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Archive for August, 2006

tofu sage stir-fry

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

For dinner last night I concocted this mild tofu stirfry. It features fresh sage from a coworker’s garden, leftover salsa from the weekend, and crisp green beans from the local farm stand.

5 ounces firm tofu
2 ounces fresh green beans
1/2 small red onion
1 stalk celery
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 cherry pepper
1/2 cup salsa or canned tomatoes
3-4 sage leaves
Chinese 5-spice
turmeric

Dice the onion, celery, and pepper. Saute until softened. Add the cubed tofu, chopped green beans, Chinese 5-spice, and turmeric (for color), turning up the heat to brown the tofu and beans. Stir in garlic to moisten, and continue cooking for another minute or two. Finish by adding salsa and torn sage leaves. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until the tomatoes are warmed and the sage has lent its flavors.

Between the Chinese 5-spice, the sage, and the “secret ingredient” in the salsa, this was an uncharacteristically mild dish for me, but it was so deliciously sweet that I refrained from adding any hot pepper flakes until the last few bites.

By the way, isn’t that lotus flower dish beautiful? My Mom thought of me and picked them up when she saw this set consisting of three different sizes. Here’s another shot showing the fluted sides.

chop suey

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

My friend Scott joined me in watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on PPV Saturday evening. You may recall for his last visit he picked up some butternut squash on the way over and we enjoyed a healthy lunch. This time he brought an entire dish, prepared by his Mom!

Talk about delicious: chop suey made with a little low-sodium soy sauce, molasses, and wonderfully al dente mung bean sprouts from Jonathan’s Organics, celery, onions, and mushrooms sprinkled with red pepper flakes.

For my part, I contributed the fight-time snacks.

A roasted vegetable hummus using pinto beans. I simply chopped up onions, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers, carrots, beets, and broccoli stems and roasted on an oiled baking sheet for 12-15 minutes on each side at 350-425 F. Needless to say, at this temperature and time, everything got rather caramelized (if not charred). Then, I combined the beans (approximately 6 cups cooked), veggies, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. My blender reluctantly did the rest.

We also made tortilla chips from corn tortillas baked at 350 for 6-7 minutes a side. These are always fun with company as the spices can be varied with each batch. I snapped this picture of the final chip ready for consumption with a dollup of hummus and dipped in the big bowl of mild salsa I had made the night before. The salsa’s secret? A couple shots of Captain Morgan’s Original. :)

We also finished up the remaining cherry dessert hummus. The unique, sweet, cinnamonic flavor was a hit.

cherry dessert hummus

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Expensive little buggers, but everyone should be sure to pick up at least a handful of cherries during the summer while they are so wonderfully fresh and sweet. And if you don’t know what to do with them, how about whipping up this healthy treat? :)

Get the recipe in Vegan Done Light.

basil bounty

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Ah, the fresh herbage of summer! The other day I bought a huge bag of wonderfully fragrant basil. I used up a good portion of it between this low-fat pesto and another hot sauce.

A tofu-based pesto made with mass quantities of basil, a hefty dose of garlic powder, a little onion powder, and a touch of black pepper. That’s right, no nuts. Here it is, admirably drenching trofie-style konjac noodles, carrots and red onions. This stuff was so good and creamy, I also enjoyed it cold and straight-up.

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I used to buy all those expensive $5 a bottle hot sauces and considered myself quite the connoisseur. Now, I enjoy saving money and mixing up my own batches. That still means I maintain an impressive array of powdered chili peppers, but those last much longer. And, as with anything else in the kitchen, it is so fun to experiment and create exactly the flavors you seek.

My first basil hot sauce was the infamous Basilzebub and a variation including tomato paste. This one offers up a sweeter heat.

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1-2 shots cherry wine
1 overripe banana
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red savina habanero powder
1 fluid ounce malt vinegar
1 fluid ounce brown rice vinegar
1 fluid ounce lemon juice

Add everything to a blender and puree. The last three liquid ingredients are estimates. Ultimately, this recipe created 7-8 ounces of hot sauce.


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