Sunday, 28 September 2014

Peanut sriracha tofu




So I found this tofu recipe on pinterest this week that looked amazing. And I had about 1/3 of the ingredients necessary… so I completely winged it. And ...! Amazing meal !… (I'm fairly impressed with myself). Honestly you are going to laugh because it is the most compromised recipe, salvaging random things in my cupboard and ignoring many of the important ones the recipe instructed to use. But I thought hey, sriracha will probably mask the taste of most of these things anyways, or at least subdue them enough to make it seem as if I used the proper substances. And it worked. It's actually so damn good.

Ingredients 
**(i.e. things I used-not things the recipe instructed me to use-- feel free to substitute my somewhat questionable items with fresher or more appropriate ones)

For the TOFU:
+ oil for frying the tofu (I used grapeseed)
+ extra firm tofu
+ 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
+ IF you have fresh ginger- use some of that. I did not, and substituted a sprinkling of ginger powder…
+ lime juice from that random wedge in the fridge you've been meaning to use in something for a week

For the SAUCE:
+ 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter- the recipe called for plain all natural… All I had was honey flavoured peanut butter, so yes, I used that-- it still tasted A-OK.
+ 2-3 tbsp of sriracha
+ 2-3 tbsp of water

Optional additions:
+ More lime
+ Chopped green onion

Things I did not use that the recipe called for:
- soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, agave nectar, vegetable stock

Directions
+ PRESS the tofu! This is an important step! One of the most important steps! If you do not press your tofu, it will taste like bean mush. I just wrap it in paper towel, set it on a plate and pile cookbooks on top. Leave it for about 10 minutes. Then cut it into thick strips.

+ Heat the oil, garlic, ginger and lime juice over medium heat and add the tofu. Fry the tofu until it is well browned on all sides and slightly crispy.

+ While the tofu is cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

+ When the tofu has browned and is a good, appetizing texture-- add the sauce. Mix it around and let it cook for a minute or two more, before removing from heat.

+ Serve with lime and green onions. Cilantro would probably be good too.

Holy easy dinner.







Saturday, 27 September 2014

Plum poppyseed muffins



Happy warm September Saturday. Today is a chill day dedicated to baking things to store in my freezer for on-the-go breakfasts for the next couple weeks. I started with these plum poppyseed muffins.

To be honest, plum & poppyseed wasn't the most enticing of choices to begin with, but it's by smitten kitchen, and I trust her more than you know. She has my food heart. Plus, they're more complex than just muffins filled with plums and poppy seeds; they also contain nutty browned butter, sour cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. These flavours unite to form something pretty spectacular. I'm impressed, as always.

Swoon over more of smitten kitchen at her blog.

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, browned & cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream OR greek yogurt (preferably full fat)
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp poppyseeds
2 cups of pitted & diced plums - any variety, but I used 'italian prune plums'

Browned Butter- Directions
+ Add butter to a saucepan on low-medium heat and stir to melt
+ Butter will melt, then foam, then turn a brown colour- this may take a bit, be patient
+ Be careful to continue to stir and do not walk away from it- it can burn fast
+ Take off the heat and allow to cool

Directions
+ Preheat oven to 375*F and either line muffin tins with papers or butter them
+ Whisk together eggs and both sugars
+ Add in the browned butter and sour cream and mix well
+ In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & poppyseeds
+ Stir mixture well and stir it into the wet mixture
+ Fold in the diced plums
+ Bake for 15-18 min, or until slightly browned on top



Sunday, 21 September 2014

Quinoa "Meat" Balls


Six months and no post. It's a record, but now that I am finally settled in my new apartment in Toronto, I thought I might utilize some of the natural light here and begin posting again! Here's to not living in a basement anymore!

This Spring/Summer have been packed with studying, travelling, packing, moving and lots of good-bye's. I'm settling into my new home, program, and campus quite well… and eating and drinking almost everything new and exciting within my reach. Slowly but surely I will discover the countless neighbourhoods Toronto offers, and every foodie-spot within (unlikely actually but I'm going to try).

This recipe is awesome and completely adaptable to exactly what you need. Here, it's paired with pasta and tomato sauce, but I've also eaten them on their own, or as a meatless meatball sandwich. You could easily alter the veggies and herbs to suit another dish as well (apple sage?… jalapeño cilantro?)

To be honest, I don't measure anything in this recipe. I eyeball everything and it always works out. If it's too wet, add breadcrumbs, if it's too dry, add more egg/some oil. The quantities below are approximate.

Ingredients
~2 cups cooked quinoa
~1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (any kind works)
1/2 cup diced onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste/marinara sauce (whatever is on hand)
A sprinkling of basil and/or thyme and/or chill flakes
1 egg
~3/4 cup breadcrumbs

+ more tomato/marinara sauce to coat them in after
Optional: parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.


Preheat oven to 350*F

First, sauté the garlic and onions and mushrooms in a frying pan with the olive oil. Add in the tomato paste/marinara sauce. Add the herbs.

When the onions and mushrooms have softened considerably, take it off the heat and scrape the contents into your bowl of prepared quinoa. Mix well.

Add in the egg and breadcrumbs and mix-- adjust quantities so that you have a texture that is easy to work with-- you need to be able to roll them into balls and have them stick together.

Using your hands, roll mixture into balls (about 1-2 inches across) and place them into a muffin tin-- this keeps them from rolling around in the oven. Once the muffin-tin is full, bake them for about 15-20 minutes. They should be a bit browned when you remove them.

Proceed to put them back in your frying pan, add the tomato or marinara sauce and cook on medium heat until the "meat" balls are well coated and the sauce has had a chance to heat up and soak in a bit (about 5-10 min).

Serve over pasta! Or in a sub! Or by themselves!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Grapefruit Curd & Blackberry Filled Eclairs


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Good morning, Saturday!

In my recent days (read: weeks) procrastinating, I have been doing so by baking more. I fell off the horse for a while but I've managed to pull myself back on, if only temporarily. The stress that comes with having two online courses you're falling behind in + waiting for responses from five grad schools would drive any normal, functioning person to some sort of madness. For Emily, that's usually baking madness.

I've had a recent fixation with pink grapefruits. They've become one of my favourite things these past couple months as I wait out this long, long winter of ours. They're perfect, because although they're a winter fruit, they're bright, and vibrant and sassy and PINK. You just can't beat that when everything else is so grey.

So I got to thinking. I've seen lemon curd; that's a classic. And I've seen lime curd. and cranberry curd. Why not grapefruit curd? ... So I made some. I have to say, the sugar to juice ratio might be a bit off, considering the sweetness is almost overpowering of any grapefruit. But, it's still there. Next time, I'd just take the sugar down a notch or two.

What better way to use grapefruit curd than to stuff some eclairs and lighten them up a bit from the traditional heavy cream and chocolate. This is my first attempt at eclairs and they turned out lovely. It's really much easier than it looks, and doesn't take very long. I suggest giving it a shot.

The recipes I used were both from SprinkleBakes (I have her book- you should too.)


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Strawberry Vanilla Coffee Cake


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I know I always mention how it's been so so long since my last blog post but this time really takes the cake (heh). It's been two months! I have my reasons. While I have been cooking and baking just as often as usual, I am rarely documenting it, because of how busy my life has become. Let me explain:

I am currently working full time, dog-sitting, taking two university courses online, just finished applying to five grad schools, have taken up hot yoga twice a week, and am also trying to maintain some resemblance of a social life. I think so far I am succeeding admirably, and to be honest- I do enjoy my life this way. I like filling every minute with being productive, whether that means memorizing all the bones of the human body for a test or baking a cake. I strive to be productive every day, and I feel like I need to be to feel accomplished after a day, or a week. So cheers to a busy schedule.

Today, however productive, has not been filled with the usual school work. In fact, my coffee shop friends are probably confused as to why they don't see me hunkered over my laptop for eight hours today. But sometimes your brain just needs these breaks. So cheers to breaks as well, and cheers to cake breaks specifically.


I took this recipe from Averie Cooks, and made a couple slight adaptations. Overall, it is very simple and very adaptable to suit your needs & cravings. I used strawberries, as did the original recipe, but I suggest (and so does she) that you could also use any other type of fruit you'd like, or a mixture. Blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. would taste great in this. I also recommend sprucing it up a bit with some vanilla bean if you have any kicking around. I'm all out, but otherwise I would have.

Ingredients
For the Cake
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour*
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream** 
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh strawberries, halved and loosely packed
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling

*Modification: The original recipe only called for one cup of flour, but the batter seemed too soupy to me, so I added 1/3 cup more.
**Modification: I used full-fat vanilla greek yogurt.

For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze
about 3 ounces (about 1/3 cup) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar OR about 1 cup confectioners' sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and hand mixer), combine dry ingredients until well mixed, add all wet ingredients except fruit. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 min. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue to mix until well incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  3. Arrange strawberry slices uniformly over the top of batter (looks like a lot but they sink down and shrivel while baking).
  4. Evenly sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar.
  5. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
  6. Lower the temp to 375F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden and is set in the centre (use a toothpick or knife to ensure the batter is not wet still)
  7. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and turning out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, make the glaze.
  8. For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze - Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth, either with a whisk or a mixer. 
  9. Drizzle glaze over cake in big ribbons, going up and back, over the surface. I did this, and then ate what remained with a spoon- trust me, you will too.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Modern Potato Salad


Is that not the most beautiful potato salad you've ever seen? "Plate-able and not scoop-able" as the Smitten Kitchen cookbook puts it, which is where I found this gem of a recipe. If you don't know Smitten Kitchen, you should. Every recipe I've tried is a winner. Last weekend, I made her "yogurt lime cake with blackberry sauce" that was perfect. Tart, sweet, moist. I will definitely be making that cake, and this salad again.

Here's her recipe:

Pickled Celery
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced

- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, boiled until fork-tender & cooled
- 2 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and cut into quarters

+ any additional other toppings (I used arugula and parsley)

FIRST,
Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together and add the celery, let it soak for an hour in the fridge (the longer, the better)

SECOND,
Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. You can add in any additional spices or herbs you would like.

THIRD,
Assemble. Cut the potatoes in half, lay the potatoes down cut-side-up on a plate and drizzle the vinaigrette overtop. Top with pickled celery. Push the egg quarters through a fine mesh sieve yolk-first, to top the salad with egg-fluff :) ... Add any other additional toppings you'd like.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

London Fog Donuts




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Sunday just seems like the right day to be in the mood for a London Fog. Which is why, right after yoga this morning, I headed straight to the nearest coffee shop to pick one up. It's perfect for when you're not in a coffee mood but would still like something [caffeinated] to sip on.

If you don't know what a London Fog consists of, let me break it down for you:
                          - Strongly steeped earl grey tea
                          - Vanilla syrup/flavouring of some sort
                          - Steamed milk
            All conveniently stirred into one delicious cup. 

And as it so happens, I was near a David's Tea today, and picked up some "cream of earl grey"- essentially earl grey tea with vanilla. 

And behold, I've taken my recipe for cinnamon sugar donuts, and transformed it (by merely omitting the cinnamon, steeping the milk in earl grey on the stove first, and drizzling a lemon & vanilla bean glaze over top).

**You do need a donut pan if you'd like actual donuts, but I wouldn't doubt that making these in a muffin pan would have a similar effect.

If you'd like some earl grey in your life, here's the recipe:

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk (I used almond milk)- steeped in about 2 tbsp earl grey tea (or about two teabags)
  • I steeped mine for about 10 minutes in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, with a metal strainer of the loose tea leaves just resting in the saucepan. Try to make it as strong as possible.
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

Glaze (Optional)
~1/2 cup powdered sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1 tsp milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350*F

2. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

3. Pour mix into greased donut pan about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes; remove from oven when toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

5. To make the glaze, simply combine all ingredients and drizzle over cooled donuts