Crunchy Orange Tofu

Crunchy Orange Tofu

This came together quickly on a late Friday night. We are not vegetarians but this did not make me miss the meat at all and was totally satisfying. I will add to my regular rotation of fast meals. Adapted from the blog The View From the Great Island.

For the baked tofu
(2 packages) extra firm tofu (I used Trader Joe’s Pressed)
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pinch salt
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbs oil for frying
1 onion sliced thin
1 Zucchini, cut in half and then sliced
1 small package white or Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped

For the sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or Mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup orange juice (about 3-4 medium oranges)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Drain the tofu and pat it try with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, gently squeezing some of the excess moisture out.

Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes, and gently toss together with the cornstarch, salt, and oil.

Spread the tofu cubes out into a single layer on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.

While the tofu is baking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

About 10 minutes before the tofu is ready: In a large pan or wok heat 2 Tbsp of oil and add the onion, stir until tender and starting to caramelize. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Cook until tender.

Remove the tofu from the oven when it is done cooking, it should be lightly golden brown and crispy on the outside, and set aside.

Add the sauce ingredients, along with the cornstarch mixture, in a small pan, mixing to combine. Heat over medium heat until the sauce is just starting to simmer and thickens.

Add the tofu to the onion mixture. Add sauce and gently toss until coated.

Serve along with white rice, and top with sesame seeds, if desired.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Broccoli and Potato Soup

When it is cold, grey and you just want to curl up with a bowl of comforting soup this is a healthy one do make. Very easy and great for a work night. This is from a wonderful Williams-Sonoma book, Soup of the Day, 365 days of Soup. I added blue cheese to the top but you can eliminate or add cheddar. Serve with a crisp salad or warm bread.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (or 1 onion)
1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 lb Broccoli, cored and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 lb Blue cheese crumbled

Directions

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until limp, about 1 minute. Stir in the potatoes and broccoli. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and stir until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring to make a paste, then gradually add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes and broccoli are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Using a blender or hand held blender (which I used), mix until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, place over medium high heat, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in half of the cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Serve with the remaining cheese on top. I just used some crumbled cheese to sprinkle on top.

Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

This was adapted from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. Autumn makes me want to start cooking with all the wonderful squash that starts appearing on the shelves. I roasted the squash which I thought brought out the flavor. It also called for Hazelnuts but I though pine nuts worked perfectly (and what I had in the pantry). This could be a vegetarian main dish with a salad but pairs perfectly with a grilled pork tenderloin or Chicken.


Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 5 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbs dried sage
  • 4 Tbs toasted pine nuts (or hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Put butternut squash in a bowl, toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender and getting caramelized.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grains, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the broth, adjust the heat to simmer, if needed, so that the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 3/4 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 1/2 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes more.

Add the roasted squash, Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbs. of the nuts, the pepper and salt. Stir to mix well.

To serve, spoon the risotto into a serving bowl or onto plates. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. fresh sage, if using, and the remaining 1 Tbs. nuts.

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

There are a million different recipes for this I am sure and this is a tasty way to use up your tomatoes from the garden or the farm stand. I used yellow tomatoes but you could use any good, ripe tomato. The key is to really let the tomato slices drain on paper towels, 1-2 hours. You can use Mayo instead of ricotta, also. Thank you to Dawn Bryant Hughes for the recipe.

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced, drained
3/4-1 Cup ricotta cheese
herbs (basil, parsley, chives), & minced garlic together
2-2.5 Cups cheese (anything you have – cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan)
1 precooked pie crust (I made mine but you can use ready made).

• Pat dry tomatoes, spread out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Roast at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
• Pre cook pie crust according to recipe or directions.
• Starting with tomatoes, layer tomatoes and cheese mixture 2-3 times and top with a little more cheese. Sprinkle with Basil.
• Bake 350° for 30 min.

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

My husband loves the idea of vegetables. He loves to eat them when they are disguised.
I was not sure he would eat these but he cleaned the plate. The roasting brings out a sweet nuttiness and these make a wonderful side dish to anything! This was adapted from the New California Cookbook. Full disclosure: I actually used a brioche hot dog bun for the breadcrumbs and it was fabulous.

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 1  broccoli crown, stems removed, tops cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot; sauté until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs; toast until golden, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Mix in lemon peel. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli with remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread out onto large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until stems are crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle gremolata over and serve.

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Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

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Vegetarian, light, fluffy little meatless “meatballs”. These are wonderful for a weeknight dinner if you use store bought pasta and sauce. Serve them with just the sauce or over pasta. I adapted this from http://www.notquitenigella.com

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Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1 package 15 oz part skim ricotta
4 eggs – if using Jumbo reduce to 3
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed (or  kale)
3/4 cup plain all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For sauce
1 jar of pasta sauce, or homemade red sauce

Preheat oven to 350F and take a large baking dish or a overproof skillet with high sides. Mix the sauce ingredients in the dish together and set aside.

 In a food processor mix the ricotta, eggs, onion, two cheeses and spinach and blend. Empty into a large bowl and then mix in the flour until just combined (do not overmix). Then using a small ice cream scoop, make balls and place them in the sauce. Bake for 35 minutes (longer if you use a regular sized ice cream scoop).

Garnish parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve as is with crusty bread or on top of pasta.

Lentil and Tofu Red Curry

Lentil and Tofu Red Curry

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This is a wonderful vegetarian weeknight dish. It warms up well for leftovers. I used Trader Joe’s Pressed tofu which saves time on the draining and pressing. I am not a big fan of lentils but my husband loves them so I try new things out and I have to say this was very good. I think this would also be good with carrots added or other vegetables.

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INGREDIENTS

1 package extra firm Tofu drained, pressed and cut into large cubes
2+ Tbsp Olive Oil, for frying onion and tofu
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Red Curry paste (or to taste)
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce (optional)
1 cup french green lentils, rinsed
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a  large saucepan and saute onion until translucent. Add red pepper and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, fish sauce and lentils and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until lentils are tender and two-thirds of the liquid is absorbed, about 30-35 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk until well combined, simmer. While this simmers heat oil in a large frying pan and add the tofu. Season with salt and pepper and keep stirring, gently, until tofu is nice and brown on all sides. Add tofu to curry mixture and serve.

 

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

It might not be spring yet but I can just about see spring in the distance… and things are starting to bud with all the rain. So much rain. But they had some beautiful, thin Asparagus stalks in the market yesterday and that called for this dish! This recipe was adapted from a great Williams Sonoma cookbook that I got for Christmas back in 1996. My parents gave me a love for food, and cooking and most of my kitchen implements came from them over the years.

Serves 6 as a side dish

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Ingredients

5 1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 1/4 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio or medium grain rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon or 1 tsp dried
salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, bring stock to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the wine to the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and keep the liquid hot.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add the rice to the onion and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grain, about 1 minute.

Add 3/4 cup of stock, adjusting the heat to simmer, so that the liquid bubbles and the stock is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the stock 3/4 of a cup at a time, stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the rice is tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes longer. You can add more stock or liquid if needed.

Add the asparagus, parmesan cheese, chopped tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls

 

Summer Vegetable Galette

Summer Vegetable Galette

This wonderful recipe comes from a blog “The view from Great Island”. This is a great way to use up extra zucchini and squash. I want to make a roasted tomato version as well! Make sure your veggies are thinly sliced. A mandoline slicer is very helpful. I served this with a tomato salad.

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Ingredients

crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut in small pieces
  • 5 Tbsp cold water
filling
  • approximately 3 ounces spreadable goat cheese
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 small new potato
  • thin slices of red onion about 1/2 a small red onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chunks of cold butter and pulse about 25 times, or until combined and crumbly. Drizzle in the water while pulsing, and run the machine briefly until the dough comes together in a lump, this should not take more than 15-30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring together into a flat round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Slice the squash and potato on a mandoline slicer at set at 1/8 inch thickness. If you are using a knife, slice them as thin as you can so they are flexible and translucent.
  5. Roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper that is cut to fit a baking sheet. Roll it to about a 12 inch circle, more or less.
  6. Spread the soft goat cheese over the surface of your dough, leaving a border of dough free so you can roll it later.
  7. Arrange your sliced veggies over the cheese, overlapping them. You will probably not need all of them, I made a fairly thin layer. Separate the rings of the onion slices and feather them over the top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Roll up the edges of the dough to meet the filling. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Note: keep your dough chilled at all times before baking. If you need to you can put the whole tray in the refrigerator while your oven heats up.
  9. Bake for about 33-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I like to take the parchment paper and set it right on the rack of my oven for a great crisp crust. If you have a pizza stone you can use that.
  10. Slice and serve the tart hot or at room temperature.
Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

This has all the wonderful tastes of summer in one dish. Super easy and a nice meal with a side salad of tomatoes and a glass of white wine

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kernels from  ears of corn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions

In a blender, combine the chopped basil and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, stir to coat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the rice and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the broth is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. After 10 minutes, stir in the corn. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender to the bite and creamy. If you need more liquid, use more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and 2 Tbs. of the basil oil. Divide among bowls, drizzle with more basil oil, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4.