Monthly Archives: February 2012

Buffalo Tofu and Yukon Fries

I enjoyed today’s lunch so much that here it is!! Before I went to work this morning I put one fourteen ounce package of firm tofu in the tofu press. The real motivation behind this lunch was to try out this new toy!! The tofu press went into the fridge and was ready to come out when I got home from work four hours or so later.  This thing is awesome! Took out just enough water without drying out too much.

I  preheated the oven to 425*. Once I drained the tofu, I sliced it into quarter-inch slices. Place on parchment paper (so it doesn’t stick fast) on a baking dish.

Meanwhile, clean and slice one yukon gold potato. I sliced it into thin strips, but if you like steak fries go for it. I tossed the yukon slices in about a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder and a little bit of chili powder. They go onto their own baking dish.

At this point, put the two baking dishes into the oven for about twenty minutes. Take them out, and pour some Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce on the tofu. I want to say maybe a quarter cup. Toss gently to coat the tofu throughly. The fries I gently flipped so they got nice and crispy on both sides.

Back in the oven they go for another twenty minutes or so.  By now, the tofu should be slightly crispy and the fries crispy and slightly brown.  Came out absolutely delish and is so much healthier than the fried wings and fried french fries I would eat out somewhere. My belly was ecstatic and full after half the tofu and the fries!  Yes folks I was doing the happy food dance!

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Soba with Tempeh and Vegetables

On a recent business trip to Texas, my hubby was lucky enough to visit Asian World Market in Plano. He sent me the ultimate care package of interesting spices he found during his vist. The box weighed FOURTEEN pounds!! I was more excited than a kid in a candy store when I opened this box. This is my first recipe using some of these awesome new ingredients.

I really need to get better about naming my recipes, this one is soba with crispy tempeh and vegetables. These new spices are a wonderful addition to my cooking arsenal and provide new, interesting flavors!

To start, I preheated the oven to 425* to crisp the tempeh. To flavor the tempeh some, I simmered it in four cups of water with one-quarter cup of low sodium soy sauce over low heat for twenty minutes. After it simmered, I took it out and cut it into squares. It went into a baking dish oiled with sesame oil. I cooked it for about twenty minutes in the oven until it crisped up nicely. This was one eight ounce package.

While the tempeh was cooking, I boiled approximately three quarts of well salted water. An eight ounce package of mugwort soba (love the color!!) went into the pot and cooked for approximately ten minutes…just follow the package directions. Once the soba is done, if you are still working on the rest strain and toss with sesame oil so it doesn’t stick.

While the soba was cooking, I started some onion, four cloves of garlic (sliced) and about a two inch piece of ginger (sliced) sauteeing in some sesame oil in a skillet. When they just started to soften, they joined four cups of vegetable broth in a small pot.

Next I sauteed about two cups of mixed mushrooms (sliced) in the same skillet. For this I used shitakes, mitakes and cremini mushrooms. Along with them I added a red sweet pepper and an orange sweet pepper (both sliced). When they were happily browned and starting to soften, they went in to the pot as well.

Here’s where the fun new spices came in!!! I added about two teaspoons of chinese prickly ash and salt, two tablespoons of aji nori furikake (which I browned quickly in that same skillet) two teaspoons of dried chili flowers (which are so pretty as well as tasty!).

At this point, the tempeh which is nice and brown and crispy also went into the pot. I let it all simmer together for about fifteen minutes so the flavors could all marry and get happy.

The soba has been hanging out in a bowl with sesame oil while I finished everything else. To serve, place some soba noodles into your favorite bowl and top with broth and some sliced green onion.

For my first attempt with these unusual new spices, we were very happy with the results!

If anyone wants to check out Asian World Market, their website is: www.asianworldmarket.com


Alando Kenyan Cuisine

This is the story of how a restaurant ended up on what was intended to be a blog for my own food and drink recipes.

One afternoon, my friend Josh and I decided to visit Alando Kenyan Cuisine for lunch. Boy, am I ever glad we did!! From the moment we walked in, I knew this was our kind of place. Nothing too fancy, nice and cozy, with great smells coming from the kitchen. We were seated with a warm welcoming smile, by a woman whose name I regrettably did not find out.

As we sat looking over the menu, we wanted to order one of everything. Everything on the menu sounded fabulous. How to narrow it down??? Our server Richard came over and we both decided to start with black tea. At the first sip of tea, I was in love. Do you know how hard it is to make the perfect cup of black tea?

We decided on Lentil Coconut Soup, Kenyan Lentil Samosas, Wololo Chicken, and Kima Chili. Richard asked us if we were sure we didn’t want one of everything with a smile.

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The first to come out was the Lentil Coconut Soup. With the first taste, we were transported. We were no longer sitting in a cafe in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at all. The coconut came through strong, but so did something else. Lemon grass maybe? The lentils were cooked to perfection. We both decided that we have a new favorite restaurant, a fact I made sure to mention to Richard when he came back. He thanked us with a humble smile.

Next up was the Wololo Chicken. One word….YUM! This dish is a wonderful marriage of hot and sweet. It is like a party on your taste buds. We savored every bite and looked forward to the next. I couldn’t rave enough to Richard about these flavors!

The Kenyan Lentil Samosas followed. I was sure I was going to love these as samosas always top the list of my favorites when they are available. The pastry was perfect. Again, a great balance of flavors with perfectly cooked lentils. I think by this point I was doing quite the happy belly dance. Not sure Richard knew what to make of that! He just continued to smile at us.

Our last dish was the Kima Chili. I do not think I can even begin to describe this dish accurately. Words that come to mind are smoky, sweet and spicy. The beef was tender and melted in our mouthes. I must admit, it tasted so good I didn’t believe it was beef. This time, I let Richard know I wish I had room for more food. His answer was to go for a walk and he would keep our table waiting. Love this guy!

At this point we were too stuffed to even consider dessert, although I wish we would have found room for the Sweet Potato Pie with Ginger Ice Cream. We decided to end with a cup of Tangawizi Chai (Fresh Ginger Tea). This was another cup of tea brewed to perfection. I was a happy woman. Actually, I am a happy woman now…just thinking about it!

I am salivating as I sit here trying to recreate this meal for you. I can’t help but to look forward to my next visit, of which I am sure there will be many. I can not say enough about this restaurant, the people, the casual and comforting atmosphere, the delicious scents, the tea, and of course…THE FOOD! If you are local, I highly recommend you check this place out. If not, make a trip! I have no doubt you will enjoy this hidden gem as much as Josh and I did.

Their location: 520 Main Street, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Their website is: www.alandoskitchen.com

Their phone number: 610-317-2009


Vegan Mac & Cheese

When I got home from work early today, I decided to make one of Bradley’s favorite dinners, VEGAN MAC & CHEESE. If you are wondering how on earth mac & cheese can be made vegan, read on! Almost every time I make this recipe I change it a little, and  this time it came out fabulous!!

 To start, I preheated the oven to 350*.  While the oven is preheating, the rest of the recipe can be finished. In the appropriate size pot, boil enough water for your pasta.  I used one box of elbow pasta, but feel free to switch this out for  whatever your favorite pasta may be.  Only cook the pasta for around six minutes, because it will continue to cook in the oven.

Once the pasta is cooked, strain it well and dump it back into the pot. Easy so far, right??  To the pasta, I added four ounces each of Daiya cheddar and mozzarella, four ounces (or half a tub) of Tofutti plain cream cheese, six ounces (or half a tub) Tofutti sour cream, quarter cup (or so) of plain soy milk, a couple generous sprinkles of nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. If you have a favorite brand of vegan cheese or sour cream, feel free to substitute.  These  just  happen to be our favorites.

Stir to mix all of the ingredients until the NOT sour cream and cream cheese are melted nicely. At this point, you may need to add some more soy milk. It should look nice and moist. If it is dry now…it will definitely be dry later!

Once combined, the mixture gets poured into a casserole dish and covered with aluminum foil.  At this point, there are two ways you can go.  Cook covered for thirty minutes if you like creamy mac & cheese.  If you like it browned (crunchy as Bradley says), then cook it twenty minutes covered and an additional ten minutes uncovered.

It took me quite a few years to perfect a dairy-free, vegan mac & cheese….but I think this batch was it!! Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did!!


Homemade Bubble Tea!!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE BUBBLE TEA!!! This was my first attempt at making my favorite beverage at home. The first time I tried Bubble Tea, the owner of the tea shop told us it was really a pain to make. He was so wrong!!

First, to make the tea. For this batch I used Stash Black Chai. Started two quarts of water boiling, added ten tea bags and steeped for ten minutes or so. Found my favorite glass pitcher, strained the tea into it and placed in the fridge to cool while working on the rest.

Next, the simple syrup. Two cups of water, one cup of brown sugar, one cup of regular sugar, four cinnamon sticks and six cloves went in a pot. Boiled it over medium heat for ten minutes or so, stirring to make sure the sugar all melted. At this point, the house smells FABULOUS!! When it finished cooking, I strained it into the appropriate size Mason jar and it joined the tea in the fridge. Best part, this syrup keeps for two weeks in the fridge! I made extra to have on hand.

Next, for the tapioca pearls. THIS was the scary part, since I have never worked with them before. In my four-quart pot I added six cups of water and a seven ounce package of the tapioca pearls. Cooked according to the package instructions, at a boil for fifteen minutes, then off the heat for another sixteen minutes or so. Took out the fine mesh strainer, and I admit, held my breath. Strained the pearls and rinsed them under cold water. Once strained they went in a dish with about a cup of the simple syrup. Once cooked, the tapioca pearls only keep for about six hours, so you have to use them the same day. This was NO PROBLEM in our house!

Finally, we could drink the tea!! Into a glass goes a third cup of the tapioca pearls (AKA the bubbles), a third cup of very vanilla soy milk, and filled the glass to the rim with the tea. With a wide barrel straw, we all enjoyed! Was amazed to learn that not only was bubble tea NOT a pain to make, but it was really quite easy. The portions, type of tapioca pearls, and type of tea can be adjusted depending on the mood. For my first attempt, I was more than satisfied with this batch!!


Welcome!

So, after posting pictures of my favorite dishes and drinks on Facebook for a while, several of my friends have suggested I start a blog.  This is that blog.  Bare with me as I try to figure out exactly what I’m doing and really make this page mine. I make no promises about how often I will post, because I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Hope you enjoy!


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