Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tofu Breakfast Scramble

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Decided to go with a breakfast recipe this time. Not your average breakfast, but one of my favorites. Tofu scramble! This recipe is extremely diverse. Feel free to mix up the veggies and spices to make it your own!

Press one twenty ounce block of tofu to remove any extra moisture. Crumble into different size pieces into a mixing bowl. You want the pieces to look similar to scrambled eggs consistency.

Add in two tablespoons of your favorite extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a teaspoon or so of turmeric, sea salt and pepper. Mix well, with your best kitchen tool…your hands!

This particular morning, I looked in the fridge and grabbed a pound of cremini mushrooms, a bunch of kale and two shallots. Rough chop the veggies.

Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add one turn of extra virgin olive oil.

Saute the shallots and cremini mushrooms until the shallots begin to get tender.

Add in the kale, and saute another five minutes or so until the kale begins to wilt.

Add tofu mixture into the skillet and continue to saute until warmed through. This takes about ten to fifteen minutes.

My favorite topping for any tofu scramble is sriracha sauce, but feel free to top it however you like!

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Pickled Okra

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There has been some BEAUTIFUL okra at the farmers’ market this year! What to do with it? Gumbo? No, too hot out for gumbo. Fry it? No, not the healthiest idea. I know! Pickle it!

Pickled okra tastes wonderful, especially if you add in a little heat. It has a better crunch than most pickles. Not to mention, these jars look gorgeous sitting on the shelf in the fridge. Pretty and delicious? Yes, please.

Start with a medium sauce pan on the stove top. Into the sauce pan goes four cups apple cider vinegar, four cups of water, six tablespoons raw sugar, four tablespoons sea salt, two tablespoons mixed peppercorns, two or three teaspoons of red chili flakes (depending on how much heat you like), and four bay leaves. Bring to a boil, continue boiling until sugar dissolves and turn off heat.

Wash one pound of okra. Divide it between two quart size mason jars, of which we have an overabundance.

Take a stroll out to the garden, and pick two banana peppers, and a generous handful of both oregano and thyme.

Wash and slice the peppers, and put one of each along with the seeds into the jar with the okra. Wash the oregano and thyme, divide and place into the jar as well.

Pour the juice into the jars. Allow to cool on the kitchen counter. Do NOT put the hot jars into the cold fridge or this will end badly. Either breakage, or bacteria will form.

Once cool, place in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. Allow to sit at least a few days before enjoying so that they have time to soak up all the yummy goodness in the juice.


Red Onion Sauce

In my opinion, this sauce is the BEST topping for hot dogs. Maybe I’m biased, having grown up in New York where this sauce is extremely popular, but I LOVE this sauce.  After playing with several recipes, I have decided this is my favorite among them.

Start by thinly slicing six yellow onions. White would work just as well, or even vidalia. I always have plain old yellow onions on hand though.

While you are slicing the onions, get a skillet heating over medium heat.  Once hot, two turns of extra virgin olive oil go in to heat.

Saute the onions, adding in six to eight cloves of finely minced garlic. Salt well to start the onions sweating.

Once the onions have started to soften, add in two-thirds cup of your favorite ketchup, one tablespoon red chili flakes and one tablespoon of smoked paprika. Depending on taste, adjust the amount of red chili flakes. We are not shy about a little heat!

Turn heat down to low, and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Add in a half of a cup of good old-fashioned white vinegar. Simmer for an additional forty-five minutes.

If needed, add salt to taste. Serve over your favorite hot dog! If I may make one more suggestion? Spicy yellow mustard, then the red onion sauce is a perfect match!

By the way, my husband loved this sauce so much he declared it would be good “on just about anything”!


Fresh Pasta Primavera

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This pasta was inspired by all the beautiful produce at the farmers market this summer. The heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous this year and are the star of this dish.

The “sauce” for this pasta primavera roast in the oven, so begin by preheating the oven to 350*.

Wash a quart of heirloom cherry tomatoes, strain and cut the larger ones in half.

Trim asparagus and cut into thirds.

Place on a baking sheet, add a pound or so of whole kalamata olives, five cloves of garlic sliced, the leaves from six sprigs of oregano, and the leaves of six sprigs of basil.

Liberally splash a good quality extra virgin olive oil over the veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes until the tomatoes burst.

Toss with your pasta of choice, cooked al dente. add a splash of white wine and a small amount of the pasta water. Mix well to combine the flavors.

We enjoyed this pasta with a nice crusty garlic bread. I enjoyed it enough that I really don’t think it needs accompaniment!


Fresh Homemade Salsa

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What to do with an overabundance of tomatoes? This year the tomatoes have been so sweet and delicious we have been buying them in mass amounts at the farmers’ market. Than…all these beautiful peppers made an appearance. It is salsa time!! I love fresh salsa! The taste and texture are by far better than anything you can get out of a jar. It can be personalized to your tastes as you go.

All of the ingredients, with the exception of the limes, can be found at the farmers’ market. While you are enjoying a delicious snack you are supporting local farmers as well!

As the vegetables get chopped, into a large mixing bowl they go. Start by chopping six large tomatoes along with six tomatillos. Next two medium red onions, along with one yellow and one orange sweet pepper. A rough chop is not only allowed, but preferred. This is a fresh, rustic salsa.

Next, rough chop one large bunch of cilantro and toss it in the bowl. The zest and juice of three limes get added into the bowl at this point too. Give everything a good stir.

Very finely mince three large cloves of garlic, one poblano pepper, two jalapeno peppers, one red chili, and two cherry peppers. Add them to the bowl and give another good stir to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can use a food processor or even a blender to chop the ingredients if you prefer. I find all the chopping relaxinf so I do it all by hand.

If you are feeling more creative, there are other ingredients you can mix in. I like to start with the basic salsa and add to it as we use it. You can mix in fresh or roasted corn, black beans, diced avocado, really the possibilities are endless.

Don’t just enjoy this salsa with chips. It is also excellent served over chicken, fish, steak, or pork. Mixed with some dairy-free cream cheese it makes a great dip. A friend told me she likes to mix salsa into her chili.

For storage, I pour the salsa into mason jars. This recipe fills three quart size mason jars nicely. Stored in the fridge you can enjoy for one to two weeks. That is, if it lasts that long!


Salmon Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

This recipe started with these beautiful tomatoes from the farmers’ market. For some reason, this year’s tomatoes are some of the best I have ever had. Because of this, we have been picking up an abundance of them at the market and allowing them to guide my inspiration.

Start of by preheating the oven to 350*. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and squeeze very gently to release some of the juice and seeds. Next, with a spoon scoop out a small hole for the stuffing.

Now, for the stuffing. We had one lonely leftover salmon fillet in the fridge from dinner the night before. Not enough to feed two, right? WRONG! When repurposed into this stuffing, we ate well!

Break apart the salmon fillet until it is in very small pieces. Add about a half of a cup of panko bread crumbs. Any bread crumbs would probably work, but I love the crunch of panko! Also about one tablespoon of a good quality olive oil, salt and pepper get added in. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.

All that scrumptious stuffing gets put into the hole you have hollowed out in the tomatoes. It is perfectly okay and actually preferred if the stuffing overflows slightly. Top with a little bit of extra panko and a drizzle of the olive oil.  Into the oven they  go!

After about twenty minutes, the tomatoes will soften and the tops will be nicely browned. The house will smell absolutely amazing at this point as well. This is how you will know they are ready. It is tempting to dive right in, but don’t do it! You will burn your tongue and not enjoy them as much as you should.

I served them up with more leftovers from dinner, an arugula, mint and watermelon salad. We were satisifed, and more importantly did not even think about the fact that we were eating leftovers!


Akashi Japanese Restaurant

If you live in Greensboro, North Carolina, I am slightly jealous. Mainly because you have access to this great little gem of a restaurant we found while in town for my son’s World Tang Soo Do Championship. I asked him and his friend what they wanted for dinner on our last night and they both responded….SUSHI!

So, we did some research and found Akashi Japanese Restaurant. When you first pull up, it may not look like much. When you leave, you will be in love!

How can you not fall in love when there is Manga right on the table??? Yes, it is the little things in life that please me.

Next came the tea. Some of my friends call me a tea snob, and boy did the trait come out when I saw a tea bag! Come on, loose tea please?? After the first sip, I changed my mind. They won me over with a cup of delightful tea.

My hubby and I decided to start with miso soup. Before I even opened it….I loved the presentation. I need these bowls!!!

The taste of the miso soup? Even better than the presentation.

Next, an order of the Wasabi Shumai. Delicious little gifts of pork dumplings steamed in cabbage leaves. First of all, wait a minute! We all burnt our tongues because we could not wait to try them! While they are melting in your mouth, the flavor explodes.

More dumplings please?? I love me some dumplings! Our next order was Shrimp Gyoza. Pan steamed and served up with a spicy, yet sweet gyoza sauce. Absolute deliciousness in every bite. Perfectly seasoned and steamed.

Next?? The sushi!!! We ordered a california roll, a spicy tuna roll, two eel rolls, two tuna rolls, two salmon rolls, a shrimp roll and a spider roll. Between the four of us, we enjoyed it so much we had to order an additional tuna, salmon and spicy tuna roll. This was quite possibly the best tasting, freshest sushi I have ever had in my travels and we eat a lot of sushi!

We also ordered a shitake roll and were a little surprised by what came out. This was a nice finish to the meal, as it was slightly sweet compared to the spiciness of the wasabi we enjoyed with the other rolls.

All in all, we LOVED this place. Our waitress was superb! We never once had to ask for more tea, she was right there with it whenever the pot started to empty. If we needed something she seemed to have a sixth sense and be there just in time.

I believe it was the owners who also paid us a visit. Both the woman who checked on us repeatedly and the gentleman who came out of the kitchen to see if everything was okay made us feel right at home.

The others patrons were mostly asian, which in my experience with any kind of ethnic foods is a good sign. If the people of the culture eat there, it must be good! Held true about this fabulous little place.

When we received the bill, I received another amazing surprise….much less than expected. Delicious and reasonably priced too!

At the end of our meal, the woman, who I believe to be one of the owners, even followed us out to say good night!

If you find yourself in Greensboro and in the mood for sushi, check them out! Their website is: http://www.akashijapanese.com/Akashi_Japanese_.html. I am sure you will not be disappointed!


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