Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Spicy Coconut Peanut Stuff

I recently discovered Budget Bytes - she's been around for awhile, but I started looking through more of her recipes and thought "hmm, this lady cooks a lot like me!" Lots of room for improv, largely vegetarian and an eye on budget. Going to look at her site more when I need inspiration.

This recipe caught my eye, and I already had most of the ingredients around. It's a Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry, and she encourages you to use whatever vegetables you want and add protein if you want. The sauce is delicious! I've been upping my stir fry game recently, but I often wish there was more sauce. That's solved with a can of coconut milk! 

For veggies I used broccoli, tri-colored bell peppers and onion, and I added [of course] tofu. Use whatever you want! This would also be good with a can of chickpeas - though you can nix the protein if you have a good assortment of vegetables.

Her recipe has fresh garlic and ginger added to the sauce, but I stir-fried mine in to the vegetables at the end of cooking. 

For the sauce:

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine:
- 1 can coconut milk (I always use full fat)
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 Tbl sriracha, or to taste
- 1-2 Tbl soy sauce
- 2 Tbl lime juice (1 lime)
- 1/2 Tbl brown sugar

I also added a little fish sauce, and some Penzey's Bangkok Blend.

Microwave for 1 minute, and then it should be easy to whisk everything together. Taste and add more of whatever to suit your taste.

Stir fry your protein and vegetables however you like, then add the sauce and heat through for a couple minutes.

If you like, garnish with cilantro and/or chopped peanuts, and serve over rice.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Tofu Bánh mì

Oh NO it's ANOTHER tofu recipe! I'm on a roll (as is this sandwich, snert!).

I made these for band practice and they were a big hit. This made 6 sandwiches, but you can halve the recipe. I'll probably also try this over rice as a bowl, instead of as a sandwich. Baguette is traditional - the store was out of it so I used "bollito" sandwich rolls - not bad. Apologies for lack of quantities, but I don't measure stuff like this - and it's very forgiving/easy to adjust. You can marinate the tofu/pickle the veggies for as little as 30 minutes, but longer is good, even overnight. If you can find daikon radish, that's traditional to add to the pickled veggies. I think most banh mi places use fresh/raw jalapenos; I pickled them as well to soften the bite (but kept them separate in case anyone wanted to opt out). Everything can be at room temp, which is nice for a summer meal. Also - super cheap! 

- 2 boxes firm or extra firm tofu, drained
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- couple tablespoons fish sauce (omit for vegan)
- some lime juice (probably 1 fresh lime; I used bottled)
- glug of maple syrup or honey
- squirt of sriracha
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
- small piece of fresh ginger, sliced or minced

Pickled vegetables:
- a couple carrots, julienned (I used most of a bag of pre-shredded carrots)
- 1/2 large cucumber, halved, seeded & sliced thin, or julienned
- 1 large jalapeno, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or white/cider vinegar)
- 1 Tbl sugar
- 1 Tbl salt

To assemble:
- Baguette or sandwich rolls
- fresh cilantro
- Mayo (use vegan if you wanna) & sriracha mixed to taste

Slice the tofu 1/2-inch thick and lay the slices on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Put more paper towels on top, and press with something heavy for a little while. Meanwhile, mix up the marinade ingredients. I added water to make about 1 cup marinade for 2 blocks of tofu. Marinate in a container for at least 30 min; longer/overnight is good.

Microwave ~1/2 cup water until warm enough to dissolve salt & sugar, then do that! Add vinegar and then pour over vegetables (I kept jalapenos separate). Refrigerate at least 30 mins, longer is better. The veggies will shed some water; stir a couple of times.

Take the tofu out of the marinade (try to brush off garlic/ginger bits). Cook in a very hot skillet (cast iron is great) in a little oil until browned & crispy, about 3 minutes per side. You'll need to do this in batches if doing 2 blocks of tofu. Or you can bake or broil the tofu.

Very lightly toast your bread, and spread with sriracha mayo. Build sandwiches with tofu, pickled veggies (let liquid drain a bit as you scoop out), jalapeno, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Best to eat soon as these can get a little soggy from the pickled veggies.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Tofu Noodle Soup

An improvised soup for a sick husband that turned out well, despite Asian dishes not being my forte. You can use any vegetables you have on hand, just cut them small and cook them quickly in the broth. The noodles I used were just labeled "Chinese Noodles" (wheat noodles that look like ramen)... you can use any type of noodle you want, but cook the amount you want to eat immediately separately from the soup so leftovers don't get mushy. All quantities are flexible, as with any good soup! 

- 1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- soy sauce
- 1-inch piece ginger, grated or chopped finely
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced thinly
- sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- assorted vegetables, chopped/sliced small (I used red pepper & broccoli)
- splash of fish sauce
- lime juice & sriracha to taste
- couple handfuls baby spinach or other greens
- 3 green onions, sliced
- noodles of choice, cooked separately

Toss tofu with a couple tablespoons of soy sauce (I also added a shake of Penzey's Bangkok Blend) and let sit while you prepare everything else. Get all your veggies cut and ready to go.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, saute ginger & garlic in a bit of sesame oil just until they start to smell fragrant.

Add broth & turmeric, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in tofu and veggies and cook just a few minutes, until veggies are tender.

Add a splash of fish sauce (optional), lime juice & sriracha or other hot sauce to taste. I added a little sugar to cut some of the spiciness (but spicy is good)

Toss in greens & green onions.

To serve, mound cooked noodles in a bowl and ladle soup over them. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

Why did I wait so long to try this recipe? Apparently I have denied myself years of delicious and easy homemade bread. If you look through this blog, you'll notice that there are very few baking recipes - I'm just not that into the whole measuring thing, and my tiny kitchen doesn't accommodate much room for kneading, mixing, shaping and what-have-you. Well, none of that is needed (kneaded?) with this bread. The active prep time is like...less than 10 minutes? The Dutch oven helps create a nice crust on all sides, and the crumb is tender and airy. This is the perfect bread for serving with soups, stews, or just slathered with butter, toasted or not.

Besides your flour, yeast, water and salt, you need two things: 1) a Dutch oven, aka large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid, and 2) to remember to start the dough the day before you want to eat your bread. You do have to let the dough sit for 12-18 hours, but that eliminates the kneading and punching down/multiple rises many other breads require. I've been mixing the dough at like 11pm and then I'll bake it the next afternoon.

I've now made this 3 times in the last couple weeks, and have tweaked the recipe slightly to work for me. This seems to be very forgiving, if you fudge quantities & times a bit. Everyone's ovens, flours and yeasts are different, so feel free to experiment and adjust. As long as you don't majorly burn the bread, I think you'll be happy with whatever comes out! My latest loaf came out with a weird lizard ridgey - thing on it...just an extra piece for the baker!

A note on quantities: most recipes call for 3 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups water. I've always had to add a bit more water (usually another 1/4 cup or so) to get a moist enough dough, but start with 1 1/2 cups and add more if needed. You can also use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast if that's what you have. The first two loaves I made with 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, and the third loaf I added a bit more (actually just to finish out the packet). I've seen recipes with instant yeast calling for as little as 1/4 tsp, but it varies.

Parchment paper is optional, but makes it easy to transfer the dough in and out of the hot pot - and you don't have to clean the pot! 

OK, so here's how you make it:

- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups lukewarm water

Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir with a wooden spoon. Add more water if needed to make a wet, shaggy dough. It should definitely be wetter than your typical kneaded bread dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it on your counter (or in the oven) for 12-18 hours. After this time, the dough should look something like this:

When you're ready to bake:

Put your Dutch oven with its lid into the oven and preheat to 450. I leave it in a few minutes after the oven says it's preheated.

Meanwhile, get a large piece of parchment paper and sprinkle some flour on it. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour over the dough, and flour your hands.

Use your hands to scrape the dough out of the bowl, and form into a loose ball. Plop it on the parchment paper and form into a rough round or oval, depending on the shape of your pot. Cover with a tea towel or paper towel until the oven & pot are preheated.

Carefully take the hot pot out of the oven. Take the corners of the parchment paper and drop the dough (still on the paper) into the hot pot. Cut away excess paper if needed and cover the pot.

Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Most recipes say to bake 45 minutes covered and 15 uncovered, but I found that was too long for me...

Lift the parchment paper out and let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before tearing into it.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tofu Bowls with Curry Mango Dressing apparently I'm only posting tofu recipes now.

Well. I guess this is what the food blogosphere calls a "Buddha Bowl." But I refuse to call it that, because -

1) I'm not one of THOSE trendy food bloggers. I just make real food occasionally, in between eating gig leftovers, takeout & other non-exciting stuff, and I sometimes I post it on the internets for the 3 people who read this (hi, Susan!), plus sometimes I look back on this when I can't think of something to make.

2) I'm really not on board with the whole co-opting of religious figures to name trendy food items. Would you put a "Muhammad Medley" on a menu? A "Shiva Snack?"

[ looks at six-pack of Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter porter in the fridge... ehhh, screw it then. ]


So, this is a base of quinoa with roasted vegetables & tofu. I wanted to make some kind of sauce or dressing for it, and noticed I had a mango on the edge of being tossed, so...idea. Thanksgiving is this week, and I'm going to pretend that eating this cancels out the gluttony to come!

I really did not measure anything for any of this, so here's how it goes:

In a blender, whizz up some mango, lime juice, fresh garlic, a dab of dijon mustard, salt, pepper and some curry powder (I used a hot curry). Drizzle in some olive oil & blend some more.

I cook mine in broth, with some Penzey's air-dried shallots.

Roasted Veggies:
I did cubed sweet potato (olive oil, chili powder, salt & pepper) & broccoli (olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Roast in 450 degree oven.

Press & cube tofu (more instructions in previous recipes). Marinate for a few minutes in a little soy sauce. Fry/saute in oil until golden brown. Season with curry powder & cumin.

Build your bowl and drizzle with sauce! I garnished with black sesame seeds.

And yeah, I totally drank a Sweet Baby Jesus with this meal.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Tofu & Veggie Stir-Fry

I'm generally not that enamored with the stir-fry / Asian dishes that I make. They're edible, but not memorable. So I didn't even take a photograph of this one I made tonight, figuring it wouldn't be blog-worthy...but it was really good! I need to remember this one.

Yes, I'm on a tofu kick. This marinade/sauce has similar ingredients to the peanut noodle sauce, but is thinner and just uses a bit of peanut butter as a binder. I was also trying to use up a bag of broccoli slaw that was on its way out, and that worked well here. Though I would have liked a bit more sauce, it was still pretty flavorful. Increase the sauce ingredients if you want more.

- ~1-inch knob of ginger, minced (save half for stir fry)
- 1 Tbl peanut butter
- 3 Tbl soy sauce
- 1 Tbl rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbl maple syrup or honey
- a few shakes sesame oil
- a few shakes garlic powder
 - sriracha, to taste

Stir Fry:
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
- vegetables: 1 zucchini, 1/2 a red pepper, 1 onion, all cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 bag broccoli slaw

Cut the tofu block in half lengthwise and press between paper towels/plates for at least 15 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients, saving half the ginger for the stir fry. Add maybe 1/4 cup water, to thin it out.

Cut the tofu into cubes, toss with half the sauce, and let marinate while you chop the vegetables.

Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium-high. Saute the tofu cubes in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil until nicely browned on all sides. This takes a little while - about 15 minutes...but you want to get good color.

Remove the tofu from the pan, and add the zucchini, red pepper & onion. Stir fry until just starting to soften. Season with a bit of salt. Add the garlic & ginger, stir, and then add the broccoli slaw. Cook just a couple minutes more, add the tofu back in, then add the rest of the sauce and turn off the heat. I added a bit more soy sauce.

Serve over rice. I forgot to sprinkle black sesame seeds over it, but I'll remember next time!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Tofu

Last week I was suddenly looking at an usual spate of several days at home alone, with a needed grocery trip on the horizon. And was feeling particularly I DON'T WANNA about meal planning, and tired of my ususals. Somehow I remembered peanut noodles, which I've maybe made...once? Years ago? This was a good choice. Very easy, tasty, and good hot/cold/room temp. Also, I need to buy tofu more often. It's $1.50/pack! I always forget about it, hidden away in a corner of the produce section. If tofu ain't yo thing, use chicken breast...or no protein! This is pretty filling anyway and you'll get some protein from the PB.

The peanut sauce is totally adaptable quantity-wise; I did not measure anything. Add however much looks/tastes good to you. There was more sauce than I needed for my noodles; I've been eating the rest as a dip for carrot sticks and it's amazing! Oh, and if you like cilantro, that might be a worthy addition at the end. Raw, thinly sliced purple cabbage could be good too. Crushed peanuts...etc etc.

Spicy Peanut Sauce:
- ~3/4 cup peanut butter (I used good old Jif, but might try it next time with a natural PB)
- zest & juice of 1 lime
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, finely minced
- 1-2 Tbl soy sauce
- 1 Tbl maple syrup or honey
- sriracha, to taste

- 1 box firm or extra firm tofu
- soy sauce
- 1 box linguine, spaghetti, or your fave rice noodles or other Asian noodles
- 1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 yellow), quartered & thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 4 green onions, sliced
- optional: black sesame seeds

Drain the tofu, split the block lengthwise and press for at least 15 min or so. I put paper towels on a plate, tofu on top, more paper towels, another plate and a pot on top. I know, I know, I should use clean tea towels, hush.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and then thin with hot water to desired consistency. Should be pourable but not too runny. Taste and add more of this or that!

Cook noodles & drain (if you want to eat this room temp or cold, you can do this in advance).

Cut the tofu into small cubes, slabs, triangles or whatever you like. Drizzle with a little soy sauce and let sit while you heat up a large saute pan (or wok) and prepare the veggies.

Saute the tofu in some vegetable oil over medium-high heat until nicely browned on all sides. Turn off heat and add the peppers, carrots & green onions. Add in cooked noodles.

Add at least half of the peanut sauce, toss and see if it's saucy enough for you, and add more if needed. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if desired.