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Archive for the ‘Ethnic Foods’ Category

 

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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I have fallen in love with Tofu Shirataki noodles.  They’re packed full of fiber and calcium and have such a low calorie count they are almost an afterthought.  I’ve been using them lately in everything and wanted to spread the word to those of you who may be looking for interesting and less caloric pasta choices.  They have a somewhat squidgy texture, but they’re soft unlike kelp noodles which are crunchy and brittle-textured.  Here I tossed them with some quickly sautéed kale [we have to get in our daily cruciferious fix!], shiitakes and garlic in a really quickly freshened Asian-style sauce.

 

Orange and Mushroom Noodles with Kale

Ingredients:

1 bunch lacinato kale

2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus the zest of one orange

¼ cup vegetarian oyster sauce [aka mushroom sauce easily found in Asian groceries]

1 – 8 oz package Tofu Shirataki, or noodle of your choice

Directions:

Add a couple teaspoons of neutral oil to a sauté pan and bring to a medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion.  Sauté until softened. 

Add the orange juice, zest and vegetarian oyster sauce to a small pan and bring to a low simmer.  Allow this to simmer and reduce slightly while the vegetables cook.

Put a pot of water on to boil to heat the noodles.

Add the garlic and kale to the pan containing the mushrooms and onions.  Once the kale has wilted down [should take about 10 minutes], add the sauce and set aside.

Rinse the noodles under running water and then add to a pot of boiling water.  Boil for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and toss with the vegetables and sauce.

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This is a quick Mexican-style rice that we like to wrap up in a whole wheat tortilla with some seasoned pinto beans and avocado slices.  It beats the pants off that quick yellow rice that comes in a foil package on so many levels.  It’s also a great way to take leftover plain rice and morph it into an entirely different meal. 

 

Green Chile Rice

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, medium dice

1 green bell pepper, medium dice

2 cups cooked brown rice [This is a great use for leftover rice]

3T diced green chiles [I used roasted canned chiles, like Ortega for this]

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp annatto seeds [These give the rice a beautiful yellow color and distinctive flavor]

¼ cup Bill’s Best Chik’Nish Vegetarian Seasoning

1 lime

1 T neutral oil [I use rice bran oil]

Optional garnishes:  cilantro, lime wedges, radishes, green onion, jalapeno pepper

Directions:

Add the annatto seeds to the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir the seeds around for a couple of minutes, keeping them in the oil.  Remove the seeds from the pan and discard.  Add the onions and bell pepper.  Sauté until softened.  Add the garlic and chiles.  Cook for another minute or so.  Add the rice and Chik’Nish seasoning.  Mix well to combine.  [If your rice is leftover it may have dried out a bit in the refrigerator.  If this is the case, just add a little bit of water to moisten it back up.  I’d start with a tablespoon at a time until it’s soft again.] Squeeze the lime juice over the rice and serve hot.

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Vegan RO*TEL Dip

Ingredients:

2 cups hemp or oat milk [I prefer one of these more full-bodied milks for this recipe]

10 oz can RO*TEL

¾ cup nutritional yeast

2 T flour

2 T oil

1 T Bill’s Best Chik’Nish

1½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp chili flakes

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

Optional garnishes:

cilantro

freshly diced tomato

jalapeño

Directions:

Place the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Stir in the flour to create a light roux.  Cook for a few minutes until the color darkens a little bit and there is a nutty scent.  Stir in the seasonings and cook for another minute or so.  Slowly add in the milk while whisking to prevent clumps.  Add the nutritional yeast and RO*TEL.  Bring to a low simmer then remove from heat.  Serve warm.

 

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Coconut-Kaffir Lentil Soup

 

So…I’ve been on a lentil kick lately.  I love them and just can’t seem to get enough of these wee legumes.  Not a bad predilection to have, I suppose,  since lentils are nutritional superstars.  You’ll dig this soup.  It’s rich, thick and amazingly flavorful. 

Coconut-Kaffir Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

1-15oz can lite coconut milk

1 quart faux chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup lentils

1 medium onion, sliced

1 lime, zest reserved for garnish

4 kaffir lime leaves, plus some sliced thinly for garnish

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 T fresh ginger, finely diced

1 ½ tsp curry powder

½ tsp red pepper flakes, plus some for garnish

toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

coconut oil

Directions:

Sauté the onion and garlic in a drizzle of coconut oil until softened.  Add the curry powder, ginger, red pepper flakes and lime leaves and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the coconut milk and broth.  Bring to a low simmer and add the lentils.  Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth.  Add the juice of one lime and blend to mix thoroughly.  Return to the stove and taste for seasoning.   Adjust as necessary with salt and pepper.

Garnish with lime zest, red pepper flakes, toasted coconut and thinly-sliced kaffir lime leaves.

 

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This dish would make a beautifully elegant dinner for two served with a nice green salad and crusty bread.  There should be enough left over for a wonderfully quick and  delicious lunch the next day.

 

Roasted Tomato and Almond Pasta Sauce with Green Olives

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2lb Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters

12 cloves garlic, divided [8 roasted, 4 raw]

⅓ cup almond meal [This is simply ground raw almonds]

½ cup green olives, sliced [I used some almond and garlic stuffed green almonds, but plain would be just fine]

¼ cup chopped parsley, for garnish

¼ cup sliced almonds,  for garnish

2 tsp  No Chicken Bouillon

2 T olive oil

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

1 lb pasta [I used Rigatoni]

Directions:

Roast tomatoes, onions and 8 cloves of garlic at 425°F until the edges have browned [~30 mins].   Add the raw garlic, bouillon, olive oil and almond meal.  Liquefy in a blender.  Transfer to a pot on the stove top over medium heat and stir in the sliced olives.  Bring to a low simmer and then reduce the heat.  Let it perk away while you are cooking the pasta. 

Once the pasta is done, taste the sauce for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.  Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.   Garnish with sliced almonds, olives and parsley.

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For whatever reason, the health virtues of  rye have been popping up left and right in my reading material recently.  That prompted me to pick up some dark rye flour from Bob’s Red Mill the last time we were in Portland.  On the drive home I was contemplating how I could use the flour in a meal and I started thinking about what I used to love rye with.  The Reuben sandwich was the hands down winner.  So how could I transform this sandwich classic into an alternative meal?  With a smile on my face it occurred to me that I could make a dark rye pasta with caraway seeds…and the daydreaming just went on from there.

Russian Dressing Pasta Sauce

This is a wonderful sauce that can also be used as a salad dressing or sandwich spread when cooled.

Ingredients:

1 onion, medium dice

3 oz tomato paste

2 cups vegetable stock

1 package organic firm silken tofu

1 T vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic paste

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil for sautéing the onions

Directions:

Sauté the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the tomato paste and spread onto the bottom of the pan to caramelize.  Add the stock and whisk gently until the tomato paste is incorporated into the sauce.  Add the worcestershire sauce and chili garlic paste.  Mix well.

In a food processor, pulse the tofu until creamed.  Add a ladleful of the tomato sauce to the food processor and pulse.  Transfer the contents to the pan on the stove containing the tomato sauce and mix until fully homogenous.  Simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Dark Rye Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup dark rye flour [Organic Dark Rye Flour]

1 cup semolina flour

1 tsp caraway seeds

4 tsp olive oil

12-16 oz of water [more may be necessary depending upon the moisture level of your flours]

Directions:

Add the flours to a food processor.  Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the water and continue to do so until the dough pulls off the sides and clings to the center “S”-blade.  Remove the dough from the processor and place upon a flour coated surface.  If the dough is too tacky then incorporate in more flour until it is no longer tacky to the touch.  Knead the dough a dozen times or so and then shape into a flattened round.  Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 15-30 minutes.

Remove plastic and divide into two.  Run through the largest setting on the pasta roller twice, then repeat two settings higher.  Either cut with the fettuccine attachment or by hand into strips.

When ready to cook, gently drop into salted boiling water and cook until the pasta comes to the surface.  This should take between one and two minutes.

Pastrami-Spiced Tempeh

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 – 8 oz package tempeh, cut in 1/2-inch strips

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp smoked salt [I used an applewood-smoked salt]

1 T  sweet paprika

1 tsp corriander seeds

1 tsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1-1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp white peppercorns

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dill seed

3 allspice berries

2 juniper berries

Directions:

Grind the whole spices in a spice grinder and then add the rest of the spices and sugar to the grinder and pulse to mix well.  Transfer to a gallon-sized zip bag with 1/3 cup olive oil and mix well.

Steam the tempeh for 15 minutes to remove its bitterness.  Set aside to cool.   Once cooled, add to the spiced oil in the gallon bag and even coat each piece, gently.  If you need more volume to completely coat all the tempeh pieces, add more oil.  Refrigerate as long as possible up to a few days.  The longer the rub sits upon the tempeh, the deeper the flavors will penetrate.  Gently flip the bag every few hours or so in order to evenly marinate the tempeh.

Brush off any spice clumps that may have formed on the tempeh.  If you do not do this they shall burn in the grill pan.  Place the strips upon a heated grill pan and sear.  Crumble into bite-sized pieces.

 

To assemble the dish you shall need:

1/4 cup crisp sauerkraut per person [I used It’s Alive’s Raw Sauerkraut with Dill]

fresh dill, for garnish

caraway seeds, for garnish

2 sliced green onions, for garnish

Place the cooked pasta on a plate and top with a generous amount of Russian dressing pasta sauce.  Add a layer of tempeh pieces.  Sprinkle with some sauerkraut, caraway seeds, sliced green onion and  fresh dill.

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