Thursday, March 18, 2010

I made asparagus cashew stirfry

This is a really delicious stirfry with an interesting mix of flavors: basil, mint, hoisin sauce, lime. And it's very healthy. It's in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking and on her blog. I've made it a few times, but I like this adaptation the best.

Asparagus Cashew Stirfry

toasted sesame oil
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into slices thick as a pencil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
scant 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (peeled)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 a bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit
a few handfuls of spinach, or chopped kale, or chopped chard (I left this out. In the past, with all the mint and basil AND kale, it was just too many leaves, youknow?)
zest and juice of one lime
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
1 small handful fresh basil, slivered

Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Alternately, you can do this in a dry non-stick pan - one of the few occasions I still use non-stick. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden - a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. (I cooked the tofu with garlic, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and some soy sauce.)

Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.

Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.

I served it over whole wheat lo mein noodles, which was delish. Brown rice udon would also be good. I think soba would get too mushy. I also topped it with some chopped scallions.

Serves 2-4 (main/side)

I made some Qrazy Quinoa!!!

This is a dish I made up. I was in the mood for something hearty and healthy, so I conceived of the most hearty and healthy and delicious dish ever made: a cornucopia or roasted veggies, superfoods, carmelized onions and leafy greens coated in delicious pesto.

Qrazy Quinoa, an SG orig


1 large butternut squash
2 cups quinoa
1 bunch kale
1 red onion
1 can corn
1 cup pesto (click the link to see how I make it. You can always buy some, but it's so easy to make yourself and tastes much better when it's fresh.)
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic
salt & pep
some olive oil
grated parm
crushed red pep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and then sit down, put on some jams, and deal with your squash. Skin and chop that sucker into 1-inch cubes. This will take about 30 min of good hard physical labor. Then spread out the cubes on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil, s 'n' p, and pop it in the oven. I didn't pay close attention to time, but I think they roasted for about 30-40 min. You know they're done when they start browning and you can pierce them easily with a fork. About 20 minutes into this time, you will want to start roasting your cherry tomatoes. Same thing: toss 'em on a baking sheet with oil, s, p. They take about 15-20. They'll brown a little and start to pop and shrivel when they're done. Don't overcook--you want them to still be juicy.

While all that roasting is happening, make your pesto and cook your quinoa. Depending on the brand you buy, you may have to rinse it first. Then, just follow the instructions on the box: twice the liquid to quinoa, bring it all to boil, then cover and simmer. I like to cook my quinoa in broth, or maybe half broth half water for a little more flavor.

Now you've got some veggies roasting AND some quinoa simmering. Time for the kale and onion. Heat up some olive oil in a pan. Coarsely chop the onion, and throw it on, letting it carmelize. Mince the garlic and throw that on too. When that stuff is almost done, rinse and chop the kale, and add it to the pan. It will cook down pretty quickly--you don't want it to get too wilted. 5 min should do it.

Ok, now ALL THE COMPONENTS are ready. Dump them all into a huge bowl or pot, PLUS THE CORN!!! and mix it all together. Serve with the parmesan and red pepper for garnish.

The end.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We made a Middle Eastern feast!

YO! SG here. It's been a while, but I'm back on the Who Cooked What scene to tell you about this Middle Eastern feast in which M, Hill, Lanez, Nat and I participated a couple weekends ago. As you can see, we enjoyed it picnic-style on a blanket on the floor. Because sometimes it's more fun to eat that way.

I made some baba ganoush:

Followed the recipe pretty exactly. I tried roasting the eggplant over an open flame on the stove, which is pretty simple. You just need some tongs to keep turning them. But I got scared and took them off too early because this skin was so charred--but I guess that's what is supposed to happen. I roasted them a little longer in the oven after that to get them soft enough.

Natalie made some delish hummus:

M was in charge of falafel (I believe we used the Moosewood recipe, right M?):

I wanted to make avgolemono, which is really Greek and not Middle Eastern, but I was getting over a cold and was really in the mood for this comforting, nourishing lemony rice soup I used to get from a local Greek restaurant back in Jersey. I found this recipe in a comment on epicurious. There were a million comments after it, all saying how much better the recipe posted by "A Cook from Boston" was than the actual epicurious recipe! We followed it pretty exactly. Thank goodness I had Martha to help me "temper" the eggs, which I had never done before.

Here it is copied and pasted:

I'm 34 and have been making this since I could stand up on the stool in my Yia Yia's kitchen (my grandmother who is now 80 yrs. old). Soupa Avgolemono: 8 c. homemade chix stock, 1 c. orzo, 4 eggs/ separated, juice of 3 lemons, fresh ground black pepper. This recipe will make a perfectly balanced salty, rich, filling, comforting soup. Boil broth, add orzo and simmer until tender 20 min. Whip whites until medium peaks, add yolks beating continuously, add juice, beating. Temper eggs with 2 c. broth, adding in constant slow stream while continuing to beat furiously so you do not curdle the eggs. Add egg mixture back to remaining broth and serve. When reheating, do not re-boil - heat slowly until very warm or you may curdle the eggs. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon. I sometimes add more than juice of 3 lemons, as the sourness is the best part of the taste! You should taste lemon, richness of eggs, salt of chicken, and starch of rice, in that order and you've made it perfectly. You can also add thin pieces of shredded chicken meat (pull off bone in strips), although classic recipes don't include chicken, vegetables, garlic or any of the ingredients many reviewers added to "fix" this recipe. Try mine and you'll be hooked for life!
Here is us enjoying the meal by candlelight:

And this is how full we were after:

Here are two vids. The first is of us all putting Hill's pitas in the oven, and the second of us dining to some jams.