Tofu Bowl with Kimchi

DSC_1643In 2012 Danny and I traveled to South Korea and fell in love with Korean food. All those pickled and fermented veggies are so addictive and so good for you (gotta take care of that micro-biome!).

This Korean-inspired tofu bowl provides an awesome combination of textures and flavors. Sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, creamy, crunchy… its all there. It takes a little bit of multitasking, but its totally worth it. And, if you get the timing right (I’ll walk you through it), it comes together in under an hour.

INGREDIENTS

14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1-2 tbsp. fresh chopped ginger
1 and 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1-2 cups kimchee
4 eggs (optional)
Sautéed Sesame-Ginger Kale

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking oil. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together both types of oils, soy sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, hot sauce, garlic, and ginger. Let the tofu cubes marinate in the sauce while the oven finishes preheating. Save the extra marinade.

Place the marinated tofu cubes on the oiled baking sheet, making sure there is some space between each one. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove tofu from the oven, and use a spatula to flip. Bake for 15 more minutes after flipping.

Start the rice right after you first put the tofu in the oven. Once you have the rice going, start on the kale (recipe available here). Once you have the tofu, rice, and kale done or nearly done, fry the eggs either sunny side up or over-easy. You could also poach the eggs if you prefer.

Plate by spooning tofu, kale, and kimchee over a mound of rice and topping with a fried egg. If it suites you, use the left over marinade from the tofu as a sauce.

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Summer Veggie Bake

Summer Veggie Bake

This recipe is a lesson in patience, and it is absolutely worthwhile. Pick up a couple cold bottles of white wine, invite your closest friends, and start chopping. It’s time for Summer Veggie Bake therapy.

My sweet friend Mayme taught me this recipe over five years ago. At that point in my life, I only barely understood the value of patience, and was totally unable to exercise patience without support from others. I remember waiting in frustration for the onions to caramelize, and then anxiously again for the veggies to bake. 2 hours just seemed like a ridiculous amount of time to spend on dinner. But in the meantime we told stories, played card games, and had a beautiful evening. When the dish was finally done it tasted like heaven. Summer Veggie Bake has lessons to teach. Check it out.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 large sweet onions
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 or 5 zucchini
  • 3 or 4 large tomatoes
  • A ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop the onions and place them in a large sauté pan with the butter, olive oil, rosemary and a little salt to caramelize. This takes about 45 minutes. You can start the onions on medium-high heat to get them going, but be sure to turn them down to low after about five minutes. Stir occasionally.

Toast the breadcrumbs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic. Mix the caramelized onions with toasted breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, paprika, and Parmesan cheese. Add more olive oil if the mixture seems overly dry.

In a deep baking dish, layer zucchini, tomatoes, and sliced fresh mozzarella. You can really add or substitute with any veggies that roast well. Sprinkle each layer of mozzarella with basil, olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Top the layers of veggies and mozzarella with bread-parm-onion mixture. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes on 350 degrees.

Poulet Curry Salad

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This curry chicken salad is simple, creamy, and fresh. In this recipe, inspired by my mom’s French-Canadian heritage, whole-roasted curry-rubbed chicken pieces make the perfect foundation for a rich and comforting sandwich. Throw in some sliced grapes for sweetness, roasted cashews for crunch, and chutney for an extra kick. Best lunch ever!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large chicken breasts (bone-in skin-on)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • About 3 tbsp. curry powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. chutney (mango and peach are great options)
  • ½ cup roasted, chopped cashews
  • 1 cup halved grapes

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Drizzle with olive oil and rub spices and oil into the skin and meat. Flip the breasts and apply the same treatment to the other side. Note that you won’t use up all of the curry powder at this point, just enough to cover the chicken pieces. Pour chicken stock into the baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes.

When the chicken is done baking, spoon about a half-cup of the broth/drippings into a large mixing bowl and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, let the chicken cool. This is also a good time to slice the grapes and roast and chop the cashews.

Remove the partially congealed broth from the fridge and whisk in mayonnaise, chutney, and remaining curry powder. Shred the chicken pieces with a fork or your fingers and add to the dressing. Add grapes, cashews, and salt and pepper to taste.

SERVES
About 6 people (as a sandwich)

Curry Lime Shrimp Tacos

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This dish was a spontaneous dinner experiment that just turned OUT. Tacos are great because you can keep them simple as long as you have the right mix of flavors. In my opinion, the staple ingredients for a good taco include: a protein, some seasoning, corn tortilla, onion, cilantro, and lime. Check out this tasty variation, or make a few substitutions using whatever you have in the pantry!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cups dried coconut flakes
  • 2 large limes
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped fine
  • ½ large onion
  • About 5 radishes
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp (fresh or defrosted)
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Corn tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS
Toast the coconut flakes in the oven or on the stovetop until golden brown. While the coconut is toasting, squeeze one of the limes into a medium bowl. Add the honey and chopped cilantro and whisk. Chop the onion and radishes into small pieces and combine with the dressing.

Chop the garlic. Heat the coconut oil on medium-high in a large skillet, being careful not to burn the oil. Add the garlic and the shrimp. The shrimp should cover the bottom of the pan in an even layer, but if it doesn’t you should cook the shrimp in batches. Cook the shrimp until just pink on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from heat/burner. Transfer the shrimp to a cutting board to remove the tails and cut into ½ inch pieces. Put the shrimp pieces back into the pan with oil and garlic and add curry powder, toasted coconut, and salt to taste. Mix, adding more coconut oil if the mixture becomes dry.

Heat the tortillas per package instructions. Stack each tortilla with shrimp and radish salad. Serve with a beer and a couple lime wedges!

SERVES
4 people

Poached Eggs in Smokey Garlic Tomatoes

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This tomato and egg dish is a favorite weeknight dinner and weekend brunch in my household. It is easy, filling, and between the tomatoes, garlic, feta, smoked paprika, and cumin has a great balance of flavor. It’s also packed with vitamins (C, K, A, B, E, D) protein, potassium, fiber, folate, calcium… the list goes on. I highly recommend for any time you’re craving a dish that is both healthy and satisfying.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 – 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small or medium onion
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 large russet potato *
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 tsp. smoked paprika**
  • One 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of feta cheese crumbles
  • 5 – 6 eggs
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a deep-sided 12-inch skillet (we love to use cast iron for this) over medium-high. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and add it to the pan. While the onion starts to cook, chop the garlic and jalapeño, add to the pan, and stir. Peel and chop the potato and stir into the aromatics.

Let the potato cook for a few minutes until brown on one side before stirring. Continue to brown the potato for a few minutes longer before adding the cumin and paprika. Stir the mixture and allow it to cook one minute. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce and allow flavors to develop. Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan upon adding the tomatoes.

After reducing the sauce gently incorporate the feta cheese. Then, create 5 or 6 divots in the sauce in which to crack the eggs. Carefully crack the eggs into the prepared divots and place the whole pan in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the eggs might appear to be undercooked, but really should be cooked through with soft or partially runny yolks (I always second guess whether or not they are done, but that’s just because I am not used to seeing them cooked this way). Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

SERVES
5 – 6 people

* Some versions of this dish call for one 14.5 oz. can of garbanzo beans (drained) in place of the potato. I like both versions but my partner prefers potatoes, so that’s what we tend to use.

** You can also use mild or sweet paprika, but the smoky stuff gives the dish a wonderful flavor

Grilled Chicken with Ginger & Soy

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My husband Danny rocks at grilling chicken. He knows how to get the skin perfectly crisp-charred while maintaining the juicy integrity of each piece. This recipe is a winner. It’s easy, delicious, and makes for a relaxing backyard barbecue any night of the week.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup gluten free soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup or molasses
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed for more flavor
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped or grated finely for more flavor
  • One whole cut-up chicken or assorted bone-in chicken pieces (3-4 lbs)

INSTRUCTIONS
Add the first four ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl. Get in there with you hands and gently roll the chicken around in the marinade, being sure that every piece is coated. Cover the chicken and put it in the fridge for about four hours (no more than 12 hours, no less than 2 hours). If possible, take it out about halfway through to recoat the chicken with marinade.

Place the marinated chicken on a very hot grill and carefully pour the leftover marinade over the pieces of chicken. The chicken breasts (bone down) and thighs should go in the hottest part of the grill surrounded by the remaining legs and wings. Put the lid back on the grill and allow to sear for 5 minutes.  After the initial sear, the chicken skin should be a bit blackened – don’t worry, this is just the syrup or molasses caramelizing, which is delicious. Flip the chicken and redistribute the least-cooked pieces to the hottest spots on the grill. Cook for another 5 minutes. Lastly, remove the chicken pieces from direct flame if the grill is still quite hot and place in an area where they will cook slower for 5-10 minutes or until done. I usually cut into one of the thickest breasts near the bone just to make sure everything is looking good (no pink). Be careful not to overcook the chicken – you can always put it back on if underdone but there is no saving an overcooked bird.

When done, the chicken will have amazing crispy skin and, by searing the meat, all the flavors and juices will be left in tact. Enjoy!

SERVES
About 6 people

Pineapple Tofu Skewers

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These pineapple tofu skewers are surprisingly baller. A friend from Thailand brought them to a barbecue and they were a huge hit, so I decided to try them at home. He told me that his family eats tofu (in different forms, consistencies and flavors) for almost every meal, including this recipe. Extra-firm tofu quickly soaks up the flavors of this simple balanced marinade of ginger, garlic, maple and soy. I found it works well to sear the skewers on high heat to get that smokey grilled flavor. Pairs perfectly with the sweet syrupy pineapple!

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup gluten free soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed for more flavor
  • 2 tbsp. of ginger, chopped or grated finely for more flavor
  • ½ of a Pineapple, chopped into cubes
  • 8 oz package of extra-firm tofu, chopped into large cubes
  • 2 slices of thick-cut bacon (optional)
  • Oil for the grill
  • A couple teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped chives or scallions for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Create the marinade by mixing the first four ingredients in a quart-sized ziplock bag. A bowl will also work but you will have to double the marinade or flip the tofu half way through to ensure full coverage. Add the tofu cubes, which can be on the larger size, to the marinade and “vacuum” the air out of the bag using a straw our your mouth. Marinate for two hours.

Alternate adding pineapple chunks and marinated tofu to the skewers. For me this recipe made four skewers with three chunks of each pineapple and tofu. For a special treat, wrap one piece of tofu on each skewer with a half of a piece of thick-cut bacon before adding the tofu to the skewer. Place the skewers on a hot, well-oiled grill and cook covered for six to eight minutes. Flip the skewers and cook covered on the other side for another six to eight minutes. Remove the skewers from the grill, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish, and serve!

SERVES
4 appetizers, 2 entrees