/food processor!

Start with:
1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled.

For the tofu marinade, combine the following ingredients:
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp water
1 tsp soy sauce
dash of pepper

Pour over tofu and stir to coat; let stand for 15 minutes.

Now, prepare cooking sauce:
2 1/3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dry sherry
2 tbs water
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

Combine ingredients and set aside.

Finally -- the real ingredients! All of these need to be minced; you can toss all of them into the food processor.
8 medium-sized mushrooms, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 can bamboo shoots, minced
1 can water chesnuts, minced

To cook:

Stir-fry marinated tofu for about 3 minutes, until hot. Set aside.

Add about 1 tbs of oil to pan and heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion and cook for about one minute. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chesnuts to pan and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Return tofu to pan. Stir cooking sauce, add to pan, and cook, stirring, until sauce bubbles and thickens.

To serve, you'll need:
about 30 lettuce leaves, washed and drained
hoison sauce
brown rice

Spread each leaf with hoison sauce; add a spoonful of rice and a spoonful of the tofu mixture. Wrap up in a little package and eat!

Cold Cucumber Soup w/Avocado Cream

10-minute recipe! Woohoo! Especially lovely on a really hot day :)

2 large English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 8-oz container plain yogurt
1 cup ice cubes

Puree cukes with water, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons salt in blender till smooth.

Mash together avocado, lime juice, 1 tsp salt until smooth. Whisk in yogurt.

Just before serving, blend soup with ice until smooth. Serve topped with avocado cream.

"Tastes cucumber-ey." -my roomie

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lentils and Quinoa with Avocado

According to a guy who works at Murray's Bagels on 8th Ave, eating lentils will make you live forever. Here's to heart health! Woohoo!

1 pound lentils
6 C water
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves
6 kale leaves, chopped
2 splashes apple cider vinegar
4 splashes soy sauce
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 C quinoa
2 C water
black pepper
fat-free or dairy-free sour cream (optional)

In a large pot, combine lentils, 6 C water, carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, whole garlic cloves, a solid pinch of salt, and plenty of black pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes with lid tilted. Add kale, vinegar, soy sauce, cardamom, and coriander, stir well, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add parsley, squash garlic cloves against the side of the pot, and stir. Meanwhile, as lentils are cooking, bring 2 C water to a boil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and a pinch of salt and cook for 15 minutes covered on low heat.

To serve, layer a scoop of quinoa and a scoop of lentils in a shallow bowl. Arrange avocado slices on top of lentils and finish with a dollop of sour cream. Heart-healthy and oh-so tasty...