October 10, 2011
Main-course salad with plenty of flavor and fiber. Make sure to let it sit for at least an hour before serving; also excellent the day after. Recipe adapted from the one in Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin (LOVE this book!) — starred items are my additions. Make the rice a day ahead and undercook slightly.
Curried Rice Salad with Apples and “Smoky” Tofu
For the Tofu (optional)*:
- 1/2 package tofu, squeezed, drained, and cubed evenly into cubes 1/2″ to 1″
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 1 Tsbp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke / hickory smoke flavor
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
For the Salad:
- 2 1/2 – 3c cold cooked long-grain brown rice (made from 1 cup rice boiled in 2 cups water; OR use 1 2-cup package pre-cooked microwave-pouch brown rice
- 1 red-skinned apple (fuji, pink lady, jazz; or gala, red delicious), cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1/3 c chopped dry roasted peanuts
- 1 c thawed frozen peas
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced (or 1 shallot or 1/4 small yellow onion), minced superfine
- 1/2 jar (about 3 oz) roasted red peppers, chopped finely*
- 1 sm. or med. Roma tomato, chopped small*
- 10 snow peas cut into thin strips the short way using kitchen scissors
- 1/2 to 1 full cup crumbled feta cheese*
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root (peeled & minced)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Generous season freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
(For stronger dressing, use instead: 4 Tbsp lemon, 2 1/2 – 3 tsp ginger root, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/3c olive oil.
1. For tofu, if using: combine liquid ingredients for tofu in a small bowl and whisk vigorously. Add in tofu cubes, swish around, and let sit 5-30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop other ingredients and heat very-nonstick skillet over medium. Add tofu and remaining liquid ingredients for tofu and brown on each side (turn every few minutes). Set aside.
2. Combine the rice, raisins, apple, peanuts, peas, scallions and snow peas in a large bowl and toss well.
3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss to coat well. Add tofu.
4. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.
March 14, 2011
I made the 3rd version over the weekend for my lunch today. On top of wilted spinach with sauteed onions and toasted walnuts, it was pretty great but a little over-sweet, so I’ve adapted it below (original recipe, Option A, was from: Modern Spice by Monica Bhide). The 3rd option came out to a nice, juicy softness with a bit of firmness and just a hint of crispiness on the outside.
Mix the following ingredients in a small jar and keep stored in the fridge until you need it:
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled and grated to a pulp (on the small grater that looks like someone tried to punch their way out of it using a ballpoint pen)
- 1/4 cup warmed liquid honey (microwave on 1/2 power for 15 seconds, no cap!)
- 3 tsp red chili flakes, or 1 1/2 tsp good cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (find at Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern stores / cafes)
- 1 Tbsp olive or peanut oil
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon/lime zest
- juice of 1/2 lemon (2 or 3 tsp)
The Other Ingredients:
- 1 medium size eggplant* sliced in 3/4″ to 1″ discs
- 1 package fresh spinach (normal salad-bag size)
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped to 1/2″ size bits
- 2 smaller cloves garlic, or 1 big one, smashed & minced
- 2 Tbsp small-chopped walnuts
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Warmed Jalapeno bread or spicy-garlic naan (or just 2 c cooked plain rice)
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February 9, 2011
I (a) like curry, and (b) feel a little under the weather, and this turned out to be a pretty excellent feel-better soup. Basically, it’s chicken noodle soup for the vegetarian.
The heat and spice help you cough more and clean things out, and it feels good in your tummy, but the cayenne pepper & garlic here also have some mild benefits in terms of improving bloodflow, assisting digestion, minimizing inflammation, and heling to boost the immune system. Hey, every little bit helps.
The quinoa is optional; a good source of protein, it’s also the noodle equivalent in this recipe.
Curried Carrot & Quinoa Soup
- 1-2 cups dry quinoa (half normal, half red quinoa is ideal) – optional
- 3 Tbsp peanut (or other vegetable) oil
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds (I used yellow mustard)
- 1/2-1 tsp curry powder (I used the Spice Hunter “hot curry blend;” Madras works as well, but if you use that or “whatever” curry powder, cut back a bit on the honey or increase the cayenne, as you like)
- 1 1/2 inch cube (about 1 Tbsp) fresh ginger root, peeled and grated (or you can get 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the non-sugar-coated candied stuff and mince it fine)
- 1 clove garlic (more if you’re really sick and/or like garlic), minced finely
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December 2, 2010
Marinades easily, simply, & brilliantly get tofu to “pop” with flavor. If you get the marinade going ahead of time, they’re also fast.
Squeeze or drain the tofu very well beforehand, slice it (see below), put in a watertight lunch container with the marinade ingredients, and refrigerate for 1/2 hour or more (1 hour is better), shaking or turning upside-down every 15-30 min (you can even open the container up and rearrange things to help ensure maximum absorption).
To pan-sear: Cut tofu into 3/4-inch cubes and marinade. Once marinaded, arrange, sans oil, in your favorite super-nonstick, tofu-friendly pan and sear each side until firm and crunchy (should be the color of medium to well-done toast, but not burnt).
To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut tofu into 1/2 slices, then slice crosswise into strips 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long. Prick on both sides with a fork, marinade, then place in a nonstick or lightly-oiled baking sheet, reserving any unabsorbed marinade if serving tofu on its own. Cover sheet with parchment paper or foil and bake 30-45+ minutes (depending on how dry you want it), turning ever 15 min or so. If serving tofu on its own, after baking, add back the reserved liquid and test seasoning to add more sauce or herbs as necessary.
- Timing: I like to put together the marinade before going out on a run or hike; after I’ve cleaned up, the tofu is ready to cook for an easy dinner, along with rice (or pasta) and a salad.
- Tofu: I like Trader Joe’s firm tofu because it’s in 2 containers for easy halving and is more amicable to getting the juice REALLY pressed out of it. For Azumaya tofu I cut out the top label along the inner edge of the tofu container, then use the plastic to press the tofu down while I squeeze from the sides. Instead of squeezing, the tofu-wary &/or faint of heart can just slice the tofu and put it between two plates, bottom plate tilted to drain, with some books on top (takes longer, though).
- Meat Eaters: Most of these are equally superb with tofu or chicken, but if you’re going with real meat, cut the soy sauce down by half, add another tablespoon of oil, and marinade overnight or up to 3 days, depending on how juicy and tender you want the results to be. For longer-marinaded items slated for the barbecue, be careful not to cook at too high a heat, or the juicy middles will stay undercooked while the outsides burn. Easy solution: halve breasts lengthwise-flatwise before marinading. Obviously, always discard marinade used for meat; never use it for anything afterward. If you need additional marinade, make a separate batch that won’t touch the raw stuff.
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