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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jungle Curry with Tofu. Adapted from Cooking Light

This is one of my favorite dishes to make. It is easy, healthy and my husband thanks me for the free smells. If you are worried that you are not going to be able to find some of the ingredients, that is A okay cause this recipe (along with many of the other I post) if very adaptable. Alright let's get started!

Materials:

1 package of FIRM tofu
2 tbs oil
1 egg plant cut into fork sized pieces
1 bell pepper julienned
2 cups of green beans, haricot verts or long beans trimmed
2 tbs green curry paste (use red or yellow curry for a milder dish)
1 cup broth- vegetable or chicken
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
zest of 1 lime

Preparation:

1. First you must get some of the excess water out of your tofu. Before cutting it, wrap your tofu in a paper towel and place it on a plate with a weight on top to lightly squeeze out the liquid. I usually do this while I'm prepping the veggies to give it enough time to drain. Once done cut your tofu into about 1 inch cubes.

2. Heat a large skillet over MED-HIGH heat and heat 1 tbs of oil through. Add your tofu and stir fry for 4 min til lightly browned. Don't stir too vigorously or your tofu will break! Remove your tofu to a plate and keep warm.

3. Heat your remaining oil at MED-HIGH heat and add your peppers, eggplant, and beans. Stir fry for about 3 min. Yesss I know I crowded my pan. I was a dummy and didn't just use my larger one lol.

4. Add your curry paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broth, soy sauce, sugar and zest. Stir till the sauce is combined well and cook for 5 minutes til the veggies are cooked through. Add your tofu back in and heat through, about 1 min.

Simple as that! I serve mine with jasmine rice which is a Thai rice that is perfect for well.. Thai dishes. Just as a quick reminder of how convertible this recipe is, I just bought a handful of little Indian eggplants and haricot verts cause that was what my Asian market had. Oh! On another note, if you are paying more than $2 for tofu you are getting RIPPED OFF. I bought mine on sale at my Asian market for 79¢. It is soybeans for goodness sake. Soybeans are the largest crop in the world; your tofu should always be a cheap buy. Same for curry paste. You can buy the fancy Thai Kitchen jarred curry paste for expensive prices or you can buy an envelope of the same product for 60¢ at your Asian grocery store. If a recipe calls for Asian products, go to an Asian market because usually you can get a better price there. Alright, love you guys and see you in my next recipe! God speed!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wild Mushroom Pizza Adapted from Cooking Light

This pizza is my hubby's new fave! It is rustic in style and uses multiple kinds of mushrooms making this a very versatile recipe. If you can make your own pizza dough DO IT! You can refer to the pizza dough recipe on my blog or find your own. The dough looks a little sketchy in the picture because I kept messing up the shape. Regardless the pizza was sooo good.

Materials You Will Need:


12 oz fresh refrigerated pizza dough
1/3 dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup water
1 tbs olive oil
4 oz each of 3 different mushrooms; chopped (I used shiitake, maitake, and king oyster mushrooms)
3 oz minced garlic
salt & pepper
3 tbs green pesto
3 oz mozzarella

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 500 with pizza stone or baking sheet inside.

2. Combine and porcini mushrooms and water. Microwave on HIGH for 4 MIN in a microwave safe bowl. Drain and chop mushrooms.

3. Heat a large skillet over MED- HI heat. Add oil and heat through. Add fresh mushrooms and garlic. Saute 5 min. Add porcini, salt, and pepper to taste.

4. Carefully remove pizza stone. Arrange dough on stone. Spread pesto, cheese, and mushrooms evenly over pizza dough. Bake for 13 minutes. Cut into 8.

Simple as that! So good and fairly healthy compared to commercial pizza that usually is ladened with tons of cheese and grease.

Penne Pasta Salad con Tuna and Roasted Red Peppers. Adapted from Cooking Light.


This pasta salad makes a great lunch or you can up the size and bring it to a get together. The simple, bright flavors of this dish pull it together nicely making this a fantastic and satisfying spring or summer meal. I only made 2 servings for my husband and I but this recipe is very easy to adjust for larger crowds.  

(2 servings) 

Materials You Will Need: 
1/2 red bell pepper
2 quarts of water
salt
3 oz penne rigate 
1 cup fresh spinach (arugula or any other dark salad green would work nicely)
2 tbs thinly sliced red onions or shallots 
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tbs capers (capote or non- pareilles~ size is the only difference) 
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 can high quality tuna (if you can get your hands on a premium jarred tuna such as Ortiz, do it. You'll notice the difference.)
Remember, in cooking recipes are more flexible than you think! Use what you have. Many ingredients can be swapped depending on your flavor preference. You might not like spinach, try arugula. Non-pareille capers are more expensive than capote capers but they taste the same; I'm broke so that's what I bought lol. Do what you like!
Preparation: 
1. Preheat your broiler. It's gonna get hot in here!
2. Remove all seeds and membrane from your pepper and flatten it with your hand. This will create an even service for roasting. Place skin side up on a foiled baking sheet and put in the oven on the middle rack. Let that puppy cook for 10-15 MIN til it is BLACK. You might think you did something wrong but you didn't. 


3. Carefully remove your pepper(s) and put it into a zip top bag to sit for 15 MIN to steam, loosening the skins. Remove, peel the skin off, and chop. Roasting takes a little time but gives the pepper the sweetest flavor. 
4. Boil your pasta in lightly salted water. Remove and rinse with cold water. 

5. Combine all ingredients along with a pinch of salt and mix til combined. Yum!

At first I was worried because it didn't seem like this dish would make enough food for the both of us but it made approximately 2 cups per person and was very filling. Serve with a bit of torn, crusty bread. Enjoy babies! 
     



Monday, November 12, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Toffee Via Cooking Light Magazine

This one is tasty and a great way to inch into being comfortable making candy without the complexity of some confections. I found this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine which is one of my favorite sources for great recipes that are also healthier than most of the traditional recipes that our families are used to seeing.

Toffee is basically a caramel that is cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time making it nice and crunchy unlike traditional caramel. In this recipe the toffee is spread to a thin layer which makes breaking and eating this toffee a lot easier and more approachable for those who are iffy when it comes to hard candies. This recipe is also very flexible as to the toppings and fillings that can be combined with the buttery candy. This recipe simply uses the chocolate and almonds which is a classic combination but there are lots of great nut and fruit combinations that could work great as well.

Materials:

1 cup sugar (make sure to measure using a dry measuring cup)
1/4 cup water
4 tbs softened butter (salted gives it a great caramel flavor so I recommend it)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole roasted, unsalted almonds, chopped

Parchment lined baking sheet
Candy thermometer if you have one

In a small, sturdy saucepan, heat the first 3 ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring until completely combined. At this point, DON'T TOUCH IT LOL :). Let it come to a boil and sit without stirring until your candy thermometer reads 325 degrees. I didn't have a candy thermometer so I just waited until the sugar turned a caramel color. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. Be very careful with this step because the sugar can sputter and there's nothing worse than a sugar burn!

Now, carefully pour your toffee over your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Try to make a square shape. This will help you keep the candy at a consistent depth throughout the whole piece. Use a knife to spread it out. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle your chocolate pieces over the warm toffee and let it sit for 5 more minutes. This will gradually melt the chocolate to the point where you can then spread it evenly over the whole square. Sprinkle your chopped almonds over the melted chocolate then let it sit for an hour or so until the candy is completely cooled. I usually put mine in the fridge so that the chocolate can harden quicker.

To serve, use a knife or any sturdy utensil to hit the toffee and crack it into pieces.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Simple & Quick Chili


This recipe is super simple and super healthy. Sometimes making chili can seem pretty intimidating because there are those recipes out there that have around 72 ingredients or they require hours and hours of  prep and cook time. This recipe, however, is a no-brainer and so adaptable. It's a great foundation recipe to creating your own unique chili recipe, after all chili should taste good to you not just some food critique from a magazine!

Serves 2

Materials:
1/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 of an onion, diced
2 tbs water
1/2 can of tomatoes
1/2 tbs chili powder
1/4 tbs cumin
1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

First heat a pot with a fitted lid at MED heat. Add the meat and onion. Brown evenly stirring occasionally, making sure to break up the meat as you go. Add the salt and pepper to taste. With the extra spices in this dish not much salt or pepper should be needed.

Once you've done this, add the chili powder, cumin and garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point add your beans, tomatoes and water. I like to rinse the beans in cool water before adding them so that they don't have too much of the slimy canning liquid on them.

Now lower your heat to LOW and simmer COVERED for about 15 minutes. This helps tenderize the meat and cook the tinny flavor out of the canned tomatoes. After it has simmered for the time, remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes. You should remember to taste for seasoning. It's best to alter seasoning as you are cooking so that the end result is what you like.

Fini! :) Now you can top the chili over some healthy brown rice, mashed potatoes or it's good just by itself! I like to top it of with some low-fat cheese and sliced green onions. You can also try Greek yogurt, sour cream or tortilla chips. It's all up to you!

When choosing your ingredients have fun with it! You can use ground turkey or stew meat instead of the beef and whatever kind of bean you'd like. So versatile and so healthy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Pizza- Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

I LOVE pizza! Sometimes though, it can be a little pricey and high in fats and oils. This pizza dough recipe is simple, healthier and so yummy. It is said to be Wolfgang Puck's signature California pizza method. I never thought that I could make my own breads and pizza dough but I surprise myself more and more every day!

Materials:
1 package dry active yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup fairly warm water (not too hot but about 100 degrees)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1Tbs olive oil
Cornmeal
pizza toppings :)

To start I put one package of yeast in a large mixing bowl and add the honey. Next stir in 1/4 of a cup of warm water and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate. After 10 minutes the mixture will look frothy and that's when you add the salt, oil and last 3/4 cup of warm water and mix together well.

This is when I add the first cup of all purpose flour and stir til combined. Add another cup of flour and stir that til combined. Add the half cup of wheat flour and stir until it is too ridiculous to stir and then turn out onto a well floured (and CLEAN) surface. I usually add the last 1/2 cup of flour onto the work surface and as I knead the dough eventually it will pick up the rest but the flour will help the dough from sticking to the table. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until all the flour is picked up (cause by then it's about 5 minutes lol).

 Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled mixing bowl and cover with a towel and place in a warm area to help the dough rise. I usually place the bowl on or next to the oven while it preheats a bit. Let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes. Turn the dough out onto your work place (make sure to add more flour to help prevent sticking). Pat the dough to help expel some of the air built up while the dough set. Take a knife or scraper and cut the dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Shape the pieces into rounds. If you are not going to use all 4 pieces of dough you can either wrap the dough and keep it in the fridge or freeze it for later use. Take the dough ball or balls and place on a pan and cover to rise for a second time. This rise will be for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

 Now that the dough has risen for a second time, place the ball on your work place and pat out the air and roll into a disk of your desired thickness. At this point place your pizza on a well cornmealed pan. At this point top with the toppings of your choice. I like to brush the crust with olive oil and some crushed garlic then spread on some pizza sauce with traditional mozzarella and a variety of vegetables. You can try anything from barbeque style to creamy mushroom and spinach.

Place your pizza pan on the lowest rack of your oven and cook for 5 minutes. Then bring the pan to the middle rack and finish with another 5 minutes of cooking. Let your pizza cool and enjoy. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Greens Are Already Gross!


More times than not when we buy our favorite bags of salad greens they spoil quicker than we can eat them. But why?

 Usually when we put away the greens we don't think much of it. We just tighten up the bag and throw it back in the crisper. Not good! The way I keep my leafy vegetables from spoiling is by every time after I take some of the leafs out of the bag, I close on end of the bag with my hand and lightly shake up the bag to loosen the mix. It gives the leafs some air and space. If the leaves are smooshed together and wet, the leafs will start to rot and because they are in close contact with the other leafs they will rot even faster.

 Also, I never close up the bag tight before storing. When a fruit or vegetable of any sort is cut or damaged in any way it produces ethylene gas. If you have a bruised leaf in the bag it will start producing the gas and if you close the bag tight it will trap the gas in, spoiling the healthy leafs around it. So give them space and give them air!