February 26, 2009

tofu scramble

There is a lot you can add to tofu scramble to make it delicious no matter what season it is. Since it is winter, we added frozen corn, frozen edamame, and frozen spinach (all from the farmers market). This time we experimented with adding reconstituted dried bell peppers (red and green)--which adds more color to the scramble. You could also add reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes or mushrooms. Turmeric, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce finish off the seasonings of this hearty breakfast. I don't know if people started putting turmeric in tofu scramble just for the color, but now I can't imagine tofu scramble without the distinctive turmeric flavor. And I like nutritional yeast so I try to find a way to put in everything.

Serving Size: 4

1/2 large onion, diced
1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 t. turmeric
1 c. frozen corn
3/4 c. frozen spinach, minced
1/2 c. frozen, boiled, shelled edamame
1/4 c. dried bell peppers bits, reconstituted in 1/4 c. red wine
1 t. basil
1 t. thyme
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
1/8 c. soy sauce
salt and black pepper to taste

In a frying pan, saute the onions with 1 T. oil and a pinch of salt until translucent. In the mean time, crumble the tofu into small pieces. I like to squeeze the tofu brick between my fingers over a colander. I then push the tofu down in the colander with my fists, squeezing out as much water as I can.

Add the crumbled tofu, turmeric and half of the minced garlic to the frying pan. Mix once then allow the tofu to brown on one side. Once browned, continue to saute stirring more often. Add frozen corn, frozen spinach, frozen edamame, reconstituted peppers, basil and thyme. When the frozen ingredients have thawed add soy sauce, nutritional yeast and the remaining minced garlic. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve with hot sauce if you like and buttered toast.

February 15, 2009

peppery sourdough pretzels with nutritional yeast sauce

What best says "happy valentine's day, honey"?? Homemade pretzels with locally brewed beer! Luckily for us, Boulder has a local brewery that sells growlers! Mmmmm...

Serving Size: 15 pretzels

Pretzel Ingredients:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1/2 c. sourdough starter
1 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. warm water
4 T. oil
2 t. salt
2 t. fresh ground pepper
3 cup white flour

Nutritional Yeast Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. nutritional yeast
1 c. soy milk
1/4 c. oil
1 t. salt
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. black pepper

We love sourdough bread so we figured that our pretzels should be sour as well. The sourness in sourdough comes from a starter of slightly fermented water, honey, yeast and flour. Other than the taste, the best thing about sourdough is that you keep the fermented yeast culture alive and add it to the bread you bake for your entire life which means that you could avoid buying new yeast ever again!

If you do not have a sourdough starter already, you will have to get one started 6 days in advance of your targeted pretzel feast. We made our sourdough starter from a recipe in the Tassajara Bread Book (50/50 white flour and wheat flour) though any starter recipe from the internet will work. The basic idea is that you mix together warm water, honey, dry yeast, and flour. Then you put the starter mixture in an open jar and allow it to ferment for five days stirring the mixture once a day. Once you have a sourdough starter, you rejuvenate it every week or so by starting a new loaf of bread as explained below.

After the sourdough starter has fermented for 5 days, put flour in a large bowl and add sourdough starter. Pour in warm water and mix into a thick paste. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in a warm place overnight. In the morning or afternoon, remove 1/2 c. of the paste (the same amount of starter that you put in) and save it as your future sourdough starter. Your rejuvenated sourdough starter should now be stored in the fridge and refreshed about once a week as just described.

You can now add the other pretzel ingredients to the paste
. Knead the dough for 5 minutes adding more flour or water as necessary. Let it rise for 2 hours in an oiled bowl in a warm place.

Grab fist fulls of dough and roll them out to 1/2" diameter. Form the rolls into classic pretzel shapes and pinch down the twists and ends with some water. Bring 8 c. of water to boil with 1/4 c. baking soda dissolved in it. Gently drop the pretzels into the boiling water one or two at a time making sure they don't touch. Let them boil a minute on each side and remove to a wire rack. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

For the classic pretzel crust, bush a milk and egg white wash on the pretzels. A great alternative is to simply brush them with olive oil and/or soymilk. Next sprinkle the pretzels with your desired toppings like salt, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Place the pretzels on cookie sheets. So the pretzels don't stick to the cookie sheets, sprinkle cornmeal where the pretzels will rest. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees.

The nutritional yeast dipping sauce is super easy. Mix the ingredients with a blender and serve heated or at room temperature.

Side Note:
If you are unable to eat all of your pretzels immediately they will store fine for a few days in a paper bag or wrapped in a cloth. Otherwise, you can freeze the leftovers and reheat them some later day.

February 8, 2009

squash thai curry

Squash is a great vegetable to store and use through the fall and winter.

Serving Size: 8

4 c. roasted "permanent" squash, cubed (or any winter squash for that matter)
1 c. red lentils dry, 2 c. cooked
1 T. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 T. ginger, minced
1/2 t. cardamom, ground
1/4 t. cumin, ground
1 t. garlic, minced
2 c. water
1 12oz. can coconut milk
1 t. Thai red curry paste
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
4 T. frozen cilantro leaf cubes, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

2 c. basmati rice dry, 6 c. cooked

I think that is is nice to roast squash a night or two in advance especially if you can double task it with making steak fries or cupcakes. Roasting squash is pretty simple. Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the pulp and seeds. Save the seeds so that you can roast them like pumpkin seeds. Lightly salt the insides of the squash. Place the two halves of the squash face down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until tender but not mushy. Allow to cool. Cut into more manageable wedges. Remove the outer skin and cube. This recipe only uses about half of the roasted squash. You can use the rest of the squash immediately for a pureed squash soup or save that idea for another week by freezing the leftover cubes.

Cook the basmati rice. Cook the red lentils.

In a large pot, sautee the onion, ginger, cardamom, cumin and a dash of salt in oil until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add water, coconut milk, lemon juice, frozen cilantro, cooked red lentils, and roasted squash cubes. Cook on low allowing the mixture to simmer. Dissolve the curry paste in a measuring cup with the warm coconut milk mixture and add it back to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

February 2, 2009

steak fries

Something about it being "Super Bowl Sunday" makes me want to eat finger food and drink beer, even though we don't have a TV. These steak fries are easy to make and don't take long to prepare. These are great for bringing to parties too, they'll be gone in the blink of an eye. They do take 45-60 min in the oven though, so keep that in mind. Credit goes to my mom for this one--I learned by watching her.

3 large potatoes (russet are best, but any will work)
canola oil
spices and seasonings of your choice (salt, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350F (if using a toaster oven, you probably don't need to preheat). Wash the potatoes and cut them into long wedges, as shown in the photo. Put them in a large bowl and pour some oil over them. You can put spices on them now, or wait until they are arranged on the cookie sheet. For extra garlicky potatoes, mince garlic cloves into the oil. Toss them with your hands until they are all coated with oil. Arrange the wedges, peel side down, on a cookie sheet. Laying them on their backs like this means you won't have to flip them later. Bake in the oven or toaster oven until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, usually 45 minutes to an hour.

These are great with miso mayo or bbq sauce.

Side Note:
One might say that the spices are the key to this recipe. The past few times I've made these steak fries, I've used "all-seasons salt". Now, I'm usually not a fan of spice mixes, but this jar was on sale and now it has taken us 2 years to use half of it. I'll have to keep making steak fries to use it all up, but that's okay because it actually makes really good flavoring for the fries. For your reference, these are the ingredients:

salt, paprika, yellow mustard, dehydrated garlic, hickory smoke (torula yeast and hickory smoke), oregano, dehydrated darlic, and celery seed.

Hmm, dehydrated garlic is listed twice! Maybe that's why it is so good. Actually, it is probably the torula yeast, which seems to be similar to nutritional yeast.