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Archive for March, 2011

 

I haven’t posted a homemade tofu recipe in a long time and decided that it was long overdue.  Aside from making the actual tofu, I took the easy way out and used a pre-prepared red curry paste for this variation and freshened the flavors of the dish with some shredded kaffir lime leaves.  To add to the southeast Asian flavors, I dredged the tofu in a mixture of almond meal,  shredded coconut and red pepper flakes, and then pan-fried it in a little bit of coconut oil.   I served this over some brown basmati rice. 

[You could use store-bought tofu for this dish and marinate it in a slurry of red curry paste made by adding a bit of water or vegetable stock to give it the consistency of a marinade .  If you choose this method, cut the block of tofu into the size of the pieces you wish to pan-fry so that you get maximum exposure to the marinade for the greatest flavor.  I would also suggest marinating overnight.]

 

 

Red Curry Tofu

Ingredients:

One recipe homemade tofu at curd stage [Procedure here.]

4 ounce jar Red Curry Paste

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

Directions:

Transfer the tofu curds to a bowl and gently add in the red curry paste [Add a little bit of water to loosen it up beforehand] and lime leaf shreds.  Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.  Place the contents in a tofu press and press for an hour.  Cut the block into whatever sized pieces of tofu you wish to pan-fry.  [I cut mine into two bite-sized chunks so that there would be more crunchy batter per bite than if I’d pan-fried larger sized pieces.]

 

 

Almond and Coconut Batter:

Ingredients:

1 T ground flax seeds

1/3 cup almond meal

1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup water

coconut oil, for pan-frying

Directions:

Blend the ground flax seeds and water together and transfer to a bowl.  Let sit for a few minutes to form a slurry.

Place a pan over medium high heat on the stove and add a sufficient amount of coconut oil to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.

Place the almond meal, coconut and red pepper flakes in a processor and pulse a few times to break up the pepper flakes.  Transfer to a bowl.

Dredge the pieces of tofu into the flax wash and then through the coconut and almond flour. 

Pan-fry on each side until browned and crispy.

 

 

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This “cheese” has enabled me to take my vegan cooking to another level, creatively.  I used to absolutely love goat’s cheese and that creamy, tangy textural flavor has been something I’ve truly missed.  By fermenting raw cashews with probiotics this already amazing seed/nut gains new heights of culinary glory in my book.  It’s also an incredibly tasty way to boost your digestive system’s probiotic population.

I’d heard of the technique of using probiotics to ferment nuts, and my first attempt used a homemade rejuvelac as the probiotic source because I wanted to keep it as natural as possible.  Using rejuvelac, which is obtained by soaking grain sprouts in water overnight and allowing them to ferment, worked really well and I loved the end product.  The only problem was that I didn’t want to have to plan ahead for a week in order to make the fermented nut cheese.  That led me to an investigation of commercially available probiotics.  My requirements were pretty straightforward:  It needed to be a quality product that came in a powdered form and packaged in gelatin-free capsules.  After looking into myriad brands and formulations, I felt most comfortable ordering a blend from Udo’s. 

 

Soured Cashew Cheese

This recipe makes @ 2 cups of soft cheese.  After it is made, you can divide it up into portions and freeze for later use. 

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for one hour in filtered water

2 cups filtered water at room temperature, not chilled

1 capsule Udo’s Adult Advanced Probiotics

Cheesecloth or nut milk bag [The nut milk bag works great for this!]

Directions:

Drain the cashews and rinse.  Place the cashews and water into a blender and purée until smooth.  Empty the probiotic capsule into the blender.  [Throw away the capsule.]  Blend briefly to combine.  Pour the contents into a nut milk bag that has been placed in a bowl large enough to accomodate it.  Set aside and let sit out at room temperature overnight to ferment.

The next morning, lift the nut milk bag out of the bowl and place in a colander.  Depending upon the size of the colander either place within a bowl or over a baking sheet.  [You are going to be draining the fluid away from the cashew cheese and will need a resevoir to catch it.  Alternatively, you could place in the sink.]  Place a weight over the nut milk bag to help compress the liquid away from the solids.  [I used a bowl that fit inside the small colander I used and filled that bowl with water to give it added weight.]   The longer you leave it to drain, the denser the cheese will become.  [I let mine sit for about 4 hours.  If you won’t be around to tend to it, you could place the cheese with the weight in the refrigerator and deal with it when you get home later in the evening or even the next day.]

Remove the nut cheese from the bag and place upon a piece of plastic wrap.  Form into a log and roll it tightly in the plastic.  Place in the refrigerator until it has chilled enough to be able to cut it into even slices. 

At this point it is ready to eat as is, or you could do as I did above and roll the log in some freshly chopped herbs and/or nuts prior to cutting into slices.

 

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We love greens and eat several varieties each day either raw in salads and smoothies or lightly sautéed or steamed.  Greens are an amazing food that provide a healthful abundance of macro- and micronutrients.  Their variety is staggering and we celebrate them all.  That said, it’s easy to fall into a rut and shop on autopilot at times, grabbing the tried and true romaine, spinach and kale rather than the watercress, stinging nettles, amaranth or mustard greens.  Mix it up as often as you can and you’ll be blown away at the bounty of nature’s variety and the amazing gift our senses get to experience.

 

Lima Bean and Mustard Green Soup

This soup has very few ingredients, yet is an incredibly flavorful meal.  The Lima beans and mustard greens combine to surprising perfection.

Ingredients:

2 cups large lima beans, soaked overnight [I used an heirloom “Christmas” variety but any will do nicely]

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, sliced [I like to cut the carrot lengthwise and then cut into half-moon slices.]

3 stalks celery, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch mustard greens, chopped [10 oz greens after trimming]

8 cups vegetable stock

1 T olive oil

Directions:

Place a soup pot over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Sauté the onions and celery until softened.  Add the garlic and carrots and sauté for a few minutes, until you can smell the garlic cooking.  Add the lima beans and stock.  Bring to a low simmer and cook for about an hour or until the Lima beans have softened.  Add the mustard greens and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

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Making faux tuna using garbanzo beans isn’t an idea original to me;  I simply modified the idea to mimic how I used to make the real deal.   It’s quick, easy and can be made nearly on the fly.  It also happens to be delicious and full of healthy and filling fiber.  Plus,  the vitamin C-rich red bell pepper helps your body absorb the iron found within the garbanzo beans more readily.  It’s an all ’round rock star of a sandwich filler.

 

Faux Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups garbanzo beans

¼ cup celery, small dice

¼ cup red bell pepper, small dice

¼ cup apple, small dice

¼ cup dill pickle, small dice

¼ cup fresh dill, minced

¼ – ⅓ cup  plain non-dairy yogurt [So Delicious Plain is my choice] or Vegenaise  [The amount depends upon how wet you like your salad]

freshly-cracked black pepper

sea salt

Directions:

Using a potato masher, mash the garbanzo beans in a large bowl.  You could use a food processor for this, just be careful not to over-process the beans.  You do not want a purée, but rather a coarse mash with texture.

Add the remaining ingredients to the mashed beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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