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.

**(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

+ 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.

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

+ 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.

~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!