meatless monday — spicy tofu lettuce wraps with garlic peanut sauce

feel that heat

feel that heat

lately i’ve been trying to clean the freezer out, eat up what i have so i can make room to cook more and store away the leftovers. looking at the random ingredients i had, i suddenly saw a fantastic menu forming. tofu lettuce wraps with a peanut sauce and homemade ginger basil noodles. the noodles came from one of my many days of being snowed in this winter. what to do but make homemade pasta flavored with lots of ginger. this night turned also into an impromptu dinner party with a few ladies showing up to partake in the feast and a bottle of wine on the balcony to aid our digestion.

 

RECIPE: SPICY TOFU LETTUCE WRAPS

serves 4

1 packaged tofu — pressed and crumbled

1/2 yellow onion — minced

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1 red pepper — chopped

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 TSP red curry paste

6 leaves of iceberg lettuce

* in a skillet saute the onion, carrots, and pepper in the olive oil. once the onions become transparent, add in tofu

*cook tofu for about 10 minutes, add in garlic and curry paste, saute for 10 more minutes

* prepare lettuce leaves, you will want a medium size leaf, about the size of a soft taco shell so feel free to tear the lettuce down to size

*place a 1/2 cup of tofu mix in each wrap

*eat with pure joy

 

 

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easter…..a lunch of salads

tossed lettuce salad

tossed lettuce salad

 

watergate salad

watergate salad

 

deviled eggs and pickles

deviled eggs and pickles

 

dill chicken pasta salad

dill chicken pasta salad

strawberry pie

strawberry pie

 

meatless monday — potato soup

it just warms you as you eat it

it just warms you as you eat it

why won’t winter just go away?! i’m ready to eat spring salads and drink mojitos on my balcony but when it’s sleeting, snowing and the wind is blowing at 40 mph spring salads and ice-cold drinks just won’t do. so out comes my big stock pot and in it goes vegetables a plenty to make a hearty soup. the latest and greatest was a potato soup. personally i like my potato soup extra creamy with loads of garlic and a good hearty helping of green onions. now to just take that big bowl of soup and cuddle up by the fireplace makes for a pretty good meatless monday…..oh yes spring i know is just around the corner!

meatless monday — sweet & sour tofu with ginger noodles

hand me a pair of chopsticks so i can dig in

hand me a pair of chopsticks so i can dig in

on one of my many “work is canceled because of snow” days this winter, the activity i picked to do was to make homemade pasta. but why just make normal homemade noodles, let’s get creative folks. my decision to spice it up a bit was to add lots of ginger to my dough. the plan…..to create noodles that would go well with stir fry or any other asian dish i create. noodles were made, bagged and frozen. now it was time to use them. sweet and sour crispy tofu i thought would be a good dish to try with the noodles. i wanted to actually taste that ginger. i also made up a batch of steph’s cashew rangoon, although i substituted cashews for sun-dried tomatoes, and meatless monday was served. it was yum, no doubt, but next time more ginger is going into that dough.

Peep that cupcake…



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I saw this in a magazine last year and decided to make it — needless to say it was a little past Easter when I finally got around to Peeping up some cupcakes (but you know Peeps, they keep for, oh, eternity). I’m not a huge Peep fan, in fact, I’d say I am a mild Peep fan. However, the second it’s added to a cupcake, I’m all in. The cute factor just gets me…

 

 

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These were Lemon cupcakes with homemade chocolate frosting. I loved the idea of the citrus and chocolate and the lemon with the yellow Peep. All you do is make any cupcake you are craving, ice it like normal and then, drumroll please….you stick the Peep on top. It totally stays! I call that Peep-tastic! I did add little chocolate chips around the Peep to make a subtle nest, but you could go all out and add coconut shavings or other nest like edibles.

 

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Have a Sweet Spring!

 

The Official Hearty Eaters Food Club! Food that warms our bellies….

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Several months ago I decided that I missed talking about food. I know that seems impossible, all I do is post about food, write food novels, and go to cooking school- but the truth is I rarely spend entire meal mostly talking about loving food. I remembered in the sixth grade, spending the night with my best friend and talking for hours about all the different kinds of candy we couldn’t wait to eat again (Hot Tamales, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Snickers, Butterfingers...) My 11-year-old foodie was looking to relive that yummy feeling– so voila! The Official Hearty Eaters Food Club was born.

Our first feast was in February and the theme was “food that warms your belly.” It was a long lunch filled with restaurant recommendations, recipe ideas, mouth-watering food suggestions, and amazing potluck dishes. Below are pictures of the spread and recipes from the hearty eaters! Our spring feast will be coming up soon.I can’t wait talk about sugar snap peas….MAN, I just love those nasty, sweet, green little guys….

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Orange Wheels/Santre de Chakle

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus chilling

6 oranges
1/4 cup honey
Handful of Craisins
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons rose water
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

Peel oranges. Slice each one into 4 or 5 rounds. Sprinkle with Craisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon or go crazy and use cloves. Mix honey, orange juice and Grand Marnier. Pour over oranges and chill for at least two hours. Serve chilled with juice.

 

 

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Baked Brie in Pastry

One package of Brie- any size or shape. Wheel or slice.

One package pepperidge farm puff pastry sheets.(in freezer dept)

Choose the amount of puff pastry sheet you will need from package. I soften in microwave in 15 sec increments so I can tear away the pieces I need. One reg wheel can take two pieces. Take pieces and wrap Brie up with them.

Preheat oven to 400. Cook on baking sheet (can lightly grease area where you place Brie to avoid sticking to sheet) for approximately 20 min. Watch for pastry to turn crispy golden brown.

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Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

From The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

Serves 6

¼ extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 medium onion, chopped medium

3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 1 tablespoon)

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

1 bay leaf

2 (28oz) cans whole tomatoes

3 slices high quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1 inch pieces

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice. Using a potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in the bread and sugar and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Transfer half of the soup to a blender. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and process until the soup is smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining soup and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Rinse and dry the Dutch oven and return the soup to the pot. Stir in the chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return the soup to a boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the chopped chives, drizzle with olive oil and serve. (The soup, minus the garnish, can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot, do not boil)

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COOKIE DOUGH DIP (from chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
Healthy Cookie Dough Dip
1 1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans (1 can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup nut butter of choice (You can get away with using only 3 tbsp. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a slight “pb cookie dough” taste, so if you don’t want this, use a different nut butter –(Evie’s note: I whoosh up some walnuts in my food processor before I blend the dip and make walnut butter)
up to 1/4 cup milk of choice, only if needed
Sweetener of choice (see note below, for amount)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 to 3 tbsp oats (Evie’s note: I use ground flax)
Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor (not blender), and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.
If made correctly and blended long enough, this should have the exact texture of real cookie dough!

Sweetener Notes: I used 2/3 cup brown sugar when I first made this for the party. Liquid sweeteners (agave, maple, etc.) are fine as well, as is evaporated cane juice. You can easily get away with less sugar– some people will be perfectly fine with just 3 tbsp for the whole recipe! And if you don’t want any sugar, you can also use stevia, if you like the taste of stevia-sweetened desserts. Try 2-3 packets of NuNaturals stevia, and add more sweetener if needed. I wouldn’t recommend serving an all-stevia version to party guests, though.

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Tomatoey Butter Beans

4 servings

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Large onion, sliced

2 Garlic cloves, diced

1 TBSP tomato paste

2 Cups of chopped tomatoes (sometimes I use three…just sayin)

1LB Large Butter Beans/lima beans (dried or canned– if dried, soak overnight before cooking)

Heat the oil in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 10 mins until very soft and turning golden. Add the tomatoes, beans and paste. Sinner for 20 mins, adding a little more water (or red wine, or more tomatoes) if it gets too dry. Serve with crusty toast!

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Black Eyed Pea Curry with Collards and Potatoes

(from: http://www.theppk.com/2014/01/black-eyed-pea-curry-with-collards-potatoes/)

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon agave
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, in 3/4 inch pieces

1 lb collards, rough stems removed, leaves chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cooked black eyed peas (from a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)

To serve: Basmati rice
Optional garnish: Fresh chopped cilantro

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and jalapeno in the coconut oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is lightly browned.

Add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder, garam masala, salt, vegetable broth, agave, and tomato paste, and stir. The tomato paste may not dissolve just yet but that’s ok, it will when it heats through.

Add the potatoes, cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately lower heat to a simmer, and leave the lid ajar so that steam can escape. Let potatoes cook just until tender, about 5 more minutes.

Once potatoes are fork tender, add the collards, black-eyed peas and coconut milk. Stir gently to incorporate. Leave lid ajar again, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer just until collards are tender, it should only take a few minutes.

Turn off heat and taste for salt and spices. Add remaining curry powder if needed. It tastes best if you let it sit for 10 minutes or so, but if you can’t wait then just dig in!

Serve over basmati rice.

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Nothing beats homemade mac and cheese!

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Can’t wait to nibble again soon!